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Building Leadership Bench Strength with Assessment and Development

The Need

Texas Instruments needed to use assessment more strategically with its high-potential leaders to improve the quality of development, as well as to accelerate development.

The Solution

They used a variety of DDI assessments, depending on leadership readiness and level, to enhance its high-potential development programs, in addition to coaching to provide feedback.

The Result

The company accelerated the development of critical talent, including its high-potential leaders, which increased readiness and leadership bench strength across the pipeline. 

When you provide that novel source of feedback, it can actually steepen the learning curve and accelerate development so that then we're moving people into a ready-now situation, and we have a ready-now pipeline of talent.

Jana Reddin, Ph.D., Sr. Director Worldwide Talent Development, Texas Instruments

Only 11% of companies report having leadership bench strength—and that number is dropping as turnover rises. That’s why now is the time to pay attention to your high-potential leaders and ensure you’re engaging them in deep development that will help them envision positive future careers at your company. 

And what’s one of the top things leaders ask for in their programs? Assessment. Leaders want to know their strengths and weaknesses, and where to focus their development—especially if they plan to get promoted. 

In this webinar, you’ll learn from the brains behind the top-tier high-potential program at Texas Instruments, which uses assessment and development to build leadership bench strength across the pipeline.

Learn how DDI combines assessment and development.

Transcript:

Diana Powell:                    

I am so thrilled to be able to introduce one of my clients, as well as partners in our presentation today. And that's Jana Reddin. Jana has been at Texas Instruments for eight years. And for many of those years, she and I have worked together. In fact, probably met her on one of the first months that she was at Texas Instruments.

And the reason that I am so excited about her being able to join us today is you all are going to hear some really great things that TI is doing now to really help in assessment and development and those hi-pos and the talent team. So, there's just a lot of gems of good information that we're going to get to share with you all today. So, Jana, anything you'd like to add?

Jana Reddin:                      

No, thanks for having me. We're really proud of the work that we've been doing at IT. In fact, I have two members of my team who are joining us today, Jessica Cavett and Aaron Friedman. Their work has been really instrumental to get us to where we are today.

Diana Powell:                    

Yeah, great. Well, let's get started. I wanted to go ahead and have us think about just a little bit, amid what we all know about the Great Resignation, we're seeing a lot of companies that are concerned about their leadership bench right now. And so, I wanted to say, we've got you all as attendees, we'd love to know how you all feel right now about your leadership bench.

We have a poll that I'd like for you all to take a minute and just click on how you're feeling right now. Are you feeling pretty good about it? Some levels are okay, but there's still some big gaps. We're about to start panicking. Or we are already panicking. So, if you could, just take a minute right now, and click on whichever one of those you are.

And we'll wait just a minute to see what is the group that we have together today really feeling about their leadership bench. And then, I want to share a little bit after you all have of some data that we've collected from the Global Leadership Forecast that will help support it, as well as set the stage for what we're going to share from Texas Instruments. So, let's just take a minute, give you a chance to answer. And Kim, I'll ask that you hop in and let us know.

Jana Reddin:                     

 I was just going to say it looks like a lot of people are saying that there's some big gaps.

Diana Powell:                    

Big gaps?

Jana Reddin:                      

Yeah.

Diana Powell:                    

Okay. We're not panicking yet, but there are some big gaps. Okay.

Jana Reddin:                      

Just a few panicking.

Kim Lambert:                                     

We are going to give this five more seconds so everybody can get their choices in. We'll count down, five, four, three, two one. Diana, go ahead, and you can reveal the results.

Diana Powell:                    

There we are. Jana, you're exactly right. Look at that. So, we're almost 75%, there are some big gaps. There are some panicking. There's some panicking going on. And I'm thrilled that there's 5% that are feeling pretty good about it. Like TI, what you all are doing right now and what we can share. So, that's not real different guys than what we've already seen in the Global Leadership Forecast. Leadership benches truly are tanking in many ways. And we did see the low spin strengthen a decade, as you look at this data. And I think they're continuing to go down from what we are seeing and hearing and even what you all have shared.

I think, too, what we do know was one of the biggest drivers of leadership bench strength is the quality of the development that leaders get. And so, here's just some data to think about, too. When you look at this, you see this jump and the percentage of organizational bench strength. And this, by the way, was rated by HR based on the quality of the development program. We all know it's important, how good our programs are around development. And this also was shared by the leaders in the organizations as far as quality.

It's a huge driver to have that high quality development for our bench strength and making sure we have the right people in the right place. But when you add high quality assessment programs to those development programs, you see many more organizations that see higher bench strength. It's really the combination of the two that gets your pipeline fired up and ready to go. And that's what we need.

In fact, the same studies show that HR executives at companies with strong formal assessment programs, they could fill 56% of critical leadership roles immediately, compared to 43% of HR execs at other organizations. So, when you think about even just that difference, think about the time and the money, the energy between that 56 and 43% of being able to fill those critical roles. So, we really see. You all are seeing it already. We're feeling good and seeing it as well, that it's critical to have that data up front.

And then not only to have that data, but people are asking for it. So, it's not just we need it so that we can make some decisions. And Jana is going to share a little bit more about this in a little bit, but it really is to say assessment is one of the top things as you see that people ask for, and they want more of it. I think what we get is that objectivity, Jana, as you know. They're craving that. There's a sense of really knowing where they can rely on their strengths and then where they need to focus on what they need to do to develop or move forward. And that's a critical component for what we want to do for folks.

I think, above all, this moment is most important in high potential transitions. So, I know you all have lots of different opportunities for development in your organizations. But we're also thinking about where should we really be thinking about focus. And so, focusing on those high potential transitions is going to be one of the areas that's really important.

The three biggest things that separate leaders who have great transitions into their new roles and those that don't are one, formal assessment, two, leadership training, and three, helping get coaching from their manager or support from their manager. And so, we see it in this data.

But I think better is to hear a story instead of me just sharing the research and having Jana help bring it to life in how we see assessment and development come together really beautifully and that high potential support and development. So, Jana, I'm going to turn it over to you.

Jana Reddin:                      

Thanks, Diana. At TI, we wanted to use assessments more strategically with our high potentials for this very reason. First, we knew that our employees wanted more information to help them navigate their careers. And so, even if you think kind of beyond our high potentials, employees in general are saying they want greater transparency about career options in their companies. And one really important piece of career development is sort of knowing yourself. And so, assessments is a really big piece of our career development and internal mobility strategy as well.

Second, how we approach development of our pools of critical talent or our bench was really inconsistent. We wanted to get more consistent with development planning and assessments were really a part of that to really help our critical talent focus on the right areas that they really needed to accelerate development, so that they were focused on the critical few and not everything.

Last, we wanted to use assessments not just for the individual, but also for the organization. So, at TI, we have historically used assessments in a variety of ways, but mostly around development, development of the individual. And historically, we have not leveraged the data to be more objective in terms of our identification and our development of that critical talent.

At TI, we use assessments for a variety of reasons. But as I said, above all, it really is about accelerating development for us. We know that assessments can increase self-awareness and really help individuals target their development. So, we've built assessments into all of our programs, our leadership development programs, as well as our high potential programs.

And to the point that Diana made earlier about leadership transitions, our leadership development program strategy is all about leadership transitions. So, when leaders are transitioning into a new role, they get enrolled in a leadership development program that has assessments embedded into that program. We're now also moving toward using assessments in selection at TI. And so, that's a new area that we're going to be using and looking in the future.

Here's a question for you. How do you use assessments in your organization? And so, I'll let Kim do the poll.

Diana Powell:                    

You all can select more than one. So, if it's all of them, great. We just want to see how many you might use.

Kim Lambert:                                     

And results are now starting.

Jana Reddin:                      

So, the poll has started.

Kim Lambert:                                     

Yeah. Results are starting to come in. And as Diana said, you can select more than one. So, we'll give this a few more seconds as everyone selects how they are using assessments in their organization. So, let's go ahead and-

Diana Powell:                    

It's coming in, they're across the board.

Kim Lambert:                                     

And we'll close out in five, four, three, two, one. Jana, go ahead and you can reveal the results.

Jana Reddin:                      

So, development and self-awareness are definitely the highest here. And I think that was very typical of TI as well. Selection for high potential programs is third, and then role selection and succession planning are at the bottom.

Diana Powell:                    

Yeah Jana, seeing this, I'm happy to see the 30% in high potential programs because I think that hasn't always been the case in places. So, that's really good. That's great.

Okay, so I wanted to transition for just a little bit because of just the information you all saw. There's so many assessments. And so, how do you choose from which assessment do I use for what? And so, there's a slide that we like visually that I want to just share with you all. And then, Jana is going to also share a little bit more here in just a minute.

But of course, not all assessments are created equally. And different assessments are used for different things and different outcomes. And so, this continuum that we have is something that gives you a visual that lays out, I guess rather simply, the level of depth if you want to think about it of the data that's generated from each type of assessment.

At one end, we've got the self-insight tools, where you get that self-awareness you're talking about. And those tools that pose those questions for users force them to reflect a little bit such as preferences, abilities, and motivations. They're the simpler. They're the things someone can do on their own.

As we move into the leadership test, as you go through the continuum, we're putting in place tools that are a little more statistically valid, like a 360 tool gives you multi-perspective data about past performance. It's essentially like a rearview mirror. You also have interview-based assessments, where people are gathering information and data based on achievements to date.

And then when combined with what we have at the far end, that's more comprehensive we would say, you have something that relates a business simulation or business case, where we can start understanding approaches to those scenarios people might be in in the future and how an individual might respond to those.

For the depth, you can't beat the full business simulation. So, at the end of the day, if you're going to fly a plane, full of passengers, for sure you want them to spend some time in a simulation. So, that's why you see that and most of the time that's at the higher level and the organization. Wouldn't be something we put our frontline leaders through as far as a full-blown business simulation. So, which you choose is going to depend obviously on the risk associated with that role or the transition, as Jana and I were talking about, as well as the time you have available, the level of investment, we recognize that.

Also, I wanted to just make a note for those of you that want to read up a little bit more on this and get a little bit more in depth, there's an Ultimate Guide to Leadership Assessment in the resources section of the webinar. And we can share back about that at the end that you all can actually access.

What I love though is I'd love to go ahead then and transition back to Jana. Because I'd like for Jana to share just a little bit about your thoughts and approach to this assessment decision making around choosing and what helps you with that.

Jana Reddin:                      

Yeah, thanks, Diana. I like your visual of thinking through the different kinds of assessments. And the way that I really think about it and I talk about it to my team and to HR folks and even leaders is to think about the kinds of information your assessment is going to give you. And so, one bucket of information is traits.

These traits could be things like cognitive traits, or values, or interests, or personality traits. They're traits that we're measuring that is related to behavior, but isn't actually behavior. And then if you pair that with perceptions, that's your 360 assessment. We know that when we ask different rater groups for information, we're getting their perception. We're not actually getting behavior.

But then if you add the third component, which is behavior, and you can get that information from simulation assessments. And I know DDI has a variety of simulations that you can do at various levels that we've leveraged. And so, when you combine all three, together, you get a much more holistic picture of a person. And it becomes a little bit more predictable, I would say. You have fewer gaps in the information that you have about an individual.

I think about those three things whenever we're building out assessment approaches in our programs with our high potential talent, our bench talent. But here's some other things that we actually think about that are very practical, but very important as you think about scaling. So, foundationally, when we're thinking about assessments, I want to know the technical information about the assessment.

I want to know, what is the reliability data tell us? What validity data is available? What normative data, what population do they norm it on? So, I'm very interested in understanding that. And also, construct validity, what's the meaning? How is that assessment? What it measures, hooks to other important things that people are doing in their role.

Second, we consider cost and scalability. I mean, we are a 30,000+ employee company. We have people all over the world. And we embed our assessments in all of our programs. So, we assess a lot of people, hundreds of people in just one program. So, the cost of the assessment is very important to us, as well as how do we scale it. So, for example, language is really important. Because we're dealing with people from all over the world. And we want people to be able to take that assessment in their native language.

Third, the user experience is very critical. So, this is everything from their experience logging in to a platform and actually taking the test, how much time it takes to complete the assessment to even how they get the results of the assessments. So, for example, a lot of assessments you can have people get a report, and they can interpret it themselves through just the report. So, we want to make sure that all of that is very user friendly.

Fourth, we want to make sure the assessments results provide insights that are actionable and that they translate to the TI context. It's great to learn about yourself. But we're here to learn about ourselves to put behaviors into action. And so, we definitely want to make sure that that is the case.

And then last, we look at how the participants receive the results. I mentioned that there are some assessments that you can get a report that people can just read. But there are other situations where the results are much more complicated. And they need someone who is skilled at interpreting those results and talking about how those results translate into action. So, we want to know that.

If the assessment requires someone to interpret it, then we need to understand how we're going to do that, because we have to scale it. So, are we going to train people internally? Are we going to use external assessment coaches? And how are we going to make sure that they meet our standards? So, those are some of the things that we think a lot about before we're introducing any assessment into our programs or into our approach with our big challenge.

I've said that we build them into our programs and we do. All of our leadership development programs have assessments in them, as well as our high potential programs. We also have a strategy to make sure that the people in critical talent pools or on benches receive high touch development support.

For us, high touch development support means that they complete certain assessments and that we have actionable development planning that connects that, so that people are planning the right development, focus on the critical few things, to really accelerate development into that critical role. And we actually use readiness to determine who we focus on for that high touch development support.

Typically, our ready later folks are in a program right there in some sort of bench program for that critical role. And so, they're going to be receiving assessments as part of that critical role or that program. But we also focus on people who are ready now people are actually going to be soon transitioning into that critical role. So, it's much more about role movement.

But our ready soon folks are really that target audience that we want to give very targeted feedback using assessments. We want to really make sure they have actionable development plans, so that we can really accelerate their development. So, that's sort of the sweet spot for us when we think about using assessments on an individual basis for our critical talent.

This is just an example of how we approach it. When someone is early in their career, they might be in a critical talent pool, but they're ready later. And typically, this would mean that they're in a high potential program. So, we do have a high potential program that you can see here. It's called our Early Career Pivotal Learning Roles program. And in that program, it really does focus on the job development, but we also embed assessments into that experience to provide greater insight and self-awareness.

You can see that we use assessments targeted at various levels, focusing on those who are ready soon. So, for talent in our frontline bench roles, you can see there, they would receive a simulation, which we actually use Manager Ready, a measure of personality and a 360. Again, it's sort of combining that approach of traits, behavior, and perceptions. Because in my mind, that gives us a much more holistic view of a person. And you can see we take a similar approach for our higher level critical roles as well.

We really believe that assessments are significant. We're not interested in just developing our critical talent, but we really are interested in truly accelerating the development of that talent, how can we move people and increase readiness at an accelerated pace. And to do that, we believe that assessments really provide that novel source of information. And when you provide that novel source of feedback, it can actually steepen the learning curve and accelerate development so that then we're moving people into a ready now situation, so that we have a ready now pipeline of talent.

So, to accelerate development of our top talent using assessments, we actually have a process that incorporates an external coach who provides that expertise in interpreting the assessment results. But we also have an internal coach within the talent development organization.

We have found that this is critical because it allows the talent development person actually works with the external coach and the participant to really translate that information to the TI context, which is really important. Because our context really matters. And a lot of times, our participants aren't really thinking necessarily about how those assessment results play out in their everyday context at TI.

That talent development coach helps the individual incorporate all of the feedback from the external coach to form, again, an actionable development plan focused on the critical few items that are really most important to accelerate development. And they make sure there's alignment with the individual's manager and HR business partner. And also, this person serves as an accountability partner. So, they check in and make sure, have you made progress? What are the obstacles? So, there's an intentional focus and I would say intentional pressure in some ways to keep moving, to keep moving forward.

Diana Powell:                    

And Jana, just real quickly, I think that's one of the things that I see as unique in many ways to what a lot of folks are able to do it's that you're taking those folks and talent development and HR and supporting what's going on. So, you really are driving that continued development. So, it's not just the coach that you're bringing out in externally. These happened to be a DDI coach, but there are other things you use that others come in.

You're making sure that there's that partnership between that external support, I guess you'd say, and the support your team gives, as folks are going through their development. So, it's a fabulous thing. And you'll share a little bit more around the story in a bit about how those folks get up to speed. But again, I think that's something to be proud of because it is something that a lot haven't gotten quite the handle on. So, looking forward to hearing more about that.

Jana Reddin:                      

Yeah, and I'll say, Diana, one of the things that I think was really important for us when we were sort of building this process is that I had had experience where companies used assessments. And what I saw is that the leaders truly valued the data at the time. And they were able to do something with it kind of in that moment or keep it in the forefront of their minds in that moment. But then they put it up on the shelf. And they forgot all about it.

And that's a huge investment, if you think about it from an organizational perspective, but also from an individual perspective. They're taking time to do this. So, we really wanted to make sure that if we were going to invest in assessments, that we made sure that we embedded the results in an ongoing way in their development.

Diana Powell:                    

Yeah.

Jana Reddin:                      

Keep in mind, this process that I'm talking about really focuses on our ready soon top talent, but it occurs in a fuller context. And that context is our leadership development programs. So, you can see, this is just sort of a high level of our leadership development programs. Again, they occur at transition points, so when someone becomes a manager for the first time or a mid-level leader for the first time.

And again, we have assessments embedded in each program, and they build upon one another, so that people for example, going through our frontline leader program and get a much more, I'm going to say simplistic view. And then as you move up levels, you get a little bit deeper view, adding to your self-awareness and being able to gain a little bit more even, I would say maybe sophistication and how you think about your traits and behaviors.

In addition to our leadership development programs, and our leadership development programs really incorporate different modalities of learning. It relies on in-person learning, whether that's in a live classroom or whether that's in a live virtual environment. It also relies on on-demand content as well. So, those programs really blend different types of learning.

And in addition, we've built skill paths that map to our leadership development offerings, so that any employee at any time can access leadership development content on-demand. So, at the time of need, they don't have to wait for a class to be scheduled or hosted. They can go in and learn when they need it.

The content is from a variety of sources, but all very high-quality content mixing, again, different modalities from podcast to videos to articles to on-demand, eLearning, and web sessions.

Diana Powell:                    

Jana, do you have an idea at all when you think about that over, it's one of the questions that came in. But when you look at that for all the programs, do you have an idea of how many leaders you've touched?

Jana Reddin:                      

Oh, I might. I might toss this one over to Jessica.

Diana Powell:                    

Aaron and Jessica can go and look for that. It's one of the questions that popped up. But when you think back to the slide you just shared, that's a lot. And a lot of the folks are wondering how many talent development people do you have that support all of this when you think about the 30,000 employees? And then also some of those, how many leaders have you actually touched and impacted which we know a lot, which then touch other folks when we think about our 480 minutes and the people that they touched.

Jana Reddin:                      

Yeah. It's a great question. I could tell you some old data, but let me see. And just to let you know, we don't have a whole lot of people doing these programs. So, we have one person who's responsible for all of our leadership development programs. But we partner very closely with our learning administrator GP strategies. We partner very closely with facilitators who are external to TI to make sure all of this happens. So, I'll let Jessica talk about maybe the numbers.

Jana Reddin:                     

I can tell you that when we first started, we had just our frontline leader program. And in a year, we touched 100 leaders. That was in the first year. But we had some kind of catching up to do. But this was years ago, several years ago, not too many years ago though, probably like six years.

Diana Powell:                    

I was going to say six, yeah.

Jana Reddin:                      

Yeah.

Diana Powell:                    

Six years ago.

Jana Reddin:                      

Yeah. And so now, we've added programs. So, for example, we just added a senior level leadership development program. This year, we had 50 people go through it. Next year, we'll have around 50 go through it again. And then, we have our mid-level leader program, which is an award-winning program. And oh, man, I think we might do five or six cohorts a year maybe with about 30 to 35 people. And that doesn't include kind of the follow-on leadership development that's available for people who aren't new, who just want to increase their skills and enroll in a course. That I'm sure, Jessica, will find the data. Maybe she can tell.

Diana Powell:                    

Yes, go on. I just saw that thought. Let's go ahead and think about that.

Jana Reddin:                      

That's a great question. So, I previously mentioned talent development will work with their top talent on the assessments, like translating the assessments to our context and they help our leaders and top talent create development plans. This is just an example of the development plan template that we provide to all employees and our leaders to really help create practical development goals and actions. So, it's pretty simplistic in a lot of ways. But I find it to be really helpful to really be practical and also to think about development in your day to day instead of sort of something extra.

Diana Powell:                   

This is getting your team ready. This is what I was sharing earlier about what you can share a little bit about your group. And I just have to say, you're going to be impressed folks, because TI does an amazing job of getting their internal team prepared. And a couple of things, so, a couple of questions that I've seen. One was Jana, do you use DDI coaches? Or do you use your coaches? Well, they do both. Because they have trained. We've transferred a lot of the knowledge to the team around coaching and different assessments. And then, some have been DDI executive coaches and then other coaches have been used, but it's been a blend.

But that's because Jana has done a phenomenal job of getting the HR and talent team prepared to understand and do these things as you alluded to before when you talked about the support they give to move forward. Another thing is they were saying what do you do around kind of that supportive performance afterwards. So, that's also a piece that these folks can help with. So, I'm going to be quiet now let you share a little bit more about how you do this with your team.

Jana Reddin:                      

Sure. I'll tell you just a little bit about how we do it. It's so funny, because I was telling Diana, because Diana said, "You do such a good job of this." And I said, "We do?" Because we try really hard to be comprehensive to think about our end users, to educate, and inform. And Jessica, and Aaron really are thoughtful in their approach around this and have such expertise. So, do a fantastic job of really educating our HR business partners, our talent development team, as well as leaders.

When we were creating this strategy for our top talent, it was really important to be clear and intentional about who's going to have access to what data, how is the data going to be used, and we spend a lot of time on this. We meet with participants in advance to let them know what they can expect. We're very clear with HR business partners and leaders about what data they can have and what data they can't have, how it should be used, limitations of data. All of these things are very important.

When people are going through an assessment experience, they feel very vulnerable and even exposed. And I think that's a really good word to think about when you're using assessments with people. And when we're administering assessments, and it's funny, I'm a psychologist, so my background is all in assessment. So, it's just something I do. I don't even think about it.

But when you don't do it regularly and it's being done to you, it's very exposing. And people feel very vulnerable. And so, I think it's super important to be really clear about who's going to see what, how it's going to be used, so that there aren't any surprises, and so that also people don't make assumptions about if the data was used in X, Y, or Z way. So, that's been very important to us.

And all of that really is just about creating a sense of psychological safety for our participants. Years ago, TI used an executive assessment process and a more, I would call, ad hoc sort of way. There was some secretiveness to it. And not because people wanted it to be a secret or not, because it was some bad thing, but just because I think they didn't know how to talk about it. And so, instead of talking about it and being more open about it, people just didn't.

What happened is people made a bunch of assumptions, write about things. And it was really, really scary to people if they were asked to do an assessment. So, we were really focused on how do we flip that? How do we make this a positive thing where people see it as investment and not as a negative thing. People are trying to find out something secrets. And so, that really was critical for us in rolling out this strategy for our top talent.

Part of that was also preparing our HR team. And so, really educating our talent development team and HR business partners to understand the best use of assessments, the best practices, what are poor practices, those kinds of things, where it was just really important. And so, we actually had some training sessions. And Aaron can probably tell you a lot more. He actually did the training sessions. And we used case studies to really begin to help people think through what situations might come up, what questions might come up, when are people going to ask you for things that you might not be able to give them, and how do you respond.

These are some of the cases that we used in that training to really help people think through and then apply our best practices for assessments. Give you just a minute to take a look here. And we had group discussion on all of this, so that you can really hear different perspectives and different concerns and questions that people had.

Diana Powell:                    

Then you also help support these folks understanding the actual tools that you were going to use. So, a lot of these folks also got training. You all have asked about what kinds of assessments, which ones those things, but they also understood what that person was going to go through. So, you did a great job of helping them with that.

Jana Reddin:                      

Yeah, and I can tell you, for example, with our 360 assessments, I'll tell you when anyone on the talent development team wants to provide 360 feedback first, they go through some training that they have to go through 360. So, they experience it from an end user. They get the training. Then they give feedback to the kind of supervisor, who's coaching them on the assessment, so that they can practice and then they do one and they're supervised. So, it's a structured process to make sure that we're really preparing people to do the best that they can.

The other thing is that we do have people go through the assessment experience, not because they're going to do the feedback, but just we want them to know what the experience is like. So, there's a team of folks in talent development that are really in charge of our high touch development support for our critical talent. And we just formed this new team. And they're all going through the assessment experience, because they'll be working with people who are going to have to go through it. So, it's really important that they understand the end user experience.

In this whole process, Aaron does such a nice job of helping people understand the limitations of assessments. They're not perfect. They don't tell you everything about a person. And in fact, we really want to start with the assumption that people are experts of themselves. So, we want to make sure that we're not using assessments results as kind of a bat to hit people over the heads.

We really want to think about how can we use assessments as a way to generate hypotheses that people can then test themselves. We want to give them bits of information that can just spark development. And so, we really do emphasize that people are the experts on themselves. And this is just another tool that they can use to continuously develop.

I'll tell you, when we started doing this, there was a lot of skepticism. And in fact, in years past, I even remember, we were using one assessment and people felt like they weren't getting good data from it. And so, they didn't want to use assessments at all. And whenever we really dug into it, it wasn't the assessment. It was the feedback provider wasn't skilled in the assessment feedback. And so, that was the issue.

There was a lot of skepticism. Like, how is this going to help us, I already know this person, all of that kind of stuff. But I was recently in a debrief with a senior level leader who was getting a debrief on assessment for one of their direct reports. And afterwards, he said to me, "I've known this person for over a decade. But today, I learned something new about him. And I didn't think I would." Other leaders have said that the assessment isn't offering new revelations, which I think is really great. I'm always worried, if for some reason assessment tells us something we didn't have an inkling about.

But what they said is it offers us a language. It offers us a language to use to talk about strengths and development, and also to get to a decision sooner. And I think that's part of how it's really helped us. I've seen the assessments shine a light on a person strengths or opportunity areas that we actually ignored. We just weren't paying attention to them. Not because we didn't see it, but because of our own biases.

It really helped us think or see a person from a different vantage point. And that was helpful in disrupting the biases that we had formed and then sought to reinforce through just our cognition and how we think every day. So, we've had some really good results and people kind of changing their mind about the use of assessments.

Diana Powell:                    

I just have to thank you, Jana, for sharing. I think it's pretty clear for the folks that are on our call today, our webinar that for key roles, it's going to be really a motivator and accelerator to have data for not only the participant themselves, but for decisions that the organization makes overall. And especially when you start thinking about high potentials and transitioning of people, having that data that assessment plus development, helps give us what we need to be successful organizations.