23rd May 2023
Our Guide to conducting effective Executive Assessments
An effective Executive Assessment approach can be a powerful way to understand the capabilities of individual leaders, cadres of management or operating functions within an organisation.
Over the last 15 years, we’ve assessed more than 800 executives and in doing so, have developed highly reliable and valid methods to assess talent, whether it is in one-off settings or across groups of leaders. We’ve learnt some things along the way and believe we have seen the best ways to leverage the value of assessment for both the executives involved and the organisation.
Why do Assessment?
The benefits to any Board, CEO or Executive Team that we’ve seen from Assessment include:
- Validating any internal calls on talent, with independent data and insights
- Identifying latent potential in emerging leaders so their development steps can be proactively planned
- Providing valuable insights to where talented individuals sit as well as their relative strengths and development needs
- Delivering credible data to make informed decisions on internal appointments, promotions and succession planning
- Targeting the development investment to develop the specific capabilities required to succeed
Valid data points are the key
We’re big on data and objectivity. We usually combine psychometric testing, 360 feedback, career evaluation, structured simulations, interviews and referencing, along with the applied judgment and intuition of our program leaders in understanding, calibrating and assessing talent. We blend art and science in arriving at accurate and insightful pictures of executive talent through 6-8 data streams, that provide us with multiple data points for each capability aspect of the person being assessed.
How to best manage the process
A robust and fair Talent Assessment process comprises six key stages:
1. Establish the Leadership Model for the Organisation, including the design and development of underpinning leadership competencies. These will determine what competencies are relevant, how they will be assessed and how the report back process will work.
2. Communicate the Assessment initiative to the participants to manage their engagement and to outline the purpose, expected outcomes and integrity of the process. This is where an expert, independent and experienced Assessment partner will bring credibility to the process.
3. Assessment of Individual Capability, Potential & Performance – by this, we mean the actual assessment process. This step is designed around the level of executives involved (individual vs. group assessment) and the outputs required. It is where experience in designing, identifying and applying the right methods to measure and articulate talent within executive leaders is critical.
4. Individual Reports – This step involves the creation of Individual Reports (including Development Plans) that are included in feedback to participants in the form of a draft report. Before we finalise any reports, we capture participants’ feedback and input, and then make any relevant changes before we deliver a final report to the participants and the commissioning client.
5. Group Talent Mapping for multiple Assessments – Based on the data collected from the individual assessment processes and clients’ performance data, we often aggregate these into group outcomes, analyse data patterns and development needs and unlock group-level talent and capability insights.
6. Develop an ongoing process of Talent Management– In this stage we ensure clients have established the relevant processes to implement their integrated Talent Management approach as an ongoing process. This should include undertaking external Talent Acquisition work to source “ready to move” external Talent to complement internal succession plan gaps.
What makes our approach different?
We’ve assessed leaders across Australia, New Zealand, USA, Europe and Asia. Our experience tells us that there are some fundamental leadership capabilities you should assess that don’t change over time, such as Inspiring Vision, Coaching for Success, Providing Feedback, plus emerging capabilities like Learning Agility, Curiosity, and Resilience that are important in VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguoius) environments.
Assessment can be confronting and unsettling for individuals and we know from experience that our independence, the robust assessment process, and through a personally engaging approach, we are able to ensure that the assessment process is insightful and valuable to individuals.
We also know that within an industry or function, there will be unique bespoke requirements. We have the capability to tailor our approach to capture the differentiating skills, knowledge and experience needed for leaders in different organisation.
If you’d like to know more about our Assessment practice, get in touch.