Earlier this month, hfi broadcast a live Webcast called Putting the Science of Potential to Work. hfi CEO Charlie Atkinson addressed potential as the most effective predictor of success at all levels of leadership, from supervisors to CEOs. Potential has a profound effect on how we recruit, select, develop and promote our leaders but many organizations struggle to effectively define and/or measure potential.
Charlie talked through defining, quantifying, and measuring potential and how to use these metrics to hire, promote, and develop the right people for your organization. If you missed the live event, you can watch the Webcast OnDemand or download the slides here.
During the live event, participants asked some great, practical questions about how to begin measuring potential in their organizations and how that measurement integrates with their current methods, like 9-Box Grids. Charlie didn’t have a chance to answer every question on-air so we are answering all your questions in a two-part blog post. Questions 1-3 are addressed here in Part 1, and we will tackle questions 4-7 in Part 2.
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Question 1: Could we have the names of the best psychometric tests? – Ellie & Chan
hfi: We may be a bit biased, because we are a psychometric provider and developer. We can tell you which questionnaires and tests we use, but there’s also a strategy for what combination of psychometrics is best for the situation. For example, we very rarely assess someone with just a personality test. At the very least, we combine a personality measure with cognitive ability or general reasoning. The more questionnaires a candidate completes for an assessment, the deeper you go into understanding the person. Even just using two assessments instead of one gives you exponentially more insight into the true nature of the person. Two people may have the same cognitive ability scores, but if they have vastly different personalities they may portray their intelligence differently.
Beyond those four, we often incorporate measures of motivational values, management styles and business approach. If you want to know more about our selection of psychometric assessments, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
Question 2: How do you advise to go about deciding which competencies to measure – job profile development? – Jason
hfi: Over the years we have developed a very robust methodology for establishing an effective job profile or competency set. We use a combination of critical incident interviews and repertory grid analysis. The results then form the basis of a further cluster analysis that results in a clear set of job requirements. Most organizations don’t have the time or expertise to undertake this sort of detailed analysis, and so are more likely to resort to reviewing tasks and roles or conducting structured interviews with existing job holders. No matter how you design your analyses like this, we recommend that you look at validating the results if at all possible. You can only do this if you have a number of people in a similar role; once you have your competencies, you then score each of those people against your competency model and correlate their scores against their performance in the role. If you have statistical capability in your organization, this is best using multiple regression analysis (you can always contact us for help). Doing this statistical ‘check’ will tell you which parts of your competency model or job profile actually predict success in the role, and which parts are simply distractions.
Question 3: You stated the 9-Box Grid is very subjective. How effective have you found that method? – Maria
hfi: The 9-box grid is a great method for graphically reviewing the status of talent in your organization. However, as with any tool, it is only as good as the data you feed into it. If that data is very subjective, such as when it is simply based on a manager’s unadulterated rating, then your results will also be subjective. In order to remove the subjectivity you need to ensure the inputs are robust and valid.
For a 9-Box Grid there are two inputs, past performance and future potential. Performance is the easier of the two to deal with. There is a lot of advice and support out there on how to objectively measure performance in all sorts of roles. If you are really struggling, then at least provide the manager with a structured behavioral questionnaire based on the competency and job profile. To rate potential, the only effective method that we know of is to use psychometric assessments. Managers simply cannot rate someone’s future potential as they have never seen the person performing in that future role. If you combine a well validated competency model with effective psychometric assessment you will have a truly objective measure of future potential, and your 9-Box Grid will be effective.
Thanks again to all of you who joined us for the live Webcast, and to those who submitted questions. If you did not have a chance to join the webcast, please check out the OnDemand video here.