When do organisations need the services of a Business Psychologist? You need to engage a Business Psychologist when you are faced with important decisions about people which have costly implications if you get the decision wrong. These are examples of those mission critical decisions:
- How do we know whether an individual will succeed in an important executive role, such as CEO, CFO, CIO or COO?
- How do we know whether a person with paper qualifications will cope with the complexity of real world business challenges in any discipline, including Operations Management, Research, Risk Management, Safety, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Engineering, Business Services?
- How do we know if a leader will cope with complex relationships and stakeholder management when critical stakeholders have competing or conflicting goals?
- When selecting staff for accelerated development, how do we identify people who show the most potential to benefit from High Potential Career Development investment?
The science is clear and has been validated over decades – measures of complexity of intellectual processing also known as Mental Processing Ability (MPA) and Application (Drive, Values and Motivation), account for a high proportion of the variance in executive performance. The amazing fact is that few world leaders (especially politicians and national leaders) have ever had to demonstrate their ability to achieve passing grades on the criteria known to be predictive of success. Included among these critical competencies is the capacity for advanced thinking skills. The messy political and economic landscape we find ourselves in is proof of the consequences. There is no substitute for measuring the effectiveness of styles and competencies of problem-solving when deciding on the most suitable people to fill top executive roles.
Your brightest, most talented leaders contribute a disproportionate amount of value in your enterprise. It is estimated that the smartest twenty percent of your workforce contribute 80% of the value-add in the enterprise. Without the best talent you will not be a front runner in your sector so you need to use the right tools to identify people who can handle the complexity in senior roles. Your organisation will only flourish if you put people with powerful thinking skills and good judgement in leadership roles.
When the research findings of the many business success studies and psychological research are distilled, the consensus is that intellectual ability is a powerful predictor of success. “Intellect is the most important competency in the modern working environment,” says James Quinn, author of bestselling commentaries on successful business, Innovation Explosion, and Intelligent Enterprise.
Frequently asked questions about Cognitive Profiling
- Why should my organisation be using modern assessment methods?
- Can intellectual talent provide a competitive advantage?
- What is the link between Complexity of Intellectual Functioning and Performance?
- When should clients use the Ability Tests?
- What feedback does the candidate get?
- Where do I find out more?
Successful organisations tend to apply rigorous methods to screen for recruitment and promotion. Quite often the desire to apply more rigour in this area increases after costly and avoidable mistakes in appointing the wrong people. We have the professional and the tools to assess the potential and the suitability of individuals and advise on their developmental needs.
As illustrated in wash-up sessions or reviews with clients offer these observations:
- “When we have not heeded your advice, we have lived to regret it.”
- “Has the candidate been JQA’d ? – It is part of our process for recruitment.”
- “… as indicated in your original assessment, (Candidate X) continues to be a star performer and she has been promoted to CFO.”
The application of Ability Tests and the use of qualified Psychologists to assess the cognitive functioning and other relevant attributes of candidates allows you to increase your confidence in making people decisions.
Using valid and reliable assessments which measure Mental Processing Ability will reduce business risk by providing essential information on how key decision-makers are likely to function. For example, in start-ups or following mergers and acquisitions where it is critical to:
- Ensure that the top team has what it takes to work co-operatively to solve problems.
- Increase innovation and effective change management.
- Avoid costly mistakes and trial and error learning when entering uncharted waters.
- Improve profitability and competitiveness.
- Speed up growth.
Research on Management in the UK by “Role Transition Expert”, Alan Robertson, shows that it takes up to 18 months for newly appointed managers to make successful transitions in their new roles. Reducing the time taken to adapt to change and supporting executives in an optimal way by understanding their intellectual profile is of strategic importance in maintaining your competitive edge.
The assessment of the speed and efficiency at which candidates process information and their capacity to benefit from learning is very important. To a large extent, an individual’s thinking and learning capacity determines the kind of complexity they can handle best and the kinds of tasks to which they are best and least suited. The assessment of Mental Processing provides clear guidance as to whether an individual’s strengths lie in their focus on achieving short term results or whether they tend to deal with more abstract issues over a longer time frame. Getting these individuals matched to the wrong challenges will have a major adverse impact on the organisation. In instances where you have to retain a person in role who is not able to resolve the complexities without assistance, knowing that there are gaps can allow you to provide the necessary support so that leaders are not left to flounder.
This area of assessment is referred to as Cognition, and the approach we use has been developed to provide a comprehensive analysis of an individual’s:
- Problem solving strategies and competencies and gaps in their competencies.
- Preferred thinking styles.
- Suggested work environment best suited to problem solving approach.
- Assessment of strengths, development areas and learning potential.
Two historic leading figures in Business Leadership, Peter Drucker and Elliot Jaques identified the role of good or bad “judgement” as pivotal factors. Jaques defines work as: “the exercise of judgement and discretion in making decisions necessary to solve and overcome the problems that arise in the course of carrying out tasks.” He goes on to define judgement and discretion as: “processing information and making decisions that have to be made in order to cope with the obstacles that arise.” Human Capability by authors Jaques & Cason 1994
Our Associates are qualified to use a mix of intellectual assessments which have been evaluated by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This body which was founded to ensure high standards of professionalism and best practice in Psychology. The BPS operates a Psychological Testing Centre which promotes standards of testing and is the leading national body on these matters. Best practice in psychometric testing requires test items in the test bank to be refreshed and replaced. Alternative forms of the same test are also important so that repeated administrations of the same test content do not generate invalid readings because candidates have been exposed to the identical content more than once.
Depending on the diagnostic context, we use an approved range of measures of intellectual functioning. Our Occupational or Business Psychologists apply individual measures of intellectual functioning such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS IV). We also use online measures such as the Ravens Progressive Matrices, Watson Glaser and similar measures of verbal ability and critical reasoning ability. The assessments provide insight into the candidate’s capacity to deal with the ambiguity of unfamiliar thinking challenges. We are able to select from a very wide range of published test covering specific abilities such as Numerical, Spatial, Mechanical, Music, and Verbal Ability.
Tests should be used to:
- Make decisions about key professionals or executives without knowing a lot about the candidates.
- Ensure that new entrants add to the pool of intellectual talent which generates profits and takes the initiative in solving problems.
- Assess future development potential and plan career paths for staff.
- Identify the best person for a new challenge.
Good psychometric practice demands that candidates receive feedback on the results of the tests. We not only endorse this practice, we use the feedback opportunity to explore in more depth the thinking styles and competencies of candidates in order to validate the test outcome and link them to the levels of work to be undertaken by the candidate. A comprehensive report is generated following the interview with the candidate and the report interprets the implications of the diagnostic results for the organisation’s decision-makers. Our reports are written in plain English by our Business Psychologists who have had twenty or more years of private and public sector experience.
Contact us for any additional information you might need on values management in your organisation.