Tue | Dec 11, 2018

Trevor E. S. Smith | Is your behavioural assessment pixie dust or real value?

Published:Sunday | November 25, 2018 | 12:00 AM

- Is your behavioural assessment like a tea leaf reading?

- Do behavioural assessments have a place in Talent Management?

- Are behavioural assessments a decades-old scam?

Some people view behavioural assessments in the same light as palm reading and question their usefulness.

A lot of ignorance and misinformation is related to views on behavioural assessments.

 

PREFERENCES

 

The biggest challenge is a misunderstanding of the information that behavioural assessments convey.

Behavioural assessments speak to preferences - full stop. The best ones provide a series of validated options for the individual to choose what is most like them and what is least like them.

The choices should be made in context and relates to a specific point in time.

The very best psychometric instruments like Extended DISC use multiphrase options in the questionnaire to make it truly challenging to fake the results. Such attempts often produce invalid results or other indicators as to a lowered degree of reliability of the result.

Let's understand preferences!

This Christmas, you want to buy a shirt or a blouse for a family member.

- What colour do you choose?

- What influences your choice?

You base it on what you have observed to be the preferred colours of the individual.

Being aware of their preferences helps you to make a decision that leads to your gift being well received.

Clearly, there is value in having information on preferences.

Consider having to make the same purchase for a total stranger with zero knowledge about their likes or dislikes.

 

FUNDAMENTAL ERROR

 

The huge error comes next.

What if we could apply the same principle and find a tool that helps us to predict exactly how an individual will respond to every situation?

Behavioural assessments ...yay! We have a magic wand! No!

Here is the pitfall:

Grandma has not worn anything but black since Grandpa passed. Buying the sweater in black is a no-brainer.

The problem is that Grandma might have identified new interests and plans to change her wardrobe. She is now interested in pastel and earth colours.

 

KEY PRINCIPLE

 

A preference is not a straight jacket. We can choose it or drop it.

Your behaviour is part of your personality. However, it does not include the range of factors that make up your personality and impact your decisions.

One option is to think of behaviours and preferences as the equivalent of what we choose to wear.

My preference is to think in terms of behavioural toolkits that we use to navigate life.

Examples: Direct speech versus being diplomatic. Outgoing versus reserved. Adventurous versus being cautious.

We have preferences among the toolkits. However, from time to time we use tools with which we are not as comfortable. E.g. making a snap decision under pressure.

 

WHERE THEN IS THE VALUE?

 

If people can and do change their preferences, what is the value of the psychometric assessments?

Appropriate application is essential.

Can we really discount the value of insights as to Grandma's preferences?

What is the probability of being dead wrong with your selection?

However, it is important to understand that a preference is linked to unique situations and specific points in time.

The best use of information on preferences is to treat it as a prompt for getting further data as against making definitive statements.

Information on preferences should be one element of your fact-finding and interaction.

What if Grandma has been showing clear signs that she is about to end her mourning?

 

BOTTOM LINE

 

Behavioural assessments provide information on the preferences of an individual in a specific context and point in time.

The results provide a platform for further enquiry and engagement. It is a useful starting point and beats the alternative of setting out blindly.

Talent managers and individuals who are exposed to sophisticated competency-based behavioural assessments recognise the fact that they receive valuable insights that are not available from any other source.

Like fire, behavioural assessments can add value and can also be misused. Seek guidance!

 

ACTION

 

Find out how FinxS Platform flat fee licences from Extended DISC can add value to your recruitment, training, employee engagement surveys and 360 assessment initiatives while saving money!

Learn more about the turn-key Coach-Mentor Certification programme here: https://leadercoach.successwithpeople.org/engage.

- Trevor E. S. Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify leadership professionals and coach/mentors and develop engaged, high-performing teams. Hire smart with their recruitment solutions. Now enrolling coaches in the ICF/SHRM-Accredited certified behavioural coach programme. Email: info@successwithpeople.org.