Right now you are one choice away from a new beginning -- one that leads you toward becoming the fullest human being you can be." - Oprah Winfrey
Origin and Purpose of WIST
WIST® is unique, proven, and comparatively new. It was conceived to fill an empty niche in a comprehensive personal assessment battery. The tests used in the battery gave a clear portrayal of people, but to find out which occupations would best suit them had to be inferred. There really was no single, reliable link available between what people were like and what jobs they would be good at. That absent link was needed to fill the empty niche. The following account describes how I came to meet this need with WIST.
My background includes major responsibilities in both the employment and the compensation functions in the now-absorbed First National Bank of Boston. In those roles I was deeply involved in a program for not only describing positions, but also determining their relative standing in the Bank through definitive position evaluation. This program also formed the basis for annual salary surveys in the marketplace. A corollary responsibility had me acting as cognizant officer, through an outside consultancy, over the psychological testing program, as well as being a kind of ombudsman as a source of career guidance for bank officers. These roles made for an interesting matrix all of which became significant in the invention of WIST.
Bank positions had to be written and evaluated rigorously so as to achieve among them both salary equity within the Bank when evaluated, and salary-range parity within the marketplace when surveyed. We achieved the necessary rigor based on a format for written position descriptions, together with unique criteria for position evaluations, provided through use of Edward N. Hay's System of Position Evaluation, which is known and respected throughout the business world. Our annual salary surveys, among a dozen other banks of similar size, thus benefitted from the accuracy of the descriptions and salary data we had in hand, and they were highly regarded for their cogency among our peer banks. In due course I thus became personally steeped in the kind of discernment that involves spotting distinctions among positions however slight they may be, a skill that was to prove highly useful for evaluating positions by means of WIST criteria.
The Bank was fortunate, through the good offices of our consultancy, the L.F. McManus Co. of Worcester MA, to have an active psychological testing program in which most of our officers participated. Each participant would meet with Mr. Leo F. McManus, the firm's principal, for discussion of assessment results. The results of the test battery, along with records of meetings, were maintained under my care. The value of this program was underscored whenever I was called upon to provide career guidance for an officer whose performance had flagged. But that empty niche was always there; the much needed job-strength link was always missing. It always had to be inferred.
After leaving the Bank in the early 80s, I began an informal affiliation with the L.F. McManus Co. which continues to this day. Leo McManus, himself skilled in test construction and interpretation, encouraged me to attempt some test construction of my own related to occupational compatibility. He knew that I had read the collected works of the renowned psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung and that my education included a Harvard degree which involved course work in educational measurements. He had examined one or two putatively Jung-based test instruments which did not satisfy him, but he still liked the idea of a clinically based instrument as somewhat of a balance to his chiefly behavioral assessment battery. Responding to his interest, I immediately reread Jung's Psychological Types with an idea in mind that proved enormously fruitful.
This notion was simply to develop a means of describing people and jobs by using the same adjectives and then to determine how well or poorly they matched. Jung's Functions and Attitudes would clearly suffice as criteria, so I culled, from Roget's International Thesaurus, a total of 200 adjectives each of which connoted a Function or Attitude. I had my list carefully critiqued by a noted Jungian psychiatrist to insure theoretical adherence. My interest being to find out what people were good at, I chose only positive adjectives since negative information is not needed to measure what one does especially well. Respondents were asked to check off only the words they believed described them and to skip the others.
Finally I designed graphics to portray, by identical means, both personal and position WIST profiles so that they might be visually compared with ease. WIST includes a total of 54 position profile families. Your own WIST personal profile will visually fit in one of the 54, and the interpretation which accompanies it will apply to your occupational strengths. Although the WIST position profiles are not displayed in this website, each of them matches one of the 54 personal profiles which are included. The graphics are crucial for matching personal and position profiles because WIST's validity depends on that matching. Empirical proof that WIST is both valid and reliable is evident in its history of continuous, productive inclusion, since its invention, in the L.F. McManus Co's personal assessment battery. WIST has truly become the link that is no longer missing.
I hope that this background about the invention of WIST, will satisfy your natural curiosity about both its origin and its purpose. The information which follows will further explain WIST's characteristics and cover more of the specifics in which you, as a prospective client for a WIST Personal Profile, would have a normal interest. It is my most earnest hope that you do find WIST to be a useful ingredient in your own new beginning.Lars-Erik Wiberg