EDGE Task Force – Pulling It All Together

EDGE Task Force – Pulling It All Together

EDGE Task force
pulling it all together
By Joe Kent – Guest Blogger

This article is being brought to you by HomeTown Home Services, Is it time for a Home Improvement?

EDGE TASK FORCE: PULLING TOGETHER
New local Legislative oversight is resulting in significant community benefits by publicly revealing opportunities for economic development improvement. This occurs after the fifth County EDGE Task Force meeting as Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) Task Force work begins to finalize in both City and County chambers.
Most revealing are gaps in economic development work that comes from a hyper-focus on excessive locally focused corporate / real estate tax incentives as the economic drivers of workforce development, public transit, small business and corporate site development are substantively ignored. It is clear lacking are a coherent economic development plan and a more comprehensive approach to economic development as documented in the Community Lift study entitled – “Searching for Economic Development Equity”. A plan would of course include a measurable definition for economic development. 
Local economic development surveys, on the record public testimony and task force deliberation can be leveraged to drive the expeditious development of a coherent plan. The Greater Memphis Chamber has been  established as the lead on economic development efforts while task force work leans toward optimizing the current Memphis/Shelby County EDGE organization in administering public resource programs to support economic development. 
Eric Miller, Greater Memphis Chamber Senior Vice President for Economic Development, in recent testimony focused on simplicity while referencing the Amazon Road Map community / economic development approach. And Dexter Muller, a local economic development expert, laid out an organizing plan framework that includes: sites, target industry sectors, workforce development and marketing.
A potential economic development definition emerged from Miller’s task force testimony as the business of bringing jobs to Memphis and Shelby County to help people improve their lives. This corresponds with the definition of the only known public survey on economic development conducted by the social media group and economic development thought leader Memphis Raise Your Expectations (MRYE) of economic development being about improving the social well being of people. 
Meeting Recap – EDGE Task Force 5
Harold Byrd, representing the Shelby County Chamber Alliance, led in testimony with a powerful video showcasing Shelby County as an economic development destination. Byrd championed improvement on education and legislative oversight while advocating for statewide Medicaid expansion. When asked about ways to improve economic development efforts, Byrd simply said “communicate like you are doing now” which goes to the benefits of current legislative oversight under the leadership of Commissioner Willie Brooks. 
To synergize efforts across Shelby County, Byrd referenced current work to formally involve the Shelby County Chamber Alliance in the Greater Memphis Chamber One Stop Shop for economic development recruitment which involves a range of local stakeholders. Similar to Eric Miller, Byrd advised against the creation of a  separate Memphis Industrial Development Board while preferring the current Memphis/Shelby EDGE structure. And, upon questioning from Commissioner Michael Whaley on a connected Shelby County wide approach to education/workforce development, Byrd did not answer although Byrd’s Bartlett Chamber did successfully lead the creation of the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council (GMMDC). GMMDC connects education and workforce development efforts with the thriving Bartlett area medical device industry. 
John Zennah, Director of Memphis/Shelby Planning and Development presented the Memphis 3.0 plan thus far which stresses investments in community planning, education, small business and infrastructure to support local economic development. One attention grabbing data point cited from Zennah’s presentation shows a 50% decrease in major corporate expansions and relocations from 2000-2012 while 72% of national job growth comes from small to mid-size firm expansions from 2009-2014.  
Zennah’s data seems to confirm concerns by Leslie Smith of the local entrepreneurial engine Epicenter Memphis. Questioning EDGE performance from 2013 in the City EDGE Task Force, Smith remarked “what is the focus of this group?” It would appear the focus is misinformed corporate / real estate tax incentives potentially based on the counsel of EDGE’s birthing organization in the highly deficient Memphis Tomorrow CEO organization. 
Taskforce members present included: task force Chairman Willie Brooks, Commissioner Reginald Milton, Les Binkley, Calvin Anderson, Al Bright, Carolyn Hardy and Ron Belz. Absent were Cary Vaughn, Eric Roberston and Jack Sammons. Commissioner Michael Whaley and Commission Chairman Van Turner attended and participated in questioning.
Pulling It Together
Using the above definitions of economic development, task force testimony and Dexter Muller’s plan framework, opportunities to improve local economic development efforts while using a connected countywide approach as championed by county task force member Cary Vaughn can be articulated as follows:
Sites – A centralized database of available sites would be developed specifically for economic development with public funding support provided for manufacturing site development while prioritizing road projects to support target areas for industrial development.
Target Industry Sectors – Support for local small business would be prioritized while responsible smart incentives for targeted industry recruitment would be determined by the Mass Economics study currently underway. The small business focus would align with Community Lift and Memphis 3.0 research. And corporate recruit prospects would be protected with confidentiality while being charged affordable fees if any at all given the competitive landscape. ( I will camp out waiting for the Mass Economics study as if for Led Zeppelin tickets)
 Workforce Development – A think BIG nation leading career education initiative should be considered given Shelby County’s youthful population advantage confirmed in testimony while developing the existing workforce, talent pipeline for the future and local community assets to attract talent. Workforce was stressed as the top priority throughout task force work which was also validated by Bradley Jackson, President of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, in a recent Memphis presentation.
Roles should be clearly defined for the Workforce. Investment Network (WIN) and The Greater Memphis Alliance for Competitive Workforce (GMACW) that are understood by all. Ideally, WIN would focus its workforce development efforts on out of school audiences and GMACW on in school audiences. The local education and economic development system needs an opportunity intervention in the implementation of a connected education to employment system to leverage Shelby County’s youth population advantage in support of economic development efforts. Stifled local small business solutions have been available for some time to solve the problem but lack of support for local small business has been culturally nomed in Memphis in this case at the expense of 60,000 learners.
Additionally, community leadership organizations such as the Greater Memphis Chamber need to advocate for a specific dedicated funding source to support adequate public transit that supports a more reliable workforce while improving community assets to decrease transportation costs and improve quality of life while attracting  talent to the area.
Marketing – Along with Memphis 3.0 and from Eric Miller’s testimony, the Amazon Road Map community/economic development policy pronouncement of the University of Memphis should be leveraged in developing the Memphis/Shelby County economic development product. Miller’s Amazon Road map testimony coincides with recommendations made to the City Council and County Commission by MRYE. 
The Amazon Road Map consists of the following community/economic development categories: 1) prepared career ready workforce 2) public transit 3) quality university, 4) quality of life, 5) efficient air travel and 6) responsible economic development tax incentives. 
And finally, funding support should be provided to the  Greater Memphis Chamber by the City and County in support of marketing and industry recruitment efforts. 
The lack of a comprehensive measurable definition and plan for economic development along with informed legislative oversight and communication seemed to emerge as the chief challenges of current economic development efforts. A coherent plan combined with legislative oversight and improved communication will drastically improve local economic development efforts. 
Oversight, Communication, and Measurement
Given the benefits of this new legislative economic development oversight, quarterly City and County legislative oversight should continue while involving The Greater Memphis Chamber and EDGE. The Chamber One Stop Shop along with the  Shelby County Joint Economic Development Commission should be vigorously engaged to improve communication and connect economic development efforts throughout Memphis and Shelby County. 
As for primary measurement, Memphis Corporate Community Leadership (MCCL) Measured would propose net tax proceeds to align with the economic development definition of improving the lives and social well-being of people. Net tax proceeds would result from a calculation that would measure tax proceeds resulting from above/below Shelby County average percentage peer total wage growth less job-related tax incentives. 

The data for total Shelby County wage and average peer wage growth would be collected from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics program of Quarterly Census of Employment Wages. Shelby County peer counties would be identified using the peers as identified by The Memphis Economy of The University of Memphis. MCCL Measured is the first ever and only locally available measurement tool for the MCCL complex regarding taxpayer funded initiatives.

Governance and EDGE Board
While local concerns regarding EDGE seemed to start with governance, that concern waned as task force work progressed. However, instead of the current dual mayoral reporting structure, it would seem EDGE Board  management over the EDGE CEO would be more in alignment with traditional management structures. Perhaps both City and County Mayors could be added as ex-officio EDGE Board members which would give them votes on an EDGE Board with management authority over the EDGE CEO. 
Regarding the EDGE Board, without going into previously covered performance issues, it’s past time for the following EDGE Board members to be replaced: Al Bright, Tom Dyer,  Natasha Donerson, Jack Moore, Mark Halperin, Johnny Moore and Larry Jackson. 
These board members have served on the tax abating EDGE Board for well over four years without term limits. Their departure is needed as a fundamental system check while replacing the corporate / real estate heavy EDGE Board with a more professionally diverse board. Representatives for a new more balanced board would represent professional interest from education, workforce development, public transit and small business in addition to corporate/real estate interests. 
Conclusion – Good News!

 

Local economic development efforts can only improve with informed legislative oversight, a coherent plan supported with a measurable definition of economic development and improved communication across Shelby County. This will allow connected economic development efforts to pull in the same direction for the benefit of all in Memphis and Shelby County. Let’s get started !

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Putting In The Work

Putting In The Work

Putting In the work

Relationship Panel Discussion

By Ellen Butterflyy

Divas~Dudes~Denim

This year on Sunday, November 4 2018, I have the privilege of hosting my second annual relationship panel. The theme this year is: Diva’s Dudes and Denim.

The Purpose: Growth and involvement of both men and women and the participation of healthy relationships. This years topic happens to be: Participating in Protecting your Relationships. We will be discussing all aspects of a relationship, emotional, financial, physical, and spiritual. This concerns people who have chosen to co-mingle and co-pilot their journey together as well as singles who want to gather information to grow their personal and future relationships.

The Plan: In planning this event, we have chosen 6 panelist to share their insight on what contributions are needed to be a healthy protector of relationships. Each panelist is unique; they are asked to participate because of their differences. They will be asked a question and given time to respond and interact with the audience towards the end. Did I mention this is a luncheon? Last year we had a buffet of goodness, this year will be amazing also!

Sometimes we tend to shy away from panel discussions, thinking we got things covered, but be mindful that we can and do learn new things all the time. The diverse personality, age difference, education connects use together more than we know.

Are you interested in the human condition of your relationships? If so, please consider the checks and balance of putting in the work. No, every question and answer will not belong to you, but perhaps a friend can benefit; you remember the principle of paying it forward? In today’s climate of self-neglect there is a growing need for self~care.

How can you participate in protecting your relationship?
Have we stopped Participating in Protecting our Relationships?
Where is your desire to keep your relationships healthy?
What Role does consistency play in your relationship?

This panel discussion is about taking care of yourself and your mate in relationships with emphasis on pride and love. We have six dynamic panelist from within our community, they will respond to the 5 W’s candidly:

1. Who
2. What
3. When
4. Where
5. Why

By joining this informative discussion you will have the opportunity to interact with others who want to know, get involved, and grow in knowledge. Knowledge is said to be the key to understanding. Not to mention the colorful spirit of your host Butterflyy.

We encourage everyone to wear Denim. All tickets are advance purchase with limited seating. Save the Date
November 4, 2018 2-5
$25 per individual Lunch with Libations included.
JustMyMemphis’ own JEROME ROBINSON has graciously joined as one of our dynamic panelists, see you there!
Contact: Ellen “Butterflyy” Allen – 901 425-8532

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Who’s That Girl: Meet Rebekah Hedges

Who’s That Girl: Meet Rebekah Hedges

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Meat Me in Memphis Gala

Meat Me in Memphis is our sole fundraising event for the Monogram Loves Kids Foundation. Our annual Meat Me in Memphis is held at one of Memphis’ iconic gala venues, The Columns at One Commerce Square.  The Columns offers 20,000 square feet of historic grandeur while providing all the modern attractions of a vibrant downtown. This year, Meat Me in Memphis will be held on Thursday, October 25 at 5:30 PM until 9:00 PM.

You’re Invited!

Who’s that girl: meet rebekah hedges
By Rebekah Hedges
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” 
Although I hope elephant would never be featured on a menu, this phrase has been spoken to me throughout challenges in life. The elephants; tasks, challenges or obstacles I’d yet to overcome, have stampeded through life, yet led me to Bluff City, my new home.
Hi, my name is Rebekah Hedges and I’m an educator, writer, photographer and former crime and events reporter. Though I’m not Zooey Deschanel, I’m happy to be the New Girl with JustMyMemphis.

I’m from Allen, Texas and watched my hometown, once corn fields, develop into a booming suburb thirty minutes north of Dallas, Texas. Though I am a proud Texan, I’ve always been an adventurer and have traveled to more than 20 states, three countries and speak Spanish and elementary Mandarin.

I’ve always been a storyteller, to anyone willing to listen due to my social butterfly tendencies. More importantly I enjoy hearing and learning from people with different backgrounds and cultures. Over time I developed a love for writing, reporting and journalism. 
There’s been a camera in my hand for as long as I can remember.
( photo by Klara Johannsen )
My childhood didn’t include an iPhone, but instead the izone polaroid camera. You remember the oblong rectangular polaroid that printed one inch by two inch photos that could even be stored in a locket? (I had the Bugs Bunny one.)
I look forward to using my Canon and photography skills as the “New Girl” of the #FunCrew for JustMyMemphis. My work experiences have taken me from small “tourist towns” such as Hot Springs, Ark., to metropolises such as Tianjin, China.

Who’s That Girl?

Throughout my work and life experiences, elephants have nudged their way in. I believe in the power of perseverance, as a woman, I believe learning and sharing your voice is the best weapon to overcoming these obstacles.
In my final year of earning my degree in the small town of Siloam Springs, Ark., at John Brown University, I became inspired by the local stories Siloam had to offer. A team of three fellow students and I told the stories of two student-owned businesses and two family-owned businesses.
We told the story of a local seamstress, her shop named Threads, and learned that she had spent several years in foreign countries as a missionary and found her calling by helping people look their best in clothing. 
Through video, photography and writing we shared the story of how a local pupuseria and restaurant, Las Delicias, shared the rich flavors of El Salvador and impacted the Siloam Springs community.
It was then I realized the power of giving a person a voice through media and writing. As a former writer and photographer for HER Magazine, a women’s magazine in Hot Springs, Ark., I had the opportunity to tell the stories of diverse women making waves in their careers through their talents and skills.
It was then I realized the power of giving a person a voice through media and writing

From a 12 year-old angler overcoming bullying as the only girl on the fishing team, to a Romanian immigrant woman becoming the prison investigator for the Garland County Criminal Investigations Division, I’ve been inspired by how these women did not allow stereotypes or criticism to hold them back from their true potential. 
One of the biggest elephants that’s a returning visitor, is self doubt. I know many can relate to the criticism you take from the relentless voice of doubt.
It whispers: Is that good enough? You’re not making a difference. No one will listen, no one will care. What if every time you try you will just fail? You’re just the new girl, you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re not smart enough, attractive enough, skilled enough…etc. etc.
I know that having cheerleaders in life are crucial to overcoming these whispers. I’ve learned that trusting your skills and having an open mind to critique is the best way to chasing what you’re meant to become. 
I’m excited to listen and tell the stories that the communities of Memphis have to offer. 
And I encourage you, when those whispers tell you the elephants that stand in your way are too big, grab that fork, because it’s time to tackle that beast one bite at a time!

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Real Men Wear Pink 2018

Real Men Wear Pink 2018

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Event spotlight

Making Strides 2018

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, with more than 1 million passionate participants supporting the noncompetitive three-five mile walks each year.

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Real Men wear pink

American Cancer Society

By Rebekah Hedges

Clad in fluorescent pink ties, powder pink suit jackets and calf-high tickle-me-pink socks, more than 25 men from the Memphis area filled a cozy room of The Peabody Hotel on September 20 to kick off the “Real Men Wear Pink” 2018 campaign.

The Real Men plan to sport the pink hue every day in the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, not only to honor the memory of their loved ones who have either lost their lives, struggled or defeated the disease; but participate in a friendly fundraising competition through the American Cancer Society in order to support the cure.

Tracy Trotter, senior manager of community development for the American Cancer Society, said the 2018 Memphis Chapter of Real Men has some “pretty pink shoes to fill” as last year the Memphis chapter claimed the largest campaign in the state.

“You’re making a difference even by just wearing that pink tie”

Tracy Trotter

Real Men Wear Pink’s 2018 Chairman, Andrew Bettis, shared tips with the campaign men displaying an inspiring video he made that helped him achieve his financial goals for the cause the previous year.

“I’m going to be calling you guys up, even if it’s at 2 a.m. in the morning to encourage and get you guys going,”

Andrew Bettis

He said that upon beginning the campaign in 2017 he thought the task was daunting, but found that knowing your audience and using social media were the biggest aides in his fundraising.

“You’ll get out of it whatever you put into it and that’s with everything in life,” Bettis said, “Don’t delay because October flies by, but when you tell people October is Breast Cancer Awareness people will want to get on board.”

Andrew Bettis

Bettis said during his travels to Nashville and the beach he took signs reminding people of the cause and utilizing social media helped people continue to donate.

Three men shared their stories on how they “Make Strides Against Breast Cancer” with JustMyMemphis, each inspired by women in their lives who have been affected by the life-altering disease.

Randall Melton, in his third year with the campaign, said his “pink game is strong” was decked out with a pink tie and suit jacket.

“I love the reaction people get from my pink…it’s a gateway into conversation about what I’m doing and how I support the American Cancer Society,” Melton said.

Melton said that often fundraising can be intimidating and challenging, but he said he enjoys learning people’s stories along the way.

“I started talking about the cause and finding out that so many friends that I thought I knew have powerful stories,” he said. “Unfortunately I lost my mom to breast cancer..I think about how she never got the chance to meet her grandson and I don’t want that for anybody.”

He said is inspired to be one of the Real Men in memory of his mom and loves to see how many people that continue to be inspired by cancer survivors. Melton, with Kroger food stores, shared that during a company meeting he asked his staff to raise their hands if they knew someone affected by the disease and every hand was raised.

“A lot of these folks are so strong and I love seeing everyone come together and wear pink. It turns out that everybody knows somebody that is fighting,”

Randall Melton

Jim Hill, with Varsity Brands, said that during his college years at North Carolina State University, his cheerleading coach unfortunately lost her life to breast cancer.

“She is someone who’s memory has stuck with me for years…though it was a long time ago she was such a sweet sweet soul,” Hill said.

Hill said that she in turn became the team’s cheerleader and with her presence it “made it hard for us to complain” due to what she was going through.

“Even though she was going through her treatments every day she was still at practice. She had such a strong spirit,” Hill said. He said he is excited to wear pink and hopes to bring the cause to the forefront, “We need to funds to support the cause, it doesn’t just happen out of thin air,” he added.

Richard Ransom, anchor with Local 24 News, returned for a second year to the Real Men Wear Pink crew and said he’s excited for “the unique ways” that the campaign finds fun ways to generate funds.

 

“It’s such a worthwhile cause and the whole concept of having men wear pink will catch people’s attention. Anything they can do to promote and donate to this cause is perfect,”

Richard Ransom

He shared how both his grandmother and aunt have been affected by the disease. Ransom said he repetitively hears about the importance of prevention and hopes his wife continues to remain cancer-free.

Most husbands know the nervousness and worry, when you get back an abnormal result, but this cause touches us in a certain way. It affects you when you realize how common it is,” he said.

Ransom said he plans to give one of the men with the highest fundraising total, a tour of the Local 24 station as he is most excited to see the rivalry between the men to get the most donations for the cause.

 

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Six Honest Mistakes That Can Get You Fired

Six Honest Mistakes That Can Get You Fired

six honest mistakes

that can get you fired

By Dr. Travis Bradberry

This article is being brought to you by The Memphis Urban League, Follow Us in the Countdown to 75!

There are so many things that can get good, hard-working people fired. Honest mistakes often carry hard-hitting consequences. A recent study from the ePolicy Institute surveyed more than 300 companies and found that a third of them have fired employees for the misuse of company technology.

Companies are so worried about employee abuse of technology that 45% of those surveyed admitted that they track employee technology use (some all the way down to the keystroke), yet only two US states require employers to notify employees when they’re monitoring them.

When it comes to reasons for getting fired, digital faux pas steal the spotlight. Every week, it seems, we read about someone getting fired for something they posted on social media.

“The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.”

B.F. Skinner

But digital media is far from the only way that people slip up and lose their jobs. People get fired all the time for seemingly innocent mistakes. While we snicker behind our coffee cups at the more egregious examples, there are still plenty of other ways to get fired that may surprise you.

Over-promising and under-delivering. You made an implied promise when you accepted your job. You implicitly promised that you were capable of fulfilling all of the job’s responsibilities. Accepting a job when you know you’re not qualified catches up with you. Even when you are qualified, telling your boss you’re making great progress when you aren’t or committing to a deadline you know you can’t meet makes you look bad. Don’t be surprised if you get fired for failing to do everything you said you could do.

Negativity. You were hired to make your boss’s and your team’s jobs easier, not harder. People who constantly spread negativity through their department, complain about others, and whine that the work’s too hard or isn’t part of their job description complicate things for everyone else. Those who make their boss’s life harder are usually the first ones to go. Having to tiptoe around you so as not to dislodge that massive chip on your shoulder isn’t something he or she is likely to be willing to do for very long.

Solicitation. Whether you’re sending out e-mails inviting coworkers to your party or hanging up an order form for your child’s school fundraiser, you could be violating company policy. Don’t assume that you’re in the clear just because other people are doing it—this type of policy violation is what managers hang their hats on when they’re unhappy with an employee’s performance.

A lack of emotional intelligence. Everyone knows that you can get fired for being unable or unwilling to play nicely with others, but what trips up a lot of people is having a poorly developed poker face. If everyone can tell when you’re bored or irritated or that you think something a colleague is saying is stupid, this will catch up with you. Emotional outbursts, belittling others, shutting co-workers down when they speak, and just generally being a jerk are other ways a lack of emotional intelligence will leave you looking for work.

Misusing company supplies or resources. Many people don’t think twice about taking a pack of printer paper home when they’ve run out or using the company’s FedEx account to mail a last-minute holiday gift. However, in the eyes of your employer, this is stealing. Abusing company resources is a serious offense, even if the monetary value of the item doesn’t add up to much. Catching you in the act can also be a good excuse if your boss is looking to fire you. It’s a lot easier to document and justify firing someone for stealing than it is to fire them because they are just okay at their job.

Speaking on behalf of the company. This isn’t just about sending out an unauthorized press release or venting on the company Twitter account, because most people already realize that these types of things will get them fired. I’m talking about answering a question when a reporter sticks a microphone in your face or identifying yourself as an employee of the company when sharing your personal opinions online. This creates the perception that you’re speaking as a representative of the company, even when you aren’t trying to, and that’s definitely something that can get you fired.

Bringing It All Together

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they can only be fired for getting caught making one huge misstep, such as sexually harassing a colleague or bad-mouthing the boss. The reality is that it’s usually not that dramatic.

What’s the oddest or smallest thing that you’ve seen someone fired for? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book,Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, andThe Harvard Business Review.

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Does My Personality Type Change?

Does My Personality Type Change?

Does My Personality Type Change?
the Myers-Briggs type indicator

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Does my personality type change? Sometimes I think I am an INTP, and sometimes an ENFP. My type changed I’m sure of it!

One of the most controversial beliefs people have around the Myers-Briggs system is the belief that individual personality types don’t change. This is mainly because many people that know about MBTI self-report to have changed types. These claims do not seem to be that unreasonable either, after all, it makes perfect sense that types would change for at least some people, right? People change their personalities throughout life all the time. Sometimes a shy introvert could suddenly blossom into a social butterfly, or the popular kid in school could turn into a reclusive hermit after suffering through a significant loss. We see these things happening in real life after all! Types have to be able to change then, right? 

Although many of these claims have some truth to them, they stem from a general misunderstanding of the Myers-Briggs system. Most people that hear about MBTI are only familiar with the four letter dichotomies: I/E(introvert/extrovert), S/N(sensing/intuitive), F/T(feeling/thinking), J/P(judging/perceiving). Many online assessments give each dichotomy a number of percentages, so if you are an ESFJ, you may have E-65%, S-15%, F-1%, J-35%. This comparison makes people assume the MBTI is similar to assessments such as the Big Five. However, the only way to truly understand MBTI, is if you understand that the Myers-Briggs system was originally more about the underlying cognitive function stack of each Myers-Briggs type rather than the individual letter dichotomies. For instance, the reason MBTI theorists always point out that you can’t change from, say, an INTJ to an INTP, even though the two are only off by one letter, is that they have completely different cognitive processes underneath. However, if this were the only issue, then it could seem more plausible to change from an INTJ to an ENTJ, for instance, since they do have the same cognitive processes underneath but in different orders. But even then, there is good reason why those that understand and use the Myers-Briggs system believe that types don’t ‘change’. 

For one thing, when considering studies on introversion and extroversion, simply as traits, evidence suggests that introversion and extroversion are actually genetic. There is neurological evidence that shows people are born more introverted or extroverted. So, if we were to go by Myers-Briggs, it would not be surprising if an ENTJ(an extrovert) probably wouldn’t be able to ‘change’ into an INTJ(an introvert). And if that were the case for introversion and extroversion, then it doesn’t seem that much of a stretch to believe that to be the case for the other aspects of your MBTI type as well.

When looking at some of the evidence from Dario Nardi’s brain scans and understanding that trauma and socialization play a significant role in people claiming to ‘change types’, it becomes easier to see why many strong MBTI theorists believe types don’t change.

Dario Nardi was a UCLA Professor that took it upon himself to test different Myers Briggs types. He wasn’t initially trying to come up with anything, the experiment was more exploratory to see what patterns could be found. And that’s when it happened. When every MBTI type was engaged in activities that corresponded with each individual type’s strongest cognitive processes, their whole brains would light up. These were each activities that really stimulated and engaged the participants like nothing else. This suggested the possibility that, on a neurological level, people were ‘hardwired’ to engage in things that would correspond to the dominant cognitive function of their individual Myers-Briggs types. Other consistent type-related differences have been shown in his research as well. 

So, you might ask then, what about those who have claimed to ‘change types’? Well, that’s where trauma and socialization comes in. When going through trauma, for instance, it’s common to stop giving yourself permission to do things you may have enjoyed to do in the past. The same thing goes with socialization. People that grew up shy, maybe with stricter upbringings or childhood trauma, may have always wanted to interact with people the way an extrovert would. Then, when breaking free from it all and overcoming their shyness, they suddenly are happier with their lives and feel like they have changed. There is a clear distinction between being shy and being introverted. Not every introvert is shy, they just can’t engage in more extroverted activities for as prolonged amounts of time as extroverts can. You can be extroverted and shy as well, if there has been significant trauma or sheltering.

So what some of these stories of people changing sound like, is that they have grown up with inhibiting coping mechanisms, and are only now giving themselves permission to be themselves. It is then, reasonable to believe that many of those that claim to have ‘changed types’ actually just found their real type and are now acting more authentically to who they are, when they previously were not. 

Of course, the same thing can happen the other way around. When people claim to change types, it could be that they have now gone through significant trauma, and are then, by the same token, not living their lives as authentically as they used to, and are not giving themselves permission to do things they would have ordinarily enjoyed. Now, I want to mention here that a natural introvert can develop enough expertise in extroverted activities to better deal with the world’s problems. An extrovert, can also balance themselves out by learning how to engage in more introspective activities, developing a more ‘grounded’ sense of self. This topic is usually explored in theories advocating ‘type development’ and are another aspect of MBTI altogether, but it does play into the complicated aspect of individual types as well.

All in all, this is where the Myers Briggs system, then, has its greatest use. It helps people recognize their natural preferences and how they can finally start living their own lives more authentically. What it comes down to is self-awareness, and learning how to use this self-awareness to improve the quality of your life overall. It is also why many MBTI practitioners do not believe in self report tests, understanding that each individual type has a significant amount of wiggle room depending on each person’s individual life experiences. And once you accept your natural preferences, it becomes a lot easier to work towards improving your overall life.

 

That’s why MBTI practitioners and enthusiasts highly recommend either getting profiled by a licensed professional or from at least encouraging people to dig deeper into the theory on their own to get a better grasp of their own underlying cognitive functions because each individual type has a significant amount of variance in how they come across depending on many of the factors that have been mentioned above. And even then, if there has been significant trauma, finding an individual person’s type will be difficult.

Of course, many other brain studies need to be done for the idea of underlying cognitive functions behind each MBTI type to be completely understood. And it would probably require more sophisticated instruments for anyone to know for sure from a purely scientific standpoint. After all, brain research in general is still in its infancy, and there is so much more about the brain that we still do not know. However, it’s quite reasonable to understand why so many of us believe that types don’t really change, considering some of the points I just mentioned. So, what do you think? Do these points resonate with your own individual life experiences?

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Edge Task Force: Getting Real

  County Edge Task Force: getting real By Joe Kent This article is being brought to you by HomeTown Home Services, Is it time for a Home Improvement? The County EDGE Task Force continued their local reform work with a productive open discussion of challenging and...

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Time to #BeAmazing

Share Your Story Today!

We believe there is an amazing story just waiting to be told inside everyone.  Stories that inspire change, ideas, and action.  Some stories are painful, some are fun, and others are life changing.  BeAmazing and share your story today on JustMy!
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