Archive for the ‘Assessment’ Category

According to recent cable buzz, Timothy Geithner, a financial expert with a degree in international economics, is not winning awards and accolades for his charisma, social warmth and inspirational public speaking.


Next they’ll announce that many CPA’s, scientists and others who are deeply technical aren’t change agents and the life of every party! A certain amount of introversion is expected of people who have deep technical capabilities. For people who spend a lot of time ‘in their heads’, being socially outgoing and good with small talk is rarely considered fun – or important.


The flipside: many executives and business owners want to hire ‘entrepreneurial’ people and develop an ‘entrepreneurial’ culture. What it usually boils down to is this: they want people who take action, are accountable for outcomes, innovative and work 20 hours a day. Unfortunately, they’re rarely prepared for the accompanying attributes:


 – People who are action-oriented rarely have patience for unnecessary bureaucracy, and are often intolerant of anything that stands in the way of the stated goal and forward progress.

 – Innovation is often accompanied by a ‘change agent’ approach, impatience for forward movement, extreme dislike of administrivia, and impatience with people who don’t see their vision.

 – Someone who is bright, sees trends and has a bias for action may move too fast – mentally and physically – not realizing that they’re leaving the rest of the team in the dust by the side of the road.

 – People who work hard – and long hours – tend to expect more of the same from the people around them– sometimes including the boss. They may also burn out or melt down at times.


Unfortunately, to-date, there is not a botox equivalent for the introverted personality, and you can’t steal the batteries of an engaged innovator. Sure, there are a few superstars who combine the best of technical depth and EQ; they’re pretty rare. Usually, in life and work, we need to carefully evaluate the strengths we need, and be prepared to accommodate the rest of the personality that comes with it.


Most executives eventually ‘get it’ regarding the need to carefully assess talent, and compare the personality attributes needed with the leadership, culture and team needs and constraints. Many times, this recognition emerges slowly, after hitting the wall a number of times.


Even the best talent is also typically thrown into the deep end of the pool. Onboarding and orientation programs rarely provide the information that’s actually needed to succeed in the company and culture. More on that later.



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