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The Power of Assessments



About 2.5 years ago, before Project House was even really conceived, I was doing some business consulting for a client and was introduced to the idea of assessments for employees.  I know that in many circles this kind of thing is perhaps old hat – but for me, coming from an industry that didn’t place a lot of value in this type of thing, this was a revelation to me and one that I found quite interesting.  Over the course of several months, we conducted a number of assessments with employees, and during this time, I decided to participate in one myself.  I really enjoyed reading what it had to say about how I perceive things and what drives me, and since then have participated in a number of other types of assessments that, in combination, have allowed me to gain a much deeper self-awareness.

With Heidi’s background in HR and software, she has seen these tools used widely and often to help teams communicate better and more effectively, and to give employees insight into how they make decisions and process information.  The more I look into these tools and the more insight they give me into different perspectives, the more I appreciate how complex everyone is, and how beneficial it is to be able to see things from someone else’s point of view.

What I find the most satisfying is that, even while you can know yourself quite well, it is often challenging to explain yourself and what makes you tick.  Having my “personality” articulated in new ways really opened up a different world for me.  I have gained insight into why I react a certain way and work a certain way, and how I approach projects and problems.  This new understanding is really allowing me to drill down into the kinds of work I enjoy doing and am good at, versus what I really should learn to stay away from. Each of the various assessments I’ve taken over the last couple of years has given me another piece of the Crystal Puzzle, as some are more focused on behaviour, some on what my deep-rooted needs are, what I’m talented at, what kind of a leader I am, and also the various areas where I have blind spots and need to gain more self-awareness.

Why should you care about this stuff? Well… as far as I’m concerned, knowledge is power.  If I know more about my team, how they work, how they interact, and what makes them “tick”, I can use that information to communicate better, give more effective feedback, pair team members with the right types of projects.  The bottom line for me is a happier and healthier team, and one that is motivated and doing their best work.


Here is a brief overview of our favourite assessments (so far!):

PPA by Thomas International

Thomas International is a global provider of objective management systems and work-based assessment tools. Their combination of assessment tools and consultants can help to reduce attrition, maintain a high level of employee productivity and engagement and more effective leadership (from their website).

Thomas offers a variety of assessments.  We have used the Personal Profile Analysis (PPA) tool quite often, and we find it to be very simple and useful.  About the PPA, Thomas explains “Thomas Personal Profile Analysis (PPA) provides an accurate insight into how people behave at work, giving you a greater level of certainty when recruiting, identifying where to maximize your learning and development budget, and understanding where to boost morale to avoid staff turnover.”  The Thomas group also offers a General Intelligence tool, a 360 feedback tool and an Emotional Intelligence Tool.  Heidi and I toyed with the idea of trying out the General Intelligence tool but got too scared that one of us would be smarter than the other so we decided not to take it!!


From the Emergenetics site, “Emergenetics is rooted in the concept that who you are today is the emergence of your behavior, genetic makeup and life experiences. Emergenetics provides a clear way to understand this intersection of nature and nurture through the Emergenetics Profile, built on four Thinking Attributes and three Behavioral Attributes that every person exhibits.”

In Heidi’s blog about Opposites in Partnership, she mentions some of the attributes that she and I identified through this profile, for example our level of Expressiveness, Assertiveness or Flexibility and whether we are Structural, Conceptual, Analytical or Social.  This assessment is very useful to help identify your preferences in receiving and processing information.

Emotional Intelligence

From the EQi site:  “Emotional intelligence is the unique repertoire of emotional skills that a person uses to navigate life. EQi is a psychological assessment of the individual’s emotional intelligence as it relates leadership capability in areas of authenticity, decision- making, stress management, interpersonal relations, and overall well-being.

This is a fascinating test that contains a list of qualities that are believed to make up your “Emotional Intelligence” such as Empathy, Independence, Problem Solving, Stress Tolerance, Emotional Self-Awareness, etc. and reveals the areas where you are the most and least comfortable.

Motivation Factor

Developed in Switzerland, this assessment tool is relatively new to North America (especially Canada).  This assessment program is used to pinpoint what motivates you, by identifying your needs and talents. The idea is that if you are meeting your needs and using your talents, then you will be able to stay highly motivated.  I found this one especially fascinating, because once my needs and talents were made clear to me, a lot of things made more sense.  For example, one of my strongest needs is for Order.  This shows up everywhere for me, and I know my brain is happiest when things are organized and in order, both at work and at home.  I gravitate towards complex, colour-coded calendars, and once everything is neat and accounted for, I am better able to focus and enjoy things. Even the idea of a cluttered countertop makes my mind foggy.


StandOut is an online strengths assessment tool from author and management expert Markus Buckingham that is paired with his book, StandOut: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment from the Leader of the Strengths Revolution.

The StandOut assessment delivers a customized report based on 9 StandOut “roles:” Advisor, Connector, Creator, Equalizer, Influencer, Pioneer, Provider, Stimulator, and Teacher.  Each participant is assigned a primary and secondary role based on their test.  Once again, Heidi and I scored exactly opposite:  my top 2 (Pioneer, Influencer) roles are her bottom two, and her top scoring roles (Teacher, Advisor) are my lowest.  A few other members of our team have also participated in this assessment, and we are really enjoying the reports, which summarize information in really practical and clear ways.

There are so many more assessments that can be used to identify strengths and make communication and working together easier.  Please let us know if you’re interested in finding out more, and we’ll be very happy to talk with you and your team about what you need.