Oldies but yet still Goodies? – Making Sense of a Post Brexit World

“Lookin’ back on how it was in years gone by
And the good times that I had
Makes today seem rather sad, so much has changed.

It was songs of love that I would sing to then
And I’d memorize each word
Those old melodies still sound so good to me
As they melt the years away”

(From ‘Yesterday Once More’ by The Carpenters)

For many years, both here at a&dc and in many of the organisations for whom and with whom we work, there has been a need to keep at the forefront of our agendas our response to a world that’s changing at a pace and with a complexity that we can scarcely keep up with.  The acronym VUCA, originally coined by the US military, prompts us to anticipate and plan as best we can for environments of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. And just within the last week  it seems as if the reality of VUCA has hit us all, with the UK electorate deciding to leave the EU, politicians resigning left, right and centre and economic markets plunging into freefall. Justifiably, the newspapers and general public are calling for immediate action for a new solution – but is there a risk in acting too quickly and is the answer necessarily something new? In the words of the classic Carpenters song, can’t some of the ‘oldies’ be ‘goodies’?

You won’t be surprised to know that as a long-time coach and consultant I have my favourite ‘go-to’ models that inform my own practice and work– I use them because I know they work, time and time again – for me, us as individual managers and leaders, for the teams we lead and for the organisations to which we belong. One of these is the very well-known Kubler-Ross Change Curve – originally conceived in the world of bereavement, but quickly applied to all situations of change. I’ve seen and indeed experienced at first hand, the journey through denial, anger and exploration and eventually into acceptance of a new normal – until that is, in our VUCA world, the game changes all over again, so perhaps the Change Curve is more aptly entitled the Change Cycle?

What I hadn’t observed – at least until this week – is how we can also see these stages evidenced in a whole nation – take a step back for yourself, look and listen… do you see what I see? The stunned response to the Referendum results has already given way to public outbursts of anger – anger against politicians from both sides for the way they conducted the campaign and now, even more worryingly, against neighbours, friends and colleagues who may be ‘different’ from us in some way.

So what now should be our leaders’ response? Kubler-Ross observed that the transition to acceptance is not necessarily a sequential and smooth journey – to help us through denial we need access to information, through anger we need support, through exploration the need is for direction and to ensure acceptance, encouragement. Whilst most of us have no ambition to be the next Prime Minister, it’s important that whatever the sphere of our own leadership responsibility, we consider how needs of this kind can be met and take action accordingly – but, action of the right kind and at the appropriate time, otherwise we risk sliding back down to the potentially damaging stages of the curve.

And reflecting further – this time on Monday night’s defeat of the England football team – maybe this is learning that not only the next occupant of Number 10 Downing Street can benefit from….?

Author: Karen West

Why Choose Assessment Centres?

Talent management experts have used the assessment / development centre method for decades in many aspects of the employee life cycle. Now we’re seeing clients using the technique to assess more levels within their workforce for a wider variety of purposes than ever.

Why? Because research evidence tells us it’s the right method to use. Thanks to an abundance of academic articles, we have the data to show there is a high correlation (0.6) between observations at an assessment centre and real, on-the-job performance. This is called predictive validity. Traditional methods, such as structured interviews, ability tests and personality questionnaires boast a lower (yet still valid) correlation of 0.4. To give you some context, 0.4 is the strength of relationship between smoking and the onset of lung cancer, and apparently the same level of effectiveness as Viagra. Therefore, it’s safe to say that assessment centres are hard to beat when it comes to choosing your talent acquisition or development methods.

However, contradictory findings are rife in most fields of psychological research. Talent management is no exception. Some studies have found lower correlation coefficients for assessment centres, and questioned their validity as a selection or development tool. However, these studies fail to accommodate best practice in the way you are meant to design an assessment centre, and how assessors should conduct themselves (oh the irony of a piece of science lacking scientific rigour).

So let’s take a minute to explore three things that make an effective assessment centre process:

1. Research the role you are assessing / developing.

An assessment centre can be defined as an integrated system of simulation exercises designed to generate behaviour similar to that required in a target job. So firstly, do you know what behaviour is required in the target job? Secondly, do you know what situations are the most realistic to simulate for this role? Having a general understanding is not a data-driven understanding. We use job analysis questionnaires and interviews with subject matter experts to gather evidence and have confidence that we are measuring the right behaviours across the right exercises.

2. Use multiple assessors across multiple exercises.

There is an often overlooked yet major fail in relying on interviews to assess people; you are relying on one person’s judgement only. We all have unconscious bias (it’s true, just look here), so having a diverse group of assessors rate a person’s performance across different exercises not only reduces the risk of bias degrading evaluations, it also makes the overall ratings more reliable.

3. Train those assessors.

Having multiple assessors, however, is no match on its own to the dark side of unconscious bias. Assessors need to be trained in effective behavioural assessment to be sure they are not relying on ‘gut feel,’ which so often leads to a bad selection decision or developmental suggestion.

What next?

The benefits of assessment centres are so vast, and technology is rapidly changing the way they are delivered and managed to make them far more easy and cost-effective to implement than ever before. The wealth of data that can be collected from such an initiative is begging to be analysed and utilised too (find out more about our take on talent analytics here).

a&dc’s guide to assessment and development centres is a great place to start if you want more details on how to implement all of the above, or if you simply want to learn what the future holds for this robust methodology.

Want to know more? Join us for a free webinar on June 29th >>


Author: Jordon Jones