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    Feb 23, 2015    |   Psychometrics

The Value of an Aha: Demonstrating the Impact

It is easy for us as practitioners to fall into the trap of proposing, delivering, and saying ‘see you later’ at the conclusion of our MBTI® workshops. Because of the inherent popularity and value of the MBTI assessment, combined with how potent the insights gleaned from the exercises seem to be at the time, we can forget that there were real objectives to be met – or at least, there should have been. We can also forget that over time, these ‘aha moments’ insights can decay – and not necessarily affect real but necessary change in the day to day behaviours of target groups, departments and leaders.

Last week, my blogpost was related to establishing value and purpose around a workshop, in order to receive buy-in from important decision makers. While this initial proposal is important, we must not forget about the follow-up wherein we actually evaluate how successful we were in doing what we promised. This is where rubber meets the road, and if we want to demonstrate actual – rather than merely predicted – value, we must have a method of measuring program success. Did the workshop actually do what we wanted it to? Without addressing this, our efforts may be in vain, and our organizations may decide on a different direction next time. Let’s face it – in the world of HR, we need to demonstrate bottom-line impact in order to advocate for o hands-220163_1280-2 ur cause.

Therefore a key to keeping the use of the MBTI tool sustainable – what I feel to be a tenet of our responsibilities as practitioners– is indeed, the proper evaluation of what I call the R-O-I of the A-H-A.

So how do we properly evaluate how successful a program has been? OPP consultants Richard Stockill and Alice King have provided an evaluation model for MBTI practitioners (see their blog post here), based on Donald Kirkpatrick’s theory of Learning and Training Evaluation. With a client, they set out to measure the impact of an MBTI program by addressing three main considerations:

  • Reaction: participants completed a questionnaire regarding attitude and insights immediately after an MBTI workshop
  • Behaviour: participants completed a questionnaire focused on several relevant competency ratings (influence, communications, client focus, teamwork.). Participants’ managers also provided competency ratings. These questionnaires were completed prior to the workshop and then again several weeks following in order to observe behavioural change
  • Results: participants completed an ‘impact audit’ several weeks later, where they were asked about the relative influence the workshop had on outcomes such as productivity and engagement.

The authors high-five-150911_1280-2  indeed found that in each area, the MBTI workshop demonstrated significant impact over and above the initial attitude and reaction of simply attending. However you choose to assess the value of your MBTI workshops, keeping the aforementioned in mind will help guide your approach. As practitioners, we tend to use reaction alone to predict and measure session success. However, if we want verifiable metrics that reflect positive and long-term influence, we must go beyond the “aha” – only then can we demonstrate real value to organizational decision makers. Richard Stockill and Alice King emphasize that ROI and utility analysis do not have to be as complicated as we assume them to be. They encourage practitioners and HR professionals –
thumbs-up-31663_1280-2 egardless of your evaluation approach- to remember some simple key themes:

  • Clearly state the objectives and outputs of your workshop – what are you trying to do? What do you hope to accomplish? Keep key stakeholders informed of these clearly defined goals
  • Have a way of measuring whether the stated objectives have been achieved using a pre- and post-workshop evaluation, so as to benchmark current performance against future improvements
  • Be clear about the benefits of these evaluations when speaking with respondents and leaders; this will ensure buy-in and will prepare others to invest the extra time needed for the follow-up

Together with a well-planned proposal, an effective follow-up that demonstrates real, bottom line value can help preserve the sustainability of your MBTI practice. Don’t let those ‘aha’s go to waste; focus on demonstrating their real and tangible ROI.

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