“My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.” – Jack Welch
“If you don’t invest the time to do it correctly today, you will spend more time and money in repairing mistakes tomorrow.” — Don Paullin
My last two articles have explored the value of personality testing primarily as a pre-hiring tool for businesses. Now let’s take a look at how it can be used once a candidate has been hired.
To recap from my last article, Paul was hired as the VP of sales for a company we work with. The company went through most of the hiring steps I outlined, and Paul was the best candidate. However, as with all of us, a personality assessment revealed that he has his personality strengths and weaknesses, all of which were carefully probed in his interviews.
|Leader/Driver – Wants to build the business||Sensitivity – More focused on his own agenda, may not read others well|
|Good with people, very likeable||Aggressive – Can be too dominant|
|Analytical and detailed – Good thinker||Decision making – Can make decisions too quickly|
|Goal setter, and good with time management||Stubborn – No ideas are better than his own|
|Self confident||Patience – Can be impatient|
|Very creative and out-of-the-box thinker||Stress management – Average score but may be too low at times|
Paul was just what we were looking for. He had industry experience and an 85% fit with the benchmark we had created for the position. However, he had issues related to emotional intelligence (EI), and it was highly probable that they would interfere with his functioning optimally on the job. In other words, Paul was going to have problems identifying, understanding, and controlling his emotions and those of others.
To succeed in his new position, Paul will have to develop his emotional intelligence skills. It is important to get him started on the right track during onboarding. The personality assessment identified the following areas to target: Paul is so committed to his goals that he can be seen as indifferent to others. If he comes on too strong at the beginning, he will be likely to turn others off in the very fragile early days. He will need to set his goals and focus on building relationships with his team and others around him, or he is likely to create interpersonal problems with his team and peers. He will need to reign in his impatience and work on being more gentle and supportive with his team as they get comfortable with one another.
In short, Paul will need to resist his temptation to “hit the ground running,” and spend time listening, learning, building relationships, and getting input and buy-in to a plan of action. Putting these EI skills into practice will be hard for Paul as he needs speed and challenge. He will want to impress people with how fast and hard he can ramp up.
However, the company is not looking for a revolutionary change, just strong evolutionary change. Personality profiles will play a key role in bringing about this change, but not just Paul’s. To build healthy working relationships, the profiles of Paul, his supervisors, and team members will be evaluated and used as a tool to understand and appreciate the diversity of styles in the teams.
First, Paul and his boss/coach will use personality profiles to develop the foundation for a good working relationship. Part of the decision to hire Paul was that his boss, Moira, has the personality and coaching skills to work with him. The coaching process while onboarding Paul will involve him and Moira reviewing their own personality profiles together, understanding their styles, and exploring how they might synergize or conflict. There is likely to be conflict in this relationship because Paul usually believes he is right and tends to resist supervision. He wants to lead, not follow.
Paul’s boss/coach needs to have a lot of finesse in building her relationship with Paul. Using the results of the assessment, she can set the stage for Paul’s entry and help him focus and align his own efforts with that of his team. It is indeed a journey of self and other awareness. Done early and right, the possibilities for success are enormous. Done late or poorly, Paul will not stay long. Thankfully, we are dealing with an emotionally intelligent leadership team that has experienced this type of onboarding before.
“Individuals don’t win in business; teams do.” – Sam Walton
As Moira coaches Paul in the area of emotional intelligence, a key focus will be to help him understand and work with the other personalities on the teams he belongs to. A careful review of the team members’ personality profiles is an important first step. During the onboarding process the executive team, including Paul, will share their profiles with each other and talk about their individual styles, strengths, and weaknesses. This serves as a great way to promote understanding among team members, demonstrates to Paul that it is okay to have weaknesses and share them, and encourages everyone to be more open and candid with one another.
In addition, Paul will be coached in how to lead a team meeting with his sales team (all of whom have gone through their own personality assessments and coaching). During that meeting, Paul and his team will be expected to share their profiles and develop more openness and candor. This will help Paul and the team to become more aware of the potential land mines in their relationships and more rapidly integrate Paul into the team.
These meetings are focused on developing higher levels of emotional intelligence, for Paul and for the executive and sales teams. They are proactive mechanisms to decrease the chance of derailment and increase the chance of higher level performance for individuals and teams.
When there are interpersonal issues, and there always are, Moira will coach Paul to refer to the personality profiles and deepen his understanding of why the issues exist. Then, he can devise strategies tailored to the personalities involved and more effectively deal with problems as they arise.
The proper, disciplined use of personality profiles brings a uniform tool to hiring, onboarding, and developing talent and teamwork in an organization.
Do you have any stories or questions on the use of profiles in your organization?