7 Ways To Apply Assessments

January is always a time for self-reflection, analysis and the dreaded resolutions. It is also a time for assessment. 

Most consulting engagements at our firm, and within our partners, begin with an assessment of some kind. Even our career transition assistance programs (outplacement) begin with a self-assessment.

The assessments I have used, and been administered, in the past have been frighteningly accurate. While it didn’t tell me about my toenail thing, it did reveal that I sometimes have unreasonable expectations.

Assessments are part of a process, most often at the beginning. We learn something, then apply what we learn and move on, hopefully for the better.

Here are a seven ways you might now use, or consider using, assessments in your organization:

  1. New Leadership – We have seen a number of acquisitions or leadership changes where an organization used an assessment to evaluate the strengths, communication styles and more of the existing team.
  2. Recruiting – There is an ongoing debate about using assessments in this capacity, but many employers value assessments in the recruiting process. It could be used across the board or just for specific job functions (i.e. sales aptitude).
  3. Reorganization – When looking at existing talent, using assessments can evaluate the strengths of your team and determine who fits where.
  4. New Talent Initiative – Lately, I have talked with several employers looking at mentoring programs. Those only have hope of working if the senior management buys in, but it also requires that the mentors have some skills in coaching other team members. Assessments can help uncover the mentors who have the needed skills.
  5. Executive Coaching – You wouldn’t want to climb on an airplane that has no way of navigating it. The same is true with coaching. Whether the need is to polish one area of a high performer, a high potential, a low/moderate performer or someone on a performance improvement plan, we begin with an assessment to better navigate the process.
  6. Career Transition / Outplacement – We typically use a self-assessment on the front-end of an outplacement program, and a good question to ask is "What did you learn from your previous position that you need to do differently going forward?"
  7. Self-Assessment – Where do you need to grow, improve or stretch? How have you evaluated and defined ways in which you will improve? This post is nice and all, but if you take just one thing away from it, I would challenge you to take a look at your own performance – that could be at work or in your personal life – and ask yourself "How am I going to improve?" If you aren’t measuring yourself, chances are someone else is.

Personally, I have engaged in some self-assessment of late and am working to devote more scheduled time to high-value activities. I am easily distracted but if I can devote more of my day to high value activities, then I can achieve a greater result. 

Speaking of which, I have to get back to it. How are you going to apply assessments?

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