A contact of a contact reached out on LinkedIn. (I welcome people connecting with me on LinkedIn…you should too!)

BUT this person also wanted to break the ice by sharing all his scores from different leadership assessments (Kolbe, Enneagram, Strength Finders, etc.). Ugh.

This exchange reminded me of the fact that in business, there is too much emphasis on assessments and the labels they produce.

Assessments should be used to highlight preferences. NOT to justify behavior or limiting beliefs.

It’s too easy for people to take these assessments and then say something like:
What do you expect from me?? I’m a (fill in the blank):

  • Extrovert (I can’t be quiet.)
  • Introvert (I can’t be effective in large groups.)
  • Driver (I can’t help just pushing people.)
  • Visionary (I’m just the idea guy.)

OR even worse…I am a high 9 on that scale…OR I’m a red, green, purple, or donkey animal spirit…

If you are going to label yourself
(even if you may not feel like you are fully living up to it today), try labels like these:

  • I am a problem-solver
  • I am dependable
  • I am a get-it-done person
  • I am a NO BS zone
  • I am a source of clear thinking
  • I am a source of good ideas

Use assessments to raise your awareness and make choices.

Then CHOOSE THE LABELS THAT WILL HELP YOU GET WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. (You have aspirational goals, right?)

There is no “owners manual” for you. My car came with an owner’s manual. I know that the capacity of my car’s gas tank is 18 gallons. My speedometer indicates that that I might be able to go 160mph. (That has not been tested by me!)

You, however, have no real idea what your capacity is or how fast you can go.

Push and find out.

Don’t take on labels that might limit you or your team. Take on labels that help you get where you want to go.

That is much better than playing in a little box rimmed by excuses designed by people selling “leadership solutions.”

Make it a powerful week!