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Mindset is more important than skillset for CI - Discuss

Over the past few years, I've had conversations with colleagues and clients about how to hire for CI positions. The longer I do this work, the more I seek out those who think a particular way rather than those that necessarily have specific CI experience or skills. Of course, having both is ideal, but I will take a creative, curious thinker who is always asking questions and thinking several steps ahead over someone who has mastered Five Forces, online searches, etc.

What's your opinion? If you agree, what implications does this have for the development of the discipline, and in particular, any certification program that SCIP or others produce? Can these skills be taught?

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I think this Myers-Briggs personality indicator is REALLY important and very little discussed in our segment of the management consulting community. It could use a lot more research from someone who really knew CI and MBTI in and out.

It's often a cruel reality, accurately put by Melanie, that most analysts fall in the NT category (Intuitive, Thinking) while often reporting either brand teams or project teams which are often loaded with ST (Data-driven, Thinking) sorts like engineers and designers who want you to take your top-line analysis of world soft-drink consumer behavior and its oblique industry affect on real estate and JUMP RIGHT IN A LAKE.

And then you all gather your work together and go report to the Top Manager, who is almost certainly the classic ENTJ ("The Field Marshall") mindset. Despite the hours worth of incertainty that need exploration, the meeting is scheduled for 11 minutes - "Hi, give me the view of the whole world with reliable data. We'll make a decision immediately, then you can leave. 'Kay?"

Then imagine the futurist-strategist-macrotrend forecaster who strolls in with his ENFJ - a giant Intuitive Feeling bucket that sucks up data from around the world without remembering to write anything down, but which spits out recommendations in the form of limericks or haiku, maybe an interpretive dance - and who dumps these on the desks of the whole team, much to the bitter chagrin of the ST, data-driven product-line folks. (*ahem* this is not an admission of guilt...*ahem*)

It would be cool for SCIP to sponsor a society-wide MBTI test to see who we are in terms of cognitive style as a profession. It could help with communicating the value of the services offered, as internal or consulting professionals.
I believe we often forget that we are not biologically thinking creatures that feel, but rather feeling creatures that think. The business world attempts to be the first and as you say is STJ - trying to be thinking creatures that feel.

Interestingly good marketers understand that we feel first and then buy - you may recall the statement about there being no such thing as a "rational" purchase! So totally true.......

If we understand that there is no such thing as a "rational" purchase/decision then we as CI Managers need to understand the emotional issues that relate around decision making and how we can do our jobs more effectively - and that includes communicating with our intelligence customers more appropriately.

I totally agree with you that CI managers need skills in this area. I am a CI specialist, trained in the MBTI. Like you I am an ENFJ (in case you had not guessed) but have learnt to operate in the STJ business world, the ISTP government world and communicate with most leaders and senior managers who behave as NTJ's!! You can separate the NTs from the pretenders in a crisis very quickly!

I can even take it a step further. When you look at the MBTI of organisational cultures, you can even predict what strategies organisations can effectively implement and those which they can't. I always have a chuckle when an STP type organisation says it will focus on customer experience as their new vision. Sure baby sure....

These kinds of understandings are invaluable to a CI practitioner and I name this "emotional intelligence". My question is whether one sees emotional intelligence as a skillset, a mindset or both for the CI practitioner?
Something is cooking about emotional intelligence on Google (recent searched terms)
A little off topic!

An MBTI test has been done in Mercyhurst as part of a intel grad student's thesis to understand personality types of the intel community. Students of the Undergraduate Intel class were the sample and as per the thesis, the most prevalent personality types among the upperclass men of the Intelligence program were:

Interesting thing here is there are more Es than Is.

You can find more details about this thesis at / Pg79
I think this is a subject matter that needs to include learning and natural skill, ability and passion - mindset and I believe that the learning should come second. Filling in the gaps of which model should be use is something that can be taught but natural skill and an enquiring mind I've found is so much more valuable.
Below is what I am looking at when hiring a CI professional.

Skillset: Good scientist
- Ability to work in a formal framework (As Eric and Melanie pointed out).
- Ability to understand the meaning of numbers: Statistics mainly
- Ability to set measures and counter-measures: Needed to implement pragmatic intelligence
- Ability to comprehend and leverage on new technologies

Mindset: Openness, curiosity and leadership
- Ability to think out-of-the-box
- Ability to question himself/herself and to accept change
- Ability to proactively react to upper management needs instead of following their last minute demand
Fascinating responses, just brilliant. I have often thought about Myers Briggs (there, thinking over), no in all seriousness, I have. I look at what mine comes out as saying about me, but some of those broad statements issued through the letters are relative boarder line, implying a degree of swing, I don't know. It can create the false impression and expectation and I would contest that a group of ESTJs are not the same. I recognised that I had the same profile as a far more senior colleague, and we were polls apart. Elements of this perspective here could be intertwined in the next SCIP CIF publication being undertaken John Prescott I understand. CI is just as much as about the quality of the people as to the activities of the role - 'how' the 'what' is done rather than just the 'what'.
I believe that we are a special breed of men and women where "Subsitution Effect" does not apply.

Millions of people on this planet have only the hardware BUT we have the software ie the " Ability to Focus" ie our minds through which we can "Focus and Re-Focus" ie see the micro picture on one hand and the macro picture on the other and thereby identify subtle Strategic Inflection Points which normal human beings lack.

Call me arrogant or whatever, but for Intelligence to competitive requires Intelligence ie your software which differentiates you from millions of hardware on this planet.

It is not about SWOT or Five Force or Value Chain Analysis or about Corporate Strategy or Business Strategy or Functional Strategy but having the "Ability to read between the lines"

We are not a mass market product ie we are the Niche ie we have Focussed Differentiation, which means how we extract information and more than that how we "Interpret Information" and "join the dots" and see the micro and macro picture and spot patterns and subtle shifts and use wargame and scenario planning to generate Early Warning.

So either our protege has the required mental ability or he/she doesn't. We should never be people pleasers.

If we can perfect the OODA loop like a fighter pilot, or lets say if our mental processing ability is superior to a fighter pilot in using the OODA loop

Observe - Orient - Decide - Act

We become a special breed of Agile gladiators ie the finest and the best.

But again mindset requires skill set.

Kaizen, I think that it a better way to describe Mindset + Skillset

Mindset requires Skillset and skillset requires mindset.

Again Perception driven.

The key is INSIGHT

It requires continuous training and conditioning of the mind ie to be able to see the "Micro Picture" on one hand and see the "Macro Picture" on the other.

Human beings can either see the Micro or the Macro picture.

If we train our mind to sift from the "Macro picture" to the "Micro picture" and vice versa we develop the ability to "Focus" and "Re-Focus"

Perfection of Mind Processing Ability using OODA Loop + Ability to Focus and Re-Focus generates Insight.
Hello Vivek, The common thinking is to take for CI job someone who has already a previuos expereince and the right education. As I have a wide perspective from the situation of CI in the Israeli market and abroad and also from my course on CI in the MBA program, I have to say that I have noticed that one of the critical characteristics is to be curious and inquisive. These two are key success factors and if CI professional do not have them he will not succeed. All others are important and may help him to be sucessful. Avner
Yes Sir,

Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death - Albert Einstien

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers - Voltaire

I have no particular talent, I am merely inquisitive - Albert Einstien.

Rightly said sir, In Simplicity lies Complexity, and, in Complexity lies Simplicity.

Curiosity and Inquisitiveness are actually the critical characteristics.


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