Psychometric Tools – Be Careful!

Make sure you get it right so your team becomes what it should be!

This post is going to cover a couple of key things about a tool called the Inventory of Work Attitude and Motivation iWAM and some other general thoughts on Psychometric type assesment tools used in some organisational change programs. When this tool was first introduced into Australasia we used it inside of many large organisations and had some great successes. iWAM had some real advantages over other tools in that it did not try to box people into one of four category types. Boxing people is not in of itself a real issue but when your final aim is actually to either:

  1. Change the behaviour of your teams
  2. Get your teams to learn more about each other
  3. Understand more about your people

Trying to bundle them all into one of 4 or 8 categories can be a great way of setting in stone what people think of themselves. For example tell someone they are best working with systems and processes and not people, how hard are they now going to try to get along with others?

What we liked about iWAM on the other hand is that it gave a scaled story on what the key drivers were inside a person. One of the great iWAM reports ranked people from their highest work preference to their lowest preference. For example some people are very focused on systems at work and perhaps on money or finance issues.

What has amazed me since I started my study into the field of Psychology 18 years ago was that almost all the other Psychometric tools excluding iWAM, seemed to just assume that the way a person behaved at work would be the same as that in other areas of their lives.

However this seemed to be contradictory to most people I knew who may be systematic at work but have a mess at home, or were extroverted sales people at work but at home around their loud partner they were submissive and more introverted.

When you are deciding on a Profiling Tool seriously consider the following 10 factors.

  1. What are you wanting the tool to do in your business or team?
  2. How many case studies does your proposed consultant have of clients you can speak with, who have had success?
  3. Does the consultant you are using have a formal degree in Psychology or a related discipline?
  4. If they are not professionally qualified how can you trust their judgment
  5. Do they have a website with case studies and significant independent research proof?
  6. What are you going to measure as success factors that actually matter to your business?
  7. How can you be sure that when your people know more about themselves this will benefit your business?
  8. Some organisations are talking about Qualitative and Quantitative measurement through tools like iWAM but what does this mean and how did they prove it?
  9. Once you choose a tool can you bench mark team members on the same graph to easily compare peoples strengths and use this information to buddy them up with people who have different ones?
  10. Finally are you going to get a serious return for your investment, one that can be ongoing and used by all your senior management team, and if not why not?

How are your best people going to use this information to get better business results in the next 4-8 weeks? The talent identification and talent management process often uses tools like these to be able to better identify and then use people operating in many cases far below their capability. Just be carefull as often high fliers may not look like this on some tools.

Having worked extensively in this field for many years, I hear over and over of companies that use tools such as those mentioned above and although great at the time they are not continually used. Ironically in 18 years of working with all sorts of different clients we find that 80%+ of the time its the highest performing leaders that are the ones that will refer back to reports generated by these devices.

Good luck in digging out the tools that work if you want to find out some more feel free to look at some of our research at http://www.behaviourchange.com.au/IWAM.html

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