Investigating personal and business change

Introducing Hogan, Attitude, Character and Creative Reconstruction

It is fashionable to distinguish managers from leaders: Managers are supposed to do things right, whereas leaders are supposed to do the right thing.

Dr. Robert Hogan

Hogan has been a successful part of Key Change Training’s personal development arsenal for eighteen years. Everything begins with the self concept. The most important fact about the self concept—or who I think I am—is that we create a blueprint of our attitudes, habits and beliefs to help make sense of the reality in which we find ourselves.

So where did your self-concept come from? What if you don’t like certain aspects of it? Is there anything you can do about any inconsistencies, outworn/outmoded attitudes and drivers—or are you stuck with it? And most frightening of all, if you created who you think you are through experiencing your own version of reality, is any of it real?

Psychoanalysis argues that the fundamentals of character (rooted in the self-concept blueprint) are set by the age of five to seven years old. And, as Freud noted, your character is your fate.

That means that by five to seven years old, a child’s core attitude to life—be it guilt and self-doubt or self-confidence and optimism—is largely set in this home-spun blueprint. Individual orientation toward vast tracts of everyday life is added to the pot as life experiences unfold. How you feel about rules and authority figures in childhood colours your entire self-concept and influences whether you see yourself as rebellious and defiant or cooperative and agreeable as an adult. Could it be that the sum of your life experience by the tender age of seven has the power to become the roots of who you are now and how you’re likely to behave for the rest of your life?

The choice is yours.

If you believe that you are the creator of your own self-concept, you know it’s only as real as you’ve made it. If there are things you don’t like, don’t need and don’t want any more—you can change them.

Over the past hundred years the self-concept has been dissected and analysed by psychologists who’ve discovered powerful links between personality and behaviour. It’s only been within the past twenty years that this research has been developed into the practical instruments of evaluation and assessment available to us today. Originally devised to predict outcomes such as occupational performance, psychometrics have evolved into a second generation—the keys to creative leadership. They provide clear and objective assessment of who you think you are—the starting point of the journey toward personal change.

Dr Robert Hogan

In 1986, after more than ten years of personality research, Dr Hogan developed and published the Hogan Personality Inventory. It was the first of its kind to break down aspects of individual differences in order to help understand the roots of characteristic behaviour patterns in the individual rather than to simply measure traits.

The past thirty years have seen the multivariate model of this assessment grow to become the most exceptional series of psychometrics available. The HPI (Hogan Personality Inventory) breaks down the “bright side” of the self-concept—the you that you don’t mind sharing with others, the public face you allow others to see—giving clear and objective insight into the strengths and weaknesses within the individual. The HDS (Hogan Development Survey) goes a lot deeper. It allows access to the more complex “dark side” of the self-concept. This highlights the qualities in which one might excel, the characteristics which may have developed to excess and which, when under pressure or attack, are likely to “flip” to the other side of the coin. This is the dark side, which harbours our worst behaviour, the behaviour we think we get away with and that no-one notices.

The third layer of the self-concept is the “inside”—the inner drives, the preferred motivators we need to match the values we create to give our life meaning and purpose. This is the Motives, Values and Preferences Inventory (MVPI), originally developed to research cultural “fit” with individuals, teams and organisations. Its value has been described as illuminating, having the ability to unmask life’s purpose and build new meaning into setting and achieving your goals.

The creative self-concept

In the face of growth and change we must tap human creativity at its source. The source of what we think we can (and think we can’t) do, is rooted deep in the self-concept. Exploration is the first step towards finding who you think you are. Once the multi layers of self-concept are unpacked, the act of creativity truly begins—you’re then free to become whoever and whatever you choose.

What Dr Robert Hogan Has to Say About Why Personality Matters…

A brief introduction to the field of personality psychology and leadership in the words of Dr. Robert Hogan, 21st March 2007

Why does personality matter? To answer this question, we need to resolve two prior issues:

  1. What is personality?
  2. Who wants to know why personality matters?

The answer to the question, ‘What is personality?’ is that there are two answers. There is what we call ‘personality from the inside’ and there is what we call ‘personality from the outside’. Personality from the inside concerns your view of ‘you’, it concerns the person you think you are—it concerns your hopes, your dreams, your values, your goals, your aspirations, your fears, and the things you think you need to do to realize your goals and avoid your fears. We refer to personality from the inside as your identity.

‘Personality from the outside’ concerns our view of ‘you’, the person we think you are, and we refer to this as your reputation. It concerns the things we need to know in order to be able to deal with you effectively. So, there is the ‘you’ that you know, personality from the inside, or your identity. Then there is the ‘you’ that we know, personality from the outside, or your reputation. These two forms of personality are different in very important ways.

Consider the ‘you’ that you know—your identity. Freud would say that it is hardly worth knowing—because you made it up. Everyone has to be someone, and you are the hero or heroine in your own life’s drama, but that doesn’t mean that your identity is necessarily closely related to reality. The way people think about and describe themselves is only modestly related to how others describe them—people don’t really know themselves all that well. Even worse, about a hundred years of research on identity shows that it is very hard—almost impossible—to study in a rigorous and empirical way. As a result, we psychologists don’t know very much about identity that is interesting or useful.

Consider the ‘you’ that we know—your reputation. Reputation is quite interesting for several reasons. First, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior; your reputation reflects your past behavior, therefore your reputation is the best information we have regarding what you are likely to do in the future. Second, reputations are easy to study—we need only ask other people to describe you. And third, there is a well-defined and widely accepted taxonomy of reputations that has been used to study occupational performance, and as a result, we psychologists know a lot about the kinds of people who do well or poorly in different kinds of jobs. That is, we know a lot about the links between reputation and occupational performance.

As for the question of who wants to know why personality matters, it matters to two categories of people:

  1. People who are interested in their own career development;
  2. Potential employers.

People who are interested in their own career development need to know about their own strengths and shortcomings relative to the demands of various occupations. More precisely, people who want to approach the topic of career development in a strategic manner will want to know:

  1. How their strengths match the demands of various careers;
  2. How other people will perceive them during job interviews and while working.

Personality matters to potential employers in at least three ways. First, they need to know what kind of employee you will be—will you be cranky, difficult, and hard to manage or will you be a world-class organizational citizen? Second, they need to know if your personality fits the demands of the job for which you are applying—do you have the drive to succeed in sales, the social skills to succeed in customer service, the good judgment to succeed as a manager? And third, they need to know if your values (your identity) are consistent with the corporate culture—it doesn’t matter how talented you are, if your values are inconsistent with the corporate culture, you will not succeed in that organization.

The bottom line is that personality matters to individuals because self-understanding allows a person to be strategic about his/her career choices and career development. Personality matters to employers because knowledge about a job applicant’s personality allows them to be strategic about the hiring process.