What influences your business’s strategic plan? It could be last year’s profits, customer feedback, new products, a changing economy, or any number of factors. But a significant factor affecting your strategic plan—and your likelihood of success—is the team that creates it.
Why Personality Types Matter to Strategic Planning
Who’s invited to the strategic planning table is almost as important as what’s discussed and decided there. The personalities on your leadership team have the power to create consensus or derail progress. Too much enthusiasm could cause your team to ignore obvious threats—or too much caution could cause your team to miss valuable opportunities.
More often than not, the powerful influence of personality goes unnoticed. Unless you know the strengths and weaknesses of the personalities you’ve invited to the table, you’ll fail to take into account a major factor in your strategic planning process. The power of personality will still be at play, but its potential effects will be absent from your strategic plan, making it less likely to succeed.
The Benefits of Personality Assessments
Personality assessments are not destiny. They cannot and should not be used to reduce the individual people on your team to predictable stereotypes. However, they are helpful tools for understanding and working with others on your team.
Personality assessments offer tangible benefits for strategic planning, including:
- Perspective: The first step of strategic planning is gaining perspective. Unless you know where you are, you cannot get to where you want to go. Understanding the personalities on your team is a key part of gaining perspective. You cannot get to where you want to go unless you know the people you’re traveling with.
- Team-building: You can invest all of your time, money, and resources into creating the perfect strategic plan, but it’ll be useless without the right people to execute it. Personality assessments can help your team understand one another better so they can work together more effectively and accomplish your company goals.
- Leadership insights: Who should take the lead on tasks or projects necessary to your strategic plan? The obvious choice may not be the right one. Personality assessments can help you see the strengths and weaknesses of everyone on your team, not just those with leadership positions or titles. With personality assessments, you can strengthen existing leaders while empowering and developing emerging ones.
3 Personality Assessments for Strategic Planning
Not all personality assessments are created equal. A free online quiz that sorts your team into Hogwarts houses won’t be as valuable as a research-based assessment that offers unique insights into what makes your team tick.
In my experience, I have found a number of useful personality assessments for the workplace, especially:
- The Enneagram: The Enneagram is a method of psychological typing based on people’s motivations rather than their behaviors. It consists of nine personality types that are represented by the Enneagram symbol, which is a circle with nine numbers appearing clockwise in numerical order. Lines within the circle connect related numbers. The Enneagram personality types are referred to by their numbers, as well as brief names that summarize their main motivations (e.g., Nines on the Enneagram are also known as Peacemakers).
- DISC: DISC is a personality assessment based on four main personality traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. These traits are represented in a circle divided into four quadrants. Personality types may consist of one or two letters (e.g., a dominant person could be a D, a DI, or a DC). The Leading From Your Strengths assessment (LFYS) is based on DISC.
- CliftonStrengths: Previously known as StrengthsFinder, CliftonStrengths is a personality assessment that identifies a person’s top five strengths based on a list of 34 unique strengths.
Key Personality Types to Have in Your Strategic Planning Meeting
Diversity in personalities is an asset for strategic planning. Each personality type offers different strengths and weaknesses in the strategic planning process. What follows is a list of key roles to have represented among your team’s personalities in a strategic planning meeting, along with some ideas on the traits associated with each role.
1. The Visionary
Who Is the Visionary?
The Visionary is an important role in a strategic planning meeting because they are always looking toward the future. They are typically optimistic about what can be accomplished and encourage the team to dream big. Visionaries may need their teammates to help them remember that the future dream is only possible if they do the hard work today.
Typical Visionary Traits
- DISC Profiles: DI, ID
- Enneagrams: One, Four, Seven
- Strengths: Sees potential, dreamer, creative problem solver
- Weaknesses: Can get bored by details and process
2. The Analyzer
Who Is the Analyzer?
The Analyzer role ensures that the plan is strategic and precise. You can rely on Analyzers to provide detailed assessments of past performance, current opportunities, and future projections. Analyzers make sure the team stays on task and evaluates the evidence. They may need their teammates to remind them to step back every once in a while and not lose the forest for the trees.
Typical Analyzer Traits
- DISC Profiles: C, CD
- Enneagrams: Three, Five, Nine
- Strengths: Detail-oriented, matter-of-fact, strategic
- Weaknesses: Can sacrifice team consensus and morale for what is “objectively” right or best
3. The Enthusiast
Who Is the Enthusiast?
The Enthusiast plays an important role in bringing the team together and inspiring people toward action. They are loyal team players who believe in the work and believe in their coworkers. Enthusiasts are encouraging and unafraid of a little risk. They may need their teammates to remind them that the hard work of planning is worth it.
Typical Enthusiast Traits
- DISC Profiles: I, ID, IS
- Enneagrams: Two, Six, Seven
- Strengths: Loyal, excited, inspiring
- Weaknesses: Can struggle with follow-through and fail to see potential obstacles
4. The Caretaker
Who Is the Caretaker?
The Caretaker role may be quieter than others, but its impact is just as powerful. Caretakers are well-liked, dependable members of the team. Because they are not as eager to give their opinion as others, it is usually given more weight and respect when they do.
Caretakers are great at rallying support for a plan, but they typically dislike conflict. They may need their teammates to remind them that although unanimous agreement is nice, it is not required in order to proceed.
Typical Caretaker Traits
- DISC Profiles: S, SI, CS
- Enneagrams: Two, Six, Nine
- Strengths: Builds consensus, prioritizes human impact
- Weaknesses: Can delay the process trying to get everyone to agree
5. The Implementor
Who Is the Implementor?
The Implementor role is a key player in strategic planning because they are biased toward action. They want to come away from the meeting with specific tasks to complete, outcomes to work toward, and objectives on which to deliver. Implementors are great at keeping the meeting on track and solving problems as they arise. They may need their teammates to remind them that taking extra time to build consensus and think through other potential solutions is worth it.
Typical Implementor Traits
- DISC Profiles: D, DC
- Enneagrams: One, Three, Eight
- Strengths: Action-oriented, direct, strong-willed
- Weaknesses: Can steamroll others
Which Personality Type Is the Most Strategic? Which Is Best Suited for Leadership?
All personality types have the capacity to be strategic leaders. Although certain roles may come more naturally to specific personality types, all people have the capacity to use their strengths strategically to lead others.
Many personality assessments, such as the Enneagram and DISC, emphasize that all personality traits exist in some form or another in every person. Some traits may come more naturally than others, depending on your personality type, but all of them are available to you to use as the situation calls for.
Learn More About Your Strategic Planning Team
If you’d like to learn more about which personality types should be sitting at your strategic planning table, feel free to contact me for more information about team coaching, personality assessments, and strategic planning.