We all have our opinions about what good leaders are and how they should perform. My vocation allows me to explore these preconceptions more than most.

Here’s the dilemma:

During the last few years I have begun to notice a trend. One where the opinions about the performance of the leaders in their business and the execution of their organisation's strategy just don't align.

What do I mean by this?

In several instances I am witnessing diagnostic results that indicate the organisation and its leaders are all tracking the favored indicators, yet the business is falling behind in the market and its strategies are failing to be executed. Indicating a definitive incongruence somewhere. Clearly if leaders are tracking well in all the key indicators the business should be running smoothly. 

This got me thinking about the nature of the way we use organisational testing and psychometrics. In countless cases the metrics are based purely on behavioral opinions which are open to intense subjective bias and influence (behavioral) as opposed to completely objective measures that fosters a genuine unbiased view of performance (developmental).

In order to look at this issue from a different space I have recently started using a developmental (not behavioural) assessment which I am pleased to introduce to you as The Leadership Decision Making Assessment (LDMA) to see if the results with clients incited something different and shed light on what has become an interesting phenomenon.

Not surprisingly the results have been astonishing with less than 1% of senior leaders exhibiting the capability to execute their role to maximum effect. This led me to several insights about the instruments we currently deploy and how we use them.

The subjective bias in behavioural assessments is not offering us a clear and accurate understanding of the individual’s capability and performance, which is leading us into a false sense of security about our leadership performance at every organisational level.

Complexity in today’s business environment is a fundamental issue. It is and arguably should be, a given that today’s leaders are functional enough to view business holistically, across functionally, unit and regional boundaries.   

You can safely conclude that we are currently not well equipped to adequately understand the increased level of role complexity and task demands well enough to set the correct level of competency in which to measure. Competency which is crucial to the success of any business.

Arguably the equilibrium has tipped too much in favour of behaviour. Why limit business capabilities by appointing people that behave in a way that compliments your business, however are unable to think at the level of complexity required to execute their role effectively. (I am not suggesting that behaviour isn't important, because it is. I am suggesting that today’s business environments require both in order to be truly effective).

The LDMA focuses on measuring objective performance by delivering a measurable unaltered view of capability that is not dependent on the observers experience or bias.

Let’s change the environment to further illustrate this point. In most sports, there exists a measure of capacity that is not reliant on anything except the performance of the athlete. In running for example, results are measured by a stop watch. The stop watch doesn't care if you had an altercation or bad performance review last week with your colleague; it only cares about measuring the time it takes to get from point A to point B.

The LDMA emulates this.  It measures the complexity of your role and just as importantly your ability to execute it effectively. Many of you are familiar with the Requisite Organistional Theory of Elliott Jaques and his concept of hierarchal strata within organisations. The LDMA measures an individual’s objective capability to operate within those strata effectively.

Levels of Work vs Lectical Score 

From the rigorous testing of large groups of senior leaders, it has become apparent that the complexity of C-suite roles (CIO’s, CFO’s, CEO’s etc) and their associated task demands are not currently being met by nearly 99% of the individuals executing them.

The measurement of performance and complexity is not the only key asset of the LDMA, as it’s also formative in nature by allowing  you to objectively advise of the "what’s next" in terms of potential. It achieves this by providing the individual valuable insight on what to focus on, enabling them to achieve the required level to execute their role. When this is complimented with personal coaching, these outcomes are not only achievable but rewarding.

Some people might argue that it sounds mechanistic and development by numbers; and to a degree it is but it works! It achieves this in a humane way by providing clear objective indicators and developmental milestones to empower and engage those who take part.

Results speak for themselves!

The LDMA has the data to prove that it doubles the amount of leadership development in a year when used in conjunction with leadership development programs (such as personal coaching). 

Don't let your development dollars go to waste, get the development and impact you paid for by using an assessment tool such as LDMA that delivers the following attributes:  

  • Performance based; 
  • Contextually relevant; 
  • Completely objective,;
  • Proven to foster growth and development; and
  • Clearly measurable ROI.

A recent case study that included the use of the LDMA

If want to know more about how vertical leadership development can help your business conquer the complexity crisis, with the help of the performance based assessments like the LDMA, please get in touch with me here.

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