Planner Personalities

What is the most common personality type for strategists?


Isabel Briggs-Myers and Katharine Briggs

I recently asked 100 planners and strategists to fill out this personality test:


This is what I found out.

The most common personality was ENFP. The Campaigner. Just over 20% of planners are ENFP. Whereas ENFPs are about 7% of the total population.

They tend to see life as a big, complex puzzle where everything is connected – but unlike Analyst personality types, who tend to see that puzzle as a series of systemic machinations, Campaigners see it through a prism of emotion, compassion and mysticism, and are always looking for a deeper meaning.

It seems about right that Campaigners are the most common type in this campaign industry.

Personality types

The most common trait was Intuitive. 93% of planners have it.

Intuitive individuals are very imaginative, open-minded and curious. They prefer novelty over stability and focus on hidden meanings and future possibilities.

But. Don’t be down heartened if you are one of the select few ObServants. Use your personality to your advantage. Strategy needs to get from abstract to action. And Observant individuals possess the strength of understanding the practicalities of the strategy.

Observant individuals are highly practical, pragmatic and down-to-earth. They tend to have strong habits and focus on what is happening or has already happened.

The results are almost the opposite of the population. Planners tend to be found in the rarer personalities. INFJ is the rarest of all personalities and yet is the 5th most common personality amongst planners.

pop v plan

Three personality types weren’t counted at all; ISFP, ISTP and ISTJ. Introverted Observants are the rarest of all strategists.

The personalities can be split into four groups; Analysts (NT), Diplomats (NF), Sentinels (SJ) and Explorers (SP).

Over half (56%) of planners/strategists are diplomats.

Diplomats focus on empathy and cooperation, shining in diplomacy and counselling. People belonging to this type group are cooperative and imaginative, often playing the role of harmonizers in their workplace or social circles. These traits make Diplomats warm, empathic and influential individuals, but also cause issues when there is a need to rely exclusively on cold rationality or make difficult decisions.

And just under 40% are analysts.

These personality types embrace rationality and impartiality, excelling in intellectual debates and scientific or technological fields. They are fiercely independent, open-minded, strong-willed and imaginative, approaching many things from a utilitarian perspective and being far more interested in what works than what satisfies everybody. These traits make Analysts excellent strategic thinkers, but also cause difficulties when it comes to social or romantic pursuits.

Personality groups

The two largest groups in the population are the smallest amongst planners.

pop v plan group

Whilst the intuitivists dominated, there were more even splits elsewhere. Extroverts v Introverts fought it out, 51:49. Not a clear a result as 52:48.

Extroverts v introverts

I myself am a debater. ENTP.

Apparently, 86% of debaters like to annoy people just for the fun of it. I can attest to this.

Hay Festival


Woodstock for the mind.

That’s how President Bill Clinton described the Hay Festival. The annual literary festival has been held in the Welsh town of Hay-On-Wye for the last three decades, bringing together the most powerful and influential minds in the world. Think TED, with more sheep and less WiFi.

How did a sea-slug expert capture Britain’s most notorious serial killer?

Where can you hide a 19-mile wide crater?

What is it like to be imprisoned in solitary confinement for 44 years?

These were just some of the questions asked and answered in tents amongst the Brecon Beacons. I travelled down from Edinburgh to spend the entire week at Hay. I attended over thirty talks throughout the week. Here were are other questions these talks asked and sometimes answered.

  1. How did a sea-slug expert capture Britain’s most notorious serial killer?
  2. How can calculus reveal hidden secrets?
  3. How do we fix the establishment?
  4. What makes humans unique?
  5. How to survive an intimate memoir?
  6. Can Britain come together again?
  7. How did women make the west rich?
  8. Why should we save the woodlands?
  9. How do you uncover family secrets?
  10. How does a comedian understand humanity?
  11. Where can you hide a 19-mile wide crater?
  12. How do you tell the history of illiterate sex-workers?
  13. How did a gay rugby referee come-out to his parents?
  14. How do we make education equal?
  15. How do we solve a global healthcare staff shortage?
  16. How do we make the NHS workforce future proof?
  17. How does the world think?
  18. What is it like to be imprisoned in solitary confinement for 44 years?
  19. Why are Japanese gardens so beautiful?
  20. What does a curriculum for 2070 look like?

Hay Festival Website: https://www.hayfestival.com/wales/home

They have events around the world. Check them out.


How do we solve a global health-worker shortage?

By 2030, there will be an 18 million person global shortage of health workers. It takes twelve years to train a hospital specialist. We haven’t got long to solve this problem.

Image result for solving the global workforce crisis in healthcare

Dr Mark Britnell is the Chairman of Global Healthcare Practice at KPMG, for the last thirty years he has worked in healthcare; including stints as the CEO of University Hospitals Foundation Trust and General Manager of St Mary’s Hospital. Britnell argues that this is not a problem that can be solved linearly, and needs radical and urgent action.

Faced with a shortage of staff in the near future, what is the obvious solution? Spend money on more staff? In the report by KPMG, Britnell’s team argue that this is not effective, nor possible. At least, not only spending money on hiring more people.

Wealth isn’t a health problem. Health boosts wealth. As Hans Rosling, the data scientist, says ‘You’ve got to get healthy before you can get wealthy’. In an experiment conducted by Britnell’s team and independent economists from Cambridge University, they found that for every $1 invested in healthcare in the Caribbean, it equated to $6 in increased productivity. One key question his talk didn’t address was, does this create a net profit when you consider the cost of an ageing population.

Instead, Britnell says that it comes down to productivity. If we can make healthcare work smarter we can rapidly increase productivity and decrease the dependence on hiring new staff.

In Germany, the government pays and trains families and friends to care for their loved ones. This halved the number of hospital admissions. Automation will increase productivity, and those who lose their jobs can be retrained.