Sonny Abesamis -- Flickr Creative Commons

Sonny Abesamis — Flickr Creative Commons

Just as there is a big difference between knowing and doing, there is a huge difference between assessing and improving.

Speaking to a large group of leaders recently, I asked how many there had taken the MBTI (aka Myers-Briggs) assessment.  Ninety percent of the hands went up.  I then asked, how many of those that have taken it, felt like there was an improvement in workplace performance.  Maybe ten percent of the hands went up.

The MBTI has its own limitations, but in my experience the problem is not so much the particulars of any given assessment, but what is done next.  Most assessments like MBTI or DISC are “given” in a workshop or somewhere in the new hire on-boarding process.  The problem is that while the assessment may be debriefed (and let’s  just forget whether this step is done well or not), there is generally no plan for improvement and therefore no development.

Awareness may have been grown (ex. Oh, I AM introverted… or Oh, I have a COLLABORATIVE conflict style…), but that is usually where things peter out.

So do yourself a favor, instead of chasing the latest and greatest of the assessment flavors, go back and look at some of those old assessment results.  Then pick one thing (a habit, an approach, a preference) that is impeding your potential and commit to addressing it now.  Awareness is the first step.  Next you need to choose and take action. It is what high-performers do.