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Twenty years ago the accumulation of skills, knowledge and experience (‘horizontal development’) was sufficient for business success. Today, it’s not. 4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development, offers a new approach of ‘vertical development’.See Other Books
Recently reading Stephen Jay Gould’s masterful tome, The Mismeasure of Man, I was struck by how often people who measure aspects of personality or human functioning, can get it so completely wrong. Such mismeasurement can have devastating consequences, as Gould chronicles. His book brilliantly details how, when the fundamental assumption about what is being measured is wrong, all sorts of problems occur downstream. Gould majors on the mismeasurment of intelligence and uses the widely used IQ test as an example.
For me, the measurement of managerial and leadership capability has been similarly misunderstood. Measuring talent is a critical issue in business. Talent assessments or assessment centres that mismeasure, can often encourage a business to hire the wrong person or promote a person beyond their ability. Such a mistake can be incredibly expensive for a business.
There is a rapidly expanding industry devoted to the measurement or possibly mismeasurement of talent. Much of this focuses on measuring aspects of your personality, identifying your strengths, your preferences or your type. These approaches characterise different dimensions of the human condition:
So most modern management and leadership assessments fail because they don’t help you develop your capability as a leader; they just pigeon hole you. They imply that you can’t develop into something else. They tend to fix you as one ‘type’, one set of ‘strengths’, some personality ‘traits’ and a few behavioural ‘preferences’. We believe that there is a much richer and more useful way to assess talent.
If leaders want to truly raise their game and the performance of those around them then a more developmental approach is needed. We advocate an approach that uses a completely different methodology to the assessment of people – a more coherent talent assessment.
There are four rules of coherent talent assessment. We believe that each coherent assessment instrument has to be:
Poor assessment, founded on confused thinking and inaccurate or untested assumptions, needs to stop. It’s not only wrong, it can be incredibly costly. The cost of hiring the wrong person for a job can be up to three times the salary for that job. Today we understand so much more about what really does help develop our leaders, that there really is no excuse for the mismeasurement of talent.
 Corporate Leadership Council, Literature Review, “Employee Selection Tests”, Catalogue No. 070-198-213, Washington DC, Mar 1998, p. 2