Two years ago, I was assigned abroad to work on a project with McKinsey consultants for two full months. During that time I experienced something a little unusual. McKinsey prides itself on their processes, one of them is their project pre-kickoff round table. This is not really a foreign concept to me, before we kickoff any project, to give the clients from different departs and our internal team a chance to ease their nerves and get warmed up to one another. So before we dive into any projects, we will always carefully design a kickoff process to break the ice.

Ice breaking kickoff is simple, but its content and scale change depending on the clients’ backgrounds and personalities. The meeting is usually opened by a short introduction from our end, there would be some positive and light-hearted welcome. Afterwards, we briefly run through a list of items we would discuss and work on that day. Then before we initiate any pre-designed activities, we would ask everyone to introduce themselves by telling us their name, title and answer a fun question. For example, what is your your favorite sandwich? what are you into lately? Sometimes they could be hilarious questions too, but the point to to get everyone to open up, relax, and laugh a little.

While on the project with the McKinsey team, besides the typical kickoff I just briefly described, two more unusual questions were asked. The first one was “what would you like to learn on this project?” and the second was “what is your Myer-Briggs personality?”

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the first question. As a designer, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of being assigned chunks of responsibilities, but rarely would anyone ask you warmly about the things you’d like to learn or accomplish. I took serious note on this one, and from then on I paid close attention to every single designer I worked with, to try to understand what that might want to improve upon. It’s quite impossible to take care of every single person. But when delegating to and looking for opportunities for designers, leaving room for learning opportunities would give designers incentives to do an outstanding job, it’s absolutely a win-win situation for both the managers and the designers.

The second questions caught me a little off guard. Myers-Briggs is a well-known career type indicator test. Some companies would even require every job applicant to complete the test before sending out an offer. I can’t say if any company rescinds their offers after reading the results from the test. But because of that exact possibility, the Myers-Birggs never really had a great reputation. Many felt like the test is a way for us to forcefully put people in baskets and give them labels. If anyone were to make some sort of mistake, we could easily blame the personality trait. But, McKinsey uses this information differently. They ask what your type is because they want to be able to anticipate your reaction to difficult situations. If their own personality type is on the opposite end of yours, they would find a way to offer the qualities you don’t have to help you get through rough patches. Team work is everything on every project to them.

Because we weren’t part of McKinsey, so we weren’t asked for our Myers-Briggs type. But I did get very curious about it, the result shows I am an extremely introverted low-key person, I am a INFP, a mediator. To be honest, the result is shockingly true.
they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine
INFPs communicate deeply with others
The strength of this intuitive communication style lends itself well to creative works
Listen to Many People, but Talk to Few

I took the same test my early 20s, but it didn’t mean much to me then. Well, now, after life happened, I am in awe in the accuracy of this test, it made me honest and faced both my strengths and weaknesses. Reading this, you might finally understand why on day I wrote about taking care of myself last, and also why it takes me time and quietness to reset/heal myself. Give the test a try, I have yet to meet anyone calling this test inaccurate –16 Personalities.

On WorkingSandy ChenComment