Report Support Article Written by Carol Buckner
So you’ve spent time having a Birkman conversation with your client or employee only to realize that most of your discussion has been met with hesitancy or rejection of the results. Now what?
As you have probably heard, the most common response during a Birkman conversation is, “How does Birkman know this much about me from those simple questions on the questionnaire?” Because we usually receive positive feedback from our respondents, it can be jarring (if not downright scary) to find ourselves in a situation where the respondent disagrees with their results. The tips below will help you navigate through these conversations, empowering you to have an enlightening conversation with your client while also giving you the confidence to not panic if these situations do arise.
- Don’t wait until the end of your allotted time with the person to address the concerns. The time you spend with your client should be exactly what I called it in the first paragraph—a conversation. This means you should be having a two-way discussion about the results, dealing with any concerns as they come up.
- Make sure you don’t approach the conversation in the same way each time (yes, this is true even for high-Insistence consultants). Every conversation should be tailored to the application and the goals of the session, keeping in mind that the Birkman material is simply a way to start a dialog. If a client feels like you are simply reading through their results, they will be less likely to buy-in to the feedback than if you were to focus on the goals of the session. This will also make the conversation feel more personal and sincere.
- Before a Birkman questionnaire is sent, make sure the respondent understands why they are being asked to complete the questionnaire, and explain the goals, expectations, and application for which the information will be used. This will set a more positive tone than if the respondent simply knows they have been asked to fill out “some questionnaire.” This positive tone will impact how the client perceives the engagement.
- At the start of your meeting, and prior to discussing the results, ask your client if there were any issues while taking the questionnaire. Were there any reservations in responding? Do they have any concerns about what the results may indicate? Make sure any concerns are addressed during your conversation.
- Once you begin the conversation, pay attention to the client’s verbal and non-verbal responses. If there are concerns, address them immediately. Don’t wait for things improve on their own. To help you navigate through this conversation:
- Try explaining the concept in several ways. Birkman results can be complicated. Scores can have several layers of meaning, so it’s important to express multiple facets of the construct if you notice a respondent starting to disconnect from the session.
- Ask the client to share examples of experiences from their past that might fit with what you are explaining—and, if they disagree with a Birkman result, ask them to share experiences that show how the score/description may be incorrect or less than accurate.
- Offer personal examples of how the score plays out for you or for someone you know—use real experiences when possible. A true example or experience can clarify the context and meaning of a score better than a simple definition.
- If the person continues to disagree with a result, don’t continue to argue the point. Suggest that the person show the Birkman explanation to a significant other and ask that person for input—do they agree with the score/description?
- If it is decided that the Birkman score is somewhat inaccurate, work with your client to understand how to explain the difference to anyone else in their team, company, group, etc. This can be as simple as encouraging them to tell their boss they are “more like a 50 rather than a 30” on a particular Component.
- Remember that Birkman provides extensive information and that if, overall, they agree with the results they should continue to rely on the results for future coaching/consulting/teamwork, etc. and you can continue the conversation using the results.
- If, however, the respondent doesn’t agree with much of the report at all, you may want to stop the conversation and discuss the possibility that the Birkman may have “missed” this time. This doesn’t happen often, but it can happen. You don’t want to seem like you are forcing the Birkman results on someone—the information is to begin dialog, and forcing the information will prevent you from having a successful engagement.
- In the case where a client doesn’t agree with the report at all, and you feel the concerns are valid, you can ask the respondent if they would be interested in re-taking the assessment. This should only be done if you both think re-taking the assessment would yield different results AND you feel there was a reason the results may have “missed”. In these rare cases, you can reach out to Birkman and ask us to remove the first report from your database. You will only be billed for one report.
As I mentioned earlier, you will mostly experience clients who are amazed at the accuracy and depth of the Birkman information. But being prepared for those rare instances where there may be some push back can vastly improve the outcome of that engagement.