Editor’s Note: This blog post on individual assessments was originally written in 2017. It has been updated to reflect new services and information.
Too often nonprofit leaders get so entrenched in their organization’s mission – and the daily tasks required to achieve it – that they fail to regularly evaluate their broader strategy. Yet it is this very strategy that serves as the tactical blueprint for accomplishing your mission.
And when it comes to creating and achieving strategic objectives, you must deeply understand your agency’s strengths, problems, opportunities, and threats (SPOT). There are a variety of assessments that provide SPOT data. These tools showcase individual strengths and illuminate opportunities for improvement. They include: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Strength Deployment Inventory, Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, Assess 360, and DiSC.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Perhaps the most well-known personality test, the MBTI is an introspective self-assessment based on the theory of psychological types described by Carl Jung. The MBTI assesses individuals on four preferences, or dichotomies:
- Extraversion <- -> Introversion
- Sensing <- -> Intuition
- Thinking <- -> Feeling
- Judging <- -> Perceiving
Brighter Strategies uses MBTI to show insights into personal and team development, improve communication, and reduce conflict. The tool provides neutral language that helps emphasize the value of diversity and promotes continuous learning.
MBTI at work
Imagine a new manager at a nonprofit agency responsible for developing eight frontline employees. One of the first responsibilities in this role is to work with direct reports on their annual performance goals and career development. The manager doesn’t know their new staff very well and is struggling to craft outcomes that will help each person shine on the job.
The MBTI can help this manager better understand their employees’ unique personality strengths and preferences. Each person can take the assessment and the manager can work with everyone to determine goals that align with their personality types. The group is then together to discuss how individual personalities represented can complement one another for the advancement of organization goals. Staff generally appreciates the opportunity to learn about their personalities and feels empowered to achieve goals that play to their strengths.
Strength Deployment Inventory
The SDI is another strengths-based self-awareness inventory. Unlike MBTI, SDI uncovers individual strengths in the context of relationships, with the goal to increase relationship effectiveness. It is designed to help assess one’s strengths used in relating to others under two types of conditions:
- when everything is going well in relationships
- when one is faced with opposition or conflict
Brighter Strategies uses SDI to help build connections and diminish conflict within organizations. The tool facilitates strong relationships through the insights people gain, the acceptance it encourages, the conversations it informs, the trust it increases, and the conflict it decreases.
SDI at work
Think of our imaginary manager from before. The MBTI assessments revealed a wide range of individual personalities, which help to spur diversity of thought among the group members. But having such various personalities at play also seems to breed conflict.
The SDI can help deliver the team from relationship woes. Each person takes the inventory and reflects on their results. The group can then be gathered weekly to facilitate conflict mediation. In the matter of a month, a team can learn how their motivation in conflict drives their behavior in conflict. The team can then begin to better work together in the context of group relationships and the organization’s culture.
The DiSC assessment is a behavioral assessment that is based on the 1928 work of psychologist William Moulton Marston. The tool profiles individuals based on four interdependent dimensions/behavioral styles and identifies an individual’s preferred style.
DiSC at Work
The DiSC profile is typically accompanied with a team debrief that focuses on helping individuals learn more about each other, themselves and their behavioral strengths, as well as creating strategies for better team interaction. This assessment comes with a handy “dashboard” that allows new managers or coworkers to gain a little insight about their colleagues and how they prefer to work.
You can see a complete list of the individual assessments and group assessments that Brighter Strategies offers here.