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  • Writer's pictureTom Foxley

How To Use Personality Tests To Become A Better Business Owner

This blog will show you exactly how to use personality testing to become a far better business owner.


I’ll be showing you the exact process I use to help entrepreneurs and business owners become a better version of themselves and therefore create a more profitable business that gives them more freedom.


Let’s cut to the chase. You’ve probably done a few personality tests before.


You hear about them on a podcast or curiosity just drives you there. You find a good one, spend 20 minutes filling it out and then what?


You get the results and they’re kind of interesting. But what do you actually do with the information?


Most of the time, you just store it somewhere in the back of your mind or forget about it entirely. Ultimately, you end up with a great resource but no idea what to do with it.


Therefore you end up in exactly the same place as you were previously.


This is a massive waste of an opportunity.


If you understand your personality at depth, and you understand how it will both positively and negatively impact you, you can put together a plan for overcoming the shortfalls which are unique to you.


You can also lean into your strengths aggressively to pursue your dreams.


A deep understanding of your personality, and a plan of personal growth tailored to you, will help you break through your current limitations in your business and wider life.


We’re going to cover:


  1. Which personality tests actually work, and where to find them

  2. How to interpret your results

  3. Plans for balancing out your weaknesses

Personality Vs. Character

Before we get started, here’s an essential fact to remember. By the time you’re 25 or so, your personality is pretty much fixed.


Whilst you can develop new skills at any age, your personality operates within mostly stable parameters.


In other words, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got.


The good news is, despite personality being fixed, you can always train your character. You can become more virtuous and you can develop a potent skill set to offset your deficiencies.

Understand Your Range

There are myriad options available when it comes to testing your personality.


Most psychologists only accept one as reliable though, the Big 5 Personality Test. This gives you a breakdown of 5 components of personality: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.


Here’s what they really mean in simple terms…


Openness = how creative you are

Conscientiousness = how hard you work

Extraversion = do you like hanging out with other people or being alone?

Agreeableness = how much you care about other people’s opinions

Neuroticism = how sensitive are you to negative emotion


At the end of your test, you’ll be given a score from 1-100 which rates you in each of these dimensions.


Your score denotes your average. In my experience coaching 1000’s of people, you aren’t fixed at that point, but that tells you a range you can operate within.


For example, if you’re scoring 80 in Openness, you probably have a range from roughly 65 - 95.


Step 1 in understanding your personality score is to find a reputable Big 5 Personality test, set aside 15-20 minutes, and honestly execute the test.


Jordan Peterson has a great test at understandmyself.com. It’s paid, but I like to kick a few pounds to someone who has helped me so much.


There are others like truity.com and open psychometrics.org which are free

The Good & The Not So Good

There are no “bad” scores in personality testing, only data.

However each end of the scoring has relative weaknesses and strengths. Some weaknesses severely restrict you as an entrepreneur or business owner. Some don’t matter so much depending on your exact business or role within it.


Before we get to training your character to even things out, you have to know which benefits and drawbacks are associated with each score, and how that relates to you as a business owner.

Openness

High openness - you’ll be creative, enjoy new challenges, and be good at thinking abstractly. However, you’ll struggle to be disciplined with repetitive tasks, and you’ll get bored easily.


Low openness - you’ll be very good at executing repetitive tasks without overthinking things, and you’ll follow instructions well. But, you’ll struggle to overcome new and novel challenges, will dislike change, and resist new concepts.

Conscientiousness

High conscientiousness - you’ll work very hard and get the essential tasks done. You’ll pride yourself on your work ethic and get a lot done. But you may be rigid and inflexible whilst suffering from perfectionist tendencies


Low conscientiousness - you will be flexible and adapt well to new situations because you’re not married to a plan. You won’t get phased by things going wrong. But, you will struggle to adhere to structure and may procrastinate.

Extraversion

High Extraversion - you’ll find it easy to converse with people, probably be good at sales, and be informed in everything going on. But you’ll often speak without thinking, struggle with solitude, and sometimes struggle to take risks.


Low extraversion (high introversion) - you’ll be great doing work by yourself and not need to socialise to recharge. However, you’ll struggle to mix with others and that could create complications with public or social engagements (like video content or sales)

Agreeableness

High Agreeableness - you’ll be empathic, and show great interest in others. You’ll be easy to work with. However, you’ll struggle to demand what you want from others and the world in general. You may find yourself getting walked over.


Low agreeableness - to keep it short, you may occasionally come across as a bit of a dick to others.

Neuroticism

High neuroticism - you’ll probably get pretty worked up about stuff going wrong and be stressed. You’ll get upset easily and probably anxious too. But you’ll predict things going wrong before others do which can be essential.


Low neuroticism - you’ll have a good degree of emotional stability and deal with stress well, but you may ignore problems until they become too large to deal with.

What to do about Your Weakness

By now, you’ll know a little more about your own personality test and how it can serve you but also create problems.


You’ll also see a few areas where it highly impacts you. You can probably even see a few exact tasks that you struggle with which are related to your big 5 personality score.


I’m going to give you two examples so you can see how this process works and apply it to yourself. They are the most common two I experience when working with my clients.


However, if you’re at a point where you can afford to, it’s far better to outsource the tasks that challenge you most to someone who has a personality which suits the task. This is a better option than taking the time to develop these skills if your goal is to move rapidly toward your goals.


Amazingly, there’s someone whose perfect work day is trawling through your receipts.


First up, the High Openness example.


This person is great at starting things, but not doing things consistently. This is something I personally had to work hard to overcome, so I know it well!


It’s also very common with entrepreneurs I work with.


First up, you need to accept that it’s going to be your tendency to default to new ideas, and you need to build awareness of the mental quirks which signify you’re falling into these non-serving patterns.


You also need a plan for developing character skills that allow you to overcome these tendencies. In this situation, your character skills to focus on are discipline, and prioritisation.


Let’s take discipline. To train discipline, choose one task that repeats often in your week that is important to your growth. Then, you use this task as a vehicle to get to know what being disciplined feels like.


In doing so, you will raise your own personal standard as long as you continue to aspire to be better and remain conscious about your decision making.


Ask yourself, “how can I show more discipline here?” Be specific with your answer. A good example of an answer here is start the task at exactly 08.00 every morning. A bad example is start on time. It’s too generic.


Very important note: the goal is not to execute the task in order to achieve an outcome. The goal is to become more disciplined. By asking yourself every 3-4 days how you can show more discipline, you will slowly move toward it, as long as you’re honest with yourself.


Secondly, let’s use the High Agreeableness example. Here, you are a super nice person and don’t like saying what you want from people, usually team members or contractors, or let’s be honest even your significant other.


Again, the first step is to build awareness of the mental-emotional state which characterises the high end of your personality. This gives you the ability to notice when you need to change your ways of acting.


From there, you need to train assertiveness, courage, and ambition.


If I was working personally with you, we would isolate which of these had the greatest chance of success for you as an individual. Let’s just say we chose assertiveness.


One way I like to train assertiveness in the people I work with, is to set a target amount of times they need to show assertiveness that day.


That could range from telling a teammate what standards they need to meet in order to fulfil their job description, to suggesting an idea when their partner asks them what they want to do…


…instead of responding with “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”


Once more, the goal is not to attain a goal, it’s to develop the character skill which moves you to your next level.


Doing this will transfer to other areas of life.

The big lessons from the big 5

Going forward, remember these essential lessons


1 - Understanding Personality Tests: Personality tests, like the Big 5 Personality Test, can provide valuable insights into your personality traits. These traits, such as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, can impact how you function in business and personal life.

2 -Interpreting Results: Your personality test results can indicate your strengths and weaknesses. Understanding what each trait represents can help you relate them to your business behaviour. For instance, high openness might signify creativity but a struggle with repetitive tasks, while high conscientiousness can imply strong work ethic but potential rigidity.


3 - Fixed Personality, Trainable Character: While your personality tends to remain stable after around age 25, you can work on improving your character skills. Character skills like assertiveness, courage, and ambition can be developed over time, helping you offset limitations imposed by your personality traits.


4 - Recognising Weaknesses: Identify areas where your personality traits might impact your business performance negatively.


5 - Developing Character Skills: To overcome the challenges posed by your personality traits, you can develop specific character skills. For instance, if you struggle with consistency due to high openness, you might work on discipline and prioritisation. If you have high agreeableness and struggle with asserting yourself, you can train assertiveness, courage, and ambition.


6 - Implementing Change: Build awareness of your tendencies and use targeted character skill training to address specific challenges. The goal isn't just to achieve specific outcomes but to develop these character skills for overall personal growth and better business performance.


7 - Outsourcing: Sometimes, if possible, it's more effective to delegate tasks that don't align with your strengths to individuals whose personality traits make them well-suited for those tasks. This way, you can focus on what you do best and leverage the strengths of others.


8 - Personality vs. Character: There is a distinction between fixed personality traits and character skills that can be developed. Understanding both aspects is crucial for personal growth and success as a business owner.


In summary, use personality tests to gain self-awareness, understand the strengths and weaknesses associated with your traits, and then develop character skills to overcome limitations and excel in your business endeavours. The ultimate goal is to align your actions and decisions with your personality traits while continuously working on enhancing your character.


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