SNAPSHOT IN TIME
Each morning I get out of the house early and walk. The light is terrific as the sun rises and I have gotten into the habit of taking my camera along. The details that are revealed in the pictures often surprise me.
By zooming in and focusing you may uncover some really interesting information.
In trying to clearly describe yourself and your organization for the purpose of building on what you already are, to achieve new strategies and new levels of success, validated assessments can be a tremendous tool.
Let’s take a closer look…
You may be interested in gaining some new insight about your structure and function, resources, internal strengths and limitations. In order to take a new look…there are many tools, methods and practices that can be useful to assessing your business.
Start with your clients, employees and business partners. Each of these perspectives will provide useful information about your business. A few of the most common methods to gather information are focus groups, surveys, assessments, and customer service reports.
As a starting point, ask the following questions:
- Are we easy to do business with?
- What are the things we do best?
- In what areas do we have room for improvement?
BUILDING ON STRENGTHS
People are the most important resource in any business. Before you take your business in any new directions, it is critical to understand the skills, abilities, knowledge, expertise, natural tendencies, and values that set you and the people in your organization apart.
As you begin to map a plan for the future, developing strategies that are based on strengths will be easier and more enjoyable. There are so many different opportunities to grow and develop. Choose the opportunities that build on what comes naturally.
Systematically evaluating all of the components of an organization- e.g. management, staff, sales and marketing, operations, financial systems, technology, etc is an important part of the strategic planning process. Many companies use a tool called SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to help them organize the information they have gathered.
I invite you to take a look at the following website, which shares an excellent example of a comprehensive organizational assessment process (for non-profits). It can be found at the extensive National Endowment for the Arts website http://www.nea.gov/resources/Lessons/WARSHAWSKI.HTML
Assessments can provide new ways of understanding yourself and others on a team and can be extremely useful when trying to improve personal effectiveness, satisfaction, or the ability for a team to work together. There are many companies that have designed and validated organizational and personal assessments. Here are a few that I highly recommend to identify:
Sales abilities (Caliper ), motivations (MAPP, Reiss), personality preferences (Myers Briggs), learning styles (Kolb, Hay), conflict-modes (Thomas-Kilman), processing preferences (NLP), Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values (TTI), behavioral styles (TTI DISC, ProScan), and emotional intelligence (ECI) .
If you think assessments might be useful – talk to a certified facilitator (I welcome your inquiries) to help define your needs, choose the right instruments, facilitate the process, debrief and initiate follow-up with the participants. Assessments can be extremely powerful when taken together on a team. A skilled facilitator will be able to effectively couple debrief information with team building skills to effect positive change.
Written by Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.
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