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Innovation Insights
by Stephen Shapiro

Are You Playing With a Full Deck?

Today’s Wednesday Work Wisdom

Personality Poker is a tool I developed for helping organizations play with a full deck; enabling them to have a good balance of complementary styles.

Why? Because opposites don’t attract. As a result, organizations naturally homogenize around one particular style.  (See my article, “Your Organizations is a Cult” for more on this)

You, as an individual, can also play with a full deck.

Although in Personality Poker, I suggest that people play to their strong suit, it is useful to recognize that everyone has a mix of four styles within them. And we can call on them at various times when needed. This allows us as individuals to be whole and integrated.

The styles at a high level are:

  • Spades – analytical
  • Diamonds – creative
  • Clubs – results-oriented
  • Hearts – emotional

Consider that inside of us, we have our own Board of Directors. And each style represented in Personality Poker is on this Board.*

The Chairman of the Board is your strong suit. However, even though one style is sitting at the head of the table, it doesn’t mean that you can’t tap into the power of each.

For me, although I am naturally creative (a diamond), when I am under stress, my intellect (spade) runs the show and is usually the Chairman of my Board.

But I make a concerted effort to utilize all aspects of my personality.

For example, I literally set aside time to nurture and check in on my emotional side. I reflect upon how I am feeling. I look to see what I may need. If I have something bothering me emotionally, and I don’t address it, my work will definitely be impacted.

The same is true with my intellect (spades). I check to make sure that there aren’t any worrying thoughts lingering in my mind. Am I feeling skeptical? Are others challenging my intelligence? What am I thinking? I carry a notebook not just to capture creative thoughts, but also to document thoughts or concerns that need to be handled.

The club is the part of me that gets things done.  I look at what I want to accomplish. What are my goals? My aspirations? Am I doing what I want to do? Am I accomplishing what I want to accomplish? Even though I am naturally not inclined to set goals, (hey, I’m the author of Goal-Free Living), I still look at where I am and where I am going – without attachment.

And of course I check in with my creative (diamond) side. This is my natural expression when I am not under stress. What am I doing to tap into my inner wisdom? Am I leveraging my creative energies? Am I serving my higher purpose?

Everyone has each aspect of Personality Poker residing within them. And ignoring any one of them at some point will have consequences. If I don’t process concerns that a given part of my personality has, it will start to fester and will eventually impact all areas of my life. Even if you are primarily intellectual, if there is something bothering you emotionally (e.g., in your personal life), it will impact everything else.

Therefore consider checking in daily to determine how you are doing in each of these different areas so you can take appropriate corrective action.

Also, look to see how each area of your personality can contribute.  If you are inclined to be intellectual, see how your emotions and creative side can contribute to your work.

Taking just 5 or 10 minutes each day to “check-in” as a daily ritual can ensure that you are nurturing all facets of your personality. This can have a huge impact on your day, your work, and your life as a whole.

* I got this concept while attending a course called The Hoffman Process.