Tag Archives: Career Assessment

Career Assessment

Developing “Big 8” Job Competencies

George Hallenbeck

George Hallenbeck

Better job performance is associated with eight capabilities known as “The Big 8”, according to Korn-Ferry International’s George Hallenbeck, in the Leadership Architect® Library of Competencies:

• Dealing with Ambiguity,
• Creativity,
• Innovation Management,
• Strategic Agility,
• Planning,
• Motivating Others,
• Building Effective Teams,
• Managing Vision & Purpose.

He analyzed more than 1500 ratings on this 360 degree assessment, and found that just 12% of executives possessed four or more of “The Big 8.”
None of these organizational leaders demonstrated more than six of these competencies, though they consistently showed more than individual contributors.
This suggests that although executives demonstrate more of critical leadership capabilities than non-leaders, the vast majority have significant room for professional development.

Daniel GolemanExecutives and individual contributors who had more of “The Big 8” competencies also had more of “Career Staller and Stopper” behaviors.
Bold individuals who demonstrate persistance may effectively execute, but may run afoul of key stakeholders and influencers.

Self-Awareness and Self-Management, identified in Daniel Goleman’s framework for Emotional Intelligence, may be a key to balancing between the Big 8’s performance enhancing impacts while mitigating their potential drawbacks in stalling careers.

-*What have you found the most important job competences among organizational leaders and those preparing for future leadership roles?

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Developing Executive Self Awareness to Enhance Leadership Impact

Vicki Swisher

Lack of self-awareness among organizational leaders is pervasive and costly, according to Korn Ferry’s Vicky Swisher and Evelyn Orr.
They studied executives using the FYI: For Your Insight assessment tool, based on research from FYI for Insight: 21 Leadership Characteristics for Success and 5 That Will Get You Fired.

Evelyn Orr

Evelyn Orr

Executives’ most significant blind spots were:

• Making tough people calls,
• Demonstrating personal flexibility, adapting approaches to new circumstances.

Similarly,  the top leadership problems were:
• Not inspiring employees, not building talent,
• “Too narrow”, relying on deep expertise without broadening perspective.

Leaders vastly underestimated their effectiveness in “managing up”, suggesting that they focused more on their next promotion, rather than on developing their employees.

Joe Luft

Joe Luft

Lack of self-awareness can be reduced by using a “Reality Check” including:

o Feedback from others to provide “early warning” of difficulty.
However, this requires that evaluators are willing to provide candid observations, despite widespread discomfort in providing corrective feedback.

o Self-reflection concerning effective and ineffective behaviors, documented in a personal journal for review.

Harry Ingham

Harry Ingham

Executives learned most to enhance leadership skills and self-reflection from on-the-job experiences, distantly followed by learning from other people.
Structured trainings are least effective and most costly approaches to enhance leadership cognitive, emotional, motivational, self-awareness, and learning agility capabilities.

These leadership development processes reduce individual blind spots, portrayed by San Francisco State University’s Joe Luft and Harry Ingham of National Training Labs in The JoHari Windowjohari-window

Korn Ferry’s Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger provided additional executive development recommendations based on research in FYI: For your Improvement, A Development and Coaching Guide(3rd Edition).

-*How do you increase your self-awareness at work and reduce your “blind spots” about yourself and others?

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Trusted Leader Assessment without a 360 Degree Evaluation

Ever wonder how you are perceived by the team? … and don’t have the time or budget for a complete 360 degree assessment?

Mike Figliuolo

Mike Figliuolo

Mike Figliuolo proposes Trusted Leader Assessment without a full 360 degree evaluation in his book, One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership

His Trusted Leader Self-Assessment is based on his Leadership Maxims training course, and expands his advocacy for the value of creating, articulating, and fulfilling a personal leadership philosophy.

He asks individuals to consider four areas of personal leadership:

Leading yourself:
What motivates you?
What are your personal rules of conduct?
What do you want the “future you” to stand for? Does your team know what you are passionate about at work?
Does your team know your ultimate professional goal?
Have you ever shared your personal ethical code with your team?
Does your team know your sources of inner strength and motivation?
Do your team members understand your perspective on personal accountability?

Leading thinking:
Where are you taking your team?
How will you innovate to drive change?
Is your team clear on what your most critical performance standards are?
Does your team know your view of the team’s vision and mission?
Does your team know how you like to generate new ideas?
Does your team know your views on how you make decisions?

Leading people:
Is your preferred leadership style clearly understood by your team?
Do your team members feel like you genuinely treat them like individuals?
Does your team feel that you understand the day-to-day reality of each of their jobs?
Do your team members feel like you’re fully committed to their growth and development?

Leading a balanced life:
How do you achieve equilibrium between work and personal obligations?
Does your team know your boundaries between work and life?
Would your team say you do a good job of keeping things in perspective?
Does your team know what you’re passionate about outside of work?

-*Which of Figliuolo’s “Four Questions” enable you to lead yourself and others?

Robert Galford

Robert Galford

The Trusted Leader, Robert M. Galford, Anne Seibold Drapeau

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Conducting “Due Diligence” by Interviewing the Hiring Manager

Have you ever had the fleeting thought “Did I make a mistake in accepting this role?” after finding that the work, manager, team, culture, expectations were not “as advertised”?

Julie Jansen

Julie Jansen

If so, next time you interview for a new role, consider Julie Jansen’s suggested questions to evaluate “fit” with the prospective manager, outlined in her book, I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work

Questions to ask any (and every) Prospective Manager 

  •  What deliverables, accomplishments, behaviors do you expect of the person hired for this role during the first three months?
  • First six months?
  • First year?
  • How will you measure success in this role after a year?
  • What challenges the previous incumbent encounter in the role?
  • What do you see as the role’s current challenges?
  • What are the three top priorities for this role in the next year?
  • How do these priorities align with the organization’s strategy?
  • How can the person selected for this role help you manage your highest-concern challenges?
  • How do you mentor, coach, and develop your direct reports?
  • What was the next career move for the role’s previous incumbent?
  • What did the previous incumbent accomplish in the role?
  • How do you prefer to communicate with your direct reports?
  • How do you prefer to receive information from your direct reports?
  • In person, email, telephone, text message, other?
  • How frequently do team members work remotely?
  • How frequently do you want updates from your direct reports?
  • How do you and your team integrate work and life priorities toward “work-life balance”?
  • How would you describe your work style?
  • Your management style?
  • Your leadership style?
  • Your decision style?
  • How do you manage conflict within the team?
  • With other organizations?
  • What are your three most important values?
  • How do your direct reports describe your management style?
  • What are the characteristics of the best manager you’ve worked with?
  • How are you and your team perceived in the organization?

Questions to ask the prospective manager’s direct reports (peers to target role)

  • What are the manager’s job priorities?
  • How does the manager develop, coach, and mentor direct reports?
  • How frequently does the manager provide feedback?
  • What work and person characteristics does the manager value?
  • How would you describe the manager’s work style?
  • What is the manager’s decision process?
  • How does the manager deal with conflict?
  • To what extent does the manager involve you and your peers in decisions?
  • To what extent does the manager support work-life balance?
  • What are the manager’s strengths?
  • What are the manager’s development areas?
  • What are the manager’s “hot buttons” or “pet peeves”?
  • How does the manager prefer to communicate with you and your team?
  • How does the manager prefer to receive information?
  • How is the manager viewed in the organization?
  • With what roles and organizations are manager allied?
  • Who are the manager’s mentors in the organization?
  • What advice would you give to the person selected for this role to ensure a positive working relationship with the manager?

These queries can’t guard against managers who leave the role a few days after you start, or re-organizations and restructurings that leave you reporting to a new manager in a new role in a new group, but they may provide additional guidance to potential “warning signs” of job mismatch or “misemployment.”

-*What questions have you found most effective in assessing work style “fit” and compatibility with a potential manager?

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Finding Work You Love, Measuring Your Life

Clayton Christensen

Clayton Christensen

Clayton Christensen is a Harvard Business School professor, acclaimed for his ground-breaking work on innovation.
His recent book, How Will You Measure Your Life links his years of research in business strategy and innovation, to identifying values and priorities in work-life.

Although this new focus may seem unexpected, Christensen may have pointed to a source of inspiration when he revealed in 2010 that he had been diagnosed with follicular lymphoma and had suffered an ischemic stroke.
In addition, he has been highly visible in his decades of service to The Church of Latter Day Saints.

He reviews “powerful anomalies” in popular conceptions of workforce motivation and incentives designed to drive performance.

He notes that “some of the hardest working people on the planet are employed in charitable organizations. They work in the most difficult conditions imaginable; they earn a fraction of what they would if they were in the private sector. Yet it’s rare to hear of managers of nonprofits complaining about getting their staff motivated. The same goes for the military.”

He points out that incentives are not the same as motivation, and that true motivation involves moving people to do something because they want to.
Hertzberg’s classic article in the Harvard Business Review, introduced the distinction between hygiene factors (if not done right, will cause us to be dissatisfied) and motivation factors (challenging work, recognition, responsibility, and personal growth).

Frederick Herzberg

Frederick Herzberg

Christensen concludes that Herzberg’sHerzberg theory of motivation suggests such questions as:

• Is this work meaningful to me?
• Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement?
• Am I going to learn new things?

Evaluating the place of personal motivation factors in relation to the priority of hygiene factors is the foundation of career and life satisfaction.

-*What elements of your “work contract” are motivating?-*What helps you determine value and meaning in your work life and personal life?

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Positive to Negative Feedback Ratios – 3:1 @ work, 5:1: @ home

Sandra Mashihi

Sandra Mashihi

Envisia’s Kenneth Nowack and Sandra Mashihi provided “evidence-based answers” to 15 questions about leveraging 360-degree feedback.

Kenneth Nowack

Kenneth Nowack

Their first question was “Does 360-degree feedback do more harm than good”?
Nowack and Mashihi concluded that found “poorly-designed 360-degree feedback assessments and interventions can increase disengagement and contribute to poor individual and team performance.”

Specifically, individuals can “experience strong discouragement and frustration” when feedback is not as affirming as anticipated.
In addition, negatively-perceived information may be discounted and disregarded.

John Gottman’s studies of positive-to-negative interaction ratios in marriage suggest that intact and well-functioning marriages have a a 5:1 ratio, and research by his colleagues, Schwartz and team, found a similar effect for 360-feedback sessions, though the ratio was closer to 3:1 to encourage  enhanced individual and team performance, individual workplace engagement, effectiveness, and emotional “flourishing,” according to Frederickson and Losada.

Proportions of negative feedback and interactions that exceed these ratios can interfere with insight and motivation and diminish willingness to engage in work-related practice and performance effectiveness.

Barbara Fredrickson suggested in Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive that this 3:1 ratio of positive to negative feedback is a “tipping point.”

UCLA’s Naomi Eisenberger and Matthew Lieberman collaborated with Kipling Williams of  Macquarie University to demonstrate the physical and emotional impact when people are overloaded of negative feedback:  The same neurophysiologic pathways associated with physical pain are triggered.
Under these circumstances, volunteers reported higher levels of physical pain and demonstrate diminished performance on a cognitively-demanding task, according to Purdue’s Zhansheng Chen, Williams and  Julie Fitness of Macquarie University, and University of New South Wales’s Nicola C. Newton.


Anyone providing evaluations or 360-degree feedback may organize and “titrate” negative (“constructive”) feedback to remain within tolerable ratios so that those receiving this coaching can assimilate and execute recommendations.

-*What ratios of positive to negative feedback do you apply in helping others improve performance?

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Questions to Discover, Communicate Personal Mission, Brand

Tina Su

Tina Su, former software engineer at Amazon.com and author of Think Simple Now: A Moment of Clarity blog, shared self- assessment questions that have helped her and others focus on life purpose and mission.

From these, she developed a personal vision “to ‘never work again’, by living a life following one’s inner calling, exploring one’s potential, generating massive value, and living fully in every moment.”

• What activities, people, events, hobbies, projects make you smile?
• What have been your favorite activities in the past?
• What have been your favorite activities now?
• What makes you feel great about yourself?
• Who inspires you: family, friends, authors, artists, leaders, historical figures?
• Which qualities inspire you?
• What are your natural skills, abilities, gifts?
• For what do people ask your advice, help?
• What would you teach?
• What would you regret not fully doing in your life?
• What would you regret not being in your life?
• When you are 90 years old, what achievements will matter most?
• What achievements relationships will matter most?
• What are your 3-6 deepest values?
• What were some challenges, difficulties and hardships you’ve overcome or are in the process of overcoming?
• How did you do it?
• What causes do you strongly believe in or have personal meaning for you?
• What message would you like to effectively convey to a large group of people?
• How can you use your talents, resources, passions and values to serve, to help, to contribute to people, beings, causes, organization, environment?

The answers to these questions can answer the questions addressed in a personal mission statement, as Tina demonstrated in her bold direction.
• What do I want to do?
• Who do I want to help?
• What is the result? What value will I create?

Randall Hansen

Randall Hansen

Randall Hansen offers a different, but compatible The Five-Step Plan for Creative Personal Mission Statements.
• Identify Past Successes
• Identify Core Values
• Identify Contributions
• Identify Goals
• Write Mission Statement

Like any self-assessment process, developing a personal mission statement is an investment of time and attention spanning several days or weeks.

-*What questions have been more revealing in developing your personal brand?

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