A 2008 SYMPOSIUM AT BRITAIN’S ASHRIDGE BUSINESS SCHOOL LED TO THE PRODUCT
A few questions on the GMAT, however, weren’t going to do the trick. After organizing a conference of business school officials in 2008 at Ashridge Business School in the United Kingdom, GMAC began to get serious about creating a soft skills product that would largely help graduate students with management development. “There were two big learnings from the symposium,” says Jobst. “Assessments perform reliably and are very valid, and an un-facilitated report didn’t work so well. Hogan already had the right instrument but we wanted every individual who took the assessment to have some significant takeaways.”
Ultimately, Reflect is a blend of three existing assessments by Hogan, which does as many as 50,000 assessments monthly, with the added developmental piece of suggested follow-ups, a work plan and the benchmarking feature. The product was tested in a pilot with 40 business schools and more than 1,500 MBA students during the spring of 2010. GMAC said it is in discussions with a handful of business schools to use the assessment.
GMAC is selling the product direct to students for $99 or at a bulk rate for business schools. Users of the product have access to their results and their action plan for three years after they take the test.
MY REPORT CARD GRADES: A TEN ON INNOVATION BUT A LOWLY TWO FOR STRATEGIC SELF-AWARENESS
What did I learn by taking the assessment? On my report card, I received grades of ten (the highest grade possible) on “innovation” and “strategic vision.” I apparently did less well on “strategic self-awareness,” where I scored a two, and “decision making,” where my grade was just three.
There’s commentary beyond a mere grade that gets into more actionable detail. Wondering what my score of two means for “strategic self-awareness?” According to Reflect, “Your score suggests you remain self-confident during times of stress or change. You may be overly confident in your judgments and downplay others’ feedback. While you are not overly concerned about others’ opinion of you, this lack of interest may be interpreted as arrogance. When mistakes occur, you are more likely to blame colleagues or external factors rather than thinking about your own role.”
Hmmm. And what about that low score on “decision making?’ The product tells me that “Your score suggests you prefer to make decisions based on obvious solutions with a high chance for success. When faced with a unique situation, you may rely on guidance from others or build consensus before choosing a course of action. Others will appreciate your simple solutions, but may become frustrated when you fail to consider trying something new or using the ideas of others.”
OVERALL THEMES ARE MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN ANY SINGLE DETAIL IN THE REPORT
Of course, everyone has strengths and weaknesses and any score, you’re told, can have positive and negative performance implications. Overall themes in the report are supposedly more significant than any single detail.
To help with my strategic self-awareness, it is suggested that I read an essay entitled “Career Development: A Plan or an Adventure?” written by career coach Joanne Dustin, along with a couple of books, Daniel Pink’s “Drive” and Dean Shephard’s “From Lemons to Lemonade: Squeeze Every Last Drop of Success Out of Your Mistakes.”
And I’m also given some immediate tips, including these two tidbits:
“To heighten self-awareness, obtain feedback from external sources. Ask peers and senior leaders to provide feedback on how your behaviors affect your work.”
“Where you sit during a meeting makes a difference. If you sit at the head of the table, you’ll have less interaction and more deference to you as the leader. If you sit elsewhere, you will have more interaction and less deference.”
A RECOMMENDED LIST OF WHAT YOU NEED TO START, STOP AND KEEP
There’s still more advice, including a list of things I should start, stop and keep. I need to start trying to address problems before they hit my desk, but I need to stop allowing detailed, intense projects from drawing me into micro-managing behavior. Reflect tells keep others up to date with consistent communication efforts.
All this sounds pretty reasonable to me. With business schools devoting more attention to leadership, team building and motivation, the GMAC-Hogan test seems likely to be a replacement to both Myers-Brigg and StrengthsFinder on business school campuses around the world.