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Insights Learning and Development Dundee :: Asperger Technical

 

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 Post subject: Insights Learning and Development Dundee
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:13 am 
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Joined: 1st June, 2007
Posts: 48
Insights Learning and Development Dundee - The Psychology of a Bad Business

Garry Crystal -Life and Payback's a Bitch

You arrive at the job interview in your best suit and tie. Your head crammed with every multi-angled, trick question, possible scenario that can be thrown at you in an interview. The questions about your life, work experience, how you handle pressure, the “what if” scenarios, i.e. “what if you were being sexually harassed by the office air conditioner, who would you report this to?”

You’ve managed to do the near impossible and keep just the correct amount of eye contact necessary. Too much and you can come off looking intimidating and lecherous, not enough leaves you looking like a social incompetent or you’re trying to disguise the fact that your CV is fabrication of lies of such a magnitude that it makes the Watergate Scandal look like little white lies. An hour and a half later of company self hype and corporate, nonsensical buzzwords, it’s over, no more torture. The door, cigarette and loose fitting jeans are almost within your grasp when you are hit with the words, “and do you mind filling one of these questionnaires out, it’s so we can get a deeper understanding into your personality and how you would gel within the company.”

Gel within the company? I’ve just sat there for over an hour telling them every aspect of my life and now they want me to sit a test. It’s only an administration job I’m applying for, not holiday cover for Bill Gates. What is it now?

It’s called psychometric testing and it’s used more and more in today’s corporate world to sort the “wheat” from the “chaff”. The answers you give in the questionnaire, no matter how well you came across in the interview or how relevant your previous work experience, could be the clincher when it comes to winning the job. Global and multinational companies such as BT, BP, Deutsche Bank and many major high street banks have cottoned on to the idea of the personality profile as a useful recruiting tool. It can tell prospective employers if you are an introvert or extrovert. It highlights your strengths and weaknesses both professionally and socially. How you act in a crisis, manage a team, your sales skills, outlook on life, goals for the future. It can tell employers all this in 25 simple questions and then code you by colour, a colour which “defines” your personality.

Green – a helping/serving person, the office dogs body.

Blue – thinking/ introvert, suitable to careers in accountancy or lone hitmen.

Red – fiery, go-getters, dynamic, higher management types or usually just pushy, control freaks that like to tell people what to do.

Yellow – sunshine/fun, the office monkey and annoying shits.

We have now given you your colour and personality, go forth and be productive.

Except of course that it can’t and it hasn’t.


The test has a flaw and like all other tests that flaw is the human element, you. The test can be manipulated so the outcome is in your favour. For example, using the Insights personality profile test as a template, you are faced with 25 statements with four different answers as to your personality. So question one would say, “In the workplace you are” and the answers would be A) Calming and reflective B) Composed and observing C) Dynamic and resourceful and so on. Once you have answered these questions, they are punched into a software programme and under 15 seconds later your personality is there for the employer to judge you by. Except that it isn’t. By answering the questions to make you appear dynamic, resourceful and financially minded you are now perfect management material. Want a job in customer service; just pick the answers that will give your strengths as calming and helping. In one quick read your possible future employer can tell if you will “gel” within their company. Whether you have the right attitude, the same corporate thinking, the perfect image that will turn you into an asset within their company. At least on paper.

Psychometric testing is big business. Insights are a small Scottish company with a global image. Their head office in Dundee employs around 30 people, with smaller offices dotted around the world. Their income last year was over the million and a half mark and projected earnings over the next five years, according to CEO Andy Lothian is £30 million. The management, based in Dundee, will greet salespeople and account managers with friendly “thirty-something” bear hugs. They will often ask new arrivals what colour they are or what number they are on Insights colour wheel in the hope of gleaning some pre-conceived clues to their character. There are paintings on the wall, (created by a talented member of staff) paintings of dreams the Insights founder, Andi Lothian Senior had that inspired him to create the company using Carl Yung’s theories as a basis for their ideology.

Their motto is, “Living the Insights message, living the dream, valuing people’s differences.” There is a quiet, relaxed atmosphere, more incumbent with companies down south that belies the actual activity going on within the company. As Andy Lothian Jr, an ex London merchant banker stated, “There really is no place like this to work in Scotland, we have a totally different concept and outlook than most companies.” It’s the type of place a character in a Chuck Palanhuick novel would take great exception to. It’s the type of place where your built in cynicism alarm is ringing at full blast.Insights are marketed under the title, Learning and Development. As well as the company profiles they have various ways of making your workplace a more efficient and fulfilling, staff oriented place.

I attended day one of a three-day seminar intended for companies wishing to train their own staff to use Insights tools within their companies. I was there as a member of staff, the previously mentioned interview and test had been passed and I was now a fully-fledged member of the Insights “family.” I was there to basically learn what they did at their workshops and represent the company. The majority of the day was taken up with role playing, wearing different coloured baseball caps to identify your personality and then swapping them around to get the feel of how it is to be in someone else’s personality. Also included were juggling balls and lessons, with a set of Insights own colour coded balls (at £13 for a set of three) and standing in a line and jumping in and out of the line as you answered questions about your personality. Thankfully I managed to miss days two and three. Maybe it’s just my personality that made me cringe with embarrassment every time my name was called out, but if you caught the team building episode of “The Office” you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Recently the Bank of Scotland paid £20,000 for only four hours of this type of teambuilding. No doubt the bank charges of their customers will recoup that amount in a matter of minutes.Not too long after my one day of hell I was taken into a meeting with my office manager, Vivien Buchan, who wanted to know why I had walked out halfway through the morning session. Vivien has a great manner, she has a way of making nothing seem like your fault while all the time making it patently clear that you are in the wrong, “Maybe it’s your style to…” is one of her favourite sayings. What she really means is, maybe that’s the way you do it, but that’s not the way we do it. I walked out that morning from the team building games because, A) I was hungover and these team games were building nothing but my nausea and headache and, B) I didn’t fancy standing next to a Christmas tree and telling the other people why I would invite Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue, (the group’s idea not mine), to a Christmas fare.

As my time progressed with Insights I started to feel more and more uneasy about working there. At the interview it seemed like a progressive, exciting company but a few weeks in and doh! I realised I had been suckered. It was a business masquerading under a family atmosphere and the business came first. My first inkling that something was wrong was when I found out that for a business that relied on psychology there were no psychologists on board. The business was not certified by any board of psychologists and when the question was brought up it was answered by Vivien with, “we’ve applied before for certification but nothing came of it.”

Next was the question of pay. Although the business was making big profits for its owners and salespeople, the main head office staff were paid paltry wages in contrast to the profits being made. I worked there for two years without a pay increase until the day before I left, which I’ll get to. While I was there Insights also lost out twice in the Investors in People Awards. Vivien was most surprised and dismayed by this and totally failed to see why Insights staff were unhappy with their working conditions and the management’s attitude towards its staff. Perhaps it was because head office staff froze their asses off during the winter due to lack of adequate heating facility. Or perhaps it was because the sales team was treated like the only members of staff who mattered. I once saw a manager, I wont name her to save embarrassment, come into the office grab an umbrella and then go back out to the car in the pouring rain, to give it to the waiting sales person so that her hair didn’t get wet.

The corporations Insights were doing business with also began to give me cause for concern. Companies such as Shell, Kodak, Roche and Pfizer; companies that have been fined millions for anti trust laws and breaking ethical and environmental laws. In the past Pfizer has been fined 20 million dollars and Roche has been fined 500 million dollars in criminal fines for anti trust violations. Kodak was merely fined a million for breaking environmental laws. They continue to break laws, as most large corporations do, knowing that their huge profits far outweigh the fines given to them.Insights is a company which promotes itself as a caring, concerned family company and yet it trades with huge global corporations who are responsible for many uncaring, unconcerned and unethical moneymaking techniques. And of course the banks, the high street banks that are spending thousands on this product in order to get a better insight into their staffs psyche. You are not individuals anymore, we own a paper copy of your personality and we’ve paid for it, so you better not deviate from that or we’ll want to know why.

My biggest concern was the fact that the company had started to take its profiles into schools. They had started to target children. They had started to market their product to pre-teens in primary schools. At an age when children are just developing their personalities, Insights wanted to tell them who they were and give them a colour. The trouble with these colour coded personality types is that some misguided fools actually take them seriously.
When I first worked at Insights people actually asked you what colour you were and then permanently saw you as that personality type. If there is one thing children don’t need it’s a business and salespeople coming along and sticking a label on them telling them who they are, before they have even had a chance to realise who they are. Sales people know it’s good to hit them with their products while their young and then they’ve got them for life.

In the end I left. I walked out after receiving notification of my pay rise. I sat with Vivien Buchan on my last day through a two-hour appraisal. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected and I was told I was going to get a pay rise. At last after two years I was to receive a pay rise. When I got home and opened the notification letter, the joke was on me. I wish I still had the letter because I really would have liked to frame it, a reminder to never believe what a business person is telling you.

The huge sum I was to receive was 18p per hour. After two years of wasting my time, dragging my arse into a place that bored the shit out of me every day to make some-else a shit load of money, I was given an 18p an hour pay-rise. So I got drunk that night and never returned to Insights. It was the best move I had made in a long time and I only wish that I had the sense to leave sooner instead of giving a company two years of my life that I’ll never get back. When I think about it now, I think Vivien suspected I would walk with an offer like that, you would have to be completely devoid of self respect not to and I wasn’t the first person it had happened to.

It’s the blatant disregard for another person’s feelings I can’t stomach; this is why I could never be a sales or business person.

It’s a proven fact that corporations, in the way they act in their business dealings with people and towards the environment, have the same mental attitude as a psychopath. All the boxes that can be ticked when assessing a psychopath’s mental health can be ticked when assessing a businesses day to day money making activities. One of the major assessments is; “a callous unconcern for the feelings of others.”Insights was started out by a person who valued and believed in everything it stood for but then the money makers took over and it became business as usual.

Businesses think they can get away with anything. They sell us things that we don’t want and really don’t need in order to swell their profits. They create and contribute to nothing except the continuous cycle of consumerism and capitalism. Insights markets itself as one big happy psychometric testing family. As the saying goes - you can’t choose your family, but you can choose not to put up with the shit they feed you.


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     Post subject: Re: Insights Learning and Development Dundee
    Post Number:#2  PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:58 pm 
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    Joined: 11th May, 2010
    Posts: 56
    Location: Leamington Spa, Warks, UK
    Reseda wrote:
    It’s a proven fact that corporations, in the way they act in their business dealings with people and towards the environment, have the same mental attitude as a psychopath. All the boxes that can be ticked when assessing a psychopath’s mental health can be ticked when assessing a businesses day to day money making activities. One of the major assessments is; “a callous unconcern for the feelings of others.”Insights was started out by a person who valued and believed in everything it stood for but then the money makers took over and it became business as usual.

    Businesses think they can get away with anything. They sell us things that we don’t want and really don’t need in order to swell their profits. They create and contribute to nothing except the continuous cycle of consumerism and capitalism. Insights markets itself as one big happy psychometric testing family. As the saying goes - you can’t choose your family, but you can choose not to put up with the shit they feed you.


    And indeed, some bosses are psychopaths. Link


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       Post subject: Re: Insights Learning and Development Dundee
      Post Number:#3  PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:10 am 
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      Joined: 1st June, 2007
      Posts: 48
      Psychometric testing was used in the US back in the 1950s to ensure that new managers had exactly the same personality as their predecessor has.

      I read a very interesting comment about Jack Welch, the CEO of General Electric, at http://freewill.typepad.com/genetics/20 ... verts.html

      "The reason Welch rose to become CEO is his ability to wear masks, or choose his attitude at will. (That's one of the rare genetic traits for which he's so highly paid.) He knows how to motivate people, and push their buttons. Some people are motivated by being yelled at. Some are motivated by guilt. Some are motivated by money or power. A good leader knows that, and can choose his own mask for the situation.

      What leaders seem to ignore is that others simply can't choose to be this way. Our brains are not wired to allow us to smile at will. My favorite example is selective mutism, whereby someone cannot choose to speak in public, no matter how hard they try. Because leaders don't have this gene, they don't see how others differ from themselves. They figure everyone else can chose their mask, just like they do."

      I have wondered if there is some correlation between people who have a good ability to "wear masks" and people with psychopathic tendencies.


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         Post subject: Re: Insights Learning and Development Dundee
        Post Number:#4  PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:18 pm 
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        Joined: 11th May, 2010
        Posts: 56
        Location: Leamington Spa, Warks, UK
        Reseda wrote:
        I have wondered if there is some correlation between people who have a good ability to "wear masks" and people with psychopathic tendencies.

        Sounds like an exercise in doublethink.


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           Post subject: Re: Insights Learning and Development Dundee
          Post Number:#5  PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:09 pm 
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          Joined: 3rd April, 2007
          Posts: 90
          Aeolienne wrote:
          Sounds like an exercise in doublethink.


          Not quite.

          The ability to wear masks like Jack Welch does is a strongly neurotypical trait. In the early 80s he laid off so many people from General Electric that he earned the nickname of Neutron Jack. I have suspected he could have some psychopathic traits as well.

          Another possible candidate for scrutiny is Nick Griffin.


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