Personality Poker has been played by more than twenty five thousand people around the world. And although there is a mountain of anecdotal evidence supporting its value, one question remained: Is Personality Poker truly valid? That is, do the words actually measure what they are supposed to measure? Or is it just a fun game?
To help assess the situation, we needed an expert on psychological testing. The perfect person for the job was Michael Wiederman, professor of psychology at Columbia College in South Carolina.
It was mentioned to Michael that people found Personality Poker to be extremely simple and valuable. It provided deep insights in a short period of time, while being very easy and intuitive to play. The question was, “Could something so simple could be scientifically valid?”
Michael response: “Simple is good, as long as it’s useful.”
He went on to recall a study published several years ago in which a battery of widely used depression tests and methods were administered to a group of people, along with some simple questions. Although the tests administered were complex and supposedly scientifically validated, the most accurate predictor of depression was the single question: “Are you depressed?” So much for complexity.
Armed with this perspective, and with the help of Michael Wiederman, a series of surveys were created that were designed to provide statistical proof. First a list of over one hundred words were created; more than the fifty-two in a deck of poker cards. Then a random group of over 200 people were recruited to select the words that best described their personality. Then, a technique called a “factor analysis,” was used to find which words best related to which styles. From the responses and resulting analysis, words were chosen that showed the greatest relationship between the words and styles.
Interestingly, the factor analysis did not show a perfect one-to-one match between the styles and the words. In fact, it was discovered that it was extremely rare that individuals would associate themselves with only words of one suit. That is, people selected words that represented multiple sub-styles. But what became apparent while wading through the data was that this was a good thing. It showed the multi-dimensionality of individuals and why people cannot and should not be labeled too rigidly. It showed why the conversations that take place during Personality Poker are one of the most valuable aspects of the process.
Of course test development is an ongoing process, and no one sample of respondents represents every test-taker. Therefore we hope that researchers reading the book will perform their own analysis of how Personality Poker relates to personality traits, team performance, and more. This will enable us to develop even more accurate assessments in the future.
Regardless, don’t be fooled by the simplicity of Personality Poker. It can provide deep insights into your personality and the personalities of your coworkers, and help provide a blueprint for getting your organization to grow more quickly while having a lot of fun in the process.
Or, in the words of Wouter Koetzier, the Global Innovation Lead at Accenture, “Personality Poker may be a game, but it provides some serious results.”