Founders and History

How Far We’ve Come

Founders & History

Paradigm Personality Labs began as Howard Management Consulting in the mid-1980s. Later we became the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies (CentACS), and now Paradigm Personality Labs. Pierce Howard and Jane Mitchell Howard founded this organization, and their dedication and willingness to embrace change have made us the successful company we are today. We are committed to building on this history of innovation and leveraging personality research to unleash the potential of individuals and organizations. Read about our journey from independent consulting firm to global organization here:

  • Howard Management Consulting Opens Its Doors

    • Pierce and Jane Howard launched Howard Management Consulting (HMC), out of their strong desire to spend less time away traveling for work and more time at home with family. Little did they know, their enterprise would pave the way to what is now a growing international business.
    • In one of HMC’s first projects, Pierce and Jane delivered a 10-month project to train every supervisor and manager on 12 programs for a large city’s utility department.
    • One of HMC’s earliest clients was the Southeastern sales arm of a well-known technology company.
  • Big Five Focus Emerges

    HMC was asked to train and certify practitioners in the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R). During this time, HMC began to focus more on the Big Five and move away from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

  • Big Five Training for Organizations Begins

    Jane led the local facility of a multinational computer corporation’s 30-person training department through a teambuilding session that included the Big Five. It went so well that HMC was asked to design and lead training for these individuals so they could roll out the program throughout the organization.

  • Company becomes Center for Applied Cognitive Studies (CentACS)

    The Howards’ increased focus on the Big Five reflected a deeper paradigm shift in how they approached their practice. They decided to change the name of the company to the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies, or CentACS.

  • First Big Five Certification Program

    In December 1993, Pierce and Jane taught their first Big Five Certification Program as CentACS.

  • Owner’s Manual for the Brain is Published

    Pierce released the first edition of his book, The Owner’s Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind-Brain Research.

  • Jane and Pierce publish Big Five article in T+D

    A condensed version of a white paper Pierce and Jane wrote about using the Big Five in the workplace was published in the September 1995 edition of T+D, the Association for Talent Development’s trade journal. Their article was the first ever published in a trade journal that referred to the Five-Factor Model. The article, titled “Buddy, Can You Paradigm?” described the psychological community’s shift to focus on five major personality traits, rather than four.

  • Brain Book is Published in Japanese

    The Owner’s Manual for the Brain was published in Japanese.

  • CentACS Draws Attention Internationally and in Media

    • The Center for Applied Cognitive Studies’ work began to attract international attention. The president of a large Dutch consulting company asked the Howards to come to The Netherlands to certify 25 of the company’s consultants and 20 clients in the Big Five. The Big Five gained recognition in the U.K. and the European continent.
    • Pierce appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to discuss new developments in brain research. The show caused sales of his book to spike and lent increased credibility to the Howards’ work.
  • Second Edition of Brain Book is Published

    The Owner’s Manual for the Brain (2nd edition) was published.

  • WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ Launches

    • CentACS launched the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™, a human resources assessment designed to be significantly shorter and more widely applicable in the workplace than other assessments.
    • Pierce and Jane co-authored and published The Owner’s Manual for Personality at Work, their first book together.
  • Owner’s Manual for Personality at Work is Published in German

    • The Owner’s Manual for the Personality at Work was published in German.
    • The WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ 2.0 was released.
  • SchoolPlace Big Five Profile™ is Developed

    CentACS released the SchoolPlace Big Five Profile™, a five-factor personality assessment designed specifically for the 12-22 age group.

  • WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ 3.0 is Released

    The WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ 3.0 was released.

  • SchoolPlace Big Five Profile™ is Launched

    • CentACS launched the SchoolPlace Big Five Profile 4.0™ for use in schoolpace settings, including high schools, colleges and vocational schools.
    • The Owner’s Manual for the Brain (3rd edition) was published.
  • Owner’s Manual for Personality from 12-22 is Published

    • The Owner’s Manual for the Personality at Work (2nd edition) was published.
    • The WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ 4.0 was released.
    • CentACS published The Owner’s Manual for the Brain from 12 to 22, which focused on adolescent development.
  • Owner’s Manual for Personality at Work is Published in Korean

    The Owner’s Manual for Personality at Work was published in Korean.

  • WorkPlace Performance 360°™ Launches

    CentACS released the WorkPlace Performance 360°™, which complements workplace trait information with competency performance information.

  • Happiness and Values Offerings

    • Pierce wrote The Owner’s Manual for Happiness: Essential Elements of a Meaningful Life.
    • CentACS released the WorkPlace Values Profile™, an assessment of 16 values applicable to the workplace.
  • Owner’s Manual for the Brain, 4th Edition

    The Owner’s Manual for the Brain: The Ultimate Guide to Peak Mental Performance at All Ages (4th edition) was published by the William Morrow division of HarperCollins.

  • Owner’s Manual for Values at Work is Published

    • Pierce published The Owner’s Manual for Values at Work: Clarifying and Focusing on What is Most Important and The Values Toolkit: Application Manual for the Owner’s Manual for Values at Work.
    • To reflect all the changes since that initial paradigm shift in the 1990s, and as a nod that first trade journal article Pierce and Jane wrote, the team selected a new name for the company in the fall of 2016: Paradigm Personality Labs.
  • The Trait Toolkit is Published

    Pierce published The Trait Toolkit: Application Manual for WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ and the SchoolPlace Big Five Profile™.