“Who have I become?” What 2 years in San Francisco did to my values

Innovation-values-page-imagePersonality tests. Everyone will have taken at least one in their life, either have been assessed by one to see if there’s alignment with the organization they’re applying for, or as a tool for increased self-awareness. One of these tests is the Hogan Values assessment, which, through a series of questions, determines what really drives your actions and creates your inner compass. It measures the importance of the following values: recognition, power, hedonism, altruism, affiliation, tradition, security, commerce, aesthetics and science.

I am in the fortunate position to have taken this test twice: Once around the end of 2013, and now again at the end of 2015. Two years apart. Two years that took little Kathrin out of her industrious and traditional Northern German environment and put her into hipster-techy flower-power San Francisco to radically californianize her.

Let’s start with the consistent piece: I’m clearly driven by recognition and aesthetics, while commerce is more on the low end. So to call it out: Nothing has changed about me needing tons of positive feedback, wanting lots of beautiful things and art in my life, and not really caring about money too much (and let me make very clear that I hope my boss doesn’t read this right now…)!

Now lets get to the interesting changes:

(1) My need for “power” got cut in half, while my sense for “hedonism” doubled. In other words, I exchanged control against fun. Does that sound like the old Kathrin Peters? At all? Sounds a lot more like California sun to me. As I have been a total control freak for pretty much all of my life and needed to have influence on over anything that touched my immediate circle of concern, I take that as very good news! Or maybe I’m just getting… older?

(2) “Altruism” more than doubled. Means, I suddenly care about world peace. Seriously, if I look back on the last two years, I have been touched and impressed by so many non-profit organizations in the Bay Area, and yes, I do catch myself tearing up much more easily when being confronted with poverty and the uneven distribution of wealth in this world. It’s a great thing to contribute and help change things to make others’ lives better. Honestly, I’m pretty proud that this measure went up!

(3) “Security” and “tradition” went down to insignificance while “science” went from insignificance to being a core value. Wow, I really feel like a social rebel looking at this – taking chances like others take vitamins, and not being driven too much by traditional expectations or a given framework that has been established around me. But how did that science piece happen? MBA? Watching too many TED talks? Or just being right in the center of technological innovation in Silicon Valley? Either way, I guess I can feel save to call myself a risk-taking nerd now.

As funny as this all may sound, it is incredibly interesting how things change over time, and how rapidly you develop as a person when you expose yourself to the world. Who knows what Miami and the East Coast will do to me in the coming weeks and months? I’m determined to take the test again in two years. Maybe I’ll suddenly be off the charts on commerce when living the Miami lifestyle? Or security go up when I start feeling at home there? Tradition be more important as I become older?

Who knows. The beautiful and inspiring key message is that through interacting with the world and making choices, you will likely help shape and develop your character and personality to become who you truly want to be. Apparently in my case for now: A reckless hedonist.

Happy testing!

Yours truly,



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