Feedback surveys. Simulations. Role-playing. Personality tests.

All useful tools to help leaders discover what they do well, how they can improve, and the impact they have on others.

Providing leaders with assessment data is a cornerstone of our work at CCL. It not only helps leaders more clearly see their own behavior, but also provides insights into their psychological makeup, including a deeper understanding of how individual traits shape those behaviors.

Like many in the leadership development field, we rely on a handful of useful tools to generate this data. Now, advances in science and technology are giving us new options:

How do these new approaches fit with more traditional assessments? Will the expectations of today’s workforce demand changes in how we gather and use assessment data?

4 Emerging Trends in Assessments for Development

CCL’s Future of Leader Assessment team has spent a year exploring what’s new in the field. While we don’t expect newer assessment tools to invalidate or replace what we use today, advances in science and technology can help us expand our practice in 4 main ways:

  1. Machines as assessors. It’s no surprise that machines often outperform humans at assessing important aspects of leader functioning. For example, they can use physiological data to evaluate reactions to stress, and language patterns to discern leader characteristics. Even when humans are good at making these assessments, machines can often do it faster, giving us data on more people with less effort.
  1. Individuals driving the process. Assessment tools can now be put directly into the hands of leaders to give them fast and relevant data they can act on immediately. But for this approach to work, these tools have to be engaging and user-friendly. They also need to provide knowledge and insights that would normally be available from a coach or facilitator.
  1. Assessing leader resources. Leader effectiveness depends on more than visible skills and behaviors. Increasingly, assessments include measures of physical resources like health and stamina; psychological resources such as resiliency and optimism; and relational resources, including high-trust relationships and diverse networks.
  • More data sharing. Our current approach to assessment protects the confidentiality of individual data. But two arguments can be made for more open sharing of assessment data as we look at expanding our assessment practices: First, people make decisions related to their co-workers all the time, such as how to interact with them and what tasks to assign to them. These decisions are more likely to be effective when they are based on reliable assessment data instead of general impressions. And second, we see a move toward transparent learning organizations where information is widely shared and honesty in internal interactions is valued. Public sharing of assessment data would be a hallmark of these cultures.

Through this series, our team will share specific examples of how assessment-for-development is evolving in ways that harness the power of emerging technology and meet the growing need for useful leader assessment data in the workplace.

Ready to dive in? Use the links at right to explore our entire series exploring the future of assessments.

Find Your Future Fluency

2 thoughts on “The Future of Assessments: Emerging Trends

  1. Hannah says:

    Interesting article – on top of the new technology changes, the assessment space is shifting in other ways as well, away from traditional assessments and competency modeling and towards more relevant, contextual processes and benchmarks (this recent article – https://www.bts.com/news-insights/articles/competency-models-are-failing-why – explains a bit more on that, worth a read)

    1. Cindy McCauley says:

      Thanks, Hannah, for your comment and the useful article. Assessments built around shorter, simpler leadership frameworks make the data they generate easier to understand. But I resonated with what you point out: We need to be thinking beyond shorter and simpler to contextualized or what some are calling personalized. End-users expect and benefit from assessments that are clearly relevant in their current context. Although company culture is a critical aspect of context, I would love to keep other aspects of context in the mix as we create personalized assessments (like organizational level and current leadership challenges). A front-line leader in company A who is starting up a new project team would be assessed on one set of performance expectations; a middle manager in the same company turning around a business in another part of the world is assessed on another. A rather big, complicated competency model might be the underlying framework integrating all these assessments, but the end-user never has to see that behemoth. Their personalized assessment exposes them only to the small slice that is most relevant to them right now.

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