The Power Of The Birkman Assessment: A Practioner’s Perspective

The quest to understand human behavior has driven many attempts to capture and interpret the dynamic nature of our personalities. Well-known tools such as the Myers-Briggs and Disc assessments are perfect examples. The problem with these assessments is that they deliver a very static view of who we are in a given situation and never address our underlying stressors and needs that influence our interactions and reactions.


As a coach and consultant, I have long resisted the use of these assessments because of their inability to comprehensively assess behavior on multiple dimensions and the circumstances that will trigger changes in our normal behavior. However, that was before I was introduced to the Birkman assessment.


Similar to Myers-Briggs and Disc assessments, Birkman provides an individual with insights into who they are when conditions are in our favor. Meaning, if all is right in our world, it is how we show up normally on any given day. Birkman breaks away from the pack in its approach to slicing the human onion. The Birkman is able to peel back the layers and identify what influences our usual behavior in terms of underlying stressors and unmet needs. It is the only assessment that directly addresses human needs as part of the framework of who you are and how you see others.

Remembering the tenants of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we understand just how critical the need component is in understanding the foundation of human behavior and, ultimately, ourselves. In simple terms, if our needs are met, we are happy. If they are not met, we are stressed and can be motivated to behave in ways that are uncharacteristic of our normal everyday selves and create conflict with others.


Humans are complicated, which means who you are, what you need and how you respond to stress is complex and situational. Intuitively, we know we are not “one size fits all,” but that is where most assessments leave us in terms of answering the questions: who am I and what do I need to be my perfect self and happy? Luckily, this is where Birkman picks us back up and puts us on track.

What makes Birkman so powerful and accurate? Scientific validation! With over 60 years of analysis, reliability and validity testing, Birkman has been able to demonstrate consistency in practice with over 2 million assessment takers and counting! It’s application to the workforce is of particular appeal to employers in the areas of teamwork and effective communication, hiring the right people for the right seats, maximizing the strengths of your workforce, driving innovation, career development, leadership training etc. Additionally, the assessment is a powerful tool in enhancing our ability to navigate our personal lives including social and career contexts. The insights delivered by Birkman help us identify our true interests to help guide our life choices to happier ends and better understand how to engage and communicate with others more effectively. The assessment empowers people to better understand themselves and those around them, bringing awareness to what our needs are in any given situation, when they are not met and how to avoid conflict with ourselves and others.

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