Difficult Conversations, Leadership, personal, Thinking differently

It’s OK to not be OK right now

Today I felt really sad.

I’m normally fairly positive in my interactions with people, I’m incredibly fortunate in that I love what I do and I get to spend my days working with people who are absolutely brilliant and incredibly passionate about why they do it. This kind of energy is infectious.

My happy place – coincidently it’s also Vito’s happy place. As long as I’m stuck-throwing 100% of the time we’re there

But ups and downs are normal, especially when you’re living through a f***ing pandemic – there’s no one that’s escaped the impact in some way. I count myself fortunate to live in Victoria Australia – the site of one of the stricter lockdowns, but it meant that for more than the past month, there have been no COVID19 infections in my state.

Something I’ve noticed in my friends, family and colleagues is the way they’ve handled themselves during this insanely difficult time and their ability to get on with it. Lost jobs, supporting others, sickness, death, increased workloads, working while also doing childcare… no one has escaped unscathed.

But we’re people, we can be incredibly resilient, but life’s challenges still impact us.

I’ve got friends who have felt like they’ve failed in some way because they’ve found this hard. They’ve found it hard to cope with the unique combination of circumstances that they’ve been dealt with. They’ve felt guilty because they perceive they’ve “got it better” than someone else. Because they’re seeing others put on a front, keep their ‘work face’ on, an Instagram account that’s full of thanks and joy, carefully curated to give the impression of a perfect and resilient life.

I’ve felt this way – I felt this way today.

Some of the moments that I’ve found to be most impactful over the past year have been when I’ve seen leaders, I respect share the struggles they’ve had. It’s not been easy! And letting people know you have bad days (or weeks, or months) is important. It shatters the illusion that some people have magically got it all together.

You don’t need to be afraid upsetting someone by sharing where you’re at. Real leadership is supporting others where they are. Acknowledging privilege is important – but no one has a monopoly on suffering and pain, uncertainty and anxiety and grief.

So you know what? Today was tough. I cried and then later I put on a face when I was at work (AKA on Zoom).

But that’s ok, it’s normal to find these times tough. Make sure you reach out for help if you need – I’m here, as are many that love you. If you need help, no matter which country you live in, you can find resources here.

You are loved. You are enough. And I promise it’s ok, no one around you really has their shit together either.

Book review, Career, HR for non-HR people, Human Resources, Leadership, SHRM, Thinking differently, Working in People & Culture

HR Rising!! – the book you need

Book review: HR Rising!! by Steve Browne

More and more, we are recognising that HR is a global community that can be a force for change – change that means people’s work is more rewarding, that we can help people be effective and successful at what they do, and that organisations – be they public, private or nonprofit – can benefit from happier, more engaged workforces.

The global coronavirus pandemic adds another layer entirely to this. What’s the most important thing you would look for when looking for your next role? (Other than a paycheck of course – thanks ‘rona for the recession…) It’s an organisation that puts its people first, that has shown they do that through challenging circumstances. They are the orgs we all want to be a part of, the ones that walk the talk, they have great leaders and that translates into their employees feeling valued, respected and engaged.

I’ll let you in on a secret – none of that happens without great HR. Not good HR – good HR is a team that doesn’t screw up your pay, your benefits. Great HR (or as they’re more commonly known here in Australia – People & Culture) are about creating workplaces where good leadership is rewarded, people are trusted to do their best and given the tools to do so. They’re not obsessed with the dress code, or clocking in on the dot of 8am – they contribute to the creation of a culture where outcomes are what matters, and you’re more than an employee – you’re a person!

If this is the type of HR you want to practice, or encourage in your organisation, you need to know Steve. He has a talent for breaking down complex issues into an easy to read, enjoyable format, he tackles leaders with no substance, HR’s penchant for vagueness, the need for “messy and wonderful” at work while dismissing a whole bunch of unhelpful stereotypes.

Leadership is much more than the proverbial seat at the table, and Steve manages to deliver a message as relevant for senior leadership as it is for someone just starting out in their HR Career. He advocates that working in HR should not be an exercise in mediocrity or a burden (and if it is, he tells you to get out!) – but a profession you should be proud of, and find a real sense of joy in working in. Steve’s book is a vital ingredient to finding the joy you’re missing in HR.

On a personal note, Steve is someone I look up to, as a multiplier, someone whose passion is to make things better for others. It’s not just his penchant for the exclamation mark that I adore – although obviously we’re kindred spirits here, he is the kind of person that inspires you to do better, to be better, and I think we all need a little bit of that right now.

HR Rising!!’ is an absolute must-read – and not just because I’m quoted inside the front cover! Go get yourself a copy now!!

how to learn, Reflective practice, Thinking differently, Uncategorized

How to learn when: Confronted with people who have passionately different views to your own

Learning isn’t something that necesarily happens magically as an adult. You have to work at it.

Approaching a potentially uncomfortable, or emotive topic from a place of learning is your best chance of both finding common ground, having constructive conversations and evoling and learning something new.

As I see my friends and people I admire and respect shout loudly that black lives matter (because they do) I similtaniously see others retreat. Speaking with them, their reasons are varied. Concerned about saying the wrong thing. Concerned about entering into a conversation that they don’t feel equipped to undertake. Afraid of conflict, afraid of being labelled, afraid of accidently offending.

If this sounds like you, I challenge you take some time to learn more about others’ perspectives that challenge your view of the world. Come at it from a place of learning, and try to understand where others are coming from. Not to argue, not to ‘win’ a debate or force someone to hear your opinion. Just to learn.

The goal isn’t to change someone else’s mind. The goal is to grow your own.

Places you can start:

  • Have you ever tested yourself for your unconsious biases? You can do that online in a tool developed by Harvard University.
  • Understand that different country’s histories mean that the context for #blacklivesmatter may be different where you live. I grew up in New Zealand, live in Australia and many of my friends and family live in the United States. These countries are not the same, nor are their histories of colonisation. Learn your history. Not the highlights, not the easy-to-digest stuff. The stuff that makes you uncomfortable. The fact that genocide occured in Australia up until the 1950s/60s. That while Maori in New Zealand make up 14% of the population, they make up 53% of the prison population.
  • The conversation about racism is not inherently political – it’s not about who you vote for. Yes – some politicians are more/less racist/antiracist than others. That doesn’t mean that your politics define your attitude on human rights.
  • Read read read! Here are some starting points:
    • SWAAY resources
    • Learn about the movement from people involved – not just the news channel or newspaper you normally get your news from. #blacklivesmatter
    • And a personal favourite? Trevor Noah, he’s is absolute gold. His instragram account is well worth looking at.

Finally – and this is probably the most important: remember that not everyone has the bandwidth to help you learn.

It’s not fair to assume that anyone wants to discuss this with you, or has the emotional reserves to do so. Think of it like asking a random woman invasive questions about rape – chances are she, or someone close to her has been raped. She may not want to discuss rape in depth with you at all. She may just not want to discuss it with you today.

So at the point someone raises this with you? It’s ok to ask questions and learn – as long as its ok with them. Again – like any other situation where you want to learn – ask questions, dont’ disagree or argue – just learn.

This post isn’t meant to lecture – I acknowledge that everyone comes from a different background, has different experiences and I think it’s important not to presume you know why someone has the opinion that they do.

There’s nothing wrong with learning and growing and changing your opinion about big subjects.

Difficult Conversations, Ethics, Leadership, Reflective practice, Thinking differently

Your Organisation is Drifting. And You’ve Got No Idea.

New year new you!

Or something similar.

It’s natural to strive for better. You look at the previous year, note your accomplishments (high engagement score ranking – tick!) and want to build on that momentum.

What you often don’t see when you’re constantly engaging with the people within your organisation that are high performers and those that are close to you, is the organisational drift happening under the surface. You’re focusing on big changes, becoming bigger and better than the year before, all the while not realising that something insidious is eating away at the fabric of your organisation.

People may have brought individual issues up before. Some big. Some not so much. Isolated they don’t look like a pattern. Because you’re surrounded with those who are super engaged and likely are very focused on their own areas of expertise they also don’t see the cumulative nature of what’s happening.

But I guarantee your employees do.

They notice the few instances of people ‘moving on’ under cloudy circumstances with unclear communications.

They notice the difference between decisions made by management and the values of your organisation.

They notice their friends and high performers choosing to opt out after having realised that this isn’t the place with the great culture/opportunity/leadership it once was.

They see people being appointed to roles who don’t care about their teams.

They see snarky emails/veiled threats being thrown about with no consequence.

Do they bring it to you?

Probably not.

They’ve probably already made their decision. They’re out. They’re still smiling and saying the right things when you ask them, but they’re scouring LinkedIn and job boards looking for their next opportunity. They’re responding honestly when someone asks what it’s like to work for you. They’re moving to your competitors.

All of a sudden it happens. You realise that you’re no longer ahead of the game. You ignored too many warning signs. Conveniently chose to listen to those who told you what you wanted to hear, not those who would challenge you and tell you what you needed to hear.

Many organisations go down this path. Some parts of it are beyond your control. Some are well within it.

So instead of thinking of the new year as one to build on the previous – maybe take some time to reflect, engage in continuous learning practices and ‘get under the hood’. You may not like what you find, but at least you have an opportunity to fix it if you do come across something.

HR for non-HR people, Human Resources, Leadership, Thinking differently

What’s Your HR Problem? (Or is it just you…)

HR wants a remuneration review.

HR wants to improve employee engagement.

HR wants to create a better graduate program.

HR wants to review performance management policies…

Ugh.

My problem with all this?

If it’s only HR wanting it, you may as well not bother.

You’ve got two options in your organisation:

  1. Employ a HR team to manage your legal liability, administration, check pay rates and holidays are by the book, manage recruitment… etc. Or,
  2. Be the kind of leader that prioritises ensuring you cultivate a brilliant place to work that people love and then, employ a HR team to help you and your leadership team achieve that.

If the opening paragraph of this article resonated with you (and you inwardly groaned because it all sounds so bloody familiar) I’m challenging you to consider – what if it’s not the HR team who is getting it wrong? What if it’s you?

The HR function has two primary purposes in my mind:

  • Ensure that the company is meeting its legal obligations, policies, procedures. remuneration etc. This stuff is boring critical but is crucially important for a well-functioning business.
  • Providing the leadership team with the tools, knowledge and advice so they can actualise the workplace they want for their people. This could be the cultivation of a zany, fun, creative workplace. Or a results-driven one. Or a family atmosphere. But the most critical component for me is that they enable the leadership to fulfil their mission.

What often happens instead of the latter is that either, the HR team aren’t set up for success in terms of team/experience, or, the leadership team doesn’t know what work environment they want, or they don’t think the HR team can help deliver it.

How do you figure out what your problem is?

If this is resonating with you and you recognise something has to change, I’d recommend looking at:

Step 1. Consider, where does your HR team report into?

Rather than a blanket ‘you should have a CHRO’ statement – as clearly there isn’t a one-size-fits-all structure that you can pick up and drop in – I’d challenge you to consider what your HR team’s place in the structure says about your priorities.

– Does the HR Director report to the CFO? An operational executive? Safety? What does that say about how important your people strategy is to your business?

– Do you have an HR Manager who is focused on the detail? Or someone the CEO comes to for advice, HR related or not.

– Is your HR function strategic? Has your structure been set up to give them that luxury?

Step 2. Ask yourself the tough questions:

– Are you the problem? Potentially your HR team has the capability to deliver much more than you’re currently allowing them to.

– Have you ever seen HR operate in a truly strategic capacity? If not, ask your network. What business leaders do you know who count their HR leader as one of their first ports of call when considering a strategic business decision?

– Do you really consider establishing the culture of the workplace as a priority? How much thought have you given, how much strategic planning time? How linked do you see the workplace environment to reaching your goals as an organisation?

Step 3: Conduct a HR review:

Two years ago, I completed a piece of research for my Masters on how my organisation’s shared service functions were delivering on what the operational part of the business required (and the concept of organisational drift – thanks Snook). As a part of this work I examined the literature around how shared service teams evaluate their own work, vs those they business partner with. Surprise surprise, we’re often not great at critically reviewing our own work.

Be wary of engaging a random consultant to analyse your team, instead, go with recommendations and someone who has successfully reshaped HR teams for reasons driven by the business. This can’t just be a review of your HR function either – remember, the problem could be bigger than just the team! So, as well as their capability, capacity and ability to deliver to the business, look at their remit, the support and the responsibility given to the team.

Woah! That’s a lot of food for thought. If this is something that you’re keen to talk more about I’d love hear your thoughts.

Career, Thinking differently, Working in People & Culture

How I Got My Dream Job

This is going to come across as a complete humblebrag but bear with me (interestingly this is spelled ‘bear’ rather than ‘bare’ – Google it – makes for a good read)…

How many of you genuinely work somewhere (or for those of you that consult, with clients) that really align to your values?

Not just corporate speak “oh honesty and excellence, well yeah I totally agree with those in theory” – but, right in your bones, you get to work somewhere that you’re genuinely proud of?

I get to. It wasn’t an accident. I’ve worked a few places where that wasn’t true (and one where is was the polar opposite of true). I purposefully sought somewhere where I could hand-on-heart say that I believe in what we do, why we do it and how we do it. It was a bit scary at first.

The role I began at my current organisation (OK – YMCA Victoria – it’s all over my LinkedIn and Twitter anyway :)) could have been seen as a ‘step down’ career wise. I took a role with less pay and a less impressive sounding job title – but it felt 100% right.

Why?

  • When I met with the manager of the team where I’d work I genuinely felt like he was there for the right reasons and I’d be able to learn from him.
  • When I looked into the work that YMCA Victoria do, I realised they are an organisation of action (impressively so and across a huge range of areas).
  • When I interviewed the team interviewing me where really passionate about their work. It came across really clearly and I also had a sense from both my key stakeholders (that were involved in all stages of the interview process) that they loved what they do.
  • I felt that there was potential with this organisation for future opportunities and growth.

I was hugely nervous about this decision. Actually ‘hugely nervous’ doesn’t even begin to convey just how terrified I was about the decision to leave a great job. But the payoff was worth it.

Very quickly I had confirmation that I’d made the right decision. The team I worked with was great, I was mentored by some really talented people and my primary operational stakeholder group consistently gave me extra time (while never making me feel like I was imposing) to really help me understand their world.

When I attend events or talk with my peers at other organisations I regularly feel out of place for loving what I do and where I work so much. But I shouldn’t.

I realise the economic realities and the hugely privileged position I was in to take my time in finding the right role – and being educated and skilled in an area where I can find my dream job. In saying that, I did take my time. My husband and I moved to Australia with 3 suitcases and I’ve had some shocking work experiences along the way, in both Australia and New Zealand. But being purposeful and taking a long term view has meant that I now work with people that I genuinely hope I continue to work with for 5 (or, gasp, even 10,) years.

Can everyone work in their dream job? Probably not. The way the world works means for many that holding on to a job, any job, that puts food on the table may be the driving objective.

But if you can, if there’s any way you can chase your dream job, or dream company. Do it. I cannot tell you how much my life has changed since taking a role somewhere where I’m proud to work.

 

Leadership, Thinking differently

How to Lead a Quest (book review)

The ‘Future of Work’ is very quickly becoming one of those phrases that when I hear I immediately start thinking about what I’m having for dinner.

Not because it’s a dull topic – quite the opposite! As a card-carrying HR nerd I find it fascinating – my aversion comes from some incredibly dishwater-dull speakers at conferences and ‘must read’ LinkedIn articles which espouse the importance of innovation without ever articulating what that means if you’re not a sexy tech millennial start up.

If you get excited by the idea of avoiding obsolescence (which I hope you do), pioneering into new ways of doing things and detest formulaic business books then what you need to be doing is picking up a copy of ‘How to Lead a Quest’ from Dr Jason Fox.

I don’t think I’ve ever described a business/strategy/change book as an ‘exciting read’ but here I am breaking tradition and loudly exclaiming that this book is a must read – especially, if like me, you benefit greatly from someone taking incredibly complex ideas and making them much easier to understand. #ImNotThatSmart

The added benefit of this book is the author actually manages to not only explain those complex ideas well, but make you feel like you’re now one of the smart people in the room for having read it. (I do love feeling like I’m part of a smart people’s club!)

Highlights for me (aside from Dangerlam’s awesome artwork throughout the book which greatly added to my understanding of some pretty imaginative concepts) was the blend of research-based thinking with application to many things that you run into in business when you’re intent on doing things differently.

‘Planning to Fail’ (and navigating the 9 layers of ‘Fell’/Failure Hell) is absolute gold in helping explain the failure you should celebrate (failed experiments), the failure you need to change (process inadequacy), and the failure you shouldn’t celebrate at all (apathy).

I want to provide an insightful critique here (because how else would I feel smart?) but I can’t. This book is perfection right down to the footnotes that appear at nearly the end of every page. For example, when discussing ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ and that your strategy shouldn’t be hiding behind layers of hierarchy or deep within documents on the intranet, Jason notes “[1] If this is the case, if people can’t find a good breakfast – they’ll default to whatever is easily available – like sticking a teaspoon into that dubious jar of peanut butter. Or that old set of performance metrics that is familiar and yet no longer aligned to the new strategy.”

How often has ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ been written about (so many times it is bordering on becoming a work wank word) and yet suddenly it feels relevant. Contextualizing ideas in ways that leads to intelligent conversation is a fine art and one that this book repeats again, again and again.

 

Originally published on LinkedIn

Thinking differently, Working in People & Culture

Mediocracy? Or Disruption?

Let’s be honest. Nearly all of us in the ‘people’ space (whether that’s HR, recruitment, learning or management) like to think we can effect some real change.
No one wants to go to work day after day and feel like they haven’t accomplished anything.
But lots of us do just that.
We like to think that we think like disruptors, but actually we are a bit more like lemmings… we think about big change but then when it comes down to it and it all gets too hard we just follow the pack.
For this reason, the people and organisations that actually do disrupt make noise! There’s a reason why tech start ups get so much press in the employment space – the ones we hear about are doing big things, disrupting industries and changing the game both in their field and in the employment space.
You have to have heard of Zappos & it’s holacracy, Google & its benefits, Virgin & their unlimited leave… it’s forward thinking companies like these that are changing the norm, and the expectations of potential employees.
But for more organisations to move in this direction – where the ‘norm’ doesn’t dictate expectations? More disruptors are needed.
You don’t have to be working at Google to be a disruptor. But you do need to be motivated, reflective (and self-aware) and have the ability to think outside the box.
Recently I attended a 99U Local event in Melbourne hosted by Dr Jason Fox & the Centre for Workplace Leadership – it was pretty amazing. And it was filled with disruptors who were looking to activate in the creative space.
I picked up some great tips for how I might become more effective at what I do, the highlights for me were:
  • Get up early – my brain is in the best space then
  • Make my important decisions in the morning, the sooner the better
  • Get out and do it. Commit. Be prepared to back myself.
My challenge to you is: How do you want to effect change? What will make you a better disruptor to create that change? Write it down, key in a buddy who has their own goals and will help you stay accountable to yours.
What have we got to loose? Mediocracy? lemmings
Leadership, Thinking differently

The Truth About ‘High Performance Culture’: Is It Just Buzz?

If I had a dollar for every time a manager said to me “I want a high performance team” I’d probably be on a beach somewhere…

Each time I hear this statement a few things run through my head (as I know they do other HR professionals):

  • How would you define a ‘high performance team’
  • Do you actually mean ‘I want to build a high performance culture’?
  • Do you know what you want that culture to value?

As with any buzz phrase in business, sometimes really worthwhile endeavours (like building a high performance culture) get lost in soundbites and false hopes of a ‘quick win’. Gallup research identified six key ingredients to achieve a high performance culture (HPC) and they are anything but quick fixes:

1. Implement an effective performance management process
This can be built using a merit based system to define high performers, setting clear standards and expectations, and articulating shared goals and objectives.

2. Create empowerment and authority
What you really need to make this work is trust and accountability as a good base to be able to respond to the market and drive innovation.

3. Increase leadership capability at all levels of the organisation
Think communication, communication, communication! Organisations with the highest levels of employee engagement share a common mission and purpose with accessible and visible leaders.

4. Develop a customer-centric strategy
How well do the organisation’s leaders connect to the wider business (including brand, people, mission & purpose)? What do they do to ensure everyone is engaged with a customer-centred worldview?

5. Increase communication and collaboration
How critical do your leaders believe people management is to their role? Or do they see themselves as operational managers with people management ‘add-ons’? For organisations to achieve effective communication and collaboration there must be two-way communication throughout the organisation and real intent by leaders to be truly engaged with their people.

6. Enhance training and development
Prioritising ongoing learning for individuals and the wider organisation is critical to continuously improve as a collective. Setting up employees for success is the best way to create a HPC and comprehensive learning and development plans that complement the organisation’s overarching objectives and direction is critical for this.

I’m really excited to hear from Gary Pert (CEO of Collingwood Football Club) speaking at the AHRI National Convention about creating a HPC because working as a team is a critical (if not the most critical) element of a successful sports club. In a sports team you know you have to have a HPC otherwise you may as well hand the win over – so what lessons can we embed in our organisations from those that do it well?

Whether you’re managing a netball or a marketing team (or you’re a HR professional who constantly has to field the question ‘how do I do this?’) what do you need to think about to embed a HPC?

  • Make it a priority. In sport you want to win right? So what do you want to do in your organisation? Is having a HPC essential to getting there? Yes? Prioritise it.
  • Define what a HPC means for you. Is it winning every game? Reducing complaints by 50%? Becoming an employer of choice? Once you’ve defined where you want to go it will be easier to zero in on what you need to focus on, whether it’s up-skilling your people, managing your environment or investing in a specific function.
  • Once you know what a HPC means then look at who is doing it well; suss out the competition, look within your ranks – what makes them a success? Is it replicable? Do they display the behaviours you want to embed? How do you emulate them?
  • Are you being realistic about what you’re already doing well? Have you identified a ‘high performing team’ that is actually just a team with a couple of superstars? If those people leave then what do you have left? Luck does not equate a HPC.
  • Plan. Plan. Plan. You can’t do everything at once and a HPC doesn’t happen overnight so where do you want to focus? How are you going to get there? Who do you need involved? How long is it going to take?
  • Get buy in. There are multiple times throughout this process where stakeholder management is critical but if you’re going to change focus or make changes ensure that you’ve got the right people on board. Your shareholders, directors, managers, clients or your fans – they can either support the change or destroy your efforts.

Reference: Gallup 2013 research on High Performance Cultures.

The author will be a guest of the AHRI National Convention and has been asked to write up her thoughts on the event.

This article was originally published on the Australian Institute of Human Resources (AHRI) website.

Leadership, Personal brand, PKM, Thinking differently

Psych Assessments and Personality Profiles: Worth It?


This week’s post is a result of a question submitted through Engage Learn Build. It’s a question I get asked frequently in various forms – from executives looking to evaluate their team or a new hire, managers who feel they should be using psych assessments but don’t know where to start, right through to friends who are wondering what on earth the correlation is between a seemingly random request for a psych assessment midway through the recruitment process.

My response to these questions varies greatly on the why:

  • Why is the decision maker wanting to engage in a psychological assessment or personality profile?
  • Will the tool that is being suggested actually help answer that question? (Quite often the answer is no…)
  • And finally, does the decision maker actually know how to interpret the results, or do they have someone on hand to walk them through the process? (Again, quite often the answer is no).

Question:

Hey Renée, as a leader, the most valuable learning I’ve done has been about myself. Tools like MBTI,  360 feedback mechanisms and TMI profiles (IE creator / innovator, concluder / producer etc) have all made me much more aware about how to get the best out of others, but most importantly made me much more self aware of my own strengths and weaknesses and helped me out plans in place to compensate.

How do you rate the different tools out there for leaders looking to be more mature and self aware in their approach to leading others and what traps and pitfalls should they look out for using those tools?

– Damo

Answer:

I totally agree, I think there is a time and place for these tools (which I geekily love) and I get heaps out of them too. I think for me the key is context. If you’re someone who can go out and take what they need from these types of tools, apply it etc. then it is less important, but I often see people engaging with tools (either themselves or with their teams/organisations) and then not contextualizing it and making it mean something for the individual/group.

Most people don’t naturally do this (it is a skill highly related to EQ) – but as a leader, when engaging others in this space, the context is everything. Ideally these tools should help inform a broader plan rather than be the plan. As for preference I personally have gotten the most out of 360’s, especially when it is a goodie. The Human Synergistics LSI tool is pretty decent and I really like Facet5. Although if you’re looking at team dynamics rather than individual development I’d lean more towards personality trait profiles (MBTI, DISC are all much of a muchness in my opinion) because they’re easy to understand and focus people on understanding how they relate to others – and others relate to them, which when you’re trying to get a team to work together is pretty critical.

The big trap is the idea that any one tool (or often, consultant selling that tool) has all the answers. While most tools are supported by good theory there is a lot of room for error and an element of subjectivity in analyzing results. Some assessments have been developed with sales people in mind for example, where extroversion is an asset – where someone who is trying to cultivate a collaborative leadership style might rate badly but actually still be really effective in their substantive.

My readers might have differences of opinion when it comes to some of the psych and personality tools I’ve listed. But I maintain the most critical part of the equation is the ‘why’, and if the organisation or the manager concerned hasn’t got that figured out then I’d suggest that any of these tools are next to useless.