The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Knowing others

In a recent post on LinkedIn Ray Dalio talked about the PrinciplesYou assessment instrument he’s been developing with a team of experts. Among them Brian R. Little and Adam Grant, both known for their contributions to the field of human personality studies.

As advertised on the website the assessment instrument is there to help people understand what they are really like. I will not doubt, that it does what it says it will do as described in its specification. However, as with any such instrument, it can only highlight chosen aspects of human personality.

And, as happens in this case, it is there to look at people through the lens of the principles Ray Dalio discovered.

The tool will thus help to describe people using the experience and assessment of its developer, that is according to his habit of selecting people for his teams and organizations. In a way, it is his quest to add scale to his success and share it with others. This makes it relevant to understand how he perceives success to happen. It is a key to understand how the assessment instrument perceives people.

I find such instruments always interesting.

And yet, they only can say so much about how people will work. Looking at the performance of a project manager a colleague of mine described how dissatisfied he was with that person’s skills. Investigating the subject we finally came to a different conclusion. The project manager had been sent by a service provider to coordinate a project between both companies. The way the project manager worked was entirely based on the way his company dealt with projects. The problem my colleague experienced was that it was an approach incompatible with his expectations. He wanted the work to be carried out differently.

To make it work, my colleagued needed to assess if any of the project managers his service provider could send would be compatible with his expectations. That is an assessment in which personality would hardly play a role and be overshadowed by their respective organizational cultures.


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