• November 2013

Want to Boost Your Innovation Ability and Improve your Management Style? Let's Play "Personality Poker"

Review by Hope Katz Gibbs
Publisher
Be Inkandescent magazine

What is “Personality Poker”?

“To put it simply, Personality Poker is a game that helps you identify and understand your innovation style and, more important, the innovation styles of others,” explains author Stephen Shapiro, an innovation and collaboration specialist who trained more than 20,000 consultants in innovation during his 15-year tenure with Accenture.

Shapiro believes that by pinpointing how everyone contributes to—and detracts from—innovation in your particular setting, you can create a more powerful organization.

As a management tool, Shapiro says Personality Poker can help you:

  • Hire the right people, and put them in the right roles
  • Manage your team dynamic more effectively, and achieve higher levels of efficiency
  • Understand why some employees become frustrated when your organization’s culture conflicts with their innovation styles
  • Diagnose the reason your company is struggling to grow

Shapiro realizes that being successful in your career or business requires more than simply finding your strengths. “It’s about finding how your strengths work best with your team and others,” he shares. “When you do this, you will discover that you enjoy your work more, and that your organization thrives—even in difficult times.”

So let’s play!

The game is played like a regular poker, except that the best hand is one where you have five words that best describe your personality.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Deal five random cards to each player.
  2. Have each player rank the words, from “most like” to “least like” their personality. Examples include personality traits such as: philosophical, driven, cheerleader, critical, rigid, visionary, oversensitive, and impulsive.
  3. Have players trade with one another to improve their hand.
  4. Take the extra cards and spread them on a table or floor and allow people to swap their cards to improve their hand.
  5. When players in the group know one another, have them give each other cards. This gives players an idea of how others see them. Keep these cards separate from the five self-selected cards.
  6. After trading is complete, it is time to interpret the results.

The Innovation Process and the Four Suits

Shapiro mapped out the four suits in the game to dovetail with the way he defines the four phases of the innovation process:

  • Define the Challenge: Spades. This aspect of the innovation process ensures that a problem is identified and on its way to being solved. This first step is ideal for those who prefer facts and principles. Spades identifies these analytic types because they like to dig for data. Think über-successful investor Warren Buffet, who relies heavily on facts to make decisions.
  • Generate Solutions: Diamonds. In step two, the team begins to develop creative solutions. This area is suited best for multi-faceted individuals who prefer ideas and experiences to solve problems. Think investor and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, a leader who regularly develops game-changing ideas.
  • Plan and Execute: Clubs. In step three, the team sets up the structure and accountabilities for successful implementation. This approach works well for those who prefer plans and action. They like movement, such as the swing of a golf club. Think Jack Welch, GE’s former CEO, who prided himself on getting things done.
  • Engage Hearts and Minds: Hearts. For those who prefer people and relationships, this fourth step of the innovation process is well-suited. They get employees and customers on board and use each person to the best of his or her ability. Think talk-show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, who is often seen as a caring heart who has changed the lives of millions. Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh also appears to be a heart-driven leader.

Are you ready to play to your strong suit? If so, this fun, playful handbook that comes with a deck of cards, and interesting ideas to chew on, may be worth a look: personalitypoker.com.


About Stephen Shapiro

Stephen Shapiro specializes in innovation and collaboration, and in the last two decades has taken his message to leaders in 40 countries. “Innovation only occurs when organizations bring together divergent points of view in an efficient manner,” he believes.

He has trained more than 20,000 consultants in innovation during his 15-year tenure with Accenture. In addition to being an advisor, speaker, and author on innovation, he serves as the chief innovation evangelist for InnoCentive, a pioneer in the burgeoning field of open innovation.

Learn more at personalitypoker.com.

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