How Do Assessment Instruments Compare?

When we talk to people about the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®), a few questions invariably come up:

  • Does the HBDI® measure the same thing as [XYZ] assessment?
  • How is the HBDI® profile different from [XYZ] profile?
  • Can the HBDI® be used along with [XYZ]?
  • If we use an additional assessment, will it confuse people?

Understanding the premises of different assessments can help answer these questions. A premise is the foundation on which something is constructed, and it affects what information the person will gain from the assessment.

Common premises include:

  • A thinking preferences brain-based assessment considers: “How do I process information?” (The HBDI® is a brain-based assessment.)
  • A talent/interest/career assessment considers: “What are my natural talents and interests?”
  • A psychologically based assessment considers: “What does this mean about me?”
  • A behavior-based assessment considers: “How do others perceive me?”

While each type of assessment provides unique information, there are also some similarities between different assessments. Be aware that using multiple assessments can create confusion if you don’t provide a clear explanation, especially since some use similar colors, letters, names or numbers. And ultimately, even though there is some overlap, assessments based on different premises will have limited compatibility with each other because each provides information that describes the person in the language and terminology of its premise.

This doesn’t mean assessments can’t be used together. It just means you need to make sure people understand what they’re gaining from each and how they can apply this information in a business context. Because most employees are going to be more interested in how they can apply the information and less concerned about the differences and similarities.

To make sure you and your employees get the application and outcomes you’re looking for, start with these key questions:

  1. Does the information pigeonhole people, or does it show them they can stretch outside their self-imposed limits? When an assessment reveals potential instead of boundaries, there are no cop-outs or excuses—people understand they have the power and personal accountability to go beyond their blind spots. It’s also a more positive learning experience that avoids perpetuating stereotypes.
  2. Was the assessment originally designed and intended for problem solving in business, or is it more of an awareness-raising tool? While an awareness-raising tool can be interesting and helpful on a personal level, application is where the rubber meets the road. If people don’t see the connection to business and aren’t using the concepts in their daily work, you won’t get the Return on Intelligence®.
  3. Is it validated? Many assessments make a sudden, high-profile splash on the scene only to disappear just as quickly, often because they don’t have the validity to back them up. Key areas of validation to look for are test/retest reliability, face validity and internal construct reliability.
  4. Is it scalable and broadly applicable, with the ability to describe things like processes, viewpoints and other business issues? The more ways it can be used as a way of doing business, the faster it will become part of the culture—and the greater the positive impact on the organization.

The differences and similarities are important, but remember, the more time spent on application, the greater the likelihood the assessment information will be used. Without application, there’s little benefit.

What do you look for in selecting an assessment?

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Tags: Coaching, human resources, Training and Development, Thinking Styles, HBDI

The four-color, four-quadrant graphic, HBDI® and Whole Brain® are trademarks of Herrmann Global, LLC.



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