Tactics: Judging (J) vs. Prospecting (P)

Crossing the Finish Line (By Whatever Means)

The Tactics scale, which includes the Judging and Prospecting personality traits, reflects how people plan and deal with the options they have. But this definition doesn’t just concern what individuals write in their day planners. It’s much broader. These traits answer questions like, “Do you prefer spontaneity or certainty?” “Do you feel more comfortable acting only with all your ducks lined neatly in a row? Or does a certain amount of flexibility or chaos excite you and prove motivating?” “Do you need more choices or fewer?”

72% of those with the Judging trait say they are focused on and dedicated to their goals and rarely get sidetracked, compared to 21% of those with the Prospecting trait.

Judging (J) Personality

Making Things as They Ought to Be

People with the Judging (J) personality trait feel most comfortable when the course ahead is well-marked. They would rather come up with five backup plans than deal with events as they come. Preferring to consider their options ahead of time, personality types with this trait prefer clarity and closure, sticking with the plan rather than going with the flow. It’s as if Judging types always keep a mental checklist. When they cross something off their list – or even start an item on their list – they consider it complete and not open to reconsideration.

66% of those with the Judging trait say they set specific goals that they hope to accomplish each day, compared to 34% of those with the Prospecting trait.

The downside is, if they take this too far, those with the Judging trait sometimes come across as rigid. However, most are not unreasonably stubborn. It’s important to remember their need for structure always is a preference and reality often calls on them to respond in unforeseen ways. Too many surprises in a row can leave these personality types frustrated and stressed. When this happens, they can still be relied on to develop a plan (and a contingency plan), but however well they handle the unexpected, they rarely enjoy it.

Whether a life goal or a response to an emergency, people with the Judging personality trait can develop a clear and actionable plan.

Judging individuals tend to have a strong work ethic, putting their duties and responsibilities above everything else. To them, rules, laws, and standards are the key to success. They can be too dependent on these measures, whether applied to themselves or others. But the intent is almost always one of fairness and results.

Prospecting (P) Personality

Figuring Things Out as They Go

76% of those with the Prospecting trait say it’s hard for them to focus on one thing for a long period of time, compared to 50% of those with Judging trait.

Prospecting (P) individuals are much more flexible when it comes to dealing with unexpected challenges. This flexibility helps them seize unexpected opportunities as well. These personality types tend to react to their environments rather than try to control them, helping them to make their own luck in whatever the world delivers. People with this trait hold that life is full of possibilities.

69% of those with the Prospecting trait say they jump from one topic in a conversation to another quickly, compared to 47% of those with the Judging trait.

All this opportunism can lead to impulsive decision-making, though. At the same time, they can be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options on their radar. People with the Prospecting personality trait can be slow to commit to something because of uncertainty or the potential of everything else. If they don’t moderate this trait, indecision or a lack of conviction can be a problem. They can seem unfocused. What was important to them one week may be forgotten the next.

When a passion takes them, there’s no masking a Prospecting type’s excitement.

Despite those concerns, this personality trait can offer a great deal of creativity and productivity. Theirs is almost a stream of consciousness quality. In many ways, it’s like these types are constantly brainstorming as their minds create a web of options. This can be a powerful tool for finding solutions. And if they aren’t satisfied with something in their lives, it’s easier for them to let go of it and choose something else. This can lead to serial passions that keep Prospecting individuals stimulated as they explore the buffet of choices always before them.