Synchronicity: How I became MBTI® Qualified and found CAPT

In the early 1990s I was a part of a leadership team whose job it was to roll out a quality management program at a local hospital. I had assumed the role of “facilitator” on a multidisciplinary team who had been charged with the task of improving the timely delivery of drugs from the pharmacy to the cancer unit. To make a long story short, it became clear after a few meetings that these folks saw the problems and solutions so differently from one another that to find a unified approach was going to present a formidable challenge.

One evening I was pondering the not so positive dynamics of this team when a friend of mine who happened to be an HR executive called to chat. This gave me the perfect opportunity to vent my frustrations. I can remember saying, “This team’s problems have nothing to do with knowledge or skill and everything to do with how different they are from one another as people. They just can’t see each other’s perspective.”

At this point my friend stopped me to remind me of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, an assessment I took when I was a sophomore at the University of Florida. I hadn’t thought about the MBTI® assessment in years but was glad to be reminded of it.  Perhaps I could use it to help the people on this team learn to appreciate different approaches, rather than seeing another person’s way of doing things as wrongheaded.
My friend went on to tell me about Otto Kroeger and Associates (OKA) in Fairfax, VA, where I could attend a training program and learn how to administer and use the MBTI® assessment. Good. This gave me the incentive to convince my CEO that the quality management endeavor would greatly benefit from what I would learn about psychological type and how to apply it to teamwork.
So here is the “synchronicity” part of my story…On the first day of class the instructor says, “We use many acronyms during this program and there are some you should know: APT, the Association of Psychological Type is the membership organization that sponsors conferences every two years. CPP, Inc., is located in Palo Alto California and is the publisher of the MBTI assessment. CAPT, the Center for Applications of Psychological Type, is the non-profit organization founded by Isabel Myers and Dr. Mary McCaulley and it is the training and research organization dedicated to the ethical use of type. CAPT is located in Gainesville, Florida.”
At that point I said to myself, “No way!” Had I flown to Virginia to take a class that was being offered in my hometown? When I returned home I made a point of visiting CAPT and introducing myself to Mary McCaulley, the founding President of CAPT. As our relationship developed she asked me to do some volunteer work for CAPT, which ultimately led to my becoming a member of the Board of Directors in 1993, and eventually becoming the President and CEO at CAPT. This was a job that incorporated all of my values and would let me practice the appreciation of differences every day. (Not so easy, by the way.) How could I have said no?

Working with Mary McCaulley was both a privilege and a pleasure. She had a passion for the work of C.G. Jung and expressed her observations with a twinkle in her eye and a lilt to her voice. I can still hear her saying “synchronicity” in that joyful tone when a series of seemingly unrelated events resulted in an uncanny coincidence. Jung coined the word synchronicity to describe this type of chain of events…and it aptly describes the journey I took to get to CAPT.

• Learn more about Jung's work on synchronicity.

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