Quiet: The Power of Introverts

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.As a definite extrovert, found sight of this book interesting:

Michael Mack, reader in the department of English studies, Durham University, is reading Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking (Viking, 2012). “A fascinating book that counters our society’s obsession with groups. Cain does not take issue with extroverts as such, but with how being extrovert and gregarious has become a normative standard. An oppressive research climate now dictates that academic work must be done collaboratively, but Cain shows how lone researchers are more innovative and beneficial to society.”

Take from Times Higher Education.

Netflix Holiday Policy

I was really intrigued by this story, as I work best when I am not restricted by which hours/where, but by having a rolling list of tasks that need to be completed, and knowing that I need to complete them all (a Mark Forster kind of approach), and I find ‘presenteeism’ to be quite stifling in what I need to do – I get very creative around 10pm, so if I have to be in the office 9-5 every day it would be hard. I do need to be specific places, and I do get holiday hours, but I always find that crazy when I have put in a lot more time than I’m paid for, then taking a few hours here & there! C’est la vie!! Thankfully I do work with people who value autonomy, and trust me to know the outcomes that are required – and they get a lot out of me that way!!

“For instance, ever more companies are realising that autonomy isn’t the opposite of accountability – it’s the pathway to it. “Rules and policies and regulations and stipulations are innovation killers. People do their best work when they’re unencumbered,” says Steve Swasey, Netflix’s vice-president for corporate communication. “If you’re spending a lot of time accounting for the time you’re spending, that’s time you’re not innovating.”

The same goes for expenses. Employees typically don’t need to get approval to spend money on entertainment, travel, or gifts. Instead, the guidance is simpler: act in Netflix’s best interest. It sounds delightfully adult. And it is – in every regard. People who don’t produce are shown the door. “Adequate performance,” the company says, “gets a generous severance package.”

The idea is that freedom and responsibility, long considered fundamentally incompatible, actually go together quite well.

What’s more, the Netflix holiday policy reveals the limits of relying on time in managing the modern workforce. In an era when people were turning screws on an assembly line or processing paper in an office, the connection between input and output was tight. The more time you spent on a task, the more you produced.

But in much white-collar work today, where one good idea can be orders of magnitude more valuable than a dozen mediocre ones, the link between the time you spend and the results you produce is murkier. Results are what matter. How you got there, or how long it took, is less relevant.

Finally, the Netflix technique demonstrates how the starting premises of workplace arrangements can shape behaviour.

In his new book, Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age, New York University scholar, Clay Shirky, argues that when we design systems that assume bad faith from the participants, and whose main purpose is to defend against that nasty behaviour, we often foster the very behaviour we’re trying to deter. People will push and push the limits of the formal rules, search for every available loophole, and look for ways to game the system when the defenders aren’t watching. By contrast, a structure of rules that assumes good faith can actually encourage that behaviour.

So if you think people in your organisation are predisposed to rip you off, maybe the solution isn’t to build a tighter, more punitive set of rules. Maybe the answer is to hire new people.

To paraphrase one Netflix executive, the company doesn’t have a clothing policy either. But – so far at least – nobody has shown up to work naked.”

Read full story in the Telegraph – and of course we can see how unusual this policy is because it’s made the news!

OPQ (Occupational Personality Questionnaire)

The Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) provides in-depth information on how individuals fit within a work environment, how they will work with others and their performance potential against job competencies. I undertook the profiling soon after I accepted my redundancy payment from the University of Manchester.

“A real people person, very socially confident; sympathetic and considerate towards others, consults widely when making decisions; tries to understand motivations and behaviour (rather than facts/feelings), can take the lead when necessary, needs variety, has some interest in theoretical discussions, can adapt approach, can think strategically and at a level of detail, will persist to get the job done, has respect for rules & regulations, the nerves rise before important events, thrives on activity, dislikes competition – prefers taking part, takes time to make decisions.”

Birkman Report

Selected elements from this report, taken in 2007 (checkout Care for the Family):

Areas of Interest: Percentages indicate a broad level of interest

Social Science
Organised assistance and services to support and advance social conditions of the individual and community through social programmes, agencies and organised religious involvement.
Creative interest in writing and in sophisticated language skills. Indicates appreciation for abstract ideas conveyed in various mediums and materials.
Creating imaginative works of aesthetic value, expressing ideas artistically. Working or performing in the visual arts.
Persuasive interaction with others. Motivating others to accept ideas, actions or opinions through means of persuasion, reasoning or argument.
Being involved in administrative positions, including recording, data processing, numeric detail and personnel functions that provide predictable results and specific controls.
Hands-on work in an outdoor or natural environment. These activities can include physical or mental exertion outside of office confines. Some individuals score high because of environmental concerns.
Involvement with music in its many forms. Interests may include melodies, compositions, attending concerts, supporting the musical arts, or simply appreciating music. Professional musicians would be expected to have a high degree of this interest.
Combining number analytically and factually to arrive at practical, quantitative conclusions. Utilising numbers in business bookkeeping, accounting and tax procedures.
Involvement in professions or avocations that assist others through research. Occupations in health services, technology and medical paraprofessionals, nutritional and pharmaceutical services involving scientific interests.
Hands-on work with a broad range of technical responsibilities from power-driven machine operations to high-tech electronics. Interests may include design, maintenance, operation or repair of motors and machinery, power-driven or automated.

Summary of the Lifestyle Grid
This grid also demonstrates how others would react in a similar situation, so that teams can understand each other better.

  • You enjoy people-centred activities, particularly when these activities involve theorising, planning or creating new ways of doing things.
  • When you are working effectively, you tend to be assertive, enthusiastic and intense in feeling.
  • To be most effective, you generally respond best to people who are insightful and persuasive. Under stress, you may become easily distracted and hesitant.

Organisational Focus Overview

  1. Blue: Design/Strategy (strongest influence)
    1. Focuses on strategy and innovation
    2. Generates ideas and concepts
    3. Values the welfare of people
    4. Operates with idealistic outlook
    5. Engages in research and development
    6. Provides vision
    7. Sensitive and creative
  2. Green: Sales/Marketing
    1. Focuses on sales and marketing efforts
    2. Influences and motivates people
    3. Seeks recognition
    4. Supports and manages change
    5. Actively communicates with others
    6. Acts independently
    7. Outgoing and enthusiastic
  3. Yellow: Admin/Fiscal
    1. Focuses on organisational process/systems
    2. Values accuracy and detail
    3. Analyses data thoroughly
    4. Cooperative when working with others
    5. Ises plan when acting on objectives
    6. Appreciates stability in environment
    7. Cautious and consistent
  4. Red: Operations/Technology (weakest influence)
    1. Focuses on operations and production
    2. Values tactical, short-term goals
    3. Takes action on objectives
    4. Communicates candidly
    5. Produces tangible products
    6. Makes decisions quickly
    7. Practical and ‘hands on’

Top 10 (suggested) Job Families

  • Legal (including lawyers)
  • Knowledge Specialist (including career counsellors, University lecturers, clergy)
  • Administrative Professionals (including auditing)
  • Educational Careers (including teachers, University lecturers, University administration)
  • Social Service/Counselling (including clergy, counsellors, psychologists, sociologists)
  • Employee Relations/Training (including career counselors, HR training, customer services, entertainment marketing, public relations, lobbying, personnel)
  • Artistic Careers (including visual arts, editorial positions, architecture, travel agents)
  • Medical Professions (including nutritionists, public health administrators)
  • Delegative Management (Managing, leading and accomplishing goals through others by utilising plans and strategies, arrange resources and assist subordinates and teams in dealing with resource and implementation issues. Include managers and executives in plan-driven organisations.)
  • Consultative Intangiable Sales (Marketing and/or sales of intangiable products or services.)

Report gained through www.2030vision.org.uk, now www.lookingatlife.org.uk, part of the Care for the Family group on 4th September 2007.


In 1999/2000, I completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, which is one of a set of personality tests. There are 16 Myers-Briggs Types, and on the training course I came out, rather inconclusively, as an ‘ESFP’, although only ‘E’ was very clear – I was near the edge of all other letters, particularly S/N and J/P. In 2007, I took advantage of the variety of tests online to re-do the test, and came out on every one as an ENFP (which fits more strongly with careers style discussions)

Click to view my Personality Profile page
Taken from mypersonlity.info

Marcus Buckingham ‘Now, Discover Your Strengths’

I found this book very helpful in focusing more on what I AM GOOD AT, and developing those skills further, rather than always trying to improve at my ‘weaknesses’.

The following are my five top strengths:


  • Has a great deal of stamina
  • Works hard
  • Takes great satisfaction from being busy and productive
  • Driven to achieve
  • MUST achieve something tangiable by the end of the day, needs to measure cumulative production.
  • “Every day” includes weekends/holidays – feels driven to achieve
  • Has to learn to live with the ‘whisper of discontent’ which accompanies the relentless need for achievement – it drives you, it gives you stamina for long hours, inspires you to start new challenges, keeps you moving.
  • Likes recognition for past achievement and the setting of new goals.


  • Fascinated by ideas, able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena
  • An idea is a a new perspective on a familiar challenge, or a concept, which offers the best explanation of MOST events. It is delightful to find below a complex surface a simple explanation for WHY things are the way they are.
  • The mind is always looking for connections, however obscure.
  • Revels in taking the world we know, turning it around and viewing it from a strange or enlightening angle.
  • Others label you as creative, original, conceptual or smart, you are particularly effective as a designer.
  • All ideas are thrilling, for whatever reason. Need these ideas to be valued.
  • Uses ideas already written within focus of the organisation to generate new insights and discoveries.
  • Enjoys words – especially when they perfectly capture a concept/idea/pattern.
  • Needs to understand how things fit togehter, and any exceptions pointed out.


  • Thrives on learning and continual self-development, this keeps the motivation going – wants to continuously improve.
  • The PROCESS of learning, rather than the outcome is exciting. Enjoys developing a growing confidence as skills are mastered.
  • Engages in adult-learning experiences. Subject matter of interest depends upon other themes (listed here) and past experiences.
  • Energised by the steady/deliberate journey from ignorance to competence.
  • Learns by teaching others, through presentations, etc.
  • Thrives in a dynamic work environment, where are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the subject matter in a short period of time, then move onto the next one. Generally not seeking to become an expert – the outcome is less significant than ‘getting there’.
  • Good to work with someone who will push you to achieve more.
  • Needs to have learning recognised through certificates, etc.
  • Needs to celebrate milestones, which have been pre-identified.
  • Needs to stay current in a fast-changing field.


  • Can organise, but this organisation is accompanied by a flexibility.
  • Likes to figure out how all the pieces/resources can be arranged for maxiumu productivity.
  • Enjoys managing the variables – aligning/re-aligning until are sure has the best configuration possible. See this as nothing special, just the best way of getting things done. Is very resourceful.
  • Effectively flexible – changes quickly for a better deal; mulling over the combination of people/resources to accomplish a project.
  • Thrives with many things going on at the same time.
  • At best in dynamic situations – the unexpected has you diving in, devising new options, looking for the path of least resistence because there MIGHT be a better way.
  • Thrives on responsibility, like to make a good manager, seeing how the team works together, especially through trust & relationships.


  • Loves the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. A good person to be the contact for the outside world, needs to refine a system for remembering names, etc.
  • Derives satisfaction from breaking the ice, making a connection with the other.
  • Strangers are not intimidating to you, you want to learn about them, ask questions, find common ground so can strike up a conversation/build a rapport.
  • Rarely at a loss for words.
  • Once the connection is made, are happy to wrap it up and move onto the next connection. Not so good at building close relationships, prefers to meet & move on.
  • In the world, there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet.
  • A good person to build good will in your community.

Portrait of an ENFP

The Inspirer

As an ENFP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system.

ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it.

ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents. They are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime. To onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose, but ENFPs are actually quite consistent, in that they have a strong sense of values which they live with throughout their lives. Everything that they do must be in line with their values. An ENFP needs to feel that they are living their lives as their true Self, walking in step with what they believe is right. They see meaning in everything, and are on a continuous quest to adapt their lives and values to achieve inner peace. They’re constantly aware and somewhat fearful of losing touch with themselves. Since emotional excitement is usually an important part of the ENFP’s life, and because they are focused on keeping “centered”, the ENFP is usually an intense individual, with highly evolved values.

An ENFP needs to focus on following through with their projects. This can be a problem area for some of these individuals. Unlike other Extraverted types, ENFPs need time alone to center themselves, and make sure they are moving in a direction which is in sync with their values. ENFPs who remain centered will usually be quite successful at their endeavors. Others may fall into the habit of dropping a project when they become excited about a new possibility, and thus they never achieve the great accomplishments which they are capable of achieving.

Most ENFPs have great people skills. They are genuinely warm and interested in people, and place great importance on their inter-personal relationships. ENFPs almost always have a strong need to be liked. Sometimes, especially at a younger age, an ENFP will tend to be “gushy” and insincere, and generally “overdo” in an effort to win acceptance. However, once an ENFP has learned to balance their need to be true to themselves with their need for acceptance, they excel at bringing out the best in others, and are typically well-liked. They have an exceptional ability to intuitively understand a person after a very short period of time, and use their intuition and flexibility to relate to others on their own level.

Because ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery. They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivous to these types of concerns. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves. This is a challenging area of life for most ENFPs, and can be frustrating for ENFP’s family members.

An ENFP who has “gone wrong” may be quite manipulative – and very good it. The gift of gab which they are blessed with makes it naturally easy for them to get what they want. Most ENFPs will not abuse their abilities, because that would not jive with their value systems.

ENFPs sometimes make serious errors in judgment. They have an amazing ability to intuitively perceive the truth about a person or situation, but when they apply judgment to their perception, they may jump to the wrong conclusions.

ENFPs who have not learned to follow through may have a difficult time remaining happy in marital relationships. Always seeing the possibilities of what could be, they may become bored with what actually is. The strong sense of values will keep many ENFPs dedicated to their relationships. However, ENFPs like a little excitement in their lives, and are best matched with individuals who are comfortable with change and new experiences.

Having an ENFP parent can be a fun-filled experience, but may be stressful at times for children with strong Sensing or Judging tendancies. Such children may see the ENFP parent as inconsistent and difficult to understand, as the children are pulled along in the whirlwind life of the ENFP. Sometimes the ENFP will want to be their child’s best friend, and at other times they will play the parental authoritarian. But ENFPs are always consistent in their value systems, which they will impress on their children above all else, along with a basic joy of living.

ENFPs are basically happy people. They may become unhappy when they are confined to strict schedules or mundane tasks. Consequently, ENFPs work best in situations where they have a lot of flexibility, and where they can work with people and ideas. Many go into business for themselves. They have the ability to be quite productive with little supervision, as long as they are excited about what they’re doing.

Because they are so alert and sensitive, constantly scanning their environments, ENFPs often suffer from muscle tension. They have a strong need to be independent, and resist being controlled or labelled. They need to maintain control over themselves, but they do not believe in controlling others. Their dislike of dependence and suppression extends to others as well as to themselves.

ENFPs are charming, ingenuous, risk-taking, sensitive, people-oriented individuals with capabilities ranging across a broad spectrum. They have many gifts which they will use to fulfill themselves and those near them, if they are able to remain centered and master the ability of following through.

Jungian functional preference ordering for ENFP:

Dominant: Extraverted Intuition
Auxiliary: Introverted Feeling
Tertiary: Extraverted Thinking
Inferior: Introverted Sensing

Original: BSM Consulting; Encouraging Personal Growth; Careers

ENFP: The Advocate

There are a number of different definitions for an ENFP (which I come out as EVERY time on Myers-Briggs)

“ENFPs are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events. ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity. ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental.”

About the ENFP
Expert Quotes & Links
“They can’t bear to miss out on what is going on around them; they must experience, first hand, all the significant social events that affect our lives.”

“ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it.”

- Portrait of an ENFP (The Personality Page)

“Friends are what life is about to ENFPs, moreso even than the other NFs. They hold up their end of the relationship, sometimes being victimized by less caring individuals. ENFPs are energized by being around people. Some have real difficulty being alone, especially on a regular basis.”

- ENFP Profile (TypeLogic)
“outgoing, social, disorganized, easily talked into doing silly things, spontaneous, wild and crazy, acts without thinking…”

- ENFP Jung Type Descriptions (similarminds.com)

“ENFPs are energetic and enthusiastic leaders who are likely to take charge when a new endeavor needs a visionary spokesperson. ENFPs are values-oriented people who become champions of causes and services relating to human needs and dreams. Their leadership style is one of soliciting and recognizing others’ contributions and of evaluating the personal needs of their followers. ENFPs are often charismatic leaders who are able to help people see the possibilities beyond themselves and their current realities. They function as catalysts.”

- ENFP – The Visionary (Lifexplore)

“Ranked 1st of all 16 types in using social and emotional coping resources and 2nd in using cognitive resources. ”

- ENFP Facts (discoveryourpersonality.com)

Read more on mypersonalityinfo.com.

Does this sound like me – I think I have a number of other definitions elsewhere, and it’s always interesting to see – makes me feel like not such a dileatante!