Tag Archive: learning and development

  1. Podcast: How to help Leaders get REAL Insights


    Podcast with Gerry Murray (CEO, Tedx Speaker, Podcast Host at Leading People) and Author, Leadership Coach, NLP Trainer and fellow Harrison Assessments Managing Partner and Quadrant 1 International Director, Pat Hutchinson

    Gerry talks to Pat about personal development and leadership and what it’s like to learn and apply practical things after you go on a training course. Pat calls these types of courses REAL courses, in the sense that you learn skills that have real practical application and value in our day to day lives.

    One of the key things that Pat points out is that we’re all unique and therefore we have our own individual perspectives on the world, our own development needs and our own sense of who we are. She emphasises how she has used the combination of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and the Harrison Assessment to help leaders better understand themselves and their teams.

    Pat has great advice on how leaders can learn from the people that they’re working with, how it’s ok to be wrong occasionally and how they can have more meaningful conversations.

    They explore

    • Key skills that leaders need to acquire
    • How a “sheep dipping” approach to Leadership Development is not useful
    • Why we sometimes stop doing things that we’re actually good at
    • The need for simplicity in business
    • Pat’s top 3 tips for Leaders

    Listen to the podcast here, and you can find Gerry’s Leading People series here

  2. How do you measure the success of your leadership development programme?



    The UK Learning and Development Report 2018 shows that 94 per cent of the best performers surveyed say learning and development is critical to success. Almost two-thirds of companies with increased turnover in the past year rate leadership and management development as their top priority.  The national average of £300 spent per employee on learning and development constitutes a big chunk of an organisation’s budget and it is essential therefore, that development programmes are successful, effective and represent an appropriate return on investment.

    Your organisation will probably have a leadership development programme in place. Candidates are typically selected to take part in this development programme as a result of demonstrating exceptional skills in the operational side of their role and they will have a willingness and an enthusiasm to progress.   Leadership, however, requires a completely different set of skills.  It requires people to let go of their technical skills, develop excellent communication and influencing skills as well as the skills to be visionary about the future and put together well thought through strategic plans.

    How then do you measure the success of the development programme?

    Traditionally this has been done in a number of ways  including anecdotal evidence of performance or leadership style following the programme, an annual appraisal, subjective measurement against company behavioural competencies, subjective 360 degree feedback which is time consuming and therefore expensive to collect and collate to name but a few.   Most methods have a large element of subjectivity which will affect the findings.  So how can we eliminate the subjectivity from the measurement process?

    What if, at the start of a leadership development programme, you could objectively measure the group of candidates against a set of pre-defined leadership-specific behaviours? And then objectively measure them again some time down the line following the completion of the programme?

    The Harrison Assessment Leadership Behavioural Competency framework can do just that. It measures people’s individual skills and areas for development against 10 essential Leadership Competencies in an objective way using a forced ranking questionnaire.  These include the following behavioural competencies –

    • Communication
    • Energizing People
    • Learning Agility
    • Problem Solving
    • Resilience and Perseverance
    • Achievement Orientation
    • Impact and Influence
    • Innovation
    • Leading People
    • Strategic Thinking

    Each competency is made up of a series of essential traits, desirable traits and traits to avoid. Development candidates complete a short, online SmartQuestionnaireTM, the result of 30 years research by Dan Harrison PhD who focuses on the link between results and the enjoyment factor.  It is well documented that people who enjoy what they do produce better results.  The SmartQuestionnaireTM therefore takes into account working preferences and cross matches 175 factors to define the individual’s ‘behavioural DNA’.

    Responses are then mapped against each of the Harrison Leadership Competencies which can then highlights areas of strength and areas for development both for an individual and for a team.  The image below shows a sample report for the Strategic Thinking Competency, and the responses mapped for the essential traits of this competency. We can see that Andrew Jones’* higher scoring essential traits – higher scores generally relate to better performance – are Analytical and Truth Exploring, where as his disinclination for Research/Learning could indicate this could be an area for further development.

    Once you have the group of individual reports, a team report can be created, as shown below in the example team report for the Competency of ‘Strategic Thinking’.  This example is based on the team’s position before the commencement of the leadership programme.  Candidate names have been replaced by numbers in the left hand column.  The red areas show clearly the areas to focus on for development. The green areas denote the areas where individuals show a preference for work that requires type of behaviour.

    In this case, from the graph above you can see that the team shows a clear preference for analytical factors in their work, with responses predominantly illustrated in green, whereas the high number of responses shown in red under the ‘systematic’ column shows that further training and focus for development may be required to help the team become more systematic in their approach to work, if appropriate. A personal or team development plan and additional training can then be designed around the real objective data provided here.

    If a second questionnaire is then carried out some time later following the programme, once the candidates have had time to embed the learning, the two reports can be compared to see where the individual has improved against their earlier results, and where further development may be required. Comparison of the two reports can show with laser clarity ultimately whether the leadership development programme has been successful.

    The HATS behavioural competency also measures desirable traits and traits to avoid. The same measurements can be carried out for these to provide further evaluation. The HATS Leadership Behavioural Competency and other standard, pre-defined behavioural competencies are available. Bespoke behavioural competencies can be developed according to the requirements of your organisation and built around your own set of required traits and behaviours.

    If you would like to find out more about the HATS Leadership Behavioural Competency, other pre-defined competencies, or indeed about creating a bespoke competency, please call us on 07768 922244 or get in touch with us online.


    *Andrew Jones is a real person, whose name has been changed & who has given permission for his reports to be used as Harrison samples.

  3. Great talent – is it in the right place?


    27Do you have the capability to source great talent for your organisation?

    A recent article in People Management entitled ‘How Do You Pick a Winner from 5,000 Candidates’ highlighted the challenges still faced by recruiters in picking candidates that not only have the right qualifications and experience but who will fit the suitability criteria for the organisation.

    CIPD research* also shows that only 8% of organisations rank their talent management activities as ‘very effective’, and highlights the top 3 Learning and Development objectives for talent management activities to be:

    1. Growing future senior managers / leaders
    2. Retaining key staff
    3. Developing high potential employees

    It seems many companies are having difficulty retaining top talent. Sometimes job advertisements fall short of expectations, but there is another quite stark dynamic to the talent problem. HR professionals and operational managers are more aware today than ever before of the consequences of recruiting the wrong talent. For example, retail want people who are talented at giving superb customer service, whilst technical firms want people who can communicate in plain language and collaborate with peers and clients. It is no longer enough to have a technical or academic ability, or to have years of experience – companies want people who naturally express the behaviour they see as needed in order to remain competitive, and this is the current challenge.

    It’s more about the culture than technical skill

    More companies are seeking to create the ultimate cultural environment where high performance can flourish. They have learned that it is not so easy to teach non-technical traits such as customer service, collaboration, empathy, initiative, trustworthiness, enthusiasm and interpersonal skills, or to assess negative traits such as permissiveness, bluntness, blind optimism, harshness and dogmatism. These can be referred to as suitability traits as opposed to eligibility traits. Eligibility traits are the clearly measurable ones that appear on a CV – number of years’ experience, qualifications, achievements both personal and business. If you can find candidates with the right suitability as well as eligibility then you can usually plug any gaps they may have in your technical requirements through training, coaching, shadowing and mentoring.

    High performance of any kind is easier when backed up by certain suitability traits such as the tendency to collaborate, listen well, empathise and take initiative. Sadly these traits often take a back seat in our schools, colleges and universities, and the tendency is to rely on a person’s natural abilities in these areas.

    Conventional ways of recruiting no longer cut the mustard

    Sifting through CVs, all formatted differently, formal interviews, and psychometric tests that don’t relate to the workplace still exist for many companies. Agencies that filter based on CVs and interviews and charge the relative manual labour fees are still the most common form of hiring. It can also be the most costly form of hiring as it is often quite hit and miss, with only an average of 45% prediction of job success. Online agencies are becoming more prevalent today, and some of these are making strides to reduce cost, but behind the scenes you often find a conventional process of CV filtering and interviewing. There simply has to be a better, more value for money way of attracting and hiring top talent.

    Ben recently applied for a key role with a major technology company, attracted by the promise of high autonomy to make decisions and a development path into top leadership. Unfortunately the job was hyped up and he found he had to refer to the USA HQ for every single decision. He left after just 3 months!

    The solution is at hand!

    What if you could identify and capture both the suitability traits and eligibility factors required for a role and measure your candidates against them without the need for manual sifting whilst increasing your prediction of job success from 45% to 90-95% at the same time?

    Harrison Assessment Talent Solutions allows you to just this at a fraction of the cost –

    • Set eligibility and suitability criteria using one of 6,500 job profile templates
    • Invite candidates to complete their own eligibility information and the online SmartQuestionnaire™ (no more paper sifting by you or your recruitment agent)
    • Receive processed list of candidates in order of suitability for role (no more subjectivity)
    • For each candidate selected for interview receive –
      • An Interview Guide
      • A How to Attract this Candidate Guide
      • A How to Manage this Candidate Guide
      • A Job Success Analysis
      • Other reports as required

    Smarter technology

    Harrison Assessments is the result of over 30 years of research by Dr Dan Harrison. It is designed specifically for the workplace and is based on enjoyment and paradox theory. It utilises 175 behavioural traits (nearly 4 times as many as its closest competitors) in an online SmartQuestionnaire™. It offers a complete talent management solution from – recruitment, development, performance management, succession planning, benchmarking and cultural change measurement.

    If you would like to know more about this exceptional Talent Management System call +44 (0)7768 922244.

    *CIPD Annual survey report 2013, over 1,000 respondents from senior L&D professionals