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annehart

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How fast do you make good decisions?

Photo and book on creativity enhancement coach businesses to open overview, by Anne Hart.

Have you ever experienced any decision making assessments to help employers choose the right people? To function well in your job (or be promoted to management) you have to make good decisions quickly and instinctively. But some people like to take more time to weigh the possible outcomes or wait for new information.

The assessment measures the proportion of good decisions you make. The benefit of taking a decision-making test is to your corporation. It’s a big-picture outcome pointing to improving your employer’s bottom line profit.

The more good decisions you make, the more you improve the profit of the company where you’re employed. That’s why you may be given the OCS Decision Making Test. Testing is good both for you and for your company.

You take the test with OCS’ five Decision-Making Test results as your goal—“to be selected or to select staff based on making rational decisions and solving problems” by what OCS notes on their Web site as “anticipating future implications, encouraging participation from others in their team, handling issues objectively but with empathy, implementing decisions with assurance and strategic planning, and assessing outcomes.” 

Critics of Corporate Testing

There are those who oppose corporate testing. Many corporations don’t take sides when corporate testing is the norm. The rationale of corporate testing has been challenged in books such as Annie Murphy Paul’s 2004 book, The Cult of Personality. Most of corporate tests are based on either Carl Jung’s writings on personality types. Corporate tests today are respected by many organizational psychologists and human resource managers and not by the academic psychology profession.

In some studies, 47% of people tested fell into the same category on a second administration of the MBTI ™. (This was noted by Barbara Ehrenberg in her 2005 book, Bait and Switch on page 34 in her section on corporate testing. (She took most of these tests while applying for corporate jobs as part of her research for writing Bait and Switch.) Executives and those seeking jobs at various levels want to understand how to take corporate assessments. 

Can You Prepare for Corporate Tests?

You can learn to interpret the various corporate tests before you take them by understanding which answers signify what ‘score’ (or answers) your job requires. But is this honest? And what happens if you are put in a role that’s making you sick? If you are true to yourself, but what you are is not what the company needs, what will happen to your job?

Will you be terminated? Or will your job description change? Find out how seriously your employer takes corporate assessments and whether the scoring or interpretation is accurate. If some of these tests are only 47% accurate most of the time, would your team building skills depend on the tests or on hand-son training in team building?

Corporations are built of digitized utilitarian beings employed for their adaptability, commitment, and reliability. What corporations fear most from employees is risk. That’s why corporations test teams.

If the corporate testing is done solely to help with team building—to help people cooperate instead of compete, perhaps the focus should be on the company competing against an outside force rather than looking inward toward the members of its teams that pull in opposite directions because of personality dissonance. On the other hand, the company is made up of people with different and conflicting dimensions of personality. Team-building conflicts are a company’s enemy within. You take a corporate test to develop self-confidence in your adaptability.

With practice you can adapt more quickly to change, to alter your behavior in the moment in order to operate on an unstable team. Your first step is to learn to take corporate tests by interpreting them and anticipating the answers.

Most anyone can become an expert in interpreting or training to administer the tests in a brief workshop. But can you actually ‘study’ for it? Only if you know beforehand what the answers signify—what rational decisions are like (weighing pros against cons on a list) compared to choices based on emotions.

Ask the person giving corporate tests what method the company expects you to use in order to make decisions under stress in your role. In a timed test of decision-making ability, will you be measured based upon how many vital details you did not overlook?

One way to prepare to take corporate tests is to read books on how to understand them. If you’re taking the 16PF or some of the other personality assessments, you might want to read Interpreting Personality Tests: A Clinical Manual for the MMPI-2, MCMI-III, CPI-R, and 16PF by Robert J. Craig.1999)

            Some personality assessments help people understand better why conflicts may develop. Your boss wants to know how you control your own needs such as your need for recognition or privacy when interacting with others at work. Several corporate tests measure how you behave toward another person, and tests are on the market that show how you would like others to behave. Some of these tests are classified under the category of tests of emotional maturity. Not all corporations test for emotional maturity. Most test only for job skills and abilities.

Corporate testing is about obtaining insight, hindsight, and foresight regarding employees at various levels and their teams. What test-takers want to know is how to avoid the pitfalls. Obtaining critical insights into your need for inclusion, control, and affection through corporate testing may accompany a workplace seminar on managing conflict.  

Team-Building Tests

You take team-building tests so that your employer can learn how to capitalize on the differences between team members. What you, your team members, and boss learn from taking corporate tests is how to observe clues to each individual’s natural talents. Then this information can be used to position each person.

In a corporate world where nearly everyone is reading how to position yourself first, reality dictates that personality ‘clues’ be organized to position each employee where individual talents are transformed into strengths for the company. The reasoning is that any strength for the company also will manifest strength for the individual.

It’s assumed that a person’s health will benefit by being in a job where the particular talent is used joyfully. The “radical thinking builds great teams” emphasis is practiced by some executive coaches. References to Buckingham and Clifton’s book titled, Now, Discover Your Strengths, often are cited by executive and leadership coaches. 

Deep Trust Needed Among Team Members

The radical thinking is simply that you build a team based on “complementary strengths,” as cited in Now, Discover Your Strengths. What the book reports (that would be required) before you can build any team based on people complementing one another, is that you need deep trust among the team members.

Without the total trust, there’s no way to express the different points of view without the different views being interpreted as conflict. You can’t build a team when each member pulls in a different direction. “My way or the highway,” is one outcome of conflicting views on any team matter, however trivial.

Deep trust also is needed between husband and wife and between parents and children. These, also are teams. Teams are partners. Interestingly, in life or on a team, the concept of complementing one another is a priority ahead of complimenting one another. How fast do you make good decisions that are accurate, easy to follow, not too complicated, work best, and are precise?