It seems like so long ago, but as my professor (Dr. Longbotham) stood at the front of the room, her advice was simple, but very clear, you cannot use an assessment tool based upon what you want to see happen, you must use an assessment instrument based upon what the research question requires. While simple at first glance, it would serve to guide how I conduct most of my research and my interaction with my clients and their teams.
Use the Right Tool for Success
How often do we seek a fix for a roadblock or obstacle in our lives without engaging the due-diligence that is required to fully understand the problem, so that we may provide a solution? I know that I am guilty of this and often have to step back and remind myself that I need to gather as much information as possible before moving forward.
So why not rush head-long into a challenge and situation simply armed with good ideas and feedback from others on how to solve barriers to success? Great question! The answer is really quite simple, solutions often can be derived by correctly identifying the root cause of the problem at the outset. One of the best ways to identify the root cause of a challenge or barrier is to utilize validated assessment tools that have been tested over and over again while being shown to be a very accurate answer/measure of certain questions your particular problem calls for in certain situations. For example, there are two types of research pathways a leader or business owner can utilize as it relates to understanding and solving barriers in the company, qualitative or quantitative.
Qualitative research has been described as involving the studied use of and collection of personal experiences, introspection, life stories, observational and visual texts to create a tapestry of events that will inform the leader’s decision-making as they move forward. Leaders that learn to leverage qualitative assessments have a deeper and more vivid picture of the functioning in their company based upon the overall culture and rich feedback received from their followers and their respective perspectives. Acting upon this type of feedback opens the pathways to greater synergy and more actionable efforts focused upon the vision and long-term objectives of the company, both of which help to bolster the bottom line or revenue growth.
Quantitative measures provide a quantitative or numeric description of the situation by gathering and measuring the data from a fraction of the population where the problem may be occurring. Leaders that engage quantitative assessments or research are exposed to a detailed story presented numerically regarding human behavioral patterns and perspectives obtained via quantification (statistical analysis, i.e., survey instruments, etc.). Not only is this quantification beneficial for a greater understanding of the company functions, but when presented in more of a statistical nature, it offers a repeatable and direct path to see why the challenge or barrier exists in the organization. Furthermore, over the long-term this data offers an objective pathway to correct challenges by modifying existing actions and then reassessing at a later time to determine if the patters have changed.
A Leader Leverages Resources
At the end of the day, leaders must leverage the tools and resources that are made available to them in order to fully maximize the company’s efforts while striving to reach its goals. Assessment tools offer a validated and proven methodology for helping a leader to do that very thing.
Point of Clarity Quote:
The important question is not how assessment is defined but whether assessment information is used…
-Palomba & Banta