With the beginning of the year come the thoughts of what could happen in the course of the year. Founders also ask themselves many questions: Should I finally start a business, should I leave the company or should I sell my company? Finding answers to these questions is not easy. But it’s easier if you know yourself well.
Once upon a time more than 10 years ago
I still remember a situation that was more than ten years ago. The assignments in my then relatively young law firm increased more and more and I thought about hiring someone.
The consultation with fellow lawyers gave a clear picture: Just don’t hire anyone and better rely on freelancers. But I was kind of reluctant to do that, because I wanted to achieve a certain permanent availability and not use someone on call.
Also, I wanted to have someone who ticks similarly to me. He or she should be able to deal well with clients and be interested in generating orders. So I was looking for a bit of a copy of myself to do.
A search with the wrong approach
At that time, I had a good business partner with whom I talked a lot and who was a kind of mentor for me. He was not only very interested in my personal and business development.
We also talked about new ideas and planned a joint venture. In addition, he had been head of human resources at a large insurance company before becoming self-employed.
One day I told him about my plan to hire an employee. He asked me what qualities this person should have. I replied that I was looking for someone extrovert who had similar views to me.
I still remember the conversation very clearly: He looked at it with complete dismay and said whether this was my seriousness? I was very irritated and asked him for an explanation.
Self-knowledge: What kind of person am I?
My business partner said that it would make no sense at all if there was still someone like me in my office. There would already be someone who would maintain dealings with customers and who could generate orders.
Rather, I should look for a person who would complement me, maybe even complete me. An employee who processes orders and, in particular, cooperates. This person should not be like me, but must have different, complementary qualities and qualities.
But of course it would be important to know what kind of person I am. Would I ever have thought about it?
Who am I?
The conversation did not go out of my head, after all, my interlocutor was not someone who gave me advice lightly. And somehow I felt that there was something to what he had said. The search for an employee who would tick like me didn’t feel quite right. But why this was the case, I could not grasp.
With the help of my business partner, I then explored what kind of person I actually am. For example, he showed me which trend tests can be used to find out which character traits are dominant in me and which do not play a special role.
He also taught me why certain situations suit me and others don’t. And he explained to me how I can work with these findings and use them to my advantage; in which situations I do not feel so comfortable and how I can deal with them.
Insights from one’s own personality
This preoccupation with oneself and one’s own personality is something that I have recommended to every founder since then. Because the insights that you can recognize for yourself and the knowledge of your own strengths and weaknesses can be extremely helpful to make better decisions in life.
Opportunities for self-knowledge
If you want to follow this path of self-knowledge like me or if you just want to see if this approach makes sense for you, you do not have to turn to consultants right away.
Rather, I recommend a simple introduction, for example via the so-called Myer-Briggs test, which divides the personality of people into 16 categories (by the way, I am an “ENTP”). This test can be done online for free, for example on the website “16 Personalities”.
If you want to take a closer look at the test, we recommend the book “Typically Human” by Richard Bents, which explains the test and the personality types in detail.
Another test that goes a little deeper is the so-called” Big Five test “, which can also be carried out free of charge. On the basis of 120 questions, an assessment of the personality is made, based on the criteria of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, compatibility and neuroticism.
A word of caution
A word to understand what these tests can and cannot do. Of course, these two and all other tests of this kind do not give a definitive picture of a person’s personality. This is probably not possible, people are too complex for that and in particular the characteristics of the personalities change again and again.
Also on the Internet and in scientific books, the results of this test are repeatedly presented as at least questionable. And also I think that it is dangerous to consider the results of these tests as definitive. But the tests can help to present trends with regard to the individual characteristics of the personality.
They can show which characteristics can or should be dealt with further. In addition, in my opinion, they provide assistance on how to behave in certain situations and which situations suit you and which do not.
And finally, they can give clues as to how you should better deal with other people, for example with your founding colleagues, or which situations these people like and which are not.