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You want to know a secret?

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Many people don't put much stock in the results of “personality” or “style” assessments. Assessment tools, such as the Myers-Briggs, DISC assessments or others for learning styles, leadership styles and others have both advocates and nay-sayers. Conduct a Google search and find countless papers and articles outlining the case for not using or trusting these tools. See Uncovering the Secret History of Myers-Briggs as an example. I tend to side with these nay-sayers when it comes to accuracy or assigning people in outlined categories.

But, that is not why I use them.

Then Why Use Assessments?

Assessments provide a comfortable entry point of discussion when starting the change process in an organization's culture. The assessment works as a straw man that sets the state for powerful conversations and the development of agreements without instigating the sense of defensiveness or aggression that may occur when focusing on the behaviors and actions of the organization's employees.

Assessment

The selection of the appropriate assessment tool will help you  1) Defines Terms 2) Ask Questions 3) Sets a Framework for discussion.

1) Define Terms

Professionally designed assessments define a set a of criteria the assessment evaluates. Example: a management assessment tool may compare Command/Control and Influence/Collaboration. The terms are a defined for use by the participants.

A facilitator benefits by building a discussion around these definitions. The opportunity is to gain consensus about a definition and how that definition applies to the organization etc.

2) Ask Questions

The key of any assessment are the questions asked. Assessments may be short or long and can vary in complexity. While the questions are important to getting the assessment's score, it is more important that the questions are ones that can be asked again and again to provide clarity. Many assessment tools are offered on-line and provide a report for consumption, it is also very powerful to provide the assessment's questions for employee to contemplate, reflect and reassess themselves with those same questions again in the future.

3) Sets the Framework for Discussion

The topic of the assessment and the results of the assessment should be relevant discussion topics. Participation can highlight both cohesiveness and conflict in opinions and approaches that direct questioning may not discern. Regardless of agreement/disagreement or accuracy of the assessment, a conversation can then occur that opens the flow of communication and can be guided to address the desired change for the culture.



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