Changing the Assessment Business – From Event to Process

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

This is the third post in our series on changing the assessment business.  The first post dealt with our intentions and the second was more specific to our new social web site.  This post looks a little more closely at what we think is a very important element of changing the assessment business; that being working with assessment/profile data more within a process design over and extended time frame.  Right now the most common way of working with assessment data tends to be focused on a relatively short duration ‘event’ such as a workshop or distance web meeting.

The primary reason we think shifting to more of an extended time frame, or process design is that it supports change more effectively by emphasizing the context in which change is occurring (or needed) and provides plenty of opportunities to practice new interactions which are the basis of any change.

In our interaction model below it is the left hand loop that over time creates sustained patterns of behavior and interaction that often are relied on across numerous contexts and applied without much thought.gesture-response

It is typically not easy to change these patterns of interaction (and why change is hard!) and it takes numerous new interactions and experiences to create new patterns.  It also requires new information that can be applied to interactions within the real context in which the person or team is working in day after day.

A process design for use of assessment data supports this well.  Over an extended time frame participants can access assessment/profile data as new information and apply it again and again within the context of their work.  The real work becomes the primary ‘content’ of the initiative and the assessment data is new information that is applied to that content.

The role of the facilitator changes in this design.  You are the key person in keeping the assessment data relevant to the ongoing discussions that occur and therefore need to be hooked into those discussions in some format.  In our case, this where the role of the private discussion groups on our web site are important.  Conference calls, web meetings, emails can also keep you connected.

The role also becomes ‘one of many experts’ rather than the primary one.  By this we mean that you are still the ‘expert’ in terms of the assessment data but the people you are working with are the experts of the context in which the assessment data is being applied.  And over time you hope that your participants become the overall experts of applying their own assessment data to their own context and you become less important to the process.

What we’re describing is not new, it is an application of ‘action learning’ and the concepts of ‘adult learning’ that have been around for a long time.  It is interesting to note however that we have been surprised at how entrenched the idea of using assessment data within an event design is.  There seems to be a solid pattern of behavior/interaction (the left hand loop above) that supports this event design.

There is an interesting post by Paul Kessler in our TMS Network Member discussion group (in order to access this discussion you have to be a Network Member and logged into our web site) that talks about how in the last while he has changed from offering the TMP to his clients as a tool to use, to using it as part of his overall design of work with his clients.

This is what we are talking about in terms of process design.  Extending the use of the profile data and embedding into the context of the work.

We would love to hear your stories of how you are doing this this as well.


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