title:After They’re Hired … Don’t File Away Those Assessments! author:Sue Edwards source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_6202.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:07 category:business_and_finance article:

It was a long, challenging search but you?ve finally identified the ideal candidate. You used a thorough process to define the requirements of the position. After a second round of interviews, you administered a well-validated selection instrument and ran several reports. After reviewing all of the information, the answer was clear?the candidate is perfect for the role!
Now what happens to the information that you gleaned from this process? Once the candidate has accepted the offer, many organizations I know will promptly file the assessment results in their recruitment files and close off the search. As helpful as the reports were in the selection process, they then gather dust.
In my work as a Leadership Coach I have found inordinate value in the use of Assessment results AFTER the selection process is complete. Once the new hire is in the new position, powerful insights can be gained from the reports, providing further value to the organization and new hires alike.
I recently coached a sales executive, Peter (not his real name), who had moved into a challenging new role. Within the first week of joining the organization, Peter and I met for the start of a 3-month executive onboarding program. One of the first steps in the process was to have a full debrief of the model underlying the Assessment tool and the reports that were produced, based on his input.
In our initial meeting, it was evident that Peter was inordinately fired-up about charting a new course for the sales organization. He was like a racehorse charging out of the gate, eager to have his direct reports embrace the ideas he had, based on his experience at his former company.
We walked through Assessment. His particular profile revealed that he was a highly results-oriented, driven individual, who verbalizes a lot and displays an extremely fast-pace. As we talked, he began to see that rather than creating a connection with his direct reports? something he was very interested in doing? he was in effect shutting them down. Peter was so excited to share his ideas that he was coming on like gang-busters.
Peter?s direct reports were shaking their heads saying, ?Who does he think he is? I wish he would simply LISTEN to us and we could tell him about the challenges we face in this company and how they need to be addressed.?
In many organizations it would be months down the road, when the proverbial car is already in the ditch, that Peter?s manager would contact Human Resources with the command to ?give this guy some 360-degree feedback so he can see what he?s doing to his people!?
Building in a confidential, one-on-one debrief of the Assessment up-front, before the pressures are too intense and the leader has already created a ?name? for himself? is a proactive investment in preventing derailment. In my research on success factors and derailers in the first 3 months with a new employer, ?listening and observing? is one of the most important behaviours for leaders to demonstrate. Providing the benefit of this research, coupled with information from the individual?s own profile, is a powerful way to help the new hire internalize the messages they need to get right away.
Peter and I were also able to spend time with his Manager, helping her to appreciate where she might need to help Peter to course correct in the first few months, because of his particular profile.
So? what could you do to more proactively and deliberately build an Assessment debrief into the process of transitioning a new employee into their new role? What additional support could you be providing to the new hire?s manager? How might this set them both up for success?
In my Clearing the 90-Day Hurdle? process, I administer a Personal Profile Analysis (PPA) to each coaching client. This is a highly-reliable and well-validated instrument available through Thomas International Inc. We use this information to determine the areas of focus for our coaching. It helps the client and I recognize the strengths that need to be leveraged in this all-important timeframe. In the first 3 months with a new organization, personal branding is key. It is critical to leverage strengths quickly to help to carry my clients through the overwhelm that often accompanies starting in a new leadership role.
It?s also important to pay attention to the watch-outs or ?limitations? in Thomas language, so that I can help focus my client?s energy on avoiding the typical derailers in the first 90-days and pay close attention to those areas that the individual?s profile indicates might be his or her particular nemesis.
We then leverage a report called ?How to Effectively Manage?, which described how the particular candidate is best managed. We use this information to ensure that the new hire is proactively managing upwards with the new boss, right from the start. What does the boss need to know about my client?s motivational and developmental needs? I find that discussion of this report fosters strong connection between the boss and new hire. It helps to cut through what I call the ?politeness dance? of the initial few months. It is my experience that too much time is wasted walking on eggshells in the early days of forming this key relationship. Open, candid conversations can be jump-started through effective use of the Thomas tools or other effective Assessments.
So what happened to Peter? With the insights gained from the Assessment tools, he was able to acknowledge to his direct reports that his eagerness to pursue the changes he desired was likely getting in their way. By building in time to listen to their ideas and using a more collaborative process to develop a shared vision, he rallied his team to fantastic year-end results. After sharing his profile openly with his direct reports and his boss, he asked for their support to tip him off whenever his behaviour suggested that he wasn?t listening and benefiting from the ideas around him. Peter is thriving in his new role and his company is delighted with the leadership he is providing.
For more about how I use the Thomas reports in my Clearing the 90-Day Hurdle? program, I welcome your questions at info@clearingthe90dayhurdle.com
* all names and identifying details have been changed to protect client confidentiality

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