Birkman Assessment Tool

Written by Alice Newport on 3 November 2017

Hi All,

The consultant we use for the development of a senior team are suggesting we use the Birkman Assessment Tool. This is not something that I am familiar with and was wondering if anyone has any experience of using it?

Also I would be really interested to know how it compares to Belbin and Myers Briggs (I know both of these tools well).

We have used both Belbin and Myers Briggs with the team in question and I am concerned that using Birkman will be an overkill!

Has anyone used MB, Belbin and Birkman? What advantages, if any, do you think Birkman has over the other tools?

Thank you


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Hilary Cooke

Submitted on 4 November, 2017 - 14:27

Hi Alice,

I guess the main question I would ask is "what do you want it to do?" 

For example, what specific development outcomes do you want to achieve for your senior team? and what role do you want a tool like this to play in achieving those outcomes?

It is only by interrogating those questions that you can really arrive at the answer that will help you most.

It will also help to determine if your consultant is proposing the use of Birkman - or any instrument or methodology - because it is the best fit for defined and researched purpose, or because it's their favourite.  

If you want to compare Birkman with MBTI then there are some links to researched articles below.

I can't locate anything that does the same for Belbin / Birkman

None of those instruments are my methods of choice for senior development, so I can't comment from first-hand experience, but I hope this helps a bit... 

Best wishes





Submitted on 5 November, 2017 - 15:25

Hi Alice

I agree with Hilary and might go a step further back and ask how you are diagnosing the development needs of your senior team and how you are moving from diagnosis to intervention. This is the context for the question Hilary poses around the Birkman tool - what do you want it to do?

When it comes to developing senior teams it isn't always about the personal development of team members. For example, if roles are not clearly defined, confusion can reign. Or a team may be hampered by the contribution of someone who is, quite simply, in a role to which they're not suited. So, I would step way back from the question of "Why Birkman?" and ask what you are trying to achieve in this next phase before looking at Birkman or any other psychometric.

And if you do decide that some kind of psychometric or other developmental intervention intervention is appropriate, you can have the conversation with your preferred supplier on the basis of your aspirations. "What will get us from A to B?" and, if Birkman, "What will Birkman do that will get us from A to B?"

I googled Birkman and an article, now withdrawn, came up comparing Birkman with Hogan, which latter is a tool I use for assessment and development at senior levels. Hogan offer sample reports anyone can look at (see and which I found with a bit of rooting around. I couldn't find any on the Birkman site ( though they may be there - worth asking your consultant for more information?




Submitted on 6 November, 2017 - 10:45

Thanks Hilary and Dorothy for sharing links.  I appreciate your generosity as other people, like me, reading these threads can benefit from them too.  I have some more reading in my psychometric file.  Thank you.

I am with you both. 

For me, we should start with the end in mind before jumping in and using a tool.  What do we want to achieve from this intervention?  How can we best achieve it?  Could we reconnect with other data we have - 360/other feedback/appraisals/sales figures/staff surveys etc?  I'd share your concerns about using another tool and I'd be curious to know what happened as a result of previous development.  Although development is an on-going process you might need to look, as Dorothy suggests, at the wider context.  Are the roles clear?  Are the team working well together, I'd guess not or it could be improved?  What's the business context and strategy?

Finally, I advise clients to try and be guided by the context and need rather than the tools I have in my tool kit.  I can only use the tools that I am licensed too and sometimes they might not be right for the precise situation the client is in.  That doesn't mean I'm not great or the tool's not great, it might be it's not great for this particular situation.

Best wishes. Sharon


Submitted on 7 November, 2017 - 11:07

Hi all,

Jon and I discussed MBTI in this TJ podcast, which might be worth a listen:

And we did one of our #TJwow webinars about psychometric tools:

Discussion about the pros and cons of assessment tools

Do you use any personality, team or maybe psychometric tools in your role? Perhaps you want to start but don't know where? Perhaps you have questions about it all? Attend this session to discuss a variety of assessment tools, including the advantages and challenges.



Hope it helps!