Business development · 16 December 2015

The small business advent calendar: 16 December The next treat is unveiled

personalities of successful business people
Over the days leading up to Christmas well be revealing one juicy morsel of small business reading every day
For today’s festive small business treat there’s some pop psychology on offer.

According to the Myers-Briggs test invented by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, but based on a theory by none other than Karl Jung there are only 16 types of personalities.

The test divides people into two categories across four different criteria extroversion (E) versus introversion (I), sensing (S) versus intuition (I), thinking (T) versus feeling (F) and judging (J) versus perceiving (P).

One of these categories assigned to those who are delegated as ESTP is known as The Entrepreneur. But how does that stack up against the evidence on the personalities of successful business people?

According to a meta study from 2006 of 23 separate research studies entitled The Big Five Personality Dimensions and Entrepreneurial Status, there might be some truth in it.

The researchers found that tolerance of ambiguity was one of the most important facets of a successful owner-manager citing the uncertainty about outcomes and unstructured work patterns that entrepreneurs have to deal with regularly as explanations for this. This certainly matches up to the P criteria on the Myers-Briggs test, which is supposed to indicate people who are flexible and adaptable.

They also found that tenacity was a key predictor of entrepreneurial success the idea being that with failures and setbacks inevitable, avoiding the temptation to give up is a must-have for visionaries who want their business to come out the other side of a rocky first few years. Again, this seems to support the Myers-Briggs predictions: people assigned a T on the test are supposed to be more hard headed, and so less likely to be disillusioned by failure.



Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics as well as running a tutoring company.