The last post looked at sustainable assessment use through the lens of the product. The second of the 3 key variables in sustainable assessment use is the expert. That person is typically trained and certified by the assessment company to use the product. Thus I’ve used the term expert.
For most assessment companies the expert is their key customer. A lot of time and effort is expended to train as many experts as you can in the assessment business since it is the expert that actually sells and uses the assessment, the product. For most assessment companies their business flows through the expert.
So the question becomes, how well does the expert design, support and use assessments in a sustainable way?
I have trained experts (we call it accreditation) for about 15 years now and my experience is that there is a tremendous amount of variability regarding sustainable use of our assessments and other assessments even if people are exposed to the same training and development process.
Just in the last week we have been in contact with a couple of our accredited people, our experts. One had been using the TMP with a group she was working with for over a year; she was using the various interactive applications over an extended period of time and could tell the story of behavior change. The other did not want us to make the profile report available to the group until after they had been through the debrief process (note that we require the end user to have access to their profile report). I am pretty sure this expert would have preferred the end users not to have access at all. They would get all they needed from the debrief. I’m quite sure the debrief was very good but the end user experience of THEIR profile data as well as other aspects of the product was completely filtered through the expert. Our experience is when this occurs, sustainable behavior change is dramatically compromised.
It is this dramatic variability in how experts use assessments that create real problems for sustainability.
To be fair, the overwhelming pattern of assessment use is the design we call a psychological event. Most experts are approached to use an assessment in some kind of condensed time frame, often a half day workshop. Because this pattern of use is so common, the expert often has to work quite hard to convince the key decision maker that there is in fact, other much more effective designs.
Many experts however have a business model or organization demanding the psychological event and they simply do not want to change this, or feel they can’t, or do not have the expertise to design assessment use differently.
What this has created is tremendous pressure on both the expert and product to create sustainable behavior change in these psychological events. Typically either the expert or the product fails and neither are the cause of failure, it is the design of use.
And part of the change in design of use is the role of the end user. What role does the end user have in sustainable use of assessments? This is a very important question, especially if you are one of the experts! I think we will see extensive change in the way assessments are used in the next few years and part of that change will be the role of the expert as the end user becomes a more and more important customer in the eyes of assessment companies.
This will be the focus of our next post.