Blog Post #2 The Birkman Method

Many leaders (managers) believe leadership and/or team development sessions are a waste of time…. and they could be right. I have to say that I would agree with them to some degree. Though I have been a participant in many different developmental sessions, assessments or activities, there is only one that comes to mind as extremely beneficial – and that is the Birkman Method®.

This assessment measures productive behaviors, underlying needs and motivations, stress behaviors and organizational orientation. Application of The Birkman Method® enables higher levels of performance for individuals, teams and organizations and reduces stress behaviors. As a result, you can maximize the performance of the most important organizational asset - people.

What is the Birkman Method?

The Birkman Method® consists of a 298-question personality assessment and a series of related report sets that facilitate team building, executive coaching leadership development, career counseling and interpersonal conflict resolution. The Birkman Method® combines motivational, behavioral and interest evaluation into one single assessment, which provides a multi-dimensional and comprehensive analysis, thus reducing the need for multiple assessments. The questionnaire is delivered on-line and should take about 45 minutes to complete. It has been translated into 11 languages in addition to English.

Delving Deeper

Through a combination of regression and factor analysis, The Birkman Method® identifies the respondent's everyday interpersonal style (usual behavior), and unlike most other popular assessments, gives unique insights into underlying motivations and needs. Stress behaviors are identified when these needs are not met. Knowing the underlying motivations and the consequences of unmet needs give the coach, consultant, counselor and organizational development professional an effective way to improve workplace performance and reduce conflict.

In brief, The Birkman Method® includes the five following major perspectives:

1. Usual Behavior - an individual's effective behavioral style of dealing with relationships and tasks.

2. Underlying Needs - an individual's expectations of how relationships and social situations should be governed in context of the relationship or situation.

3. Stress Behaviors - an individual's ineffective style of dealing with relationships or tasks; behavior observed when underlying needs are not met.

4. Interests - an individual's expressed preference for job titles based on the assumption of equal economic rewards.

5. Organizational Focus - the perspective in which an individual views problems and solutions relating to organizational goals.

The Birkman Report Sets

The Birkman Method® is delivered on-line. You can access a variety of different reports and have the flexibility to combine reports specific to your needs. These insightful reports are designed to be used by Birkman Certified Consultants and those that have received training in The Birkman Method®.

The Coaching Report was introduced in 2006 and gives executive coaches and human resource professionals a powerful tool based on the analytic power of The Birkman Method®. However, the Coaching Report does not require any special knowledge of the scales and measurements and is written in plain English. It can be used by coaches without any specific training and is easily understood by their coaches.

A Wide Range of Applications

As the premier non-clinical instrument for measuring human behavior and occupational strengths, the Birkman provides a wide range of applications including: Pre-Employment / Conflict Management / Individual Development / Stress Management / Team Building / Culture Management / Team Development / Mergers and Acquisitions / Career Guidance / Workplace Diversity / Career Management / Succession Planning / Career Transition / Crisis Management / Coaching / Retirement Planning / Executive Coaching / Marital Counseling / Leadership Development / Counseling

Blog Post #1 Who Needs Team Development?

If you manage a team you have probably asked yourself this question many times. Why should you invest time (and maybe money) into an activity that will be forgotten the next day? My first thought on this is to carefully consider the importance of your team dynamics. Does it really matter if they work together effectively or not? It may not matter. Who really cares if they are dysfunctional? Now, to most teams, it does matter. Their tasks are interwoven and interdependent. So IF it matters, read on.

Dysfunctional teams can place a whole lot of drag on the speed of reaching goals. We have all worked on teams that needed help and know the personal impact of that workplace. Personally, I’d rather not think about that; it’s too stressful. Teams can become dysfunctional for many reasons. What we need to be able to do is to be aware the team is moving from rockin’ and rollin’ to a dysfunctional state.

Inc. Magazine published a very good article that talks about why good teams become dysfunctional. They give seven reasons, and most of them center around goal clarity. Leaders could benefit greatly by giving team members a one-question survey that asks: What is our purpose? They might be surprised at the answers.

I have conducted team development sessions for several years and am always surprised at what the team leaders do not know. My response has always been: why not ask? Dear leaders, do you know the level of trust in your team? Do you know the level of morale? Can your team members clarify their purpose and clearly state their goals? Knowledge is power.

I would encourage you to find the answers to these questions. It could be as simple as posting one question on a flipchart at a team meeting, pass out a small piece of paper to every team member, leave the room and have them answer the question. There you go. Simple.