Like a lot of you, I've run into various professional tools aimed towards self-diagnostics for individual and group application (see Myers-Briggs), and emotional intelligence (see EMTI). Some of these applications are quite helpful. Students are a little raw for this stuff at the middle and high school level, but the parents of students, like me, could oftentimes use a reminder of their strengths and weaknesses, both interpersonal and applied corporately.
An educational consultant recently pointed me towards an interesting, as well as a rather fun exercise, called personalDNA. The test allows one to take it by themselves and then get comparative feedback as a spouse or peer takes the test for you as it applies to you. Those adventurous souls can then judge the variance between self-evaluation as compared to how others perceive you. Yikes.
It is no secret that groups and teams naturally gravitate towards some culture without these tools, usually resulting in the loudest and the strongest exercising their will with people falling in the wake of consensus as decisions are made. Sometimes that seems to work out pretty well. However, through being forced to do these kinds of exercises, I call myself learning to shut up, and before charging forth with a final decision, deliberately focusing on the quiet types who can offer reflection after a lot of brewing. Their input and perspective seems usually helpful, sometimes essential, but their voice would go untapped if not allowed an opportunity to speak.
I find that the techniques and motivations for these practices are simply chunks of ancient wisdom applied for modern circumstances. Essentially, there is nothing new under the sun. However, the world does move a lot faster than it ever has before. It's a scary place out there, as it always has been. But life seems to be a lot more frightening and uncertain than it once did. Maybe our personal situations along life's continuum shape our perceptions so, and life isn't all that different?
Whatever one concludes, life is not static. We live in a historical shift of technology and economy like no period ever before. The dynamic spirit of our modern age requires leadership to work wisely and corporately as economies, cultures, and mores are intermingling at an unprecedented rate. We would be wise to keep tabs on ourselves in light of serving in our collective responsibilities. Maybe this little test can help?