How Top Companies Use Leadership Team Assessments

Jeff Evans's picture
How Top Companies Use Leadership Team Assessment

Humility is powerful. We speak of humility, not humiliation, to be very clear, as humility can keep all the stakeholders in a company focused on the organization’s common goals. Gaining that humility does not deprive anyone of rightful pride in achievement. Getting a lesson in humility can begin with a willingness to hear truth to power—to solicit honest opinions from customers, and team members. The lensing of leadership team assessment invites those opinions and focuses your organization. How do leading companies use this valuable tool?

Brave to Be Vulnerable

Many executives and middle managers fought long odds to rise to their current positions and are fearful of losing the remuneration and prestige of the job. Today’s dynamic leaders need brave managers and executives capable of handling tough truths.

Risk-takers will, yes, sometimes lose, but more often they are rewarded by becoming better leaders. Look at companies like Amazon, Charles Schwab Company, and Greyhound (yes, the bus company). In each instance, being willing to look into the awful teeth of real data, real opinions, and real customers served each company well.

Inculcating that willingness to be brave, to accept leadership team assessment as the normal course of work, begins at the very top. Greyhound’s CEO at the time, Stephen Gorman, led the company through a turnaround because he recognized, as Harvard Business Review explains, that he had to be decisive, even if his decision was wrong: “A bad decision was better than a lack of direction.” He was willing to admit error, making himself vulnerable to move the company ahead.

Not All Bad News

The fearful middle manager may be bracing for buckets of bad news from leadership team assessment, but usually the information is far too valuable to be used as a bludgeon.

Most of the news coming from such assessments point toward successes, not faults or failures. Nascent traits of real leadership can be nurtured:

  • Decisive leadership—Act swiftly, fulfilling the vision, living with the decision, and leading by example
  • Engage with stakeholders—From custodian to major shareholder, everybody’s buy-in matters
  • Adaptability—Plan A is not working; be ready to move to Plan B
  • Reliability—Produce consistent results

The emotional intelligence needed for a leader to encompass all those traits can be uncovered in validated leadership team assessment of middle managers. With only anecdotal evidence (interviews alone, online surveys alone), you cannot get reliable data on your organization’s leaders.

Charles Schwab Company actively sought out opinions of customers and changed their delivery stream to include multiple distribution channels, including the internet. Result: record revenues, as outlined by Business Wire.

Unlike some companies who seem reluctant to publicize their use of leadership team assessment, juggernaut Amazon famously broadcasts its leadership principles, which include that inward reflection. These principles did not emerge from the ether; Bezos mined the very best ideas from other highly successful leaders before him.

To learn how best to use leadership team assessments in your organization, partner with a company experienced in applying these tools. Partner with Envision Global Leadership.