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The Value of People Assessments: Kolbe, CliftonStrengths, DISC & More

People-analysis tools can identify individual strengths and work styles, enabling Team by Design

Few people enjoy taking tests. But what if one has no wrong answers, and the results reveal insights that help you understand and leverage your natural behaviors and strengths? Those are the essential goals of most people assessments, time-tested tools that aid in personal development and building stronger, better-aligned teams.

Finding the best assessment can be difficult, however, as there are a lot of them out there, and each one has unique metrics, results, and goals. Here’s a rundown of some popular people analyzers to give you a sense of what they measure — and how they can help.

The Kolbe A Index™

Unlike comprehensive assessments that describe social interactions or overall personalities, the Kolbe A Index has a narrow goal: measuring “the instinctive ways you take action when you strive.” Or, simply put, how you do things; you’re modus operandi (MO). Through a survey, it evaluates an individual’s tendency toward four “Kolbe Action Modes” that exemplify their instincts when really going after a task:

  • Fact Finder shows the level at which someone gathers and shares information. 
  • Follow Thru is the level at which people pay attention to detail and follow through.
  • Quick Start measures the level of speed to action and risk aversion.
  • Implementor measures the level of abstract or concrete understanding and thinking.

Within each of these factors is “a continuum of behavior” that helps describe a person’ “innate pattern of taking action.” By understanding these instinctive work styles and what someone is naturally great at, people and organizations can leverage those strengths. You can view hypothetical sample Kolbe test results here.


Formerly known as (Clifton) StrengthsFinder, CliftonStrengths is a personality assessment offered by the Gallup Institute that identifies (you guessed it) a person’s relative strengths. Companies often use it to evaluate job candidates or team members to determine whether they are a good fit for a specific role.

This online assessment takes about an hour, during which an individual sees “177 paired statements and” chooses “which ones best describe” them according to a five-point scale. The results can inform various reports of differing detail, such as the “Top 5 Clifton Strengths” or “CliftonStrengths 34 Report.” 

Each report identifies a person’s top themes among 34 different possibilities. The top themes are the “most dominant” ones, and the report explains “how each [..] gives you an advantage.”

For example, some of a person’s top themes (out of 34 possibilities) might include:

  • Significance: Look for opportunities to do important work where you can help others raise the bar.”
  • Futuristic: Share your visions of a better future.”
  • Focus: Set specific goals with timelines to motivate yourself.”

Whatever the top themes for a specific person, the report explains how they influence their work style and fit into leadership domains that include “executing,” “influencing,” “relationship building,” and “strategic thinking.” The report also explains how someone can maximize these strengths in practical ways. 

You can review various assessments and download sample reports here.


DISC is an individual- and organizational-focused “personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork, leadership, sales, and communication.” The assessment stems from research by psychologist William Moulton Marston, Ph.D. that other experts refined over decades to create tests used in hiring, leadership development, and team building.

A DISC questionnaire evaluates an individual’s personality, behaviors, and how they interact with others, focusing on four key traits:

  • Dominance — direct, strong-willed and forceful
  • Influence — sociable, talkative and lively
  • Steadiness — gentle, accommodating and soft-hearted
  • Conscientiousness — private, analytical and logical”

Like other personality assessments, DISC evaluations reflect the fact that people aren’t all one thing or another. Thus, the results are mapped on a circle with four quadrants and may fall into 10 subcategories. 

Nevertheless, individuals do tend toward one of the main four traits. By identifying where different people lean in style and behavior, the test can help with hiring decisions, building cooperative teams, and coaching.

To conduct a DISC analysis to improve Team health and productivity, you can click here

The Culture Index and Predictive Index

The Culture Index, offered by the strategic advisory firm of the same name, uses “data and reliable insights to predict […] employees’ performance in their roles.” This information is gathered through surveys that “ask how you would describe yourself with a list of adjectives and then what is required of you in the workforce with a similar list of adjectives.”

The Culture Index breaks down the results by six traits expressed in two categories: Survey Traits and Job Behaviors:

  • A: Autonomy
  • B: Social 
  • C: Patience
  • D: Detail 
  • L: Logic
  • I: Innovation

It also summarizes what the results in each category mean for individuals, teams, and workplaces, practically speaking. You can check out a hypothetical sample report here.

For a 60-minute consultation using Culture Index for your company team, schedule an appointment with Sumeet S Chahal.

The Predictive Index is a similar tool geared toward building strong teams and “talent optimization.” Its survey assesses four factors:

  • Dominance: The drive to exert influence on people or events.
  • Extraversion: The drive for social interaction with others.
  • Patience: The drive to have consistency and stability.
  • Formality: The drive to conform to rules and structure.

The Predictive Index identifies a pattern based on a continuum of these traits, assigning an individual one of 17 reference profiles. A “Captain,” for example, “is a problem solver who likes change and innovation while controlling a big picture.” In contrast, a “Craftsman is accommodating and analytical, while producing highly precise and accurate work.”

Both the Culture Index and the Predictive Index measure a blend of cognitive and functional factors. These assessments can help individuals understand natural skill sets and how well and where they fit within a team.

Which personality assessment works best?

It depends! Each has its place and value, and there are more tests than those covered above. The Profit Recipe helps our clients use various tools for different purposes. 

For example, The Culture Index is often a great way to assess whether the right person is in the right seat, as it provides a pretty thorough review of someone’s traits and job behaviors that match (or don’t) with a particular role. In contrast, the Kolbe A Index specifically shows how someone approaches tasks to help with communication and decision-making, and it’s comparatively simple to execute and understand. And CliftonStrengths is a great way to see the innate strengths and values of each team member.

The complexity of an evaluation and its results — along with the nature of the findings — is the key differentiator that determines which one works best. So, the “right” tool depends on what you want to use a personality assessment for and how much you need help interpreting and applying the results. 

The Profit Recipe uses multiple assessments in our business and to assist clients in achieving stronger teams, better management, and individual development. We can help you implement the tools that work for your objectives.

Empower your Leadership Team and improve efficiency, increase value, and foster collaboration to get better results. A professional Facilitator can ensure that all of your members are on the same page, so you can kick your business up a notch. Connect with The Profit Recipe to Achieve Traction.