For 15 years, I have done leadership development for multi-national companies. I have a file cabinet drawer full of different assessments that I have taken over the years, trying to find one that truly that connects with my clients. The Birkman Method assessment is “the one.” It’s hard to explain why Birkman is different, but here are the reasons I, as well as thousands of others, use it as a primary tool to help organizations develop their leadership strengths.
Some would say that 298 questions on an assessment is too many. But that thirty-minutes of assessment provides a depth of insight that is used to help a leader or a team understand themselves better. If you take a shortcut at the start, you won’t get the results you want at the end. From this one set of questions you will get data about strengths, occupational fit, career satisfaction, motivation, and interpersonal relationships. It’s data that is applicable to an employee at all stages of their career -- from the hiring process, to personal development, and even outplacement if at some point their position is eliminated.
The results of the Birkman Questionnaire can be reported in over 40 different ways, all based on the same set of data. But who is the client? What are their goals? What learning style do they have? With Birkman you can match the answer to those questions with a report that meets their needs, instead of being bound to the one or two reports most assessments are limited to. Do they need the results to be analyzed and reported in a paragraph? Available. Would they prefer simple bullet points and graphics? Piece of cake. Need to compare reports? Got it. Need the whole team’s data compiled so it is easy to understand? Done.
Reliability and validity are two words some assessments dread facing, but not Birkman. The Birkman Method is not based on a personality theory. It is based on years and years of empirical data that Dr. Birkman gathered about real leaders facing real challenges in real-world situations. It’s not one man’s theory, it’s a scientific study of how your personal perception affects the results and relationships you need to succeed in business. For over 65 years, the company has tracked the reliability and validity of the instrument to ensure that each person taking the assessment receives the same insights.
Is Birkman the cheapest assessment out there? No. But there’s a reason you probably don’t drive the cheapest car available. With Birkman you get value and a scalable product that can be upcharged as the client's relationship develops. I am able to help budget-starved clients get started with Birkman at a very reasonable price point with simple report sets. When we need to go deeper with team leaders, we can upgrade to a more complex report set just for those users that need it. Need to move into a coaching relationship with a leader? Add on additional report services and even more insights become available to that client. The scalability of the Birkman report set is amazing, and it’s all due to the care and concern that Birkman International has for the individuals being served with the assessment.
The primary reason I feel so strongly about The Birkman Method is that it personally changed my life and the results I had been getting in my career. I was a mid-level leader that was struggling with who I was and frustrated with the complexity of corporate relationships. When I received the results of my Birkman report, they exposed the lies I had been telling myself. My strengths were clear, and I could own those. My biases were also clear, and I realized that the story I had created about my struggles was just that. A story. When I faced those perceptions and opened my mind to what else could be true, things changed for me. I’m still learning every day, but it was the kick-start that Birkman gave me that got it started.
The Birkman Method may not directly change everyone’s life, but I have seen hundreds of leaders have the opportunity to learn about themselves and their teams, making adjustments that got them different results and improved their understanding of those around them. Better relationships. Improved communication. More effective teamwork. These are the bottom-line results when you entrust your success to Birkman.
The Birkman Method is an investment in the future of a person, a career, a life.
Dan has over 15 years of real-world experience in applying The Birkman Method with leaders from small companies and huge multi-national corporations. He has worked both internally as a coach and facilitator, and as an independent consultant to companies in small-town America to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. This was first published while Dan was running a consultancy focused on leadership development. He is now the Vice President of Training at Birkman International.