A few thoughts on using data without dehumanizing

As we continue our look into applying data to human performance, you've probably asked yourself one (or all) of the following:

  1. “Is there proof that this works?”
  2. “How do I identify where to start?”
  3. "How do I apply the data to the human factor?”

As we address these three issues, realize that many will feel as if this process is dehumanizing. I would argue the exact opposite. People are not statistics alone; that is why the data is so critical – to define each person’s uniqueness.  That concept is supported with a four-year study conducted under strict university guidelines of the University of Chester and Westminster Theological Centre (WTC) in the United Kingdom. The personal formation study provided irrefutable results.

Benjamin Filip, a former colleague who holds a Master’s Degree in Statistical Analysis, independently validated the study results. The study illustrates an unusually high statistical improvement in human factor elements necessary for success. Those individuals who completed the Personal Formations process were able to identify their strengths and weakness, allowing them to define their roles and the cultural appropriateness of their work or profession.

Consider the following:

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As dramatic as these statistics are, they are not nearly as significant as the impact on the individual personally. Succeeding in your station of life is important, but an individual’s sense of self and personal direction is essential to contributing to a team, and being able to celebrate and embrace a peer’s knowledge, creativity, value, and success.

This shows that using data does more to enhance a person’s self-image than it “de-humanizes” them. It becomes apparent to them. It gives them an idea of their own abilities that they may not have been aware of before.

This kind of self-awareness is vital to success in any industry. It’s a matter of confidence, self-worth, and knowing oneself. Once people are given an idea of their lifetime and cultural abilities, they become comfortable in those abilities and are more inclined to succeed.

(Interested in seeing more? Get the free Personal Formation study.)

4 common myths about assessments

24525107_s Testing. Sounds kind of intimidating, no?

As if interviewing, obtaining and performing in a role weren't difficult enough, now my boss wants to probe deeper inside my head?

This concern is understandable, for sure. While a great majority of organizations use assessments of some type to gauge abilities in employees, people still remain cautious about being tested, despite the massive progress and development of psychometric science.

Today, there are still some who are concerned that the answers the assessments provide will not give an accurate picture of their true characteristics and abilities, despite countless validation studies. Below, we cover four of the most prominent myths and misconceptions about modern assessments, and explain why employees shouldn't fear "the test."

 

  1. “My deep, dark secrets will be exposed.”

The most common “joke” question most psychometricians hear is: “Well am I an axe murderer?” The reality is that assessments identify behavioral, mindset, skill, capacity and habitual traits— NOT specific experiences. While tendencies can be somewhat predictable, assessments cannot, nor can they be used as conclusive when it comes to specific events. This type of fear inhibits the opportunity for an individual’s true marketable strengths and abilities to be understood, utilized, and maximized.

Assessment results should be kept in an individual’s personnel file and made unavailable without employee consent.   If the individual is schooled in the personal formation process they will see their results as a working tool for advancement. Companies like General Electric have used these tools for career progression for decades.

 

  1. “You will judge me, based on my answers.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Almost all assessments are internet or computer-based, so there is no one observing individual answers. The results are different for every person.

Validated instruments are designed to identify where and how well a person “fits” a particular position or station because it is a lot easier for some people to do certain types of work more than others. Rather than judging, the assessment results illuminate the appropriate path and define what “equipping” is necessary in the future if change is desirable to the person. The assessment will make their time and energy expenditures count, both now and in the future.

 

  1. “I won't do well on tests because I get nervous.”

Fortunately, most of today’s assessments use the “ipsative” or forced choice approach. The assessments require a person to rank or provide their preferences. Many of the directions for corporate assessments used today include the phrases: “there are no right or wrong answers” or “just be yourself.” This allows the program to gather even nervous data with consistency and objectivity, ensuring there is a good or less than good fit for the purpose.

A complete and sophisticated battery will provide a validity factor indicating whether the individual was so nervous that they could not communicate clearly or that they tried to “beat” the tests. In most cases, sensitive feedback, before and after the assessment, will reassure the individual so they can see that their information will help them along their professional path with fairness as well as ensuring they receive the best opportunities available for their own unique abilities.

 

  1. “You are trying to pigeon-hole me or put me in some box.”

Unfortunately, these beliefs come from well-intentioned trainers who have limited depth in the use of psychometric data. Exercises similar to the “all the extroverts go to this side of the room and all the introverts to the other side” have inhibited some people. It leaves them feeling that they have lost their uniqueness. Everyone has an ego to a greater or lesser extent.

Classification is a slap in the face to those with high goals and aspirations. By using a personal formation approach, results are individualized but with a common language understandable to the team. Individualized study accompanied by group sessions allows you to keep your uniqueness but provides common language promoting interaction, support, and validation of individual assets. In other words, it’s the best of both worlds. Employees retain their uniqueness while employers thrive.

Whether you realize it or not, your employer has just give you some additional information for increasing your opportunity for success. You have to latch on to this opportunity and put it to work, because most HR and hiring managers don’t know what to do with the information other than “if there is a good fit or not.” Take your results and read them quickly one time. Then when you have a few quiet minutes reread them slowly circling areas that may not seem a good fit for your position or may inhibit your performing at a high level. Then follow this outline:

  1. List the characteristics
  2. Prioritize the ones that will have the biggest impact on inhibiting success
  3. Identify which skills need to be developed.
  4. Go to your manager and ask what kind of programs/developmental processes he/she has available to help you master these processes.
  5. If there are not professional options, search the internet for options. Many are available to you free. Others, which are more in-depth may have some cost associated.
  6. Make a plan to develop yourself with the money they spent on the assessment whether you plan to stay in the job or whether it is another stepping stone to success.

New year, new start.

16059643_s Let us first welcome you all to a brand new year. It's human nature to look to the future when January rolls around. We want to do better. We want to be betterBe it in your career and professional development, or in your personal growth, it seems there's always "no time like the present."

(That is, until you abandon many of your well-intentioned resolutions by mid-January.)

Let's break the pattern for 2015, and work together to make these goals a reality for the new year. As you'll see in the coming months, LifeThrive will place an increased focus on giving you the skills, tactics and motivation to improve your performance, in and out of the office.

The LifeThrive team has always been here to help you maximize your potential. But, for 2015 and beyond, we're dedicated to giving you more content, more insights and more expert perspectives so you can turn your goals into accomplishments, and your accomplishments into long-term success.

Today begins a new journey for all of us. It won't always be easy. And it won't always bring immediate results. But, much like our own growth and transition, when the dust clears, a better, more productive future awaits.

Gain Control of Your Goals

To start, we need to get you where you want to be. To get off to a good start, try these quick steps:

  1. Remember that success and prosperity reside within your mind. Your version of prosperity is going to look like something very different than those that “direct you on the path you ought to be on.” If you haven’t taken our free on line behavioral and values assessment do so, so you will understand your strengths and how to use them. -
  2. Make a list of your goals. Both long term and short term. Don’t let anyone tell you what they should be. Follow the “desires of your heart.” That is your inner compass telling you what you need to value and prioritize. Those priorities will be the foundation, motivating your success. Without them, you will not have the passion, drive and energy to achieve your objective. -
  3. Plan, but start by mapping out what is holding you back or standing in your way. Look at your behavioral and value areas that show the lowest scores. Identify which of your strengths can help you compensate for them. Once understood, set long-term SMART goals. Then break them down into steps that make sense and are not overwhelming. Just as Rome was not built in a day, nor will you achieve long-term objectives in a day. Make sure your daily objectives are attainable, even though they may stretch you. -
  4. Make a commitment for your future and your success. The road to accomplishments is rarely straight. You are going to encounter some curves and road blocks along the way. In the same way you expect that the highways will have some construction going on during a long journey, so will you need some reformatting and expansion of your path way. Consider those as the essential elements you were missing on the road to success. Without learning them along the way you will not have the knowledge to manage your success. And, remember my favorite phase: “Failure becomes success, when you learn from it.”

Hear from a few of your peers: We want to hear about your plans for the coming year(s)! What goals have you set for yourself (or your business) for 2015? What steps are you taking to achieve them? Let us know in the comments below!