Someone must have started this. “We don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply.” In the context of the title we might have said, “We don’t listen to understand. We listen to profit from it.” When it comes to behavioral science and studies in leadership, I think many of us have only partial understanding of what many authors say in their books, and we put it down to there being gaps in their theories. We then go off on a tangent and start producing theories of our own. This is because we see gaps in the frameworks of others, we fill those gaps in with our understanding and whatever research we do to back that up, and then we produce another framework of the same subject. And guess what? A little while later, some other guru comes along, notices gaps in our framework, fills those gaps in with their own, and voila! a new framework is born. And some people become much richer very quickly. Fortune favours the mind that comes up with the next framework of mass disruption.
Call me overconfident and simplistic if you like. I’ve been using and been otherwise acquainted with behavioural models, leadership frameworks, “strengths” models and the like, and my conclusion is that they are all measuring different components of the same thing: external manifestations of inward qualities. Is it important to know the externals? Sure. A red Ferrari looks different from a black Ferrari or similar type car, but they are about the same thing. A red Ferrari, however, might be the same colour as a red Tata and both might even be made to look similar in terms of shape, but there is a vast world of difference between a Ferrari and a Tata! By the same token, two persons might take the same battery of assessments and even 360s and their profiles might look remarkably similar to each other. However, the two of them can be as different as chalk from cheese. The colour isn’t what matters, the mettle is what matters.
Stop hunting incessantly for the “best” assessment tools, behavioural, “strengths” or leadership. Use one you are reasonably comfortable with, and remember that your people development and team development job starts, not ends, there! Let the journey begin! Move from blame to fortune. Fame would be a nice aside then.