There are two parts to this answer.
Firstly, PfP doesn’t ask questions. Instead, it presents pairs of neutrally-worded statements; respondents choose between the statements. It does this because asking an individual open or closed question, or asking for a rating, creates a risk that the respondent will try to give the response they think will lead to the best survey outcome. PfP’s pairwise comparison approach has been independently proved to produce statistically accurate and more objective. Paired choices make it virtually impossible for a respondent to second-guess the intent of the assessment.
Secondly, the statements. Unlike some personality quizzes that claim to represent the wisdom and teachings of a single source (for example Karl Jung), PfP’s foundations lie in a rich tapestry of well-researched and reviewed works of myriad scholars from throughout history. For example the Transactions profile and the Team Roles profile are based in part on the work of Eric Berne, a Canadian scholar and author of such works as Games People Play, Transactional Analysis and The Structure and Dynamics of Organisations and Groups. The Action Style profile, which is about action planning, is based in part on ten principles of warfare (often applied to business).
Further reading: Assessing behaviour, not personality
Definitely not! Profiles for People is not a personality test. In fact it was developed specifically as a viable alternative to tests and quizzes that focus on personality as their basis of assessment.
At PfP it is a strongly held belief that personality-based tests are placing an emphasis on human elements that -by and large – don’t directly affect on-the-job performance.
Furthermore, it’s unlikely that answering a personality quiz will provide meaningful insights into the complex nature of individuals and groups. Peoples’ behaviours vary greatly depending on circumstances, situational context, and others with whom they interact.
PfP respects and celebrates these differences, delivering detailed insights into 144 separate behavioural factors, each one represented not as a binary “is or isn’t” outcome, but in terms of a spectrum.
Profiles for People is a behavioural preference analysis system. It bases its assessments around the notion that on-the-job performance can be better depicted in terms of what people and groups do – behaviour – rather than why they do it – psychology.
We strongly believe that in a business context, an approach based around observable behaviour is more practical for assessors (who themselves are unlikely to be qualified in psychology or in measuring personality traits).
Fun FAQs (1)
Yes. Mike Dakin (the creator of PfP) served with the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service at exactly the same time the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation was developing specialised surveys and assessment tools at the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, within the Training Division at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Popularised in the hit Netflix series Mind Hunter, the FBI developed its assessments using techniques such as pairwise comparison – the same methodolgy used to create PfP!
Mike Dakin – nowadays a retired Royal New Zealand Artillery officer, Vietnam veteran and management consultant – created Profiles for People in the late 1970s.
Mike joined the New Zealand Army just prior to New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and was posted to Vietnam where he was promoted to Captain. Deeply affected by his war experiences, and now opposed to New Zealand’s involvement in Vietnam, he resigned his commission in 1967.
Growth and Development
He joined the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service in 1967, but he was already developing an interest in the business world and was soon acting as an employers’ senior advocate with the New Zealand Employers’ Federation.
Mike represented the Federation at the International Labour Organisation conference in Geneva in 1972, and from 1973 to 1979, he held executive personnel management positions in major NZ companies. In 1979, he founded his own specialised consulting group, focused on Organisational Development, Systematic Management and Behavioural Change.
He served three terms as Vice President of the New Zealand Institute of Management between 1989 and 1992.
PfP is born
Dissatisfied with the behavioural assessment tools available, and discounting those based on ‘personality’ concepts, he set about developing a suite of surveys and reports that he called Profiles for People (PfP). He later launched The Professional Management Consulting Group Ltd (Promana) in 1979.
PfP quickly gained popularity in the New Zealand corporate sector, with executive uptake in large corporations such as Telecom NZ (New Zealand’s largest company at that time). The PfP system provided a compelling consulting backbone which underpinned the firm’s offerings for thirteen years.
PfP remains unparalleled as a complete method for improving organisational performance and achievement.