How to Use Assessments for Individual and Organizational Development
Let’s face it continuous improvement is a winning strategy for anyone with the CEO mindset. It’s an asset for professionals and entrepreneurs alike. Regardless of where you are in your career or your business there are always opportunities to grow. Throughout my life I’ve seen many programs and systems come and go. They were based on a popular book, hot topic or cutting edge concept and frequently endorsed by a celebrity. Touted to change your life, many just turned out to be passing fads. Unfortunately, they came and went and never really made any lasting impact.
Why Some Programs Don’t Work
Why is it that so many programs don’t stand the test of time? In my opinion, it’s because they are not based on the individual but rather an external system. This is why I like assessments. They focus specifically on the person being assessed, their behaviors, and their actions and reactions. Assessments are tools designed to help us learn more about ourselves. The added bonus to assessments is that if we’re learning more about ourselves very often we’re learning more about others too.
What Assessments Do
Assessments can help us be better performers, be better communicators and have better relationships with people. Clearly, improved performance, communication and relationships are valuable assets to professionals and business owners alike. I believe the biggest benefit to assessments is that rather than guessing, they provide tangible information. This information can provide you with a clear picture of yourself. You can use this insight to create a solid plan for your personal or professional growth and development, and to help you build stronger relationships through better communication.
When to Assess
There’s no right or wrong time to take an assessment. I do recommend that when sitting for an assessment that you take it in a place where you feel comfortable, secure and relaxed. A quiet space without interruptions is best. Some people take assessments when there life is in order and no major changes are happening. However, most of my clients come to me when they are experiencing challenges at work or in their business and when things in their life aren’t going well. An assessment can help to point them in the right direction or as the basis for improving their performance.
Interpreting the Results
Be careful when interpreting results. Your behavioral style doesn’t typically change over time. However, I do point out to my clients that there are things that can skew an assessment. For example, any kind of stress, illness or major life change could impact your results. Even positive stress like buying a house, getting a promotion or purchasing a new business can affect the outcome.
Typically the assessments I use provide results in graphs and charts as well as text. If I observe a spike in a particular graph, then I know I need to know more about what’s going on in that person’s life or at work. I’ll ask some key questions and people will be shocked that I figured some things out and ask me, “Are you a mind reader?” My response, “No, I’m an assessment reader.” The data is very clear and when I break it down for them they see it right there in black and white.
In certain circumstances, if I find that something major is going on, I recommend that they reassess in six months or a year when things have settled down. We simply work with the data provided and use it to move forward.
Assessments Are a Valuable Learning Tool
No matter what is going on in someone’s life, assessments can be a useful tool for continuous improvement. This is one way that people who are successful gain the professional edge.
Assessments offer a real-time snapshot of what’s going on. The interpretation of the assessment can help people discover what is affecting them. I always suggest people use coaching as a tool to help them manage it. This strategy provides them insight into what their triggers are and how to use them to their advantage.
My clients benefit greatly from coaching during times of major changes in their lives. Not only are they able to better understand their triggers, behavior patterns and actions, they get insight into other people’s reactions.
Beware of this Word
Many people miss the point when it comes to assessments. They refer to them as “tests.” From the time we are little children we fear tests. Often with tests there is a “pass/fail” aspect to them. We learn to fear tests because we know what failing means. And who wants to fail? Not me and I’m sure, not you. The big difference is that with assessments there are no failures. There are no right or wrong answers. One behavioral style is not better than another. With assessments, everyone wins. The person being assessed learns more about himself or herself, and the company has a better understanding of the value that person brings to the company.
Learn More About Assessments
In this piece I have focused on just a few uses for assessments. To learn more about other ways to use assessments, check out my interview on Focus Forward to learn more about assessments and how to use them.
- Posted by Regina
- On December 14, 2017
- 0 Comments