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A Short Story About One Guy's Leadership Assessment Experience

February 23, 2016

assessment-test.jpgI want to tell a short story on the blog today. This story is about a guy who we all know well, and his experience going through an assessment process for his company. Actually, I’ll have him tell the story:

My company developed a Succession Planning strategy, and I was identified as someone with potential for a senior leadership position. So, my employer put me through a battery of tests and an assessor interview with a psychologist. Shortly after going through the assessment, I had my interview to get feedback on how I performed. I admit, I was a little nervous. I decided to work from home, so I would not be distracted from this important call.

The assessor called me right on time. She said she had written a development report. She wanted me to have that document in front of me, as she talked me through my assessment feedback and offered me developmental suggestions. She told me that the report was emailed to me just a few minutes ago. Out loud, I thanked her and told her I’d call her back once I downloaded the report. Privately, I cursed her. Why didn’t she send this to me last night, so I could have downloaded it already? Ugh, this is going to take forever. Good thing I cleared my schedule to work from home.

I hung up the phone and disconnected the cord from the phone and plugged it into the computer. I accessed my modem and brought up the list of numbers to connect to the internet. Now, the tough question - which number was I going to choose? Since it was during the day, most of my neighbors were at work or school. So, the local numbers shouldn’t have been busy. I crossed my fingers and hoped – no busy signal, please. Dialing. Be-oh-grrrr-screeeeeeeeeeeeech! Success. I connected.

Next, I opened up my email. There was the email with the attached report. But wait, are you serious? It was almost 800kb. Groan. I thought at the time, “I bet this report has graphics in it. Great, just great. Good thing I have a 56kbs modem. This will probably only take about 10 minutes to download.”

While that was downloading, I figured I would set the VCR. There was a show on TV that I didn’t want to miss that night. If I missed it, it would have been summer before they air a rerun, if even then. I might’ve never seen it. Hmm, then I had to find a tape with enough room on it to record the show. Here’s one. Wait, my wife already taped two shows on this one. Still, I think there will be enough room for one more program. Okay, that’s done. Back to the computer.

The report had almost finished downloading; just a few more seconds. Done. Now I needed to disconnect the modem and plug it back into the phone, so I could call the assessor back. I really should’ve gotten a separate phone line installed, so I could’ve been on the phone and the internet at the same time. Wouldn’t that have been nice? Chuckling to myself, I thought, at least this was better than the old days when we had to fax everything. Technology sure is great.

YES, TECHNOLOGY IS GREAT. Then why is your leadership assessment process stuck in the 1990’s? Why are you still putting candidates through a confusing battery of tests and waiting days, if not weeks, to receive wordy reports that no one really looks again AND which aren’t effective at developing people anyway? Embrace change. The future is now.

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Doug Wolf Doug Wolf was the Chief Executive Officer at Select International, which was acquired by PSI. He works extensively with organizations that have large‐scale, national and global staffing needs. His expertise includes competency‐based job analysis, selection system design, validation, applicant sourcing, automated testing, virtual job auditions, structured interviewing, applicant tracking, reducing risk in the selection process, OFCCP and EEOC compliance reporting, and turnover analyses.