Spencer Stuart: Three Ways Assessments Can Go Wrong (And How to Get Them Right)

There are many methods that leaders employ when trying to make senior leadership decisions, and some are more effective than others. When working with companies conducting their own assessments, Spencer Stuart has seen three main areas or reasons where assessments can fall short:

  • They overlook the importance of context, failing to define the specific capabilities and style required for success.
  • They fall victim to unconscious bias, overweighting assumptions (or “gut feelings”) over objective criteria.
  • They rely on flawed criteria, such as overvaluing past experience or equating company performance with individual performance.

So how can organizations avoid these mistakes and improve their ability to make critical senior leadership decisions?

  • Begin with an exhaustive definition of the role and its organizational context.
  • Measure the candidate’s competence in capabilities that are explicitly relevant to the role in the given organizational context.
  • Determine the potential for change and adaptability of the individual to the new situation.
  • Obtain observations and data points through multiple sources or tools.
  • Clearly articulate an honest and realistic evaluation of risks and gaps associated with a specific potential appointment.

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Thought leadership category