Changing the Assessment Business – Our New ‘Social’ Web Site

Tom GibbonsChange, Learning, Preference Assessments, TMS NewsLeave a Comment

In our last post – Changing the Assessment Business – we discussed a number of areas we are focusing on and this post will focus on one specific and very important element in these changes; our new ‘social’ web site.  Our new site takes is designed to help in two areas:

  1. Extend the use of assessment data by moving to more of a process design of debrief and ongoing profile usage.
  2. Creating more interaction between people to understand the assessment data.

We refer to our site as ‘social’ since part of its design is modeled after very common social sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  If you look at the home page you will see on the right an area that lists Private Discussion Groups.  What we are doing with these groups is putting teams that we are working with into them prior to any formal debrief and sharing information, such as group graphics, TMP summaries, suggestions on applications to use right away and encouraging people to post their thoughts, ideas and questions prior to a more formal debrief happening.

When possible, we activate these discussion groups about a month prior to the formal debrief and keep it going for up to two months following the debrief.  This allows for much more interaction between people and the emergence of learning that simply cannot be built into the much shorter formal debrief.  It also allows for a variety of contexts to be considered where the profile can add value.

As facilitators of this process it is very important for us (or you as a TMS Network Member) to organize things well and keep the value of the assessment relevant throughout emergent discussion threads.  It is also important to stay out of the way enough when a discussion takes on a new direction that you don’t make the assessment data a restriction to what might be an important learning for the group that has less to do about the assessment and more to do with their own specific context.  It’s an interesting balance.

One of the challenges we are discovering is that people are not used to using, or facilitating assessment data as a process, extending over longer periods of time, especially when working at a team level.  It is quite common with coaching but with teams the model of doing the assessment and having a team debrief, usually as a workshop (either face to face or distance) is very strong.  To address this challenge we talk about a ‘process’ design using technology right away and emphasize the benefits of more learning occurring within the normal flow of work, more integration of the data into day to day interactions, reduced time needed for a formal debrief, and more personal ownership and application of assessment data by the team.  We also emphasize that this process is especially effective if you are working virtually.

Another challenge we are discovering is that people do not ‘recognize’ our site as ‘social’.  Our old site and that of almost every assessment or consulting site is primarily informational or marketing.  Recognizing our site as “kind of like LinkedIn” will take some time but we have some plans such as:

  • 10:00am Tuesdays with TMS, where if you log into the TMS Americas Network Member private discussion group at that time you will find something there not available anywhere else (like free profiles maybe!!!)
  • Discussion topics with contributions from experts or other cool people.  We already have one of those going about the QO2 with Dick McCann, one of the founders of TMS contributing.  It’s a forum topic as part of the Network Member group.
  • Driving accreditation from our TMS Accreditation group where people new to accreditation or newly accredited can access accreditation material plus interact with others going through the process.
  • A new discussion group where you can promote your use of the TMS assessments to viewers of our site.

We want you to be part of this process of Changing the Assessment Business!  What ideas do you have that our web site could contribute to?  Would you like to talk to us about using our site with a discussion group of your own?  It’s going to be an interesting journey; please actively join us!

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