At some point in your career, my guess is you will have done a Myers Briggs test, or at least a version of it.
Myers Briggs famously created a range of leadership personality types and gave them enigmatic names like The Commander, The Teacher and The Dynamo.
This got me thinking. What do our personalities tell us about our attitudes to cash flow in our businesses and how does this reflect in the different types of user we see in CaFE?
Myers Briggs’ Personas
If you’re not familiar with Myers Briggs, each persona is based on a mixture of characteristics, which are deduced from a test and describe how the individual will react to circumstances and people. Myers Briggs tests are used the world over to help employers and employees better understand each other and get the most from their respective strengths.
In creating the personas, Myers Briggs borrowed from the work of psychologist Carl Jung. Each dimension is a preference, meaning there is always a leaning towards one end of the spectrum or the other.
- (I)ntroversion vs. (E)xtroversion – how somebody manages their energy
- (S)ensing vs. I(n)tuition – how somebody processes information
- (T)hinking vs. (F)eeling – how somebody makes decisions
- (J)udging vs. (P)erceiving – how people approach structure in their lives.
The personalities are then expressed as a mix of letters.
Applying personalities to cash flow management
Partly for a bit of fun, but also to help me understand our customers and their needs better, I have started to apply the personality types.
ISTJs – Myers Briggs calls these “The Inspectors” and they are neat and orderly and like to have a process for everything they do.
Inspectors love CaFE and use it nearly every day to make sure their cash position is exactly as they expect it to be.
ESTJs – are very similar. Myers Briggs calls these “The Supervisors” and they like to get things done in a rule-abiding and conscientious way.
Supervisors and Inspectors make great Finance Directors!
More entrepreneurial types have a different combination of characteristics.
ENFPs – Myers Briggs calls these “The Champions” and they have a contagious enthusiasm for new ideas, people and activities.
Champions work on feelings and intuition and are less likely to fixate on details like cash flow. While they don’t use CaFE as often as they perhaps should, the fact that the information is there for them in an instant when they need it, means it can be a lifesaver.
ESTPs – “The Dynamos”. These are energetic thrill-seekers that like nothing better than running around putting out fires.
CaFE is a hard sell to Dynamos because for them, there is nothing more exciting than discovering that the cash has run out on the day before salaries are due!
ISTPs – are “The Craftspeople” with an understanding of mechanics and a flexible logic.
Having CaFE helps Craftspeople keep on top of cash flow and troubleshoot their problems by allowing them to drill down into the causes of impending cash shortfalls and then follow the steps they can take to mitigate or avoid them altogether.
ENTJs – “The Commanders” are the archetypal business leaders who like to lead from the front. They are quick to see inefficiency and excel at logical reasoning.
Commanders are likely to delegate CaFE to their accountant or book-keeper, but thrive on the knowledge that this part of their operation is under control.
There are 10 more combinations, but you get the gist.
Of course, there won’t always be a parallel between the personality of the user and the cash position in their business. What the personalities tell us is how comfortable the business owner or book-keeper is likely to feel about the level of control they have.
You can apply the theory to yourself. Some of you will feel relatively relaxed when cash is tight and see it as part and parcel of running a business. The fact that you can see the situation is approaching is what gives you time to organise the finance you need. Others of you will undoubtedly feel intensely uncomfortable when shortfalls happen and will use all the tools that CaFE provides to stay in the black. The point being that CaFE is built for people, not companies. Whatever your personality type, you can adapt your use of it as you need to.
So, what type of cash manager are you? Many business owners are going to be facing the most challenging time of their careers over the next few months and you might find it helpful to classify your own style to help you understand the emotions you are likely to experience.
You can find Myers Briggs tests on line, several of which are free. There’s an example here.