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.