Embracing Assessments

A sales VP from a Fortune 500 company asked what it takes for a company to embrace assessments when the company’s culture was not to use “such things.” Surely, there are some assessments that do fall into the category of “such things” but let us first separate the assessment into two categories: Pre-employment, where most of them fit, and diagnostic, where most don’t fit well unless someone learns how to connect dots that can’t be connected.

Since most companies embrace diagnostic tools like audits, ISO, IT needs analyses, financial reporting, market analyses, etc., it is difficult to imagine a company failing to embrace a legitimate diagnostic that will provide long-lasting value. In the case of Objective Management Group’s (OMG) Dave Kurlan Sales Force Profile, we have the ability to provide so much timely, comprehensive insight, a company would be foolish to allow their history and experience with simple assessments blind them to the opportunities at hand. We do the Jim Collins (Good to Great) thing — whether the company has the right salespeople in the right roles; We do the Larry Bossidy (Execution) thing — we evaluate the people, systems and strategies; We do the Bradford Smart (Top Grading) thing — we look at the selection criteria to show what needs to be changed in order to attract, select, hire and retain A players; And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We can show a company exactly what it must change relative to its sales organization to exponentially grow revenue and profit. Bottom line? I don’t believe that, in this case, history is an accurate predictor of future behavior.

Now let’s revisit the pre-employment assessment. Once again, I believe that even a company with a history of not using assessments, if their numbers indicate turnover, mediocrity, lack of growth, or lack of development, the right assessment in conjunction with an effective process will dramatically change their results. If they had attempted to add a simple assessment to a process that was already ineffective, the assessment would not have done much to improve anything but only serve to filter the results they were getting. When a company is committed to building an effective recruiting process, part of which is the right assessment, the results will be dramatically better than anything they had previously seen. What company would decide that, ‘Since we don’t believe in assessments we won’t use them as part of a solution to this problem.’?

So, to answer this VP’s question, historical resistance to assessments is merely a challenge, not an obstacle to solving a company’s problems.