Like you, I’ve probably taken a dozen or more personality assessments over the years: DISC, Emergenetics, StrengthsFinders, MBTI, etc.

Each is illuminating and valuable, and if your entire team takes them, the various personality types can become a helpful vocabulary for discussing and working through communication and workflow problems.

For the last few years, we’ve been offering executive coaching to some of our Foundation’s grantees and also through the company’s Blue Corps Pro Bono program. To do this work, we use a few tools, including Gallup’s Builder Profile, especially for projects that involve building and planning. Builder Profile lays out the talents teams need to have in order to work well on complicated challenges — the sorts of challenges community organizations face every day.

Many personality assessments seem to say, “This is the flavor of what you bring to the team. Everyone has a different way of thinking and different strengths. All are valuable.” You learn the DNA of your team and use it to think through relationships and how best to align resources.

The Builder Profile takes a slightly different approach. It’s an inventory of ten talents derived from a study of thousands of entrepreneurs and other “builders,” or people who create. These ten talents, according to the tool, must be accounted for.  Each one is essential. The idea is that, as we plan a venture, we need to ensure that each talent is brought to the table, particularly if that talent is not one that is innate within the team working on the effort.

Builder Profiles reveal that, in most cases, each of us possesses four of these talents. If some talents are missing, a business plan may be vulnerable to a major oversight.

Here are the ten talents:

  • Confidence: You accurately know yourself and understand others.
  • Delegator: You recognize that you cannot do everything and are willing to contemplate a shift in style and control.
  • Determination: You persevere through difficult, even seemingly insurmountable, obstacles.
  • Disruptor: You exhibit creativity in taking an existing idea or product and turning it into something better.
  • Independence: You are prepared to do whatever needs to be done to build a successful venture.
  • Knowledge: You constantly search for information that is relevant to growing your business.
  • Profitability: You make decisions based on observed or anticipated effect on profit.
  • Relationship: You have high social awareness and an ability to build relationships that are beneficial for the firm’s survival and growth.
  • Risk: You instinctively know how to manage high-risk situations.
  • Selling: You are the best spokesperson for the business.


For very small organizations (or even one-person organizations), it’s especially useful to consider a full profile of talent.  For example, teams that struggle to get the word out might not have relationship or selling talents in abundance. The outcomes are likely to be that 1) the DNA of the team is such that communications and relationship building aren’t prioritized, so they aren’t planned for, or 2) without someone who has these points of view intuitively hardwired into their being, the team may not easily identify the most effective messages and the best channels for marketing.

Furthermore, among those who have taken the Builder Profile assessment, risk and profitability are some of the least prevalent talents. For me, it begs the question — how often are we creating new community programs or working on strategic plans without the input of someone who truly understands what is or is not an acceptable risk? Or what will be profitable and sustainable?

This isn’t a plug for Gallup or for the Builder Profile, or even our coaching programs. I think it’s a useful list to benchmark against.  Whether through this tool or another, I encourage all of us to think about whether our teams have the talents we need to get the work done. If you’re answer is yes, then you’re ahead of the game! If the answer is no, then a formal assessment can help illuminate a path to bringing missing talents to the table through volunteers, staff, consultants, coaches or other partners.

Or reach out to us, we’ll see if we can help.

And on that last point, we have twenty Builder assessment codes left over from our projects last year. Ben Mahoney, my colleague, is a Gallup-certified StrenghsFinder coach who is also a trained Builder Profile coach.  If you are interested in taking the Builder Profile, email Ben directly and, when you do have your results, I’d love to learn more about your talents and how they are being put to work in your community.
– Michael Tipton
BCBSLA Foundation President and Head of Community Relations

P.S., My top four talents are determination, delegator, selling and independence.