Are you a “perceiver” or a “judger”?
Can you guess what I am?
Entrepreneurs tend to be Perceivers, according to a 2017 study by the company that publishes the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator… which is where the perceiver/judger dichotomy comes from.
In this article I'll summarize what I've learned about Perceivers and Judgers, and talk about how each type's strengths are needed in business.
Perceivers are curious, creative, love to gather information, tend to work independently (disliking bureaucracy and rules), more open to risk-taking, and they can adjust to mistakes or unexpected situations on the go, rather than having to prepare contingencies and escape clauses. They prefer to keep their options open.
But because of their openness and care-free nature, perceivers also tend to be indecisive, and don’t work well with deadlines. They don’t tend to manage time well, and are stressed when ask to make a quick decision. They also don’t mind changing tracks midway, which means they often start things they don’t finish. They dislike routine, and tend to procrastinate more than Judgers.
Judgers on the other hand, love to plan things out. Calendars. To-do lists. Deadlines. Decisions. They want closure and completions, and enjoy routine and predictability. They don't mind making quick decisions (would prefer that, than having a decision process drag on a long time.)
But that also means Judgers have a harder time (than Perceivers) in dealing with unexpected changes and information, when things don’t go according to their plan. (And in the world, many things don’t!) Because they don’t like risk and uncertainty, Judgers don’t tend to want to become entrepreneurs. They also tend to seek the optimal or one "right" way of doing something, and therefore, can be naturally more judgmental of others' differences.
Can you guess whether you are a Perceiver (P) or Judger (J)?
Can you guess what I am?
It might surprise you (or maybe not!) to find out that I’m very much a J. This is why it’s “easier” for me to stay consistent with content, to publish books on schedule, to create a new course every month.
At the same time, I try to practice being open to ideas that are different than mine… though that skill doesn’t come naturally to me.
I am such a J that I feel I have a hard time understanding P’s. My content has been created from a J perspective, of course, so if you are a P, that may explain why it’s challenging to apply what I teach -- it doesn’t come naturally to you.
I would love to understand P’s better and to help them more effectively. Many of my clients seem to be P’s, and sometimes I feel like an alien compared to them! Routines and structures are natural for me, but many of my clients have a hard time with them.
If you are a P, how can I help someone like you be more successful in achieving your business goals? I'd love your opinion about it. What do you feel you need? If it’s structure, what kind of structure helps you to thrive?
Comment underneath this video: Succeeding as a Perceiver in Entrepreneurship in a Judger World (You don’t have to watch the video to comment.)
Not Fixed -- It’s a Tendency
Interestingly, Judging or Perceiving is called a "preference" and they are not fixed traits. You can be one or the other, depending on what the situation requires of you, but you tend to snap back to your typical preference later.
For example, if you are a P but you’re currently in a structured program or role, you can flex your Judger muscles (all of us have the ability to activate either one) and still do well in that environment. But it takes you more energy than a natural J would. Therefore, as a P you might need to focus more on self-care than a J who thrives in that structured environment.
Also, whether someone tests a P or J only tells how the person interacts with the outside world. For example, you might feel very orderly/structured (J) on the inside, but your outer life may look spontaneous and adaptable (P).
Another person may feel very curious and open-ended (Perceiver) in their inner world, yet their outer life looks more structured or decided (Judger).
Using Both Strengths
When it comes to creating and growing a successful authentic business, it helps to combine both P and J strengths.
You need to flex your Perceiver (P) muscles and be open-minded to what your authentic business might become, because it is continually evolving just like your understanding of yourself. You’ll also need to stay curious and adapt quickly to significant changes in your audience, or in the market and society.
However, you’ll also need to flex your Judger (J) muscles and practice producing consistently, if you expect to have consistency of audience trust, and a stable income!
How P's Can Succeed
If you are a P, and want to build a business without the pressures of creating content consistently, then it seems to me you have a couple choices:
(1) Focus on networking as the primary way to grow your business. Connect with people and find win-win ways to collaborate. Read my blog posts about authentic networking.
(2) If you still want to create content, then don’t give yourself the pressure of deadlines and routines. Just create and publish whenever you can. The concern I have is that you may be so inconsistent it will take so long to build enough skill to be able to build a business. You'll also be taking a long time to get enough data about your audience’s reactions, to understand what direction to mold your future content. Quality content requires Quantity of content. Consider working with a "J" content coach or entering a structured program that you believe in.
(3) If you do want to create content consistently, but it’s stressful to think about doing it every day or every week, then try this: Carve out a whole morning, afternoon, or evening once a month (or even a whole day if you can!) just for content creation. P’s tend to thrive with very large chunks of creative time (4+ hours) rather than doing it in 30-60 minute chunks. In that large chunk of time, create as much content as you can. Then you can use tools such as Facebook Page's scheduler to drip them out on to Facebook, and tools like Hootsuite can drip them out onto other social networks.
Any other thoughts on how P’s can thrive in growing a business? I look forward to any ideas you’d like to share. Comment on this video: Succeeding as a Perceiver in Entrepreneurship in a Judger World
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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