PSIU Lesson 7 of 7: Hey, This Report Isn’t Accurate!?!2021-01-21T10:06:05-08:00

Sometimes you’ll receive a PSIU report that just doesn’t seem right. For instance, you know Steve to be a big Stabilizer style but his report comes back showing that, from Steve’s perspective, he thinks he’s actually a big Innovator. What gives?

First, is Steve a high performer? If so, then I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Just have a quick conversation. What does Steve think about his results? Did he reverse order his answers? Was he having a bad day or was he distracted when he took the test? Or maybe there was a language breakdown? No test is perfect. Go with what you see and know about Steve.

However, if Steve is a low performer, I would use his results to tell you that something is indeed off with Steve or with the role he is playing. Maybe he has low self-awareness? Maybe he’s feeling a lot of pressure from not performing and he’s thinking erratically (actions follow thoughts)? Maybe he’s trying to hide or mask something? Or perhaps you’ve been misjudging him? It’s hard to say but if the report seems “off,” then I would use that as an indicator that you need to take action.

Let me give you a recent example from my consulting practice. Below is a report on a real-world Steve (not his real name) who was the CFO at a $40M SAAS company. Steve’s boss – I’ll call her Pam – is a big Producer style. Pam hired me to help design the organizational structure for the company’s next-stage of growth but one of her big conundrums was “what to do about Steve.”

From Pam’s perspective, Steve was definitely a Unifier-Stabilizer style. And the problem for her was: “I really like Steve. Heck, everyone likes Steve and that’s one of the problems. I don’t know what to do because he’s just not Producing to the level I need him to as a CFO, but losing him would be a great cultural loss for the entire company. Everyone loves him!” So Pam was quite surprised when Steve’s report came back showing this:

Notice the very low Unifier style. From Steve’s perspective, he’s actually not a Unifier but a high Producer-Stabilizer. In fact, he just needs to free himself up from some stabilizing activities so that he can really produce and innovate results to meet his own and others’ expectations.

Interesting, right? Why do you think there’s such a discrepancy between how the CEO viewed Steve and how Steve viewed himself? Well, two things we know for certain. One, Pam is a Big Producer style so everyone who isn’t a Producer is going to move too slowly for her satisfaction, especially in an area where she has high attention like financial analysis, metrics and KPIs, and cash controls. And two, at least from Steve’s perspective, he feels like he’s producing at a high level while also maintaining high accuracy and attention to detail.

We could spin ourselves in circles trying to determine who is right. But the real insight is that the perspective of Steve and the perspective of his boss the CEO are wildly off the mark. That’s a key indicator that something needs to change.

In this case, one of the reasons for the breakdown between Steve and Pam was that Steve was being asked to do conflicting accountabilities in his role (short-range efficiency and long-range effectiveness) which would make it hard for any CFO to execute to Pam’s satisfaction as the company grew. So we solved the problem by working at a deeper, structural level and actually promoted someone internally to become the new CFO and focus on long-range effectiveness activities so that Steve could focus on compliance and control and other short-range activities.

The CEO Pam is much happier because she’s getting her needs met in both areas, finance and compliance/admin. The change was hard for Steve at first. But I’m told that after a couple of months in his new and more focused role, he’s actually happier too because he’s better meeting his own and others’ expectations.

In summary, if a report feels “off” from what you expected, investigate deeper. Is it you or is it them? And how you can you help that person to thrive?

To your success,

Lex Sisney
Organizational Physics