The Birkman has many uses and can be applied to multiple areas of life. The depth of information it uncovers on individuals is incredible. Can it really tell me if someone is responsible or not?

When we use words such as accountable or responsible, often times, what we really mean is the ability to follow through, take action, cross every “t” and dot every “i”, or simply just not “drop the ball.” Unfortunately, no one is perfect. Sooner or later, we fail. There is no such thing as an individual who is always responsible or accountable. If we all eventually fail, can we gauge when, or how often, that will happen?

No, of course not. That would mean we could predict the future. However, when we see an area where we lack responsibility, using the Birkman, we can understand why we are less likely to follow through in that area. And, we can figure out how to help increase our responsibility by better connecting that particular area with who we are, using the Birkman.

Multiple areas within the Birkman impact how responsible or accountable we are likely to be in a particular area. Let’s start with Birkman Interests. As you know, our high Birkman Interests are values (areas we deem important) and motivators. If the issue is allowing details to fall through the cracks, the first Interests to look at are the yellow Interests. After that, look at red.

Yellow Interests get more excited about details. Red Interests get excited about getting things done and are willing to get into the details to accomplish a goal, when necessary.

The worst at details, when looking only at Birkman Interests, are blue and green Interests. If someone has all high blue Interests, trying to get them excited about spreadsheets is a lost cause. If their job requires them to regularly fill out spreadsheets, what can you do? Appeal to what’s important to them.

Remember, high Interests are areas of importance (values) and motivators. The more important an area is to someone, the more comfortable they are with accepting responsibility in it and the less likely they are to drop the ball (provided the skills are already there). If they are required to do activities that do not naturally align with their high Interests, we must find a way to connect high Interests with the activity.

Below is each Birkman Interest and a brief idea of how to connect an activity with that Birkman Interest. Keep in mind, Interests come out differently for different people. Always ask and talk to someone to better understand how their high Interests really play out.

  • Scientific: Connect the activity with solving a problem; help the individual understand “why” it is important for a larger picture goal or mission.
  • Technical: Connect the activity with a tangible solution; help the individual understand “how” it impacts something tangible that holds more meaning to the individual.
  • Outdoor: Encourage physical movement within the activity; allow for multiple breaks away from the activity to interact with an outdoor environment.
  • Social Service: Connect the activity with helping others; help the individual understand how the activity fulfills the emotional needs of others.
  • Persuasive: Directly communicate the reasons for the activity; sell the individual on the importance of the activity until they “buy in”.
  • Numerical: Connect the activity with a numerical metric; encourage the individual to track their progress using numerical methods.
  • Administrative: Show the individual that the activity is part of a predictable process; encourage the individual to separate the activity into simple procedures.
  • Literary: Encourage the individual to read about the activity prior to engaging in it; encourage the individual to journal about the activity once it’s complete.
  • Artistic: Encourage the use of creative expression within the activity; encourage the individual to think of new ideas relating to the activity.
  • Musical: Allow the individual to listen to music while involved in the activity; help the individual see a natural rhythm within the activity.

Keep in mind, the more an activity relates to an individual’s low Interests, the more personalized training they will need in order to perform well within that activity. We will dive more into Accountability next month.

What activities do you find yourself involved in that you can’t stand doing? How can you apply your higher Interests to the activities in order to accomplish them more effectively and enjoy them a little more?

Update: Click here for Part II