Forrest Breyfogle posted a great question over at Linked-In:

Does our corporate leadership’s relationship-building strengths make it a challenge for them to truly understand and resolve the fundamental system improvement and re-engineering needs of the financial crisis?

From examination of the myers-briggs personality types we note that not everyone thinks the same. One observation is that some people tend to be systems thinkers and others are not. Systems thinkers, according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI] manual, are those persons who have NT temperament and make up only 15% of the U.S. male population (female is less). My hypothesis is that high level government and business decision makers do not tend to be system thinkers because it takes a lot of relationship building to move upward. If this is true, many of our overall decision makers can have a very difficult time approaching the economic crisis as a system issue that needs process improvement/re-engineering. What are your thoughts?

I think Breyfogle may be on to something. I’ve taken the MBTI, and I’m an NT. I realize that I think differently from a lot of people.

What I’ve learned, however, is that ready access to real-time data helps people who are not systems thinkers see connections they would otherwise miss. That’s why having a good theory of data and making data more visible and accessible is so important. That is how you turn data into knowledge.

The follow-up comments are interesting and reveal a wide range of opinions about the underlying causes (and subsequent improvements needed) of the recession.  My own opinion?

What the MBTI doesn’t address is the question of values raised by some other commentators. Is the term ‘free market’ used in the way classical economists advocated: a market free from monopoly power, business fraud, political insider dealing and special privileges for vested interests? Or is it used in the more modern sense: free for predators to exploit victims without public regulation or economic policemen?

I own a small business and I don’t favor regulation, but I’m outraged at the way the marketplace has become free to enable Ponzi schemes and other scams to proliferate.

As a data guy and a systems thinker I would like to see us make better business decisions based on systems theory and data. But it has to be exercised in a free market that is fair and equitable, and that doesn’t reward theft.

What’s your personality type? Do you agree that it affects the way you view problems?  Which type of ‘Free Market’ do you advocate? You can leave a comment, tweet me, schedule a conversation, or call 800-958-2709.