Wharton psychology professor Adam Grant and legendary investor and billionaire Ray Dalio just came out with the mother of all self-assessment tools, called PrinciplesYou. Dalio is offering it free to anyone who wants to use it. Unlike other such tools, you can use it not only to learn about yourself, but also to better understand your relationships with your employees, your teammates, your friends, and even your partner or spouse. The pair jointly launched PrinciplesYou at the virtual Collision mega-conference this past week.
Dalio first became interested in self-assessment while working to improve his own people skills as head of his phenomenally successful hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates. That work resulted in his book Principles, and also in a deep interest in personality assessment tools for himself and his employees. He began with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and was surprised at both how accurate and how helpful that was. He went on to add other self-assessment tools, eventually using six different ones.
But he wasn't satisfied. "I wanted to have one assessment that was also going to be able to bring it together, and just give the total picture of the person," Dalio said. That's why he invited Grant, along with two other high-profile psychologists and personality experts, Brian Little and John Golden, to help him create something new and more comprehensive. "As an organizational psychologist, I've spent a lot of my career doing personality assessment," Grant said. "It caught me off guard when you said, 'The old assessments aren't giving me everything I need. Let's build a new one.'" The idea excited him, he said.
'I stay calm under pressure.'
The PrinciplesYou assessment consists of a long series of statements, such as "I stay calm under pressure " and "I am sensitive to others' emotions," with which you can agree or disagree. Expect to spend half an hour or more answering all these questions. All that time pays off and you'll wind up with a robust and wide-ranging profile. It will include your archetype--or a few archetypes, since most of us have more than one. (For instance, I'm a combination of Orchestrator, Campaigner, and Strategist.) It will look at how you think, how you interact with others, how you take on challenges, and how you tend to act in various situations, such as when under pressure or meeting someone for the first time. It takes a close look at your leadership style and skills as well.
One thing that sets PrinciplesYou apart is that you can invite friends, colleagues, your spouse, or anyone else in your life to also take the test, and the software will compare your results with theirs. "It will describe your relationship and what you will encounter in that relationship," Dalio said.
As it happens, that feature came in very handy for Dalio and Grant as they began working together. It revealed that Grant is the more analytical of the two, while Dalio operates partly on data and partly on intuition, which is not what you might expect from an expert in finance and the economy.
"It was eye-opening for me because we've had these moments when I want to change your mind and I bring you some evidence," Grant recalled. "And you say, 'I don't care about the evidence because it doesn't match my intuition.' It led me to think we can collaborate more effectively by my asking you, 'Ray, tell me more about where that intuition came from and we can unpack it together.'"
There's a small audience of Inc.com readers who receive a daily text from me with a self-care or motivational microchallenge or idea. Often they text me back and we wind up in an ongoing conversation. (Interested in joining? You can learn more here.) It's striking how often people in my text community tell me about misunderstandings or hurt feelings that come up in the complicated relationships with the people in their own lives.
This is the sort of thing PrinciplesYou was designed to help you untangle. Taking the test is free and kind of fun. It could give you a better understanding of yourself, your colleagues, your employees, or your loved ones. That's something all of us could use.