How To Identify Primary Themes

The Energy Portrait Overview

When we designed Human Patterns, we evaluated many of the instruments that were popular at that time. For example the MBTI was being used by many coaches and organizations to evaluate how people were distributing their energy across the MBTI factors. The instrument seemed to us to reflect the way people distributed their energy and whether they drew energy internally (as introverts) or externally (as extroverts). Another example is how the Firo B at that time clearly identified itself as an instrument that addressed interpersonal relations. Yet another example is how the theoretical work Marsden had done that led to the DISC was clearly directed to the issue of motivation. Jack Dusay, one of the Transactional Analysts, had a model that addressed how ego state functions were arranged and it seemed to us that he was proposing a model for problem solving via Ego State functioning. There was also theoretical work being developed by Virginia Satir that mapped how interpersonal conflict might be managed.

One has to be cautious when dealing with models that are not one's own, and Human Patterns does not claim to be an entirely accurate reflection of these other models. However, groups of factors captured by Human Patterns could be readily arranged to mimic the sets of factors within other models. The reason that Human Patterns could include so many models was that the factor analytic work on each item in the inventory could subset responses into factors that correlated with factors native to a theory.

One of the issues in psychometrics is that the face validity of a given inventory may be quite high for a subset of the population and quite low for another subset. We hypothesized that that might well be because different people have a valence toward different themes, such as motivation, management, problem solving, interpersonal relations, achievement, and so forth. In these cases, a person completing their Human Patterns would be more compelled to positively or negatively address items that correlated with the theme itself. Thus one person might be better measured by MBTI, another by their Criteria for Management, and yet another by their investment in issues surrounding problem solving. To our knowledge, no other instrument had been able to surface the thematic material because it was never an object of their design.

For the person completing Human Patterns, we can sometimes see which "themes" predominate, and we call this the Energy Portrait. It anticipates which subset of factors will have the most energy - which map is the one the individual uses. To illustrate the map, we simply compute the absolute values of the standard deviation scores and do further math to adjust the score to reflect the sample population and report that out as the Energy Portrait. This is very helpful for an administrator to consider, especially if the administrator has a preference for a single model embedded into Human Patterns. Biases can be corrected for, because the administrator can see in "black and white" where the person has focused as he was completing the inventory.


A. Laffoley

Academic Program Director Raleigh- Durham, NC

I used the Human Patterns Inventory in the development program for high potential senior leaders and recommend it as an effective tool as part of any comprehensive employee development program. In my opinion an important differentiator of this tool is the light it shines on the switches that may occur in our behavior when we are in reaction mode (e.g. in a stressful situation). Bringing awareness to where this occurs is invaluable to an individual’s personal development.

K. Jobe

Executive Recruiter Charlotte, North Carolina Area

I have used the Human Patterns as an internal recruiter as well as during client “coaching” engagements. It is the most comprehensive psychometric test that I have ever worked with. I highly recommend this tool to any organization that is committed to talent optimization.

F. Christian

Managing Director Chicago, IL

Human Patterns is a rare exception among assessment tools. Most are simplistic and slipshod, more mirrors of their creators' craniums than windows into one's own. Human Patterns has a richness that allows me to start meaningful conversations with the hidden high potentials I work with, who after years of severe underemployment have lost sight of themselves and their unique ways of working with the world. I'm so enthusiastic I now require it for new clients to shortcut to solutions.