Predicative Index Behavioral Assessment

There are many different personality and behavior assessment tools. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and DISC assessment are two of the most popular. Managers use them to understand their employees better. Individuals use them to understand themselves better. The idea is you learn about personality traits and tendencies so that you can be smarter about matching those tendencies with situations which play to your strengths. In other words, these assessments tend to treat revealed tendencies as innate and therefore permanent.

One reason I've held off taking such a test is that I am intuitively skeptical of how effective any survey or test can be at accurately capturing the nuances of a person. Also, I've seen these tests be overinterrepted by managers. For example, manager adminsters a test to subordinate, the test suggests subordinate avoids exerting authority and is introverted, manager concludes he's not fit to be a leader, and the subordiate defers to the test and shelves any leadership aspiration. These broader concerns aside, I do think that if one treats personality test results with appropriate distance, they can be a useful check on intuitions and a good starting point for a conversation.

Yesterday I took the Predicative Index test. Frederic Lucas-Conwell studied all the various tests for his PhD and now administers and consults around the Predictive Index, which he believes is the best. He was kind enough to do my test for free. It is remarkably short — it only takes about 10 minutes to complete, as you check off adjectives that describe how you believe others expect you to act and then adjectives that you think really describe who you are. After entering my results into a computer, Frederic displayed the following three charts. They're meaningless unless you know how to interpret this particular test.


Below the fold is the automated written report that accompanies my results (ie, "Ben" is plugged in a blank space for a pre-written report for my type). I think it underplays my introverted streak and underplays my interest in details and precision. Otherwise it emphasizes pretty typical entrepreneur traits. Note it focuses solely on professional and management issues, no "personal" situations or attitudes.


Ben’s PI Pattern is extremely wide, which means that his behaviors are very strongly expressed and his
needs are very strongly felt.

Ben will most strongly express the following behaviors:

  • Strongly venturesome in taking risks and focusing on the future; he’s almost exclusively concerned with where he’s going rather than either how he’ll get there, or where he’s been.
  • Very adaptable; solves problems as they occur rather than through advance planning.
  • Makes decisions and takes action, even when there’s an absence of proof confirming his decision. Comfortable operating outside of traditions, he pursues strongly innovative ideas, even in the face of failures or popular opposition.
  • Remarkably independent. Resists authority and proven, ‘by the book’ methods in favor of his own ideas.
  • Extremely informal, extroverted, and outgoing; gets familiar very soon after you meet him.
  • Communicates effusively, flexibly, and engagingly; draws others into the conversation.
  • Almost exclusively focused on people, building relationships, and teamwork rather than technical matters. Uninhibited; very open and trusting in sharing his thoughts and in asking personal questions.
  • Not interested in the details; delegates them freely. Needs unstructured projects where flexibly working with people, and a focus on the goals rather than the plans, is necessary.
  • Proactivity, assertiveness, and sense of urgency in driving to reach his goals. Openly challenges the world around him.
  • Independent in putting forth his own ideas, which are often innovative and, if implemented, cause change. Resourcefully works through or around anything blocking completion of what he wants to accomplish; aggressive when challenged.
  • Impatient for results, he puts pressure on himself and others for rapid implementation, and is far less productive when doing routine work.


Ben is a very independent, confident, decisive, self-starter, intense and driving. He has a strong sense of
urgency, can react and adjust quickly to changing conditions, generate novel ideas, and deal with them

His drive is directed at getting the things done which he believes need to be done. Competitive, ambitious and venturesome, he responds positively and actively to challenge and pressure, always sure of his ability to handle problems and people. Ben is an outgoing and poised person, a forceful, animated, communicator tending to be more authoritative than persuasive in his style. He talks briskly, with assurance and conviction and is a stimulating influence on others, while being direct, determined and flexible in dealing with them.

He is sure of the value of his own judgments and opinions, and persistent in defending them if put under pressure to change them. He will question and challenge established company policies or systems and strive to prove in action the value of his own ideas for change.

More concerned with the achievement of goals than he is with the details of how things get done, Ben
will freely delegate to others with loose follow-up, but with demand and pressure for timely results.
Ingenious and venturesome, he will become restless and dissatisfied if required to work under close control or to do work which is routine or highly structured. Very much a generalist, Ben is more concerned with the strategies involved in reaching his goals than with specific or detailed tactics.


As a manager of people or projects, Ben will be:

  • Broadly focused, fast moving, and aggressive in pursuit of his own goals
  • Eager to delegate details and implementation plans, leaving him to focus on new ideas
  • Reluctant to delegate true authority; he will eagerly discuss ideas with others and enjoys that process; however, his inner conviction is often too strong to convince him to change his mind
  • His follow-up is quick and cursory; Ben is likely to consider details minutia – impediments to focusing on the bigger picture
  • Constantly looking to improve performance and ability to compete; willing to try radically new solutions and innovative approaches
  • An influential and stimulating team leader – encouraging others to look at things from entirely new perspectives; relentless in his pursuit of change and creativity
  • Direct, spontaneous, and opinionated – quick to voice his opinion of how things are going.


To maximize his effectiveness, productivity, and job satisfaction, consider providing Ben with the

  • High levels of autonomy and flexibility in his job
  • Ample opportunity for expression of and action on his own ideas and initiatives
  • Variety, challenge, responsibility, and opportunities to prove himself
  • Recognition, advancement and tangible rewards for success
16 comments on “Predicative Index Behavioral Assessment
  • “For example, manager adminsters a test to subordinate, the test suggests subordinate avoids exerting authority and is introverted, manager concludes he’s not fit to be a leader, and the subordiate defers to the test and shelves any leadership aspiration.”

    Exactly. My work team of 7 had one of these assessments. The bosses cherry-picked results to reinforce the work roles we were already doing. “Yep, Chuck shows good analytical skills but doesn’t delegate well.”

    These types of test are always self-prophesizing since it only encourages employees to work on their strengths to the further detriment of their weaknesses.

    I understand the point of these types of assessments, employers like to know the aptitudes of their employees, but they often seem to me to be snapshots held static in time instead of tools for employee improvement.

  • Thanks for putting this out there Ben. I have taken the Kolbe test, and I may take this one as well.

    In response to Andy’s comment, I would say I prefer these type of tests because they highlight what you are best at even with the flattering tone. You can then spend your time on your unique abilities, and delegate everything else.

  • Chuck,

    On the other hand I think these studies work well if you use them for preselecting employees, which is always more cost effective than having to train somebody in something they won’t be good at.

    Studies of top performers show that they spend most of their time improving their strengths and letting somebody else cover their weaknesses.

    If anything, it should be a valuable tool to look at for an entrepreneur or hiring manager before hiring somebody.

  • I have taken and currently use the Predictive Index by PI Worldwide ( It is such a great tool for creating and managing teams. As a project manager, this is a critical tool in my place of business.

  • Ben: Three caveats:
    –the test is a snapshot of you on the day taken.
    –Individual psychology focuses on the actor’s dispositions, ignoring impact of differing contexts on behaviors–the fundamental attribution error–see Gladwell article, or the standard discussion in Nisbett and Ross, Human Inference…
    –re your comment on “underplaying”–research indicates that we tend not to view ourselves accurately, nor are we good at accurately perceiving how others see us–in effect, we all have a self-serving bias–myself included (even though I’m not really certain that includes me! ha)

  • I enjoyed giving your Predictive Index feedback Ben. PI is more a management tool, a workshop and a system than purely a tool for career counseling, although it is used as such in many large organizations.

    Personality assessment and people evaluation are very dense subjects, still in their debut. We develop PI in organizations by giving a two to three day workshop. Partly the reason is that there are hundreds of questions to answer and at the same time we want to remain focused on practical business applications.

    How can one be predicted to act in his or her life and in the business world? We all have to make our best guess, not only when reflecting on our future path or career, but particularly when being in a position of managing people, from one person to thousands. What do the words ‘personality’ and ‘acting’ mean? What is the influence of the culture, DNA, what goes on in the brain, our language or personal history ? Why should we know? Keep challenging.

  • Hi Ben,

    So what is your conclusion on yourself?

    Does it really describes you? or is it like having a “positive” horoscope? where you listen what you want to listen.

    Btw, I think I’m the only one that watches more than twice your thinkdifferent videos, lol

    specifically No.1 and 3

    It will be awesome to hear you have a chat with Scott Young.

    take care,


  • This is an interesting topic. I would be curious in what the test results would be for my personality. When searching for jobs in the past, PEO have you take assessment tests before any interviewing takes place. Some of these employers have contacted me back, while others have not. It would be interesting to find out what the test results were, and if they were as in depth as the results for the Predicative Index test.

  • Is there a list of careers that are associated with the predictive index scores to help steer job seekers in the right direction?

  • in this group is there anyone who knows cognitive and personality psychology in depth. Because after reading all the comments what I see it people are lacking basic cognitive and personality knowledge.

  • I am a Certified Predictive Index Analyst and have been one since 2000. PI is the most accurate, behaviorally based instrument I have ever encountered. I do not work for PI.

    What makes it unique is the survey questionnaire. With no questions or statement rankings it is very difficult for the taker to read into the survey what the employer is looking for.

    From Ben’s PI Pattern I can accurately determine his drives, styles, values, fears, motives, morale, objective/subjective decision making, and his amount of behavioral/cognitive energy.

    I am currently working with detecting world class athletic talent, in high schools, colleges, and pro teams. Behavioral and cognitive traits are very stable and change very little from the age of 16.

    Believe it or not, some of the world’s greatest athletes are not courageous and ambitious. They are fearless, focused, and at many times, socially awkward. I never would have made this discovery without PI.

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