Nov 252008

Dr. Earl R. Smith II

With cutthroat competition in the global trade, businesses are working hard to break out of ruts. Many industries are popping up from nowhere to compete in the global market. Competition is getting tougher and companies are working smarter or falling behind.

Management assessment is a critical tool in this effort to stay ahead of the pack. Corporations that implement assessment programs are achieving tangible results and dominance in global trade. By a systematic use of questionnaires, exercises and interviews to assess and improve performance, companies are making better use of their key resources. In the better programs, questionnaires are interspersed with oral and written information from the interviewees.

The better the management assessment program works; the better will be the improvements in operating results. The assessment team carefully interprets and cross checks the data then recommends avenues for improvement. The value of the assessment depends on quality of the data collected. Once the data has been analyzed, the assessment team presents the report to CEO and Board of the company. In my experience, these assessment reports are one of the most valuable resources that management can have in its efforts to improve performance and outperform the competition.

Management assessment helps in locating the exact reasons for poor performance and support the development of an action plan for improvements. The management assessment provides a solid baseline for this action and subsequent assessments serve to monitor progress. Management assessments are useful for a range of other reasons:

  • To prepare second line of defense i.e. selection or promotion of man power to critical roles: succession planning
  • To identify developmental needs and direct the plan of action
  • To provide space for plateau managers
  • To identify and deal with reasons for performance problem
  • To act as a guide to reorganize the present system
  • To assess the adaptability to organizational changes
  • To setup leadership coaching sessions to improve performance

I have organized management assessments and assessment programs for a number of companies. The result is always the same – it is like turning the lights on in a darkened room. Assessment programs develop a very useful clarity and allow management to see clearly the challenges that it faces. One of my clients told me that the assessment program had saved her company untold hours of wasted time. “Before you set up our assessment program,” she said “we used to waste hours debating what the problems were. We never had much time left over to work on the solutions. Your assessments lay the challenges out for us during the first hour of the session. We have nothing left to do but work on the solutions.”

Assessment programs can literally make the difference between winning and losing in the race against your competition. Given their relatively modest cost and high value return, it makes good business sense have an assessment program running from the very beginning. To not do so is like running through a dark room filled with furniture – hard on the shins and not much else.

© Dr. Earl R. Smith II

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