Are You Just Fooling Yourself?

Sometimes the biggest challenge our clients face when contemplating a change of career is having an accurate understanding of themselves and how they are viewed. In talking to thousands of prospects and clients each month we truly see all kinds—from people who have an over-inflated view of their self-importance and market value to people who are undiscovered gems incapable of self-promotion.

That is why we recently introduced our Marketability Assessment. This simple instrument will give you a clear picture from an objective source before you begin looking for your next career opportunity so you will better know how to package and present yourself, not to mention what you and your skills may be worth in the market.

In this context, recently I have been reflecting on instruments to measure personality, self-image, and potential. Imagine the available dimensions.

Are You Just Fooling Yourself? Our Clarity career program can help.
Are You Just Fooling Yourself?
If we stick with simple dichotomies, then there are the introvert / extrovert, logical / emotional, spiritual / rational, optimist / pessimist, ying / yang, and countless others.

Moving up the scale of complexity, one of my favorites is the limbic model that suggests there are only three primal instructions in the base brain: dominance, security, and gratification. (See more on this from Daniel Goleman and Emotional Intelligence.) Perhaps we will simply avoid the more mystic options such as astrology in this discussion.

Then there is a broad range of more complex psychographic models. Many will know the Myers-Briggs type indicator that addresses sixteen variables. At the Barrett Group, we generally use the DISC model with its four categories and the spectrum of intensity within each. Personally, I’ve also used the HBDI model and a number of others.

Clearly these models can be helpful.

Let me share one extreme example. Many years ago, it was my duty to bring two salesforces together: a German team and a diverse team from an acquired company comprised of Italians, Spanish, and French salespeople. We had determined that a customer business unit organizational approach would be more useful with this relatively concentrated market than a strictly geographic model, so the sales members had to work together cross-border to achieve common purposes with only bad English as our common language. In the end, it was Myers-Briggs that helped us peel back the differences in culture, age, and experience and find a common understanding that allowed the team to lower their defenses. The success was evident: we beat the market in volume and value for the next two years before I moved on.

Aligning Cultural Difference in the Workplace Means Finding Common Purposes.
So clearly, these instruments can be helpful in understanding oneself (not to mention a team of people).

However, they can also be rather theoretical, so we’ve developed a very practical and specific screening approach in our Marketability Assessment that provides candidates specific insights on their public image (LinkedIn), the efficacy of their resume, the quality of their overall marketing plan, as well as their performance in telephone and video interviews. Feedback so far is quite positive from candidates who have gone through the process, as well as our Clarity Program©—a deeper dive into personality, life stage, and personal strategic planning that serves as the Targeting step in our five-step career management process.

Here’s what one recent Clarity Program© client had to say about the experience:

“I have absolutely no suggestions for improvement. This coaching program and coach far exceeded my expectations. If there was an option for better than excellent, that would have been my evaluation of this program.”

Heather Murphy, March 2020

So whether you feel you need help in refining your career targets (for example if you want to change industry, role, or geography) or if you would like some objective advice on your marketability, either way, we can help make sure you are not fooling yourself or missing your full potential. Visit us at to get started. Thousands of other executives over the last 30 years have done so and are glad they did.

Peter Irish
The Barrett Group

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