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Secrets of the Sorting Hat, The Chinese Zodiac & Personality Typing

Psychometric Tools (Personality Assessments) - What on earth do they have in common with Harry Potter's Sorting Hat and the Chinese Zodiac. Stick with me, we're about to find out...

Are they ‘Good?’ ‘Bad?’ Useful? - to us as individuals or to organizations?

Here’s what I know: Personality Assessments (and most likely Sorting Hats and the Chinese Zodiac, which I admit to being less familiar with) can be enormously effective when carefully selected, used appropriately by qualified professionals and when the validity and research that underlies them is solid.

I also know that they can also lead organizations, individuals and teams astray (and can be downright damaging when misused, misunderstood or incompetently misapplied, which happens more often than you think). A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing...

Five points of wisdom I have to share with you:

  1. All personality tests and psychometric assessments are NOT created equally. Select with due care & diligence;

  2. A high level of statistical validity, sound psychological research & rigorous verification are essential, as is a match between what your goal is and what (any how) the tool validates;

  3. The ‘Typing’ of people can be limiting and hazardous to them & to their organizations. There are assessments that move far beyond 'Type' (like the Lumina Portrait). Look for these;

  4. NEVER (and I do mean NEVER) invest in, or participate in, a psychometric assessment unless you fully understand its purpose, are confident in its validity, trust that it is being administered and debriefed by a knowledgeable, qualified professional who can clearly and meaningfully interpret its results, and you are certain it will be used responsibly;

  5. Psychometrics do not provide 'The Answer.' They offer insight, awareness, data and possibilities, the value of which always comes from the questions which follow, ‘Of What Significance is This?' and 'How Do I/We Put These Results in Service To Me/Us Next?,' being a couple.

  • Let me share with you this insightful Hidden Brain Podcast by Shankar Vedantam which will take you right to the Sorting Hat. Enjoy (& tread carefully when sorting)!


Maureen M. Knapp is a Certified Professional Coach, Leadership Expert, Life & Business Strategist and Public Speaker in private practice in New York City.

You can reach Maureen with comments or questions, or can learn more about the Lumina Spark Portrait and Lumina Team Assessments, by contacting her through her website:

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