Organizational Assessment - Effective Communication & Skill Alignment

So, you decided your organization might have a problem.

Revenues are falling.

People have started to hate showing up.

What do you do?

Spend thousands to have someone come in and solve this? (Organizational consultant, etc.).

Or maybe you have someone within your company that handles these kinds of things as part of their role....maybe the director of operations has to do this to make sure the business systems are operating effectively. Maybe they’re your designated “firefighter” for when stuff hits the fan.

Regardless, like any other problem, you’re going to have to do a sound assessment of the situation first before you can design an effective intervention that will guide you to victory.

This is where the organizational assessment becomes important. An organizational assessment is essentially a systematic approach to gaining valid information about the organization (goals, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, human capital, market position, etc.) and determining which factors are affecting performance, or ways you can increase performance.

Fundamentally, you’re collecting data here while considering the real-world factors so that you can effectively design ways to increase organizational effectiveness.

Collecting this critical information is what allows you to design effective ways to increase performance. It all begins with the assessment though, just like every goal begins with a specific plan for execution.

There is a TON of different factors to consider in organizational assessments, as well as types of tests, and ways you can collect data to solve organizational problems or make processes and systems function better. Textbook after textbook, test after test, these are all designed to tackle a unique problem set and thus give you direction in finding solutions.

Specifically, today we’re going to discuss two problems, primarily consisting of human capital: 

  1. Personality & communication patterns
  2. Skill alignment in teams

In this article we will outline a couple of these problems, how they can affect your teamwork, as well as how you can do an assessment to help discover and make changes to such issues or make the systems better.

The first issue is communication, and personality. Dozens of personality tests and different assessments of individual personality traits among one’s character exist today. A lot of companies are even beginning to utilize these when screening for interviews for certain positions, or even seeing if one is a right culture fit.

As for the validity of these tests, nothing screams out liar more than asking the same questions in an interview, that an applicant was asked in a personality test before qualifying for the interview... and the answers don’t line up.

It gets pretty awkward when an applicant answers a question about something one way and you respond back “But in your personality test you said you were like this, so which one is it??”. Conversely, even getting them to provide the real-world examples of what the personality test claimed them to be, helps them further explain their results.

Not to mention, you will likely get an accurate picture on their communication tendencies, etc. as well during the face-to-face setting. All these factors help in determining “are they who they said they were on the personality test?”.

Aside from the interview process however, when doing an actual assessment of the people already in the organization, these tests can help you better manage the people themselves as well as lead to more effective communication.

Enter Myers-Briggs

Arguably the most popular personality measurement system being used today is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). In fact, over 80% of all Fortune 100 companies in the modern age are using some form of the MBTI to help assess strengths, weakness, and tendencies of their own human capital; as well as, forge more cohesive and healthier organizations.

One of the ways this is possible is that MBTI can help you facilitate more effective communication in your teams. If team members are aware of their own personality type as well as the others they are working with, they can leverage this to create a more cohesive atmosphere.

For instance, the ENTJ (Commander personality type) & INTJ (Architect personality type)  both share a thirst for knowledge, mastery, and a “getting the job done” way of communicating and living.

They love to solve systematic problems and achieve victories. In work-mode, they have a very point A to point B, “I need this done now” way of doing things. They prefer clear targets and steps, and laser focused action towards execution, and often times “office chit chat” or brainstorming can piss them off in the moment.

They may often be heard saying things like “c’mon”, “let’s go”, “Okay, so how SPECIFICALLY can I help you?”,  “Okay, so what SPECIFICALLY are we trying to accomplish?”

Though it may seem like these people are extremely abrupt and impatient, it doesn’t mean that they are impersonable jerks or don’t care about their team.

The fact is, they probably love everybody they’re working with, they just prefer to communicate in ways that are very direct, and focused on achieving the task at hand.

Sometimes when they’re doing a job in a team, and side chat happens (even if it’s not a big deal or getting them off task) they might get a little irritated. Yeah, even “shooting the shit” bothers them sometimes. They can tend to think very black and white, point A to point B when they get in work-mode.

If it’s upper-level management, when you’re communicating to these individuals it needs to be very direct, and laser focused on the priorities.

If you’re delegating a responsibility to one of these types or working alongside with them; when you’re speaking to these individuals, you need to be very clear and direct, and outline how the task they’re assigned is going to lead to results.

They hate ambiguity and are super impatient. If you’re delegating, give them a challenge and clear targets to hit, then set them free, you’ll create a fun playground for them, and they’ll thrive.

On the other hand, you also have individuals such as the ESFJ’s (supporters). These individuals tend to be a little more at-ease and focused on the people around them, or what’s right in front of them.

They are nurturing and very supportive teammates, and they enjoy giving other’s ideas validation and making them happy. Due to this approach, those who air more on the TJ (Thinking & Judging) side of things such as the ENTJ’s, and INTJ’s, may perceive these people to be not as focused on the job as they are, and thus team-slackers.

The best way to work with the likes of ESFJ’s is often times to give them more space and let them be personable with others. A lot of times it may not even be getting too off task when they’re chit-chatting, and allowing them to socialize energizes them (like most extroverts), as well as comforts them, and thus even helps them perform better.

ENTJ’s & ESFJ’s are both extroverts – they both like to talk! This energizes them.

The difference is ENTJ’s like to talk about goals and getting things done, while ESFJ’s natural tendencies air more on the side of a nurturing “How are the kids doing?” form of speaking.

When dealing with those who fall more under the “supporter” work type, you must avoid rushing them to quickly make decisions, or hammer them with a sudden deadline.

Set the standard for what needs to be done in advance, and give them space to do their thing, and if they want to chat, it’s not a big deal as long as they hit their deadlines and contribute to the project team.

Be sure to briefly check-in with these individuals in a more personal approach, always ask “How are YOU doing?” before you ask the “How’s THE PROJECT coming along?”.

Different experience backgrounds

There are also other important reasons for doing organizational assessments for your people.

Aside from psychology, you can also assess different employees work tendencies.

For instance, Pyometrics (https://www.pymetrics.com/traits/), is a platform that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI), and behavioral science to interpret workers cognitive, social, and emotional traits. It uses a series of games and algorithms to see how you approach problems and assess you more as a person.

Many companies utilize the platform in their application process to assess these cognitive and work-related capacities.

These types of strategies can be highly critical when working in project teams. This being you get to assess individual members strengths and weaknesses allowing you to strategically put them in better positions that fit within the strategy of that project.

For instance, you can have one member on the team who prefers to work on several different things at once, taking a break and returning to things systematically to get them all done; while another member might like to commit to one thing only and eliminate it, then move on to the next.

Other individuals might have really long attention spans, but struggle with distraction filtering agility While other individuals may have shorter attention spans but be experts at blocking out distractions, or even changing course from task to task while remaining highly efficient.

Cognitive and emotional traits aside, team members can also be sorted by background. Let’s say there is a group of consultants working together with a certain company encompassing a variety of issues.

Considered, maybe one project member has an accounting and finance background or is great at numbers, while another knows how to research, analyze data and apply it.

Furthermore, let's say someone else in the group understands the market a little bit more than the other two, and perhaps has more experience in the industry but isn’t as skilled in those other two categories.

Rather than having everyone trying to do the same thing, they can delegate things to the “experts” of that subject matter within the project team, allowing for everybody to do specifically what they are good at and in a role that fits their work tendencies.

Collecting Data

After you have done the measurements within your organization, such as analyzing the personality traits, how to communicate, and what their individual work tendencies are, you now must collect the data so you can actually create a better overall system.

Once you collect data, you can

  1. Create an excel document
  2. If you’re using a statistical program like Python or SPSS – you can export this data to a CSV (spreadsheet) saving you tons of “input” time and probably accuracy as well

After doing this you can now create a graph giving you a better visual representation of the data, such as the different people and communication patterns in your company. After this you now can begin to look at which groups would be a good match for one another.

For instance,

An ISTP (Craftsman personality type) is a great supplement to an ENTJ as they are often characterized as highly attentive to details and like to put their technical knowledge to immediate use for problem solving.

These individuals like working in a structured environment and their approach to facts and reality (Sensing or S in Myers Briggs), serves as a great compliment to the ENTJ’s big picture idea thinking (Intuition or “N”).

Based on the data you collected, you can convert the graph you made into more of a flowchart, illustrating how to organize curtain groups, as well as what that work atmosphere might look like as far the personalities and individual skillsets, and what the anticipated end result will be.

Thus, giving you a systematic way of organizationally managing your people into better strategic positions, based upon the current goals of the company, and the people that are within that company.

This allows you to develop better systems to increase organizational effectiveness based upon the collected data and assessments.

There are many different forms of measurement, analyses and systemic structures you can develop to increase organizational effectiveness, this is just one quick way to assess the people in your company and find out how to put them into better positions strategically.

The goal is that by doing this assessment and creating the corresponding system, you can identify factors affecting performance or even develop a new structure to increase performance.

These strategies are quick tools you can use to manage your human capital better and create a more cohesive and engaging environment for them – which is critical.

Employee engagement is a genuine psychological state, whereas the more engaged the employee is, the higher the performance level is as well as the productivity of the company.

You reach higher engagement by understanding the people as people, their tendencies, what motivates them personally, and what makes them tick, and leveraging all of that to get the most out of them.

Another important reason for assessments is to get to know the members of the organization more intimately as people so you can:

  1. Help them grow
  2. Make their job easier
  3. Make YOUR job easier as well

Look, nobody will ever care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Taking the time to get to know someone, what motivates them, and how you can help them do their job better, and thus, helping the organization to be better, is a tremendous asset for you.

Simple things like these really do make a big difference.

These are all ways that can help you communicate better and make a better fulfilled workplace for your employees. Helping with not only morale, but also performance as well.

Because your people are always your most important asset, not this new sexy ad that will work only for a few months.

Keeping track of assessments and data is one way to be prepared to face the uncertain world with your people, and how you can help them grow with it in the future.

Notes:

Bajic, E. (2015, September 28). How The MBTI Can Help You Build A Stronger Company. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/elenabajic/2015/09/28/how-the-mbti-can-help-you-build-a-stronger-company/#4a3da248d93c.

Key Personality Types That Work Well Together. (2017, October 6). Retrieved from https://due.com/blog/key-personality-types/.

"It's so incredible to finally be understood.". (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.16personalities.com/.

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