A Change of Preference

Tom GibbonsChange, Learning, Preference Assessments, Social ConstructionLeave a Comment

In the past few weeks I’ve had the chance to work with a bunch of really great people.  A lot of this work was focused on one of our assessments; the Team Management Profile (TMP).

Some of the people I worked with had taken the assessment for a second time, after a number of years since their initial use.  And some of those results had changed over that space of time.

Over the past few months we’ve written some posts that deal with preference assessments and our thoughts on using them – Preference Assessments – What Are They Measuring?Preference Assessments – Test Retest ReliabilityPreference Assessments – Face Validity.  It was interesting to come face to face (literally) with the content of what had been recently written about.  Interesting and just very, very nice.

The reason it was interesting and nice was that given our position noted in earlier posts, I did not have to defend or technically explain the changes from the assessment perspective.  I asked each person if the changes ‘fit’ for them and regardless of the answer, I also asked if they would be willing to tell their story about the changes to their colleagues.

As each story emerged, pictures were painted of each person’s pathway through the organization over the years between assessments.  These were not psychological stories; they were stories of interaction, stories of experiences and making meaning of those experiences.  Their colleagues could see themselves in these stories, could imagine similar experiences, could see how they were part of the pathways of others.

These were stories of work lives constructed together through interaction.

The assessment itself fades into the background as the stories emerge.  Just as my role did as well.  I was given the gift of being part of a good story telling session for a little while.  Nevertheless, a change of preference, as illustrated by the assessment contributed to the reflection and meaning making which helped create the stories themselves.

I think this is the best way to approach and use these types of assessments.  Data that contributes to making meaning of the stories which continually emerge as we move forward, one interaction at a time, into an uncertain future.

The ‘so what’ of this is that when stories of our pathways are told to our colleagues we see ourselves as being connected to those stories.  To some extent we are all in the same story, we are all in this together, good, bad, ugly, interesting, informative, instructive or whatever.  When we see ourselves as connected in this way, it is much easier to see ways of acting together to move forward effectively.  We see ways where we can change our interactions that might change our futures.

Psychological stories tend to be owned by the individual, constructed stories tend to be owned by groups, and eventually all of us.

Which stories do you want to be told in your organization?

Author – Tom

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