Changing the Assessment Business

Tom GibbonsChange, Preference Assessments, TMS Applications, TMS News, Virtual Teams2 Comments

Our hope and intention when we say we want to change the assessment business is really about pulling together a number of things that already occur in terms of personal and team learning and making these things a consistent way to approach assessment use.  Our focus right now falls into the areas noted below:

  • Extend the use of assessment data by moving to more of a process design of debrief and ongoing profile usage. This means access and use of assessment data extends over longer periods of time. This approach is built right into the design of use and into how we talk to clients and end users about using assessments.
  • Creating more interaction between people to understand the assessment data. This means getting assessment data into the hands of the end user faster and creating opportunities for them to discuss it with colleagues.  Also, it means designing ways that end users can work together with the data in different ways as their situations change.
  • Encouraging higher levels of self management and utilization of assessment data by the end user. This means providing ‘as needed’ support materials and processes so end users understand and take ownership of their assessment data and act on it accordingly.
  • Making assessments more accessible to wider ranges of demographics. By doing the above we can design initiatives that help control the cost of really good assessment use, making the process more accessible to smaller organizations, not for profits and more junior levels in organizations.
  • Balancing the dominant psychological approach to assessment use with more of a social one. This means opening up conversations between people about assessment data outside of and in addition to the more common psychological framework which is typical now.  See our blog post Balancing the Psychological and the Social.

We have been actively working on this in our own work with assessments for some time now. As an example we just worked with an initiative using our Team Management Profile with the design outlined below.  In this particular initiative I had what might be called the luxury of a 6 hour team debrief in a face to face workshop format.  This design framework is very effective when you do not have this luxury or are working virtually.  However, given this amount of time and the preparation people were doing I knew we would be able to get to more extensive levels of discussion about the implications of what the TMP data might mean for the team.  I just wasn’t sure what this might look like so the workshop design had a period of time that was planned but that plan was open to change.

Initiative Details

The initiative was focused on a leadership team that had gone through considerable change and was bringing 2 functional groups together both of which were now going to be required to transition to more strategic roles.  The group wanted to understand how to function most effectively together as a leadership team to transition their teams through this change and continue to build high performance across the entire new function.

  • Using e-profiles participants had their profile 5 minutes after completion and were required to read it prior to the debrief workshop that was scheduled about a week away. They were also encouraged to share profile data with colleagues and they were provided with their ‘team preference map’ in advance to enhance that discussion.
  • Participants were asked to watch the first 2 Overview videos in their TMP Online Activity Center. This reduces ‘teaching’ time in a session and allows for more in depth discussion of implications of the data. Participants were also encouraged to ‘experiment’ with the other applications in their Online Activity Center if they wanted.
  • The 6 hour team debrief workshop was done on site.
  • An ongoing process of using the data was planned using additional applications and driven by the team leader. Below is the slide we used to outline that process.

TMP extended application


It’s always interesting to see what happens when a design provides additional opportunities for end users to interact with the data outside of the more ‘formal’ aspects of feedback and debrief.  Below are a few additional notes about this initiative.

  • Everyone did the required pre work. One person had also chosen to do the My Team application, brought the printed result to the 6 hour team debrief and wanted to discuss it at the session which we were able to do. Four other people had also done the Pacing application; one had printed out the results she had for better communication with her boss and they talked about the most important points during one of the breaks.
  • Everyone knew everyone else’s major role preferences and there had been considerable conversation between people.  They came to the session with a number of questions about their profiles, what it might mean to the team’s performance or how they could work together most effectively to accomplish their goals.
  • We were able to get to a significant level of understanding what Types of Work needed to be focused on and in their situation it was the Maintaining work function from the Types of Work Model. Due to this we started on creating an intentions / purpose statement for the team as a leadership group. This was not part of the original session design but we were able to focus on it since less teaching of the TMP models was required. This work continued after the session and within a week they had their intentions statement.
  • The group will be sent an email reminding them to access the other applications when the time is right but in this case the emails will likely not be necessary.

We are going further than this with designs using our new web site. We will now be putting end users into pre debrief private discussion groups where additional information will be available, questions can be posted and responded to, discussions engaged in and interaction between people enhanced.  These groups will run after the debrief workshop or virtual session is complete to follow up on what transpires there.

The above design is just one example of what we have been doing for a while now. The design framework works extremely well with virtual groups and with groups that have new people coming on board.  We also find it is very effective with one to one and team coaching.  We think the opportunities are significant and our experience is that clients and end users respond very well to these designs and more often than not go beyond what we ask them to do in terms of pre work or preparation.

We will be doing more posts on this topic as we use our web site more extensively with discussion groups and work more with the new applications that are part of the TMP, QO2 and Window on Work Values assessments.  We encourage your thoughts, ideas and participation as we change the assessment business together.

2 Comments on “Changing the Assessment Business”

  1. Tom, this is great news!! Most participants ask for more discussion time during TMP sessions. Being able to know the team’s preferences and also to learn more about the assessment (with the overview videos) in advance helps the audience to get to session on the ‘mood’ of what will happen there and, therefore, enables more honest and deeper discussions. I can’t wait to post this comment and start surfing on the new website!! Congratulations!

    1. Thanks for the comment Ludmila! You are right that so often people simply want to keep the conversations going in TMP sessions. It can be uncomfortable if you need to cut them short. Good to hear about the value the Overview videos are having in helping discussions be more effective as well. The accreditation we did with the ExxonMobil folks almost a year ago now has been one of the most successful internal accreditations ever! You have used the TMP, applications and other material really effectively and are a great example of ‘changing the assessment business’!

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