Picture of man sketching a personality test

By Steve Richards, CEO

I think personality and temperament assessments can be very helpful in building teams and fostering collaboration. I have taken a few and they help me “complete the picture” for my own self-awareness. They also help me be a more effective collaborator.

A recent assessment typed me as “The Inspirer.” It was not exactly the type I hoped for, but the assessment report’s details, according to my colleagues, describes me well. I am a participative, people-oriented leader who can motivate others. The assessment also pointed to my weaknesses, which I recognized right away. “Yes, that’s me!” So, I need to be open and humble enough to embrace colleagues who have the strength I am lacking.

Two close colleagues on my core team are “The Growth Seeker” and “The Commander.” The Growth Seeker has a passion for learning, growth, and development and is curious and interested in new ideas. The Commander is goal oriented, results driven, and excels at driving others to high performance.

By chance more than design, we balance each other in very complementary ways. Garnet River is stronger because of it.

Ray Dalio and Principles You

We landed on these “most-like” profiles after taking Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio’s Principles You personality test.

During his time as the Founder/CEO at Bridgewater, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds, Dalio was big on personality tests for recruitment and management. He utilized Myers-Briggs, Workplace Personality Inventory, Team Dimensions Profile, and others before developing his own. His goal: help improve self-knowledge and promote stronger relationships.

Dalio has said: “If you can know yourself, you can achieve not just in the work environment but in the personal environment. You can know where you fit, the pieces you have, and the pieces you need help with.”

Strength in strength, strength in weakness

At Garnet River, we use these tests as thought exercises to promote conversation and collaboration. They are not mandatory.

I also believe these assessments are more about propensities than actual skills. Though for those of us who have taken them, they’ve provided pretty accurate guidance on our strengths and weaknesses.

For example, I tend to be creative and conceptual but can lack attention to detail. Not ideal, but it fits and explains a lot.

However, this is what’s interesting. While the assessment ranked my preference for detail work low—embarrassingly low—it does not mean I can’t do it. I do it well when I have to do such work. I just prefer and excel at other types of work and activity.

This takes me back to the initial profiles I shared. I am my best when I have The Commander and The Growth Seeker at my side. The Commander excels at the management work that drains me. The Growth Seeker, who also profiles strongly as “The Inventor,” encourages my creativity, harnesses it, and brings it to life. But he, too, is spontaneous and assesses low in detail. He, too, needs The Commander.

Strong teams win

I played team sports when I was young. One thing that becomes clear for most is where you fit on the team and what your role is. A good coach builds a scheme that helps everyone excel and lead in their roles, because they are all valuable.

This is the theory behind Principles You. No personality profile or theme is better or worse than another. Each can and needs to be leveraged for success. And the more diverse the profiles within your organization are, the more they will complement one another and the richer your foundation will be for growth and success.

Ray Dalio’s Principles You assessment can be takin online for free. It takes about 40 minutes to complete, and you will receive a detailed report with your results.

Headshot of Garnet River CEO and President Steve Richards

Steve Richards, CEO and Principal
Garnet River

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