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An assessment paradigm

Author: Dr Simon Moss

An assessment paradigm that mitigates the limitations of management consulting

Individuals can more readily decipher the emotions, feelings, and intentions of a person who is located near their left, rather than right, shoulder. Furthermore, employees are more likely to conform to the regulations and traditions of an organization after they observe a photograph of a professional accountant.

Most consultants, coaches, facilitators, and instructors assume these contentions are false. Recent scientific research, however, has vindicated each of these assertions. Indeed, Dr Simon Moss has uncovered over 1000 scientific discoveries that contradict the prevailing beliefs and assumptions of many consultants and managers alike.

Some of these findings could be applied to foster creativity and innovation. For example, after individuals reflect upon their unique qualities-the characteristics in which they differ from everyone else in their workgroup-their capacity to uncover creative solutions and ideas improves.

These scientific discoveries underscore two key limitations that impede many of the initiatives, such as development programs, that are designed to improve performance in managers and leaders. First, management consultants and facilitators often present advice that, although ostensibly compelling, is entirely misleading. They might, for example, implore managers to focus their attention on pleasant thoughts-to suppress rather than accept unpleasant emotions-unaware that such an inclination has been shown to amplify distress or anger and compromise wellbeing.

Second, because these consultants and facilitators, in many instances, are oblivious to the latest scientific discoveries, their advice and recommendations are often derived from personal experience or intuition. Although sometimes legitimate and accurate, this advice, therefore, is often intuitive. Their suggestions and contentions already align with the beliefs and assumptions of their clients. They often present information that everyone already knows-but using words or phrases that nobody recognizes.

Consultants might, for example, direct their clients to "disambiguate messages", "ensure value-add", "check the bandwidth", "manage expectations", and "engage in expense management". Yet, even before clients are exposed to these concepts, they already recognize they need to communicate clearly, to offer beneficial services are beneficial, to ensure resources are sufficient, to refrain from unachievable promises, and to curb unnecessary costs.

After clients receive this advice, they feel an obligation to follow these principles. Their decisions and judgments do not improve palpably-after all, these principles are intuitive not informative. Indeed, their performance often declines. When individuals feel compelled to follow explicit principles and imperatives, they become less sensitive to subtle changes and complications. Their behavior becomes rigid, not flexible, and their judgments become superficial, not perceptive.

Dr Simon Moss has developed an assessment paradigm, derived from his catalogue of surprising scientific discoveries, that is intended to resolve these two complications. First, consultants, facilitators, or coaches complete a series of multiple choice questions, designed to assess whether or not their knowledge or assumptions align with the latest scientific advances. These individuals are permitted to consult any sources of information, such as management texts, executive coaches, or personal experience, to answer these questions.

The questions, for example, might assess whether or not they recognize that clients are more inclined to trust the recommendations they received if they pay for this advice in advance. Another question might evaluate whether or not they acknowledge that employees are more inclined to assist one another after they are exposed to words that represent religious concepts, such as heaven, miracle, soul, or faith. The questions can relate to leadership, recruitment, assessment, safety, conflict, culture, diversity, innovation, marketing, and many other topics, depending on the role.

This paradigm ensures the knowledge, beliefs, and assumptions of consultants are accurate rather than misguided. Consultants who answer many of these questions correctly-at least relative to their rivals-have acquired more insightful and constructive insights, even if they are oblivious to the jargon and theories.

Second, the participants of development programs can also complete these questions. The training, then, can be directed towards the misconceptions of participants. Consultants can ensure they present insights that redress the prevailing fallacies and misapprehensions of participants, rather than impart information that many individuals already recognize. Training programs become an opportunity to improve behavior not extend vocabularies.

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Last Update: 5/28/2016