Measuring Personality with Dr. Ron Warren

The core challenges for leaders are rarely a lack of competency, but in using self-management and interpersonal behaviors that are important to leadership. For people in leadership roles, personality and character traits either drive or derail performance in leading teams of talented professionals. Dr. Ronald Warren, a psychologist, and developer of the LMAP 360 personality assessment, talks about the importance of assessment and personality measurement in any organization. Through the LMAP 360,  he has helped many individuals succeed in life and business. Dr. Warren takes a deep dive into personality measurement, covering a lot of subjects along the way such as personality traits, emotional intelligence, cultural differences, and perception. He also shares some insights from his book, Personality at Work, and what he hopes to accomplish with it.

TTL 568 | Personality Measurement


We have Dr. Ron Warren. He is a psychologist and developer of the LMAP 360 Personality Assessment. They use it at Harvard and Yale. It’s an amazing instrument and I’m excited to have him here.

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Measuring Personality with Dr. Ron Warren

I am here with Dr. Ronald Warren, who is a psychologist and developer of the LMAP 360 Personality Assessment. LMAP 360 is used at Harvard, Yale. It’s an impressive list. I’m going to have to ask you about that, Ron, because I’m interested in what you do. The fact that there’s no marketing or proactive sales for this. It’s all by referral. Welcome.

Thank you. It’s nice to be here.

I love anything assessment oriented. This is the mother lode assessments. It’s been successful. A lot of people know about 360s. They know about some things to do with assessing, but they may not be familiar with what you’re doing there. I want to get into that, but I want to get a little background on you first because to get into this Harvard and Yale Group and everything that you’ve done is impressive. Can you give us your backstory a little bit?

I got into the assessment field through serendipity. It’s a weird story. I was doing my clinical internship at Illinois State Psychiatric Institute where I was doing my Ph.D., basically around psychotic thinking at the University of Chicago and studying the differences between bizarre, idiosyncratic, odd thinking and people in different phases of the psychiatric illness and comparing different diagnostic groups. I was doing this internship and somebody had a scheduling conflict. They asked if anyone in the group could change supervisors. I do. The guy who became my supervisor simply by chance ended up recruiting me to go to California, which sounded good compared to the south side of Chicago and develop computerized assessments. This was when PCs were being invented in 1983. I came out and had no training in business or that domain and shifted from clinical assessment to normal personality assessment.

I worked for about fifteen years in my first firm and took a break and started right the LMAP 360. I couldn’t earn a living selling it initially. It was the beginning of the recession. I was alone. I didn’t even have any partners or anything. I went back and did clinical work. We started to get some more clients ordering and good response. Yale School of Management adopted it for a number of programs in their Exec Ed program. It was word-of-mouth. We’ve been pretty fortunate in that. It’s partly because we generate these plain English narrative report that explains your results. Rather than a bunch of numbers and bar charts and people get this highly personalized 80, 90, sometimes 110-page report about how others experienced them and how that relates to research. It’s a customized report.

I’ve seen your examples on your site. They are a great indicator of with the types of things that you would see. I can remember 1980 taking a personality test at ICI. AstraZeneca used to have ICI Pharma. It was ICI Agricultural Chemicals when I started there. They gave you the list on the right side. One side was how people see me and how I see myself. You had to figure out what words to put into each column. I thought, “That was ahead of its time,” back then, that kind of thinking. Every year they rated us on our concern for impacts, basically how much we cared, how we came across to other people. It’s interesting to me to think that far back that they were ahead of what I’ve seen since then. Did you see much of attention to those kinds of things back then?

It was pretty skinny. It was paper and pencil in NCL forms. There were personality assessments and such. It was cumbersome. It was a substantial industry. It was generally self-assessment personality. For 360s, it’s still the case, it’s generally measuring competencies. These distinct job-related skills and competencies that you get feedback on. It’s definitely grown along with the computer because the PC and the internet became wonderful vehicles. Before the internet, it was tricky. We ran a program for 25 years ago or something, he can’t be mad if I mentioned the name, Disney. There was a virus that people were passing and these disks because you see a collection disk. There were some issues back then. With the advent of the internet, it changed the whole game.

People feel very vulnerable to getting feedback but they're also curious. Click To Tweet

It’s interesting how we happened into these things. I happened into emotional intelligence as well that led me into personality assessment. When I was doing my research for my doctorate, I was looking at sales performance. I wanted to know what impacted that. I’m coming at it from a business standpoint since my degree is in business and not psychology. This random professor mentioned that emotional intelligence to me and I was thinking, “What is that?” That got me interested in all these other things. A lot of the things I’ve been certified to give or qualified to give, whatever term they use, is their self-assessments. This is a 360. You’re looking more personality-based things. I’m curious about this because in 360s you’re looking at your direct reports, your self-perception versus your internal clients and managers appears, whatever, all these different people. How likely are you going to get somebody to say something bad about their boss, for example? What research is there to show how honest people are on these?

There are two good ways to answer that. Number one, since 70% to 75% of people are perceived or get results on 360 feedback that shows they have relatively prominent behavioral derailers, which is what psychologists called negative. Things that get in your way, things that turn people off, baggage, they’re not too reticent because if they’re saying 75% of the people who get rated on these has some significant behavioral issues that are counterproductive, I don’t think they’re holding back. We see some tough feedback on our forms. By tough feedback, I mean all the way from you better take better care of yourself because you work too much and you’re going to have a heart attack. Two, please quit drinking so much to don’t yell at people or stand up and assert yourself. It’s pretty common. There’s high interrater reliability. That means that people agree on the behaviors they are seeing. It’s above 0.9 for most things. That’s a high agreement.

The perception and how we perceive ourselves and how we perceive others is such a fascinating discussion. When we talk about the business world, how does this tie into the perception of understanding how we’re seeing versus how we see?

That’s an answer that varies by the individual probably. There are some people who have great self-awareness. They’re in touch with what other people experience. There are some people who at some level, know that others see them differently, but they still fill out the assessment to look better. There are some people who have a negative self-image and yet their behavior is considered impeccable and they’re loved. It’s important also to tell people it’s important to hear your good PR. People believe in you. I don’t know what your upbringing was. These are fabulous reviews. It varies. Some people don’t have any sense of what the impact of their behavior is on others and are curious.

That’s a big piece of our product is that people are curious. They’re entertained. It’s like a narcissistic hit to get this whole report written all about you. It doesn’t hold back. It’s a conversational design. It has a voice and such. It varies by the individual. The thing is when you use words and describe things in a conversational way versus numbers and bar charts, it feels more like report cards. People think about self-management and interpersonal issues in words. There’s a critical period early in our development where words formulate and are developed along with concepts, schemas and self-management skills. We even told children, “Use your words to describe challenging situations,” and yet everyone in our business is generating numbers and bar charts. To me, it’s weird.

I did like that when I was reading some of the stuff. I was reading some of the words you use and you’d mentioned curiosity. I noticed how you tied innovation into curiosity. I’m trying to think of curiosity experts, motivation experts or creativity experts. I’m thinking Francesca, Gino and those kinds of people. When I ask them what comes first, is it curiosity, motivation or creativity, they all say curiosity comes first. How can they use this to develop curiosity?

One thing that’s interesting in the case for the last question is people feel very vulnerable to getting feedback. They’re also curious. When people are resistant with me or resistant to the feedback and I’m working with understanding how to use this feedback constructively. I’ll say, “Aren’t you curious that you see yourself as so open and flexible and other people see you as pretty rigid and stubborn?” Aren’t you curious what’s going on here? You’re the only you’re ever going to be. Some people are open with curiosity but too scared. Certainly, curiosity starts from early in life where that’s how we learn to navigate the environment.

TTL 568 | Personality Measurement
Personality Measurement: 360s generally measure competencies.


We’re curious animals. It all grows at once. I don’t know that you can separate them out. I do tend to believe though that people are natively curious and innovative or not. That you can do things to enhance it. What we see on feedback from a manager, for instance, “I wish Ron was more creative and innovative in ideas and stuff.” We don’t normally promote that unless we see them assertive and they do have ideas or start asserting. For some people and they don’t see themselves as creative and others don’t seem as creative, let’s say more conscientious, detail-oriented, planning is to facilitate innovation and others. You don’t have to do everything yourself. How can you use social skills, for instance, to ask people what are your thoughts? Are there any other ideas? “Jim, you’re pretty quiet generally. What are you thinking?” You can facilitate innovation now if it isn’t naturally strong in you by helping bring it about in the team.

You write about a lot of these things in your book, Personality at Work. I was fascinated by not only your assessment but your book and everything that you work on. I had to look at what the drivers and the derailers and my eyes went immediately to competitive because I was in sales my whole life. I’m like, “That’s on the derailer side. I was reading what you wrote in the example assessment about it. You’d bring in Covey’s win-win approach. Is competition always a bad thing, always a good thing or is it in context with whatever? I would like to see how you describe that.

Number one, no traits operates independently. We measure thirteen different personality traits. Traits operate in combinations and influencing, interact, they’re interdependent with each other. We work with stuff at a profile level. It’s not like, “What’s a competition?” What competition in somebody who’s very rigid, controlling and perhaps not as innovators and without great social skills. It’s going to be a self-absorbed braggart. Somebody with high competition scores, who also have good social skills, high needs for achievement, innovation and some openness to feedback. They’re fun. They’re also keeping score. If it’s one of five or six key attributes, it could be a wonderful blend.

It’s like your cholesterol ratio. One takes over and cancels out. The other to some extent to make it more balanced.

In a way, but that’s two variables where we’re measuring thirteen. All the reports are based on different permutations of the thirteen traits. Whereas like Myers-Briggs is a sixteen-type system, which I’m not a huge fan of in terms of the metrics. They wrote their narratives I always thought was quite catchy and I learned something from reading them in the ‘80s.

They can have good information to open up your eyes to a discussion.

It doesn’t mean it should be about validity. It’s illuminating to know that I have these preferences and stuff. They never intended for it to be tied to the validity of output performance. That wasn’t what it was developed for. It is being misused for that common nowadays, but that wasn’t the instrument developers.

Curiosity starts from early in life. That's how we learn to navigate the environment. Click To Tweet

Do you know what your type is?

Yes, INTJ.

I am an ESTJ.

I’m on the border. I’m an ambivert. If you want to talk about how instruments are designed, having you’re an introvert or an extrovert when 40% of people are ambiverts is a structural problem. It only got something. They’d been doing this for more than a half century. It is a good fun test.

I saw on your site you had a lot of authors you cite. Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, was one of them. She had some great things to talk about in that book that brings out a discussion. That’s what I love about these assessments more than anything is it opens your eyes to what you don’t see. As I was thinking about this, when people are rating you, and now that we have the internet people are a little crankier than they used to be in some ways. They all say things they didn’t use to say. Are you seeing any changes in the percentage of people who write more negative things as it hasn’t changed?

I’ve been doing this for many years. That’s one of the most interesting things too. Everything else has evolved rapidly. It’s the pace of Moore’s Law in business. It’s the same traits that were associated with high-performance many years ago and with low performance are the same ones in play now. That hasn’t changed in the positivity and negativity of comments. They vary by culture, which is interesting. Not in terms of the percentage of positive and negative comments. We ask six different comments. One is what would you recommend this person change? What would you recommend they stop? What would you recommend they start to be more effective? In America, you can even ask what do you recommend people change? Boom if people will tell you right off. When we ask in some other countries they’ll say, “There’s very little that I see generally a nice person.” The next question, what do you recommend they stop? “They could stop interrupting and listen a little bit longer.” The third time you ask and it’s even more intense. Different cultures will tell you right out. They’re direct. In other cultures, you do need to ask three times to get a solid response.

Perception is such a huge discussion right now. We have IQ. We have EQ. You have CQ, the Cultural Quotient. There’s a perceptive element that ties all these things in together of how we see each other and what we feel like we can share and what we can’t share. You were talking about different cultures. Is it Asian cultures that you’ve seen differences? What other differences have you seen?

TTL 568 | Personality Measurement
Personality Measurement: No trait operates independently. Traits operate in combinations and are interdependent with each other.


In the US, for instance, if you have a high hostility score, one of the thirteen traits that we measure. You get angry, irritable, and you’re hostile to others. There’s no way feedback if they rate you higher on hostility would rate you as sociable. They’re mutually exclusive in groups. They’re mutually exclusive in the individual. You go to a country like Thailand, Turkey or Egypt. They often co-occur. They’re authoritarian environments where it’s expected that there’s this type A dominant even with hostility. The people could still say, “Yeah, but he’s a good guy.”

Would you consider it revered as some of the things we consider not so great here? In some countries, something that they look at it as almost a positive thing to be hostile.

It’s fun to what’s the expectation of style. We used to have a lot of Russians come to programs at Yale too, which was wonderful. It was lovely to get to know this culture that for many years we’d been isolated from. In Russia, if you weren’t high dominant scores like rigid, controlling, competitive, self-absorbed stuff, you can’t make it into management. Now some of these people also had wonderful social skills. It was built into how they were, others weren’t. They were authoritarian designs.

How about my gender, big differences in different countries?

It’s almost nothing. We find many differences that you might expect to find. The women’s self-assessment scores predicted effectiveness a little bit more on one scale versus men but almost nothing. I’m surprised.

They’re using this in programs at Harvard and Yale. Are they giving people in their working situation? How are they using them in these schools?

Many of these programs are exec ed programs with either open enrollment or people pay like the advanced management program at Harvard. It’s seven weeks or eight weeks. People from all over the world like 180 twice a year come and they participate for eight weeks here. Now they have taken an LMAP in advance. There are coaches. There have been certified nurse staff and would work with them over time with their LMAP and other stuff that’s getting done there. Some programs are intact teams or intact organizations like BearingPoint out of Europe, a large consulting firm. They’ve been using it with their folks in the Yale Program for many years now or something or underwriter laboratories. These are more within company folks. They’re used exclusively for developmental purposes. We don’t sell for selection or promotion. Probably if somebody said, “I’d like to do this,” it’s usually too expensive for an individual.

Different people have different agendas that they need to execute to raise their performance. Click To Tweet

We’re allowed to give them away. We don’t sell them to people who individually read an article and go like, “I want to do this.” We require somebody to get coached to understand the results and use them constructively. That’s the whole idea. It’s like how can you raise your game. What we talk about too is because personality as opposed to distinct skill sets like your overall personality, the character you are, a lot of times people read it. They go like, “I’m not thrilled about how people experience it. It’s not how I wanted to be. It’s not who I want to be.” You have the opportunity with quality feedback to look at who is the character you are and who’s the character you want to be. People don’t think about this often. Our role models are not strong nowadays either.

In the courses that I’ve taught in the past, if you’re nice and people with good grades, they go to these websites like rate my professor and they say how wonderful you are because they got an A. It was all based on that thing. I’m curious in this respect, can you be a nice person so they rate you well? You’re not effective.

It’s a common pattern. We measure four main domains, even though there are thirteen traits. One domain is deference. Another domain is dominance behavior. Dominance behaviors are things like rigid, hostile, controlling or competitive. Deference is more needing people’s approval, being dependent and to some extent tension and anxiety although it’s more of a free agent and can float to any combo. Those are counterproductive derailment traits. You could be a deferential, a sociable person. You’re lovely. You don’t have grit. You don’t get things done. When I talk about grit, I don’t mean it like Angela Duckworth’s super high conscientiousness grit. It’s much more like either straight conscientiousness, which is a high work ethic, detail orientation and wanting quality work or achievement drive meaning you’re ambitious. You like challenging tasks. You enjoy work. You can focus. Maybe even engage in flow a little better than other’s work or innovation. You get excited about the idea. You want to make them a reality. You can operationalize stuff. There are lots of people who are in management even leadership roles who have high deference traits and high EQ or sociability traits but no grip. It’s what the joke of civil servants used to be. I don’t know if it’s true anymore, nice people who don’t get much done. I don’t know that’s true nowadays.

I’m thinking about it in terms of cultural differences. You might be effective in a US culture but not in another culture. Does this help prepare you to work in another country effectively? I’m curious how it works that way.

There are no differences by continent. There are measurement differences or normative differences with the scoring algorithm might be, but the distribution is right. The same traits associated with high performance in the US are the same as in Singapore, the same as in Europe. Our samples are not big enough in China but anecdotally it would show that. The same traits are associated with high performance and low performance. There’s a little more nuanced application. That’s more with group behavior. In Asia, if your manager says something, you probably won’t confront them publicly if you disagree. That’s considered bad for them. In the US, all people are into that. It’s some circumstance. In fact, it’s a little more nuanced than cultural differences.

When I was creating my assessment, I hired psychometric statisticians. I did a lot of things I wanted to be valid and all the things you hope when you’re creating this assessment. I found it challenging. I’m curious what your process was because of how you came up with your questions of knowing what to ask. When I was hiring people, they kept coming up with questions that we’re asking and basically whether you’re curious or not. I kept my factor analysis kept coming back to one factor. I was like, “No, I don’t want to know if they’re curious or not. I want to know what’s keeping them from being curious. I want to know the factors that stop it?” I ended up figuring it out on my own, which was so much fun creating the factor analysis and stuff I hadn’t done in a long time. How did you go about it?

Number one, there haven’t been any new personality traits in the last half-century. The domain of measurement is not that huge. They’re tolerant of new personality traits. Of that, there’s a subset that is associated with raising or lowering performance in professionals. In the literature, it’s always been pretty clear that there are domineering traits, although they don’t call it that in IO psych. My Master’s was on ethology and sociobiology. I was looking at common behavioral patterns across like mammals, all mammals have deference and dominance. They struck me one day when I was reading Hogan’s list of derailers. Eleven of these are dominance. Three of them are deference. This model works. You could read the history of psychology and trait assessment. You design items around that. You test them. It’s three or four rounds usually. You’ve got to collect some data if you have some skill in it and build up your reliability.

TTL 568 | Personality Measurement
Personality Measurement: There are lots of people who are in management and leadership roles who have high deference traits and high EQ or sociability traits but no grit.


You have reliable measures. Which are the ones associated with high performance or low performance and how do those hang together? My work was informed by Tim Leary. Timothy Leary back in his Berkeley, Harvard days. That’s before he was doing LSD stuff. He was looking at the interaction of different personality traits. He was measuring sixteen traits. I doubt you could find anything at LMAP that wasn’t within the sixteen traits that Leary had. It was eliminated world where there were possibilities of measurement. You get better and better at it. The real key for us is how do you write a report that communicates to that individual in a way that it will be digestible, interesting and synergistic with their personality? You know their personality because you have all the data on it. I’d write a report for an aggressive person in a more aggressive tone because they don’t want you to mince your words. They want it straight and direct in a report. Now one-on-one in a conversation, that’s a different dynamic. We have a library of different reports and we do a match with the profile. It was a complicated algorithm.

From the research I’ve done, I know how challenging all this is to get the feedback and to get it into a report that makes sense to give back to them. It’s interesting to look at your thirteen LMAP scales and all that. Is there a personality trait that you think is most important to a leader’s success? Is there any one thing?

We’re too individualized. We have 40 different profiles. I’m not sure that’s the exact number. Maybe it’s 45 that are high-performance profiles. These are high performing people but in different ways. You might have an introverted, high grit, high helpfulness profile or you might have a high grip, high EQ profile with also some dominance involved. They are more decisive leaders or you might have a high grid, high EQ and more differing traits and that’s more of a servant leadership style. There isn’t any one thing. The thing is if you have prominent derailers, which is the norm. It’s what we call normal people.

It’s 70%, 75% of us have some baggage. Those pieces of baggage are like deficits. What we encourage people to do is work on making them not a deficit. That doesn’t mean become a master. It means to get about average, make it good enough, and don’t have a deficit. For example, somebody who’s maybe not sociable and interacting, it would be asking more questions, give more positive feedback. Let people know you value them. Stop promoting and start listening, more of that thing. Different people have different agendas that they need to execute to raise their performance. That’s the whole thing for us is it is individualized. There isn’t one trait. It’s like, “What else is going on?”

It reminds me that we’re talking about this in DISC. I remember taking it in an organization where all the leaders all seemed to end up in the D corner when they made you do the exercise. In Myers-Briggs, it seems like the ESTJ’s tended to be the more leader focused people. I think of the people I’ve interviewed. Ken Fisher, for example, is much of an introvert and would not fall into the ESTJ category. He’s a billionaire from Fisher investments from all the work he’s done there. It is interesting to see how everybody comes out. Are people you think more comfortable in the role? I think of Steve Jobs an awful lot because everybody is familiar with him. We talk about him a lot on the show. I’ve talked to personality experts, even Daniel Goleman. I asked him about him if he has high emotional intelligence or low. I’m sure people have probably asked you to look at him or you might be interested in him from what you do. How would he come across on something like this? Is he what you would consider an effective leader?

I’m going to tell you a little story. When I was designing my second assessment in 1985, I was working with a consulting firm who had the engagement for the executive team at Apple. John Sculley was a client and Jobs was on the team. There were fourteen people. They were all completing an assessment. Jobs wouldn’t do it. That’s why I can tell you what Jobs scored which score. If I knew the answer, I couldn’t tell you. Jobs was in our system is a strong left-sider. It’s high. By high, I mean like high 90% to 100% rigidity, hostility, need to control, competitiveness, conscientiousness, achievement drive innovation, almost nothing anywhere else. He’s not open to feedback, not helpful, not sociable, not approval seeking and not dependent.

He also had high tension. Is it a good leader? Somebody with no social skills who is brutal with people, probably not. There are exceptions to every rule, and he was at the right place at the right time with the right partner to start up, Wozniak. Things happen. When people say, “Would you recommend, if it was good enough for Steve Jobs, why not me?” That’s true. If you’re about 25 years old and you’ve made your first millions or tens of millions. You got fired from your job, and you want to fund your next ten years of development and work, go for it. That’s happened to Steve Jobs. He got fired. He went away. He learned a lot, but he funded this next decade of work, both at Pixar and at NeXT.

There are exceptions to every rule. Click To Tweet

They say he learned a lot though when he came back that he was different. Do you think that there was two Steve Jobs, the one that got fired and the one who came back and maybe it was any better?

He was a little different. He still was like this aggressive ruminating guy. At the end of his life and somebody had left an iPhone in a bar, a prototype of one coming out. He went after the reporter who was returning it to Apple and personally handled this thing. He got the police involved. Here’s a guy, in the last months of his life, and this is what he’s focusing on? There are some things he changed. He became a much better delegator. A lot of that irritation, self-absorption and this hostility he carried his whole life. It didn’t get better. It works. Interestingly, in his personal life, it looked a pretty normal life. He and his wife, raise their kids in their normal house behind a little picket fence in a regular neighborhood. In some ways, he was an interesting guy. He was his best at home.

I’ve had people who are emotional intelligence experts I’ve talked to about him and they said his empathy, he was able to tie into what people were thinking and how they wanted. He used it in a manipulative way. Can you be empathetic and in a bad way? You can.

It’s a kind man. Did he have some kind in them? Yeah, he probably did.

Why do you think people wanted to work for him if he was so challenging? I put these clips in my courses and I have one course I could think of where we talk about this. Is he ethical? Is he not ethical? I can’t remember how they wrote the course, but it’s that thing. Would you consider him ethical and why do you think people work for him?

Those are two different questions. Why do people work for him? He was a genius. Both him and Wozniak tested out as kids as a genius. He was a smart guy. He was at the cusp of a new industry and well-informed about it. He was fearless. He had a vision. That’s what people work with him. It’s like running into Thomas Edison or something, or Elon Musk. I can’t believe people work for Elon Musk now. You’ve got to work hard. Now this quarter, the word is, “Work harder and get those cars out. It’s almost the subtext is, “My company will do great even if I lay you off.” To me, I don’t get that bargain. People like that excitement. It was a burgeoning industry. Was he ethical? There were clearly some lapses. Personally, was he very ethical? I don’t think it’s ethical badger or waitress who doesn’t get your order right or something.

He’s such an interesting character. He comes up a lot because everybody knows who he is. I am always interested. I think that’s fascinating. He wouldn’t take the test. Did he give a reason?

TTL 568 | Personality Measurement
Personality Measurement: Domineering self-absorbed people may think that they’re so smart, but everybody’s replaceable.


He wouldn’t participate in any of the executive team building. It ultimately was one of the key factors in isolating them and terminating. Here is the founder with a big chunk of stock on the executive team who brings in a new CEO and says, “Yeah, but I’m not going to work with you.” It’s not viable. He pushed it, which isn’t unusual for domineering self-absorbed people who may think that they’re so smart. You’re replaceable. They become so difficult that you decide, “We don’t need it.” Life is too short.

I’m so interested in your book, Personality at Work. I want to end with some insight as to that because it ties into your work from the LMAP and everything that you’ve done. Who is this book for and what is it you hope to accomplish for somebody who’s going to read that? What can you tell them about it?

Lay people, in general, don’t understand what are the behaviors that are associated with high performance and low performance in professional jobs, therefore, may not be so meticulous about managing their behavior. I wanted to lay out from a research base twenty years of data, what are the traits that drive high performance and what are the ways that people get in their own way around work? It’s where you spend most of your time and relationships get pretty intense. I wanted to do it. I wanted to write an interesting book. I went to college to be a writer. I didn’t end up doing there. I finally got it. I took two years to write this book. I don’t mean now and then. I meant every single day. I read or wrote for two years straight because I wanted it to be interesting and compelling.

They’re all built around like mega-stories, why do planes crash? How did AIG need $182 billion bailouts from the United States of America? The meltdown, how his personality. What are the big monster stories, catastrophic outcomes that are tied to normal behavior? I also have a chapter in there that merges normal behavior into what happens when it gets more extreme. What about things are crazy at work as a chapter? It’s a theme I’ve been working about for years. Where does it go from a distinctive character to a character disorder? Do you see those in the workplace and stuff too?

That goes back to your original interest. How’d you get the stories? How’d you pick your stories? That’s the hardest part for me sometimes is to find the perfect story to put in the book, to find out more about those stories. How did you go about finding your stories?

I was fortunate in the training of commercial airline pilots. First with UPS from ’86 to 2005. We trained the British Airways people in the ’80s and ’90s. It doesn’t get more dramatic than why do planes crash? The corollary to that is “How dramatic when you have a catastrophic problem on a plane.” By all odds, it’s going to crash, but the crew saves it like Sullenberger. You still can say Sully and American people know it. Those were two stories. The AIG stuff, I got my leads on there from Michael Lewis’ books. He’s a fabulous writer. He wrote some articles for Vanity Fair. When I saw the link to the London Whale incident at Chase Manhattan Bank, people described it all as personality related issues, I thought, “There’s another theme there.”

I wrote another chapter that never made it to the book about Fukushima. What was the decision-making process for allowing them to build the Fukushima nuclear plant where they knew there were tsunamis and earthquakes? I never could pin it down to personality as much on an individual. It never made the book because that’s a 10,000-year mistake. Nobody can go there for 10,000 years. It’s a real mess. How do humans get in these situations where they either get or make it a catastrophe or catastrophic situation that they’re able to pull out? It’s through individual and teamwork efforts.

Be in the moment. Be focused and open or you're going to be missing opportunities in life. Click To Tweet

There are some great stories. I know Amy Edmonson has talked on the show about the Chilean miners being trapped. That was interesting to me in terms of curiosities, collaboration, and stories. What I liked in your reports were a lot of the quotes you had like Peter Drucker and Schwarzkopf different good quotes. They tied into a lot of them. They tied into curiosity.

Do you want to know why we had quotes? It wasn’t like a clever idea. It was since the reports are so narrative, we had to get some white space. We pick personality continent quotes. Quotes that are consonant with what the themes are in personality. People dig that. I was doing a new interview I can’t quite remember with who and they said, “Let’s end with your book and I want to read your quote that was well written, dynamic.” He starts to read this quote and I go, “That’s my quote of a quote that Susan Scott who wrote that, not me.”

What was the quote?

He goes, “It’s my favorite quote in your book.” I was like, “She’s great. I love her book too.”

Would you remember the quote?

Basically, she was saying it’s a quote around being here now because you never know what conversation you’re going to be in. It could dramatically change your life. Unless you handle them in a way with focus and openness that this could be important for you, you’re going to be missing opportunities in life to stay open to different conversations, be in the moment. I thought it was lovely.

You have much great content. This is something that I was very fascinated and talking to you about. I’m glad I saw you had Jeff Sonnenfeld from Yale talking about on your video. I know Tom Kolditz has been in my show. He was a big fan of Jeff’s. I was interested in the people that you’ve got supporting this. A lot of people want to know how they can learn more. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing how they can reach you or if they get your book through Amazon or what? How would you like people to contact you?

TTL 568 | Personality Measurement
Personality at Work: The Drivers and Derailers of Leadership

You can get the book on Amazon, Personality at Work or Barnes & Noble or Apple books, anywhere books are sold. Our website is They should write to us. We do sell mainly to corporations that can facilitate the youth. We’re careful with our instruments. We take it seriously. It could be hot for some people and you want them to land well. We’re looking to build upside, not stimulate downside.

I understand that completely. This has been fascinating, Ron. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Thank you for inviting me. It was fun to chat with you.

I was looking forward to this episode. Thank you so much to my guest, Ron. I’d love personality assessments. I got interested in it first when I was certified to give the EQI, the MBTI and different assessments that helped me write my dissertation. It got me interested so much that when I started to write my book on curiosity, I decided to create an assessment to go along with the book because I didn’t think it was enough to just write about curiosity. I wanted to fix it if people are having problems developing it. To do that, you had to assess what’s holding you back. Basically, I found there were four things that hold people back from being curious. They’re fear, assumptions, technology and environment. The Curiosity Code Index Assessment determines those things and gives you a deeply detailed report about how to improve in those areas.

We’re certifying people to become CCI certified to be able to give the assessment and that makes them eligible for five hours of SHRM recertification credit. It’s a whole process. You can find out more about at All this information about anything, my speaking, consulting, everything that deals with all the behavioral issues can all be found through my main site of You could also go to the website for the radio show there. Plus, the show is also on all the different areas where you can find podcasts. We’re on the AM/FM stations. In addition, iHeart, iTunes, you can find us everywhere. I wanted to share all that information. I wanted to thank Ron again for being a wonderful guest and all my guests because every time I do this show, I learn something from everybody. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.

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About Dr. Ron Warren

TTL 568 | Personality MeasurementDr. Ronald Warren is a psychologist and developer of the LMAP 360 personality assessment. LMAP 360 is used at Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, Yale SOM Global Leaders, MGSM (Au), BearingPoint EMEA, Underwriter Labs, Teach for America, Temasek Holdings (Sg) & 30+ US healthcare systems. All by referral as LMAP does no marketing or proactive sales.


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