Transcript of What Personality Poker Has to Do with Innovation

Transcript of What Personality Poker Has to Do with Innovation

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John Jantsch: What do personality and poker have to do with innovation? Well, that’s what we’re going to find out when we talk to Stephen Shapiro on this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Check it out.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by Active Campaign. This is really my new go-to: CRM, ESP, Marketing Automation. Really low cost. Any size business can get into it, starting at, like 18 bucks a month you can keep track of your clients. You can see who is visiting your website; you can follow up based on behavior. Check out “Active Campaign” – there’ll be a link in the show notes, but it’s ducttape.me/dtmactive.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Stephen Shapiro. He is an author, a consultant, public speaker – which is, you know, the Holy Trinity these days. He is also been on this show. I think we talked about “Best Practices are Stupid” – a fairly relatively new book for him, and today we’re going to talk about something that is a book and a concept and some tools that are called “Personality Poker”. So, Stephen, thanks for joining me.

Stephen Shapiro: Okay John, great to be here again.

John: So, on Personality Poker, obviously you’re playing on the metaphor of the card game, but what is the point of Personality Poker?

Stephen: Well, the general idea is that if human beings beat, you hear this expression “opposites attract” and the reality is, opposites don’t attract – opposites detract. So, if you think about the workplace, we tend to want to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. And this is good for getting things done if you want to be efficient, if you want to have a good time. But, having spent, you know, over 20 years studying innovation that rarely leads to innovation. We need people with different perspectives coming together in a very specific way to drive innovation thereby organizations.

John: And you, clearly there’s been a lot of times people have a tendency to hire people that are like them, and so consequently almost insulate themselves from innovation.

Stephen: Yeah, I mean, I always joke that if, you know, you always hire that fit the mold the business will grow mold. And I think that’s what we do – we breathe and look, let’s face it, we’re in similar industries in terms of, you know, speaking and writing, and if I hang out with speakers too long I’m just breathing the same oxygen. It’s fun, it’s easy, we speak the same language. But there’s the point where it limits my ability to take my business to a whole new level.

John: Yeah, really, I know. I’m supposed to be a marketing person. I’m supposed to know how to do marketing and all things marketing, but I know that over the years I have had some of my biggest breakthroughs by bringing in somebody from the outside, and saying, “What do you think?” And that person, you know, having that outside perspective – even though, you know, I’m supposed to know what I’m doing in marketing – is really, really valuable.

Stephen: Yeah, and so the whole idea of Personality Poker is to recognize that, I mean, we were just talking about, maybe, different areas of expertise, but I also believe that different personality styles are critical to drive innovation thereby organizations. So it’s not just hanging out with people from different industries, but it’s also different personalities.

John: Now I think it was Tom Pearson, he probably stole it because, you know, he stole from everybody too – like we all do – but I remember a book of his, and one chapter was called “Hire Freaks”, and I think that was kind of his point was, you know, to get some people in there that didn’t act, and look, and feel, and smell like you. So, explain the rules of, and there are props involved in this actual game that you’ve created called Personality Poker.

Stephen: Yeah, so basically Personality Poker’s a deck of cards that looks like a regular deck of poker cards with suits, colors, and numbers, but there are also words written on each of the cards. And so what we do is, we deal out the cards, first, we shuffle the deck, deal them out, and actually people trade cards, and the goal of the game is to get five cards where the words best describe how you see yourself, based on those words. And then, when we look at your hand, based on the suits, the colors and the numbers, we can tell an amazing amount of things about who you are, but more importantly, we can also tell a lot about who you are not. And that to me is one of the key insights is, if I have five cards in my hand there’s a 95% chance that I’ll be missing at least one, one or more suites from my hand. That tells me those are the people I need to partner with because each suite ties back to a style, which ties back to a step of the innovation process.

John: Well, so tell me this, though. I think that a lot of people if you go around a room and ask people what they are, you know, strong suites are, they may not actually be aware of what they are. Or they may not, or they may think they’re something different than everybody else perceives them. I mean, how do you factor in, you know, how we see ourselves as opposed to how the world sees us?

Stephen: That’s fantastic. I’m glad you asked that because one of the steps of the process is the actually gifting of cards. So, usually what we’ll do is, we’ll get a group of people to stand up, they’ll trade cards, get five cards that best describe how they see themselves, and then we’ll play a game of “52 card pick-up”, and we literally take decks and decks and decks of cards, throw them on the floor face up. It’s a chance for people to improve their hands, but it’s also a chance to give cards to other people too so that we can see how we’re perceived. And, you’re right, I mean, we don’t really necessarily know what we’re good at. And people don’t even necessarily know what they’re good at, so it’s a triangulation process that we go through that helps people get a better sense.

John: So, this all sounds like a great drinking game. Is this, is there science behind this?

Stephen: There actually is science behind it. We partnered with Columbia College and Harvard University, and the development of the Harvard component was actually building another third tool when we triangulate, built the third tool which is around how do we test our subconscious beliefs about our personality, and then the work that I do with Columbia College is all around verifying the words and the color. So we did a number of statistical analyses to correlate particular words with particular styles to see which ones cross over, and so we do have a fair amount of science behind it, because the skeptical spades are probably wondering that very question, what’s it about.

John: Well so, how would you compare your instrument to some of the more, you know, Myers-Briggs and, I know you’re not trying to exactly be that, but some of the more, you know, the kind of test-based types of questionnaire and personality test?

Stephen: Yeah, I mean, there’s a few different comparisons, a few different differences. I mean, that each serves a purpose, I think that’s the important thing is to recognize and not try and create, or recreate, a Disc or a Myers-Briggs. This is something different. The first thing, this is specifically designed for innovation. So each of the different innovation styles, the suites, have halved the step of the innovation process, which is actually where it all started. But also the fact that we’re card based and we give people cards, and we tell stories – that’s really where the value comes from. When I give you a card, John, and say, “Hey, I think you’re really creative, because remember that…

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