MBTI-vs-4-Quadrants

If you’ve followed my blog, you know I’m a huge fan of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. What you may not know is that I’ve seen a few other personality indicators in my day. At last count, I’ve been through at least ten different personality-based team building or self-improvement events in my career.

I continue to come back to the MBTI for both self-understanding and team building. If you are willing to invest the time, MBTI is the “Cadillac” of personality indicators in corporate America, especially if you do the Step II program, which goes into the facets. I have a fairly in-depth understanding of the indicator and use it daily in my interactions with clients and colleagues.

That said, at Thought Ensemble we’ve recently discussed a much simpler framework that I find to be very useful, specifically for communication. Coincidentally, this is my husband’s favorite personality framework. I just asked him again why he loves it so much and he said, “If you know what quadrant someone is, you can give them what they want. Understanding leads to compassion and empathy.” He uses this framework regularly in working with clients and colleagues.

So, what is this voodoo? I’m actually not sure what the official name for the framework is, but it is based on only two questions. The questions are:

  1. Are they task oriented or people oriented?
  2. Do they “ask” or “tell”?


Based on that, there are four types:

  1. The Analytical who wants to know “how” things work, wants to be accurate, values numbers, statistics and ideas and loves details
  2. The Amiable who wants to know “why”, wants to build relationships, loves to give others support and attention and values suggestions from others
  3. The Driver who wants to know “what”, wants to save time, values results and loves being in control
  4. The Expressive who wants to know “who”, values appreciation, loves social situations and parties and likes to inspire others

For such a simple framework, it is actually pretty darn useful. Even if you’ve never been exposed to it before, you can probably pretty quickly surmise how differently you’d communicate to each of these types.

In my husband’s business of financial planning, he has the advantage of working 1:1 or 1:2 with people most of the time.┬áIn our business, we are often interacting with multiple personality types at the same time, in the same meetings. Jonathan’s recent blog talks through some of the challenges of that. It isn’t always easy, but frameworks like this help heighten our awareness and remind us that different people process things differently and we shouldn’t treat them all the same.