Personality Tests: When we find Gold what should we do with it?

Photo Credit: Rachel Sapp

Photo Credit: Rachel Sapp

 

Personality profiling tests are very common these days and many companies are interested in using them to gain a profile of their teams. I’ve spoken before about how self-awareness is one of the most important attributes of leadership but the same can be said for any of us. Having an understanding of who we are and what makes us tick is very important.

 

For anyone who is unsure of what I’m referring to you may have heard of tests such as the ‘Myers-Briggs Type Indicator’ or the Carl Jung Personality type tests. There are others available too. In Layman’s terms these tests help to become a little more self-aware, understand your social interactions and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Typical outcomes might tell you whether you are an introvert or extrovert, which types of social scenario you feel most comfortable and how you work with others.

The tests are great for individuals and also teams. By understanding your social interactions and those of others you can see quite clearly how to manage different roles within teams to gain maximum performance outcomes.

At the back end of last year I was speaking to staff at one of my client’s companies. Recently all staff had undertaken a personality profiling exercise. “What did you find out?” I asked.

“I’m a red, and all my team are reds pretty much,” was the reply.

“Great, so what did that mean for you guys?” I inquired.

“Not much, we’re all pretty similar.”

This was a strange conversation. I was surprised to hear that the team had all this information and hadn’t done anything with it.

I then spoke to someone else I work with regularly. He’d also undertaken a similar type of test only to find that thereafter the information hadn’t been used in the commercial setting. In fact, what was worse, was that the tests had revealed ‘weaknesses’ for individuals with no advice on how to cope with this information. His test feedback had informed that he took criticism personally.

If we think about how this could impact on the person who was an extremely capable and talented individual. Information like that above given to the a person at the wrong time, or lacking any advice on how to process it, can have a detrimental impact on that person and the organisation. Potentially de-motivated and disconnected from the organisation and their work.

What’s the alternative? Given the right support after this sort of feedback, could have meant weeks and months more of realised potential, and productivity. A positively engaged and high performing member of your team.

Personality and psychometric testing is a great way to help your business advance. It can help planning for the future, for example a talent pipeline, or ensure team projects have the right members. They can be enlightening tools for staff, helping them to identify blind spots and enhance their own performance subsequently. Self-awareness, after all, is the key to improved performance.

Next time you consider using profiling or assessment tools what might we do differently to get the results we intended in the first place? What happens if we don’t?

Lets find Gold and invest it wisely.

2016 New Year Resolutions

Being Goal Focused in Business

Multi-Ethnic Group of People and Imagine Concept

With 2015 becoming a distant memory quickly and as we hurtle into 2016 many of us will have reflected on our achievements in 2015 and also thought about some of the things we didn’t achieve.

I hope that 2016 is going to be the year that you want it to be. Last year I started the year with a blog relating to Adding A Goal Focus and it struck me that we don’t need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to being goal focused. Yet, often knowing what works is the easiest part and putting things into practice becomes the challenge.

Perhaps the most synonymous thing with the new-year is the resolution; those little plans to eat less, exercise more and quit one vice or another. According to research from the University of Scranton in the Journal of Clinical psychology 75% of resolutions make it past week 1 and 46% past 6 months.

Are you surprised by these figures and do they ring true for you?

Despite these statistics, the figures show from this research that there is a certain degree of success for many people who set goals in the shape of resolutions. Those who make New Year resolutions are TEN TIMES more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t.

In fact, we can probably all think of someone who has lost significant weight, quit smoking or picked up a new hobby all because of a new year’s resolution.

Imagine how we can relate this to our business planning and setting of goals and what lessons can we learn from those who achieve success with their personal New Year Resolutions.

Being Goal Focused 

The thing with resolutions is that quite often they describe something you want to stop, an action for example such as eating, drinking, smoking, or something you want to do more of like socialising, exercising or networking.

From a business perspective resolutions may be, for example, gaining new market share, growing sales of certain products or reduce the amount of customer service issues.

As a Business Coach in Lancashire, I know that the challenge with making resolutions within business is to ensure we align every action with what our brand promises to deliver to our customer. All roads, resolutions or goals need to be linked to the over-riding business purpose. The Vision.

Hand with marker is drawing Action change things on the transparent white board.

In his book, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ Stephen Covey talks about beginning with the end in mind. This is a great place to start when you are thinking about what you want to achieve. Your business started out with a Purpose, a Vision and regardless of the time of year we need to review and assess our Vision for the business.

With that in mind we then start planning our Goals or Objectives for the forthcoming year. If we take the principle that we can achieve TEN TIMES more if we set goals then it makes sense to establish processes in our business to ensure this occurs.

Again, taking some principles from advice for achieving success in our New Year Resolutions (Mental Health Foundation)

  1. Planning. 
    • We all know about being SMART with setting goals or objectives but let’s remember to;
    • Involve and Include. There is creativity and imagination in your people.
    • Set expectations about roles & responsibilities
    • Establish milestones and stepping stone short-term goals for the journey.
    • Plan for obstacles and challenges
  2. Share the Vision and show the Journey
    • Remember, your team will buy in more if they are involved
    • Empower and Engage
    • Create Accountability
  3. Measure 
    • Check where you are and how you are performing against goals
    • Share success and failure with your people and teams.
    • Create a positive team and solutions led culture to handle failures
    • Be prepared to change the way you achieve your goals and objectives.
  4. Reward & Recognition
    • Take opportunities to recognise reaching milestones and short term goals
    • Reward your people and teams as you move closer to your overall goal
  5. Embed process as part of Culture
    • Empower your people to adopt these practices and Inspire like a Leader should.
    • Coach, Mentor and Support as you develop Business Ambassadors

I hope that’s been useful in helping you to consider those goals and put some imagination into your business resolutions for the new-year. If you want to know more about how to embed a goal focused culture within your business then drop me a line for an informal chat about how  I can help.

All the best for a hugely successful 2016.

 

 

 

Beyond Employee Engagement

Dark chalkboard with a Strategy diagram illustration.

As a Business Coach in Lancashire I talk to business owners on a regular basis who know the power of coaching, training and other people development activities. Mandatory training requirements aside, Business Owners and Leaders are keen to invest in themselves and their people to develop the ability to deliver the business performance they need to continue growth and success.

It is becoming more widely understood that many businesses invest in leadership development activities which are ineffective and do not deliver the outcomes which are really needed for the business to flourish and succeed.

A recent HR Magazine article gives some insight into the reasons why. The article highlights that, in many cases, leadership development initiatives are not aligned to business needs or strategy and that inappropriate and ineffective methods are being adopted.

The Impact of the recent Spending Review

Over recent years the financial burden on businesses, small and large, has increased. In many a Boardroom across the nation, discussions on how to “get more from less” continues to be a theme.

So, in light of the recent Spending Review from George Osborne and the cuts to the Business Support budget, how will this affect the mind-set of Business Owners in terms of how they invest in their people in 2016?

The Employee Engagement Question?

For several years the principle of raising and strengthening Engagement levels throughout the workforce has gathered pace. Happy people at work are productive, right? That seems like common or business sense.

It makes the Boardroom conversations more palatable. To think that raising Engagement amongst the workforce is going to create happy and productive teams.

Talking to business leaders it’s clear that we are increasingly aware that engagement is inextricably linked to Leadership behaviours. Training organisations have adapted their initiatives and focused their promised delivered outcomes based on the Employee Engagement theme.

After all, we are told that:

“70% of how our customers and potential customers perceive our business and brand is based on their experience with our people”.

If this is the case, what part does the customer play in how we plan for development initiatives?

So, what challenges does this present?

Given that we will continue to invest in our people with less business support from central government, the question of Return on Investment plays an even more significant part in decision making.

What does this actually mean for businesses for the future?

Are there other real challenges for senior leaders? To look beyond the Employee Engagement as a “buzz-phrase” or a one-stop leadership training solution or a series of surveys and understand how to:

  1. Link Learning to Strategy & establish what the real end goals are when starting any learning & development initiative
  2. Create a Sustainable Culture & embed Employee Engagement as a culture not a project & align with strategic business needs and goals.
  3. Complete the Link to the Customer & connect engagement with advocacy
  4. Measure Effectively & to develop really smart data which will support your sustainability strategy connecting People with Strategy and Brand.

How will you think differently about your people strategy for 2016? I would really like to hear your thoughts.

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I’m Paul Aisthorpe, Business Strategy Coach & Trainer specialising in developing people strategies to deliver accelerated & stronger business performance.

Managing Freelance Relationships

collaboration (3)

Managing Freelance Relationships requires Collaboration

Using freelancers is a great way to help grow your business. The nature of the work means you can relieve time pressures by giving certain tasks to a quality freelancer you can trust. For freelancers themselves the nature of work can be very attractive, particularly when managing work/life balance.

However, the freelancer relationship often provides quite a challenge to manage from both a client and service provider point of view. Freelancers often do so because they like freedom and flexibility of picking and choosing their work load. For the client it makes sense to use freelancers for a number of reasons. Sometimes these relationships can break down.

Freelancers are not Staff

The freelancer doesn’t want the same structure in their work life as someone who is a company member of staff. They forego the security of the guaranteed pay check as part of the risk for freelancing. They also often forego the upside benefit of any work they do such as bonuses or income generated by the client for a set fee.

Master/Slave Relationship

One of the strange issues with the freelancer relationship is the fact it is often a very master/slave type of relationship, with little flexibility. If you are in the client’s shoes and you outsource work to a freelancer then you have your expectations as part of the paid for service. If that freelancer was a member of staff then there are all sorts of other factors that come into play such as managing employee well-being, work life balance, job satisfaction and so on in order to strengthen levels of engagement.

Engagement and Quality of Work

When you engage staff on a deeper level we all know it generally results in better outcomes in terms of quality and productivity. In a freelancer relationship, where you outsource work in a mechanical fashion do you risk the upside benefits of getting more from your freelancer by not engaging on a deeper level? If your expectations are set to the lowest common denominator, i.e. here are the specifications of my requirements, then will you only get back what you want and no more?

Using freelancers is beneficial to everyone and as the freelance economy grows then more and more people will benefit from the superb opportunities this way of working brings. At the same time though, as the out sourcing party its worth considering your regular freelance relationships and considering how you can get the most from them. Is it deeper engagement? Is it bonus related payments? As rumours spread that George Osborne intends to clamp down on certain types of freelance relationship how do you think you could make the most of these relationships?

I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

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Working as a business growth coach in Lancashire, I spend time with many businesses owners who want sustainable growth. Supporting them in developing leaders and strengthening relationship with their people, customers and suppliers. Please inbox me for more information.