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How to reveal the hidden you with TIPS

Who are you? Your present you? Your past you? Your future you? Or all of these temporal identities? Suppose you or your organization invested in a personal assessment test to profile you. What profiling test would you prefer: A test that portrays the past and present you? A test that shines a light on the present and future you? Or a test that captures the present you by reporting on your preferred ways of doing things and revealing who you may become in the future? 

Introducing the conceptual design of TIPS

TIPS is Thinkergy’s innovator profiling system. In profiling people, TIPS employs two distinct theoretical constructs with different expressions:

  • The four TIPS bases (Theories, Ideas, People, Systems) capture social attractor fields that energize people and explain their preferred actions and motivations. This dynamic construct is grounded in theories from evolutionary economics and the social sciences and can explain cyclical changes in business and technologies that unfold over a few decades. 
  • In contrast, the four TIPS styles capture your preferred ways of thinking, working, interacting, and living. These draw on established theoretical constructs from psychoanalysis and neuroscience that align with other personality assessment tools. However, while almost all other profiling methods look at a dimension in a binary way (either-or), TIPS interprets each style as a trinary expression (either-or and both at the same time). 

We use the two constructs to feed the TIPS questionnaire and span the TIPS profiling map. Based on your test answers, we compute your test results and assign you one of 11 TIPS innovator profiles. As such, the TIPS combines both features into a TIPS profiling result and TIPS profile.

Two surprising profiling results

Two years ago, Thinkergy conducted a regional TIPS profiling exercise with a leading independent brand management and distribution company for premium drinks brands in Asia. While going through the TIPS team profiling maps of the functional teams and country offices with the regional COO, he commented that two of his team members profiled in surprising, unexpected ways. I thanked him for his feedback and asked for further details. Then, I began investigating these “odd cases” to uncover deeper level insights, which might explain the surprising profiling results. Therefore, I deconstructed the overall TIPS results and created additional, subordinated profile constructs that allowed us to understand these candidates’ “odd results” better. 

Deconstructing TIPS to dive more deeply into an individual TIPS profiling result

If your profiling result surprises you (or if I notice your profile borders a neighboring profile), I can take a deep dive into your profiling result. For such an in-depth analysis, I can break up your result into three components — your TIPS styles score, your TIPS bases score, and your overall TIPS profiling score (see also the illustration below):

  1. Your TIPS styles result captures your preferred ways of thinking, working, interacting, and living. In other words, it reveals how you prefer to do things in general. This result is rather static and, from a temporal perspective, extends from the past to the present. 
  2. Your TIPS bases result captures what socio-economic ecosystems energize your actions. It reflects which of the four TIPS home bases (theories, ideas, people, systems) most attracts your interest. This construct is more dynamic in nature and covers the time from present to future.
  3. Put together, your overall TIPS profile score reflects who you are now at this point in time when you take the test. It captures your present state of mind while being of a transitional nature as it reflects the full spectrum of time (past-present-future).

So what? Possible scenarios

Suppose you’ve taken the TIPS online test and received your 36-page TIPS report with your personal test results and your related TIPS innovator profile. Suppose further that you’ve asked me to take an in-depth look at your result (at an additional cost). My in-depth analysis may lead to one of four possible scenarios (see also illustration 2 below):

  1. Scenario 1: Perfect harmony and talent alignment. 
    The results for both your TIPS bases and TIPS styles harmoniously align with your overall TIPS profile. It means that how you like to do things and what attracts you are in harmony with how you profile right now. Your profiling result reflects a congruent, well-aligned personality. (This is the default case for most people who get profiled in TIPS).
  2. Scenario 2: Future development path or pretense?
    The results for your TIPS styles align with those of your TIPS profile, but are at odds with your TIPS bases results. In other words, how you like to do things matches how you profile now, but it differs from the ecosystem you say attracts you. This outcome can indicate a desire to professionally develop and move towards another home base. But it can also mean that you just pretend to like a particular ecosystem (e.g., because it’s socially desirable or fashionable at the moment, or because it promises to be advantageous for your career). (Interestingly, we found out that in most cases, the TIPS base score causes the incongruence (scenario 2)). 
  3. Scenario 3: Stuck in the wrong place?
    The results for your TIPS bases align with those of your overall TIPS profile, but do not match those of your TIPS styles. Put simply, the ecosystem you’re attracted to corresponds with how you profile now but isn’t in line with how you have done things so far. This outcome hints that you’re stuck in a suboptimal professional role or ecosystem, which requires you to do things in adjusted ways to perform in this environment adequately. However, these modified styles are not in total harmony with how you would do things if you were operating at your ideal home base.
  4. Scenario 4: Confusion or refusal?
    The results for both your TIPS bases and your TIPS styles do not align with those of your TIPS profile. This freaky result of total incongruence is rare and needs further investigation. Sometimes, candidates intentionally answer all questions wrong or randomly to avoid revealing their true personality because they oppose personal assessment tools in general (but are asked by their organization to complete the test). In any case, we try to find out more explanations in a conversation with the profiled candidate.

An opportunity to investigate incongruent results

For most people, the overall TIPS profile aligns with the subordinated profiles for both the TIPS bases and TIPS styles (scenario 1). However, if this is not the case, then I or one of our certified TIPS coaches can probe for the reasons that may explain the mismatch. So, we may ask the candidate:  

  • Do you have a desire to evolve into a specific direction from your current job? What motivates you to move into that direction? Why are you attracted to this TIPS base? (Interestingly, we found out that most incongruences relate to the TIPS base score (scenario 2)). 
  • While completing the TIPS questionnaire, did you intentionally select certain answer options that you considered to be more “socially desirable” for your superior or organization? Do you want to give the appearance of being an ideal candidate for a particular position you fancy? Or fit smugly to the subculture of your team, company, and industry? 
  • Do you have any other suggestions about what may explain the incongruences of your results?

If candidates with a peculiar result open up and answer these questions truthfully, we may reveal their real wants, fears, wishes, strengths, and talents and coach them appropriately. And we may also indicate to a Human Capital Manager how to best realign a candidate (to another, more suitable role or business function), thus allowing organizations to retain their talents rather than losing them to a competitor.  

Gaining a deeper understanding of the "odd results"

When the regional COO of the Asian premium drinks brand management and distribution company and I discussed the “deeper level”-profiling results, we got a clearer understanding of the two “odd cases”:

  • A finance manager profiled as an Organizer (and not as a Systematizer as expected) because she probably selected more socially acceptable answers suggesting a high people-orientation (as indicated by a deviating TIPS bases score, scenario 2).
  • The detailed analysis also showed that one of the country managers was stuck in the wrong place (as shown by a diverging TIPS styles score, scenario 3). The country franchise he was assigned to manage was too unsophisticated for his intellectual Theorist-profile, so he had adapted his working styles to this environment. Thanks to this TIPS-based insight, the regional executive team earmarked this country manager for a transfer to a more developed market soon.

Moreover, the detailed analysis confirmed that the group’s (according to the COO, “rather lousy”) accountant worked in the entirely wrong ecosystem. While she earned an Accounting degree, all her TIPS profiles revealed that she is a Popular Promoter. So, management offered her to move into a Sales role, which she gladly accepted. Finally, she began working in her sweet spot that allows her to perform at a peak level.

Conclusion: TIPS can reveal all your three temporal identities, and give you a career edge and boost

Many traditional personality tests (such as MBTI) assume that someone’s personality is set and doesn’t change over time. In contrast, TIPS is a dynamic profiling tool which entertains the notion that someone’s personality may evolve and adjust to a particular environment, albeit only within a narrow range (I discussed this also in greater depth in an earlier article titled “Why your cognitive profile may evolve over time” that also draws upon my personal experiences during my first career as an example).

TIPS conceptually unites a more static theoretical construct (the more stable TIPS styles to think, work, interact and live) with a more dynamic construct (the TIPS bases that we feel attracted to) into one cognitive profiling tool. Because of this dualistic interplay of the construct, TIPS can help individuals (and the organizations who employ them) understand both who they think they are now and who they say they desire to become in the future.

This notion brings us back to my starting questions: Who is the real you? Your past self? Your current self? Your future self? Or all of these? I may discuss these philosophical questions from a different reference frame in another article in this blog sometime in future.

  • In the highly dynamic 2020s, would you rather be tested with one of the static personality assessments of the 20th century, or with a dynamic cognitive profiling tool created for the innovation economy of the 21st century? Get TIPS-ed now for USD 89.
  • Or do you want to profile your entire team or business, and perhaps also train them in applying TIPS for business and innovation success? Contact us to tell us more.  

© Dr. Detlef Reis 2020. The article is published in the Thinkergy Blog on September 24, 2020.