The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment is the best-known and most trusted personality assessment tool available today. As many as 1.5 million assessments are administered annually to individuals, including to employees of most Fortune 500 companies. The Myers-Briggs® assessment has its roots in Carl Jung's theory of psychological type. Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, developed Jung's theory and the first forms of the instrument, sharing a vision “to enable individuals to grow through an understanding and appreciation of individual differences in healthy personality and to enhance harmony and productivity among diverse groups.” In developing their assessment, Briggs and Myers sought to sort personality preferences using the three dichotomies explicitly described in Jung's writing, along with a fourth dichotomy made explicit by Briggs and Myers.
These four dichotomies are:
Differentiating people who direct their energy primarily outward toward other people and events from people who direct their energy primarily inward toward their inner environment, thoughts, and experiences.
Differentiating people who take in information primarily through the five senses and immediate experience from people who take in information primarily through hunches and impressions and are more interested in future possibilities.
Differentiating people who make decisions primarily based on logic and objectivity from people who make decisions primarily based on personal values and the effects their decisions will have on others.
Differentiating people who prefer structure, plans, and achieving closure quickly from those who prefer flexibility, spontaneity, and keeping their options open.
With their innovative, entrepreneurial spirit, Inventors are always on the lookout for a better way, always eyeing new projects, new enterprises, new processes. Always aiming to “build a better mousetrap.” Inventors are keenly pragmatic, and often become expert at devising the most effective means to accomplish their ends. They are the most reluctant of all the types to do things in a particular manner just because that’s the way they have been done. As a result, they often bring fresh, new approaches to their work and play.
They are intensely curious and continuously probe for possibilities, especially when trying to solve complex problems. Inventors are filled with ideas, but value ideas only when they make possible actions and objects. Thus they see product design not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end, as a way of devising the prototype that works and that can be brought to market. Inventors are confident in their pragmatism, counting on their ability to find effective ways and means when they need them, rather than making a detailed blueprint in advance. A rough idea is all they need to feel ready to proceed into action.
They make good leaders on pilot projects that test their ingenuity. And they are skilled at engineering human relationships and human systems, quickly grasping the politics of institutions and always wanting to understand the people within the system rather than tell them what to do. No matter what their occupation, however, Inventors display an extraordinary talent for rising to the demands of even the most impossible situations. “It can’t be done” is a challenge to an Inventor and elicits a reaction of “I can do it.”