Birkman test update

I promised ages ago that I would write about the Birkman test we did, and I am now (eventually) keeping that promise.

The guy who did our Birkman test was Jon Mason, who’s blog you will find here.

I was not keen on the idea of the Birkman test at first, I was sceptical of how much it would really offer to anyone who had a reasonable amount of self knowledge.  But on deeper analysis, I began to see the value of it.

Essentially what Birkman does is give you a language to explain how and why people react to certain to different stimuli. It gives a way to understand what motivates people, what demotivates them, what their needs are and what their stress behaviour is likely to be.

I think the day I spent doing the Birkman test was useful, it helped me get a better idea of some of the reasons for the strange behaviour of others.  However, unless you are a skilled practitioner it would be hard to use the Birkman principles to analyse the behaviour of others without them going through a Birkman profile.  For somewhere with established teams, where people are stable and where relationships are mature, a Birkman session could be very helpful to deal with problematic team dynamics.

In a situation with fluid teams, new people coming in and out, I would say that the Birkman is unlikely to be massively helpful without a skilled or trained Birkman tester on hand.

So I was wrong, the test was useful, but I was also right, because this was not a test which taught me stuff about myself.  I knew the things about me that it told me.  However others didnt necessarily know those things.

It’s not so much a personality profile, as a teamwork tool, and in the right circumstances, potentially a pretty valuable one.


5 thoughts on “Birkman test update

  1. I think that the only really useful insight you get from any of these personality tests or even things like Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus is that other people are different to you.

    Practically everyone goes through their life analysing other peoples behaviour as if it must have grown from they exact same motivations they would have if they acted the same way. It’s a recipe for assuming that other people must be stupid, evil, uncaring or impolite.

    I find that if you work instead from the principle that whatever crazy behaviour you’re observing makes sense from that persons point of view, and that they think that they are doing the right thing, you’ll be much better prepared to deal with the fluid and unique nature of corners of human behaviour, than if you fill your head with statistical models.

  2. the other good thing about Birkman when done in a whole team environment, is that you build up a picture of of where your team is strong, and where you are lacking in certain personality types. For instance, in our team of 30 odd, there were lots of arty, indecisive types, much fewer bull by the horns decisive people. In Birkman terms, lots of blues, not so many reds, even fewer yellows. When looked at in this big picture way, it can be quite helpful I think.

  3. I have found the Birkman test to be remarkable. It really made a difference for me. The problem is the cost, but I got over that after seeing the results.

    The most affordable place I found was

    I was actually impressed with the 30 minute consult that came with the Birkman Results – AND it is cheaper than I found anywhere else.

    Really though, the test is pretty much self explanatory so it is up to the individual to harness the results in the long run. I love the fact that the test will be accurate forever (more or less). I recommend reviewing it every few months or during difficult times as a reminder.

  4. I took the test and All I got out of it was a stupid cryptic code and no explanation of what to do with it.
    What do the letters and numbers stand for.

    Seems like a scam to me.

    1. hi Jon, I think the test is only worthwhil if its followed up by a proper de-brief, whic hours was. The symbols are then fully explained, and you can learn about the way they describe your behaviour patterns, and those of your colleagues. I doubt doing the test in isolation is much good at all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s