Making it Meaningful: The “What” to the “Now What” Assessments like the MBTI® are often looked to for answers, but in reality, they are best used to generate questions. In my workshops, I commonly refer to the MBTI tool itself as the “Start of the conversation, not the end of one”. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is very helpful in helping an individual or teams identify how their preferences are creating value as well as conflict, but personal insight is only the first step. To instigate real change, development or growth, these questions must lead into action planning or the insights will probably decay. In previous blog-posts (here and here), I focused on how workshops need to demonstrate real-world value and be placed into a larger context from an organizational level. But what can you – as a workshop facilitator for example – do to further the cause? Well, by simply making sure the session itself ends in an action plan, you already increase the chances that a team or an individual will actually benefit from the discussion.To use an assessment tool as a method of asking questions and generating real change, you can frame interactions with clients using a simple three-step approach – What? So What? Now What? Step 1 – What? As the first step, this refers to the data gathering where the client receives their results and clarifies their understanding of what the MBTI assessment is telling them. Then regardless of the developmental focus of your work, you can ask your client some of the following: What do your preferences and their descriptions say? How do your results fit for you? What other information have you received that confirms or refutes your results? Do others see these things from you? Do you see the opposite in others? Step 2 – So What? Step two shifts from data gathering to data evaluation. You want the client to begin to think about the implications of the information they have received. You can use questions such as: What characteristics could be strengths? Which of these do you rely on (in your role)? What strengths could you use more? What characteristics could be developmental areas? What could you develop that would increase your effectiveness the most? How is your current approach working for you? What works well? What does not seem to work well? How do your strengths and developmental needs affect how others see and interact with you? Step 3 – Now What? Step three involves taking the data and evaluation from the first two steps and asking the client what they are going to do about it. The goal is to create a plan that focuses on one or two key areas that will have the most impact for your client. Helpful questions include: What are the key things that will make you more effective? How can you use your strengths more? How does behavior related to your blind spots show up in your work? What could you do differently? What are you going to stop, start, or continue to do?