Founders and History
How Far We’ve Come
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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
In December 1993, Pierce and Jane taught their first Big Five Certification Program as CentACS.
Pierce released the first edition of his book, The Owner’s Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind-Brain Research.
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.
The Owner’s Manual for the Brain was published in Japanese.
- 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.
The Owner’s Manual for the Brain (2nd edition) was published.
- 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.
- The Owner’s Manual for the Personality at Work was published in German.
- The WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ 2.0 was released.
CentACS released the SchoolPlace Big Five Profile™, a five-factor personality assessment designed specifically for the 12-22 age group.
The WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ 3.0 was released.
- 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.
The Owner’s Manual for Personality at Work was published in Korean.
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.
- 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.
Pierce published The Trait Toolkit: Application Manual for WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ and the SchoolPlace Big Five Profile™.
Paradigm Personality Labs completes the final phase of its transition to new leadership. Jane and Pierce Howard each become co-founder and consultant emeritus and continue to work on Paradigm projects. The new management team is Lisa Dunbar (CEO), Ruchi Shah (Vice President – Client Solutions), and Bo Boylan (Strategic Advisor).