Breaking The Barriers To Assessment

How well do you know yourself? What about your leaders? Is the person you have pegged for a promotion prepared for the job? If not, what kind of training would get him or her ready? Do your team members mesh, both interpersonally and in terms of skill set? Does the group have sufficient cognitive diversity - that is, several different styles of thinking and solving problems - to excel in its job?

 

For decades, pencil and paper assessments such as DISC, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and emotional intelligence tools have done a decent job of providing a language for people to talk about individual similarities and differences. But these traditional instruments rely on self-reflection or opinion and can miss key facets of who we are.

 

Some of the gaps relate to questions such as:

 

1. What should you do with individuals who do not fit neatly into a particular category?

2. Are you getting all the relevant data about a person? How do you separate what is situational from what is lasting?

3. How do you assess potential?

4. What do you do when assessment results do not match others’ perceptions of a person?

 

Inaccuracies in psychometric tests

 

The traditional use of psychometric tests to determine an individual’s IQ, personality or aptitude has long been proven to be terribly biased and inaccurate. A lack of standardization among tests disadvantage people who have different cultural backgrounds, language barriers, psychological dispositions, and even anxiety around testing. Psychometric tests do not guarantee accuracy. This has given rise to the need for cutting-edge brain mapping methods.

 

In Quotes “A lack of standardization among tests disadvantage people who have different cultural backgrounds, language barriers, psychological dispositions, and even anxiety around testing. Psychometric tests do not guarantee accuracy. This has given rise to the need for cutting-edge brain mapping methods.”

 

The science of neuro-assessment can help answer these questions. Companies and counsellors are exploring the use of technology to assess how the brain truly works. It is one thing to read about the brain and what it does, what it makes of us, and we of it, but it is entirely different to observe the functioning of the brain on live screen. Brain based analysis can reveal secrets, such as which tasks engage a brain most, what role within a team suits a person best, and, how best can the team brain work together to meet its shared goals, needs and values.

 

NeuroProfiling, an established form of assessment, uses state of the art, passive and harmless brain mapping sensors to measure a respondent’s brainwaves with acute accuracy in real time while he performs a set of simple tasks. A computer analysis and interpretation of this brain activity later reveals their personality, skills and aptitude that are developed from years of practice and preferences.

 

In a corporate setup, each employee receives a detailed private report and the whole team debriefs a composite “team brain” that shows the team’s strengths, blind-spots, and polarities. This easily compliments existing assessments and offers specific brain-based tips for leadership, work style, creative flow, communication and emotional intelligence.

 

The Science behind it all

 

At a basic level, the brain contains numerous modules that work together in networks. Each of them is like a computer circuit, a big cluster of neurons that aids us with a particular task such as hearing, visual recall or noticing physical sensations. These modules help us with many abstract tasks - evaluating ethics, interpreting someone’s intent or mentally rehearsing future action. It probably comes as no surprise that people differ in the modules that they prefer to use.

 

These modules are explored using an electroencephalogram (EEG), which measures the electrical activity on the surface of the brain and shows the brain’s activity in real time. Analysis of the data uncovers networks of cooperation within the brain, which are formed through years of repeated firing of the nerve cells. With your normal thinking alone you are reinforcing your favourite neural pathways in every millisecond. Thus, an EEG reveals both contextual behaviour and ingrained habits-

 

The ways in which we perceive, think, feel, act and operate individually and with other people. Everyone has the same toolbox of cognitive skills, but when and how we use it differs greatly according to our culture, schooling and personality traits.

 

In Quotes “The ways in which we perceive, think, feel, act and operate individually and with other people. Everyone has the same toolbox of cognitive skills, but when and how we use it differs greatly according to our culture, schooling and personality traits.”

 

How can NeuroProfiling help?

 

Employee engagement: This relates to many facets of work, including learning and focus, NeuroProfiling can document an individual’s brain activity as he or she performs various tasks. The more the brain has to work during a task, the more engaged the person is within the job.

 

Skills Assessment: It can also be done through an EEG by examining brain networks. Specific networks point to various skills, including the capacity for out of the box thinking, social rapport building, goal focused planning and many other areas.

 

Assessment of team strengths and weaknesses: The assessment can indicate the areas in which the team works well together and the points where there are redundancies. For example, a team might have a bias toward the “open ended” right brain, with lots of potential for out of the box thinking, but possibly insufficient focus on fulfilling goals. Such a team would benefit from the inclusion of team members that complement the rest of the group, with more goal focused brain wiring preference.

 

Cognitive diversity: Does the team have a balanced number of members with more creative brain patterns that allow a wide range of opinions and ideas to flow in, as well as enough members who excel at decision making? Often, the lack of this balance leads to several blind spots in execution and low productivity. Assigning specific employees in tasks and positions that most suit their skill set and engage them mentally leads to higher organisational productivity and lower rates of attrition.

Shikher Chaudhary is a Cognitive Neuroscientist from King’s College London, and heads the Indian division of Neurons Inc, a global applied neuroscience firm and Peak Neurosciences. As a researcher, Shikher works to bridge the gap between academia and industry, applying insights from neuroscience research to consumer insights, education, health and Artificial Intelligence.

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