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How to change the world, as an INTJ

Friday October 13, 2017

Frustrated with organizational politics recently, I started thinking of an INTJ-optimized way to really create the change that needs to happen.

People who are new to personality type sometimes fall into the trap of thinking, “a real leader? Well that would be the XXXX personality type, or maybe YYYY. They are always in leadership roles.”

In fact, any type can make an effective leader. That’s been established over and over. And type, in order to help us make higher-leverage decisions more quickly, necessarily discards leadership-relevant questions like personal development level and self-awareness.

So INTJs are just fine at leadership and can be great leaders. Even better, we can persuade, usher, and re-route.

Working theory

My working theory is that INTJs hoping to influence an organization can typically get the best result by engineering social change from without, through the leveraged application of the arts and sciences.

I would say “through the leveraged application of technology” but I’m not sure the word “technology” would be taken in the broader sense, which is my intention. For example, you could invent some technology, sure. But being INTJ-smart about it, maybe you just print up better full-color posters than the next guy, and that accomplishes the first directive (below).

None of this is dependent on or ignores any particular position. You’re the president and owner? Everybody does what you tell them to? OK, fine, but you should probably still consider working from without in order to be most effective.

The first directive in this work is to facilitate the flow of information to and from a particular object. You decide what constitutes the object. Maybe you want the organization to agree with you that a far-off goal is something you need to work for. Maybe you want the atmosphere at work to be more relaxed.

For this to happen we need to engage the social organism as an object with psychological receptors for: Harmony, values, recall, impact, deep analysis, systematization, ideas, and vision. In order to do that we have to go meta and view the organism or organization from without. (This applies from dyads on up.)

We must then be willing to stay meta and see ourselves as an overarching portal-opener rather than limiting our role to ground-level, closely-knit parts of the organism. In this latter case I think we set ourselves up to fail or be manipulated through social leverage.

So we create a path, create a portal, open the portal, and stand aside as the organism flows along the new path with excitement.

When we find ourselves working within, we are well advised to work our way to the without, so that we can begin to act like the non-team-players we are, and all this for the benefit of the organization or the values of the organization. We can share our gifts from this position and this is a win-win situation.

This allows us to bring the following skills to bear:

  • Adherence to a set of values. INTJs are not a bunch of Darth Vaders; we strongly identify with value systems and this is a key concern. We need to employ this energy positively before we become pessimistic.
  • We necessarily involve our intuition for how things can / should be in the future.
  • We design for maximum impact.
  • We systematize and ensure that things just work the way they need to.

In order to pull this off, we need to keep in mind certain principles like:

  • Ask forgiveness more than ask permission, esp. social / group permission
  • Weigh the “forgiveness” factor ahead of time and ask if you’ll really need forgiveness. If really needed, perhaps we should get more meta and look at meta-meta-processes.
  • Measure results and continually refine our processes based on those results
  • Understand psychological components like cognitive processes, so we can downplay our work when necessary, share credit when necessary, play it all up when necessary, and run deeper analysis when necessary.

Well, this has become pretty didactic. And it’s just a draft, really. Maybe it’s even obvious! You knew all this. But I think it’s one potentially helpful path for those who find themselves constantly tangling with the socially-adherent-and-socially-gifted in a well-meant effort to make positive change happen. Get in touch if you have add-ons or thoughts.

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