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The Missing Link in your Assessment Strategy

By Ryan Heinl

Ryan HeinlLet’s talk about leadership assessments for a minute. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some companies use them in a systematic way, and some don’t use them at all. They provide interesting diagnostic data about what leaders are doing well and what they aren’t. Sometimes leaders act on that information, but most of the time they don’t. Sometimes assessments provide valuable information that can be used to shape leadership training, but most of the time this isn’t done. These are all well-known truths about leader assessment, but do these represent the biggest opportunity out there for improving the value of assessment for the companies that use them? No.

The biggest missed opportunity for using leadership assessment in companies today is much more urgent than any of these and something that is rarely talked about. Before we get into what that is, let’s just do a quick check-in on the business environment we are all soaking in today.

Here are a few fun facts to consider:

  • PwC has estimated that at least 50 percent of organizations are ill-equipped to execute their business strategies from the start.
  • Forbes found that last year, 80 percent of CEOs indicated that their organizations did a poor job of executing the planned strategies.
  • We are operating at a time when rapid changes in technology, huge shifts in consumer and workforce generations, and globalization are all causing business strategies to be changed quickly to keep up with the market.

All of this points to the fact that the ability to execute and execute quickly has never been more important. Think about it, the shelf life on your current strategy is what? Six, maybe eight months at best before it’s time to re-evaluate? And what is really holding us back from being better at execution?

Is it bad strategy? Lack of awareness of the customer? Missing investments in capital assets? Perhaps lack of technology investment? Sure, all of these things could possibly play a role, but our research says that most of the time they aren’t the problem. The strategies are good strategies, and doing the right financial and customer analysis and investing in the right infrastructure to support strategy execution aren’t the problem. The problem is lack of the right leadership skills to execute the strategy. Not a new concept, I know, but here’s the thing—we still aren’t doing a good job of figuring out what our leaders’ capabilities are in relation to the business strategy, or of factoring that into the execution plans.

If you can’t tell your CEO, with confidence, whether or not he or she has the right leaders in place to execute the strategy, you are literally putting all of your organization’s growth targets at risk. You’re just hoping those leaders will get it done. If I’ve got your attention and you’re interested in learning more about how to better answer that question for your CEO, listen to our recorded webinar, The Missing Link in Your Assessment Strategy.

Ryan Heinl is product manager, Talent Diagnostic Solutions at DDI.

Posted: 22 Apr, 2015,
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