My Way or The Highway
by Barbara Metzger

There are people that have a firm black and white view of the world. This means the way they filter information and make a decision is based on their right or wrong, it fits their belief system or it doesn’t. This actually has nothing to do with honesty or integrity. It has to do with the system they believe is correct.

This motivation or filter category is named as traditional/ doctrine depending on the vendor of the assessments.

If someone is high in this area, what does that mean in the real work world? They can be great at systems. They had rather have a method to follow and will be rather consistent. They may also be motivated to do tasks immediately. And they can be pretty good at collections. Since the money is owed, it is the right thing to do to pay it.

Another good thing is they generally can be pretty neat, with a place for everything and everything in its place. And companies want these traits when they have guidelines to follow. Such as, when the proven formula for success in the workplace is 25 cold calls a day. The person will make the 25 calls because it is part of the system. And they will be consistent. As long as a way of doing business is one they agree with, they will be very good at following the structure.

Doesn’t this sound like a great employee….. does work immediately, follows the system, is consistent and tidy on top of it all. Let’s hire a room full.

Just as Ira was pointing out in his article, there may be more to the attributes than just the positives you want to see during the interview stage of the process.

Emotional Intelligence. This is a big player when this motivational area is strong for the individual. Here we will define it as the ability to incorporate another person’s point of view.

When the emotional intelligence is lower, this motivation is a very narrow black and white, it can be very destructive to the team and the customer relations. How this works in the real world is several ways.

If you don’t do _____ this way, you will have to do it over…. Even if the result is O.K..
This is the way we do this.
There is not a reason to change.
That is not how we do ____ here.
If you don’t do _____ this way, you are just wrong
If you don’t do _____ this way, you must be stupid

You get the message. Another perspective is the person with this attitude feels they are following the system and the right way to do things. For the outsider or the person on the other end of the conversation, it feels as if they are being judged. So, one person is telling the right way to do something and the other person is feeling they are being treated as if they don’t know right from wrong. Do you see any conflict or misunderstanding brewing?

This can be from how to file to what exercise program to follow to how to fill out forms. So the systems can apply to all aspects of life. It is a core contributor for many wars, or a core contributor for many success stories and great compassion when higher emotional intelligence is present.

When a person has the more developed emotional intelligence and this motivator, the workplace and the attitude can be very different. The good attributes of tidy, following systems, consistency, taking action on tasks can be present without the downside of a judgmental attitude.

The person still has a black and white, right or wrong attitude. It is just much, much broader with more acceptance of others and the ability to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.

On either of side of emotional intelligence, there will be resistance to going against the system they believe is best. When they decide it isn’t working well, is the only time they are open to changing. Before this, the employee (or leader) may give verbal agreement and then take action that is with the old system.

I can tell you working with anyone with this high traditional or doctrine filter can be either highly frustrating when change is in order, or it will be fabulous. Because when they decide to put a new system or way of doing something in place, they will be very good at application (remember the tendency to take action.)

Therefore, while one assessment won’t include the whole picture, what it can tell us will be true AND can be a great guideline.

Evaluate your people skills pool, screen candidates, and retain your top talent. To learn more about TotalView Assessment System and ASSESS Expert Systems contact Barbara@maxproductivity.com.


A Recipe for On-The-Job Success
by Dr. Ira Wolfe

Dave, the human resources manager of a 200 employee manufacturing company, recently called me. "Donna's test scores don't seem to match up with her performance. What's up with these tests?" Dave asked. He explained that Donna, manager of the company's customer service department, was not living up to expectations despite her assessment report "predicting" she was a good fit.

In Donna's defense, many of the problems haven't necessarily been her fault. Until recently, production mistakes and a significant on-time delivery problem really kept the phones busy and customers upset. As a result, morale was bad, turnover was high, and teamwork was virtually non-existent.

Meeting the quality service goals for customer service rarely happened since Donna assumed managerial oversight nearly three years ago. Despite the problems, Donna was often recognized by her boss, peers and direct reports for all her "hard work under the circumstances." In fact, during her most recent 360 degree evaluation, both her boss and reports defended her by writing conditional comments such as "despite the enormous amount of work.." and "if she had less paperwork and less meetings..." Her reports consistently noted how considerate and professional she was.

The department however was becoming the target of criticism from her peers and a few of them were beginning to question Donna's abilities to fix the problems and turn the department around. When Dave intervened and requested a second coaching session to review her assessment results, I knew right away what I faced: he was second guessing the accuracy of the report.

Donna's report read like an employer's dream come true. The traits and abilities described by her report should have made Donna a super-star employee. Donna was described as self-reliant, a need to be busy, ability to multi-task, attentive to detail, outgoingness, objectivity and being thick skinned. According to Dave, that described the person his company needed in this position to a tee. So what was missing? Was the report wrong? Did the results not accurately reflect the "real" Donna? Was Donna able to fake the test out?

After a few minutes with Dave explaining how I interpreted the results, he leaned back in his chair and smiled, "this is really interesting. This reminds me of cooking: it is not only important to get the right ingredients but understand how the flavors will interact with one another."

Donna's self-reliance, ability to multi-task and detail orientation independently fit the job requirements perfectly. She had the right ingredients. It was the combination of these three that proved to be ineffective.

Donna had the right traits but she never really mastered how to blend them together. The proper "blend" translates into job competence. Without the proper blend, all Dave and the other managers saw was a lot of activity without productive outcomes.

Donna hesitated to delegate: she felt it was easier to get the work done herself than "burden her employees." While she was recognized for keeping her cool when under fire from customers, this composure put her at odds with peers, employees and customers who described her as cold and indifferent when they wanted her attention. Her ability to juggle tasks amazed everyone but combined with an insatiable desire for perfection pushed others away when they attempted to help her. These same virtues also sustained a self-defeating behavior to look for more fires to fight, rather than cut off the heat source. Her commitment to remaining in a state of chaos and dysfunction was high because for years she has been rewarded for hard work, perseverance, and willingness to step up to the plate when no one in her department would. But now after several years of the same results, her peers were becoming increasingly suspect about her ability to fix the department and make the problems go away.

Dave's early experience - and first-time frustration - with reading Donna's assessment reports isn't unusual. At first, managers tend to look toward reports to confirm what they already know or confirm decisions they've already made. With more experience, they begin to see the value of identifying traits that might impair judgment or performance in addition to the characteristics that fit their job model. Finally managers capture the full power of assessments when they learn to blend personality traits in ways that predict the likelihood of on-the-job success.

While employee assessments are certainly not perfect, they have become amazingly accurate at predicting how employees will perform specific skills or have the ability to learn them.


Perfect Labor Storm Alerts #579 to #584

Fact #579: More than 60 percent of Wal-Mart employees--600,000 people--are forced to get health insurance coverage from the government or through spouses' plans-or live without any health insurance. The estimated total amount of federal assistance for which Wal-Mart employees were eligible in 2004 was $2.5 billion. ["Harper's Index," Harper's Magazine, Vol. 310, No. 1858, 3/2005]

Fact #580: When other companies get tired of paying the bill for Wal-Mart, they drop or reduce health care benefits for their employees. There are more than 40 million uninsured working families. The more Wal-Mart grows, so do the number of the uninsured.

Fact #581: An estimated 65 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 20 are obese or overweight, and obesity now affects 29% of workers. The cost to employers is significant - approximately 9% of U.S. health care costs - about $123 billion - are due to obesity and excess weight, and the productivity loss associated with obesity is even higher than what has been reported for tobacco use. Obesity is strongly associated with chronic medical conditions including hypertension and diabetes and ranks second, only to tobacco use, as a cause of preventable morbidity and mortality. (Source: The Business Case for Weight/Obesity Management, www.leadehealth.com)

Fact #582: Obesity is estimated to account for 43% of all health care spending by U.S. businesses on coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis of the knee, and endometrial cancer combined. The table below shows the obesity attributable cost for each of the conditions. (Source: The Business Case for Weight/Obesity Management, www.leadehealth.com)

Fact #583: Obesity's co-epidemic, type 2 diabetes, has increased sixfold in the last 5 decades. An estimated 14% of persons over the age of 20 have diagnosed diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, or impaired fasting glucose. It's also estimated that 22% of overweight adults, age 45-74 have pre-diabetes and could benefit significantly from lifestyle interventions. (Source: The Business Case for Weight/Obesity Management, www.leadehealth.com)

Fact #584: The per capita annual health care costs for people with diabetes rose from $10,071 in 1997 to $13,243 in 2002, an increase of more than 30%. These costs are 5 times greater than the cost for a person without diabetes. (Source: The Business Case for Weight/Obesity Management, www.leadehealth.com)

The featured article and labor storm facts are written by Ira S. Wolfe, founder of Success Performance Solutions, and is distributed here by MaxImize with permission.