Friday, 17 April 2015

Multichoice Psychometrics (Feb 2011)

Continuing with my psychometrics journey in self-reflection...

I'm almost drawing to the end of my psychometrics review. One more post to follow which is what I recently did in 2015, the Enneagram (scheduled for publishing in May). In my previous post, I shared the EQi report which was part of the Multichoice HR assessment. To complete Multichoice's assessment, HR collates all reports from the various testing and compiles a single report that offers HR's overall assessment of the candidate, made up of the following:

I had an interesting session with HR, as I didn't agree with some of the feedback. Bear in mind that I did rush through the assessments, so it could've been a factor. Anyway, the profile that was targeted at the time was for a Scrum Master role, which according to HR was an "average fit" (my point of contention!). Anyway, as the story unfolded - the management team felt I was too senior and experienced for that role, and instead offered a Senior Project Manager role, which I eventually accepted. Shortly after being hired, I ended up being promoted to a senior Program Manager role, where I remained for about two years, before branching out on my own as an independent consultant.

Current Level of Work: Tactical Strategy
Evaluate practices and systems to identify and co-ordinate optimal methods
Consider alternative  routes to  maximise the goal achievement of the functional unit

Potential Level of Work: Parallel Processing
Pursue and co-ordinate multiple parallel  pathways
Synchronise and connect  efforts of the different functional and/or business units
Focus on  business  processes  and  business strategy

Interpersonal Skills/ Team Orientation
A fairly sociable and outgoing person who enjoys working within a team. He feels at his most constructive as a member of a group. In meetings and discussions, he will frequently adopt a leadership role. Given his high need for affiliation he may however become a little restless if he has to be by himself for long periods of time.

Emotional Intelligence: Total EQi: Enhanced Skill
The Total EQ indicates an individual who overall feels good about himself and others and who is leading a successful life. Such individuals are generally optimistic about dealing with problems and have a positive outlook on life. He successfully controls his emotions and typically is not impulsive. He is probably realistic, assertive, and at least fairly successful in solving problems. He is likely to be optimistic and have a positive outlook on life.

Intrapersonal: Enhanced Skill
Interpersonal: Enhanced Skill  
Stress Management: Enhanced Skill 
Adaptability:  Enhanced Skill
General Mood: Effective Functioning

Implementer & Coordinator
He should be particularly adept at co-ordinating a team to achieve a practical result. He will establish well-defined areas of responsibility in a group, supervise regularly, and set an example of conscientious determination and hard work.

Self motivation
A fairly optimistic person, he has a basic belief in his own abilities and will generally expect to be successful in most things he does. A very resilient and secure person who will be able to quickly recharge his batteries given demanding work schedules.

Somewhat more persuasive than most people he will be a moderately effective speaker, particularly when he is talking about a subject he is familiar  with. He is fairly aware of social expectations.

An extremely assertive person who usually dominates interpersonal relationships.
Forceful and at times somewhat brash, he rarely 'takes no for an answer'.
Quick to challenge he will speak his mind, even if it means upsetting some people.
He may be inclined to force decisions through, with scant regard for other people's feelings

As interested in artistic, creative activities as most people. While not overly creative he will nonetheless see the value of the arts.

Planning and Organising
Not inclined to be impulsive, he usually plans well ahead. He likes to work  in a systematic methodical way, within  fairly well defined structures.

Leadership Style
Directive: Characterised by having firm views about how  and  when things should be done.
Delegative: Characterised by delegating work to subordinates.
Subordinate Style: Informative & Receptive.
Generally, he is likely to produce creative ideas and innovative solutions. A very accommodating individual who is eager to complete the work that is assigned to him in accordance to pre­ specified procedures .

Reasoning Abilities
Verbal Reasoning: Slightly Above Average
Numerical Reasoning: Well Above Average
Abstract Reasoning: Slightly Below Average

Problem Solving Styles: Logical Reasoning
Looks for logical evidence to verify arguments.  Follow  reasoning processes through  in a self-aware and logical way.

Usually associated with a relatively slow approach, pace control does occur. Tendency to explore.

Learning Potential
Muhammad shows a high level of learning potential.

There is an  average job-person fit. May be forceful and inattentive to the needs of others. May tend to be inflexible and resistant to change. Highly communicative, he may have difficulty distancing himself from subordinates and will not enjoy working alone.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

My 2011 BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory

Continuing with my psychometrics journey in self-reflection...

In 2011 I decided to leave the UK and relocate back to my home country South Africa, after spending all my professional life overseas, having setup my life and family from scratch, so decided to leave it all behind and start afresh in South Africa. At the time, I was experimenting with other job applications in the UK, but my heart had already decided to move back to SA and give that a chance.

At the time, I was engaging with a company called Multichoice, the technology providers behind DStv PayTV service in South Africa & rest of Africa. I had interviewed for a Scrum Master role (anything to get my foot through the door really, it turned out in the end that an entirely new position was created for me since I was considered too experienced for the Scrum Master role), passed the interview rounds, then had to undergo a battery of psychometric testing before final decisions were made.

Truth be told, I was rather impatient to get through the exercise. The first appointment was a mess, I had to travel to London in the early morning, pitched up at the appointed place - only to find out the building on that day, was under construction and couldn't be used. I was a little annoyed by the organiser to say the least, we went from one hotel to another, looking for a suitable quiet space, in the end decided to reschedule. So a wasted trip - not a good first impression on the company's part.

The second trip was scheduled for a few weeks later, it was cold and miserable - I had to drive for about an hour, on a weekend... Apparently, these EQ tests must be done first thing in the morning, when your mind is fresh, etc. Seeing this was my second trip, I rushed through the tests, just wishing to get through it as quickly as possible (at the time I wasn't too convinced about the need for these psychometric profiling, my track record along with my network of contacts, testimonials - should speaks for itself, so I thought) - and what would usually take four hours to complete, I completed in under two hours, didn't go back and double-check my work, and left (requirement ticked)...

In this post, I share the results of the EQi BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory report, that I believe was hosted by this company.

I sometimes wonder how the report would have panned out had I went into the session with full body, mind & soul, fully supportive of the psychometrics instead of seeing the testing as somewhat of an HR irritation (I was under a lot of stress at the time, leaving a well-earned dream techie software labs job, having built-up-a-life-and-family-in-UK, I used to be the one that said "I'll never return back to SA" and here I was actually applying for a job in SA!)...

My EQi Development Report (Weighted against South African Profiles)...

Profile Summary

Total EQ: 118

The Total EQ for Muhammad indicates an individual who overall feels good about himself and others and who is leading a successful life. Individuals like Muhammad who are at the upper end of the scale for Total EQ scale are generally optimistic about dealing with problems and have a positive outlook on life. Muhammad successfully controls his emotions and typically is not impulsive. He is probably realistic, assertive, and at least fairly successful in solving problems. He is likely to be optimistic and have a positive outlook on life. Muhammad's Emotional Intelligence will help optimize his achievements and success. A more detailed description of the EQ-i components is given in the next section.

The Overall EQ-i results indicate well-developed Emotional Intelligence. One or two subscales stand out as particularly high relative to the others. These components contribute the most to his Emotional Intelligence.

The highest subscales are Flexibility (127), Independence (120), Empathy (120).

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

BBC Psychometrics

Continuing with my psychometrics journey in self-reflection...

In 2010 I put myself on the job market in the UK before deciding to leave the life I built up there from ten years, and just return back home to South Africa. So I took a stab at applying to the BBC. At the time, the BBC was moving much of its organisation from London to the north Manchester, Salford Quays - they had hundreds of positions available. I actually sat in one session going through five different positions. 

I know now, that's not a good way to go about the job search, it had been a long time since I'd interviewed, I came off the biggest project delivery, and was confident in my chameleon-like abilities of taking on multi-disciplinary roles.

Anyway, the BBC had at the time, a long and intense filtering process, starting with email and telephonic conversations, a formal write-up to respond to scenario & experience-project-based questions, and an online assessment exercise, that lasts between two-five hours, with all sorts of profiling: pattern recognition, maths, scenario-based questions, video simulation, the works. Once you past that hurdle, your results are reviewed, and then if you're lucky, you get called in for the interview.

I tried to follow-up with BBC on their specific tools-set they used for their profiling. This was their response at the time:
As requested, please find attached feedback following your application for a role at BBC North. This has been generated automatically based on how you have responded to the questions as part of the online assessment. The assessment and feedback has been created using software developed by a company called Previsor (, who specialise in selection tools.
A key part of how we’re recruiting for BBC North is looking at the behaviours of applicants and whether they match the ones that we feel are important in our employees. Our online assessment is therefore based on finding out about your preferred working style and how well this matches our requirements.
We hope the feedback is useful to you. 
This company, Previsor merged with SHL and are still in the business of providing organisations with talent assessment tools.

The report that was generated for me, had this to say:
This report is designed to give you information about your relative strengths and weaknesses on the competencies known to be important for success in this type of job. In addition, the report provides valuable on-the-job tips and suggestions to help you excel in the workplace.
The score that you receive describes how your responses compared against our database of responses consisting of your peers. The assessment that you have taken has been scientifically validated by up to 30 years of statistical data collection and analysis. People who score higher on the dimensions tend to perform better on the job in the key areas outlined in the report.
What annoyed me was that there wasn't any indication of the relative errors in the report, that the results are based on theories, instead it assumed a validity of correctness that I found a little unsettling, because it assumed to "know me", since some of the findings reported were totally off, as you shall see below (see Flexibility & Resilience commentary).

In summary, I did fit into BBC's style, as the report concluded:
Situational Judgement
This is a measure of the degree of alignment between one's approach to resolving work-related issues and the expectations of BBC. This is characterised by responding to work-related scenarios in a way that promotes original thinking, connecting with audiences and communities, being open to new ideas, taking responsibility for decisions and actions, and displaying a can-do attitude when faced with obstacles.
Your responses to the work scenarios demonstrated a high level of match with the judgements and behaviours looked for by the BBC. The BBC values and promotes original thinking, connecting with audiences and communities, being open to ideas and partnerships, taking responsibility, and having a can-do attitude.

I was placed in their talent pool for Senior/Technology-Manager roles.

See detailed report below...

UK versus Israel Cultural Orientations Index

I wrote earlier about working with the Israelis and a useful framework called the COI / Cultural Orientations Indicator

I found this interesting comparison of the two profiles for the company that I worked for at the time, UK region versus Israel region. Remember we did this in an effort to understand the teams and people a bit better, ultimately aiming to improve collaboration.

In the globally connected world of today, how can we ignore such cultural differences?? Any company having international clients & relationships, or based in multiple countries, should take time to invest in applying the COI...

UK vs Israel across the COI dimensions

Monday, 6 April 2015

My 2010 MVS & SDI (Motivational Value System & Strength Deployment Inventory)

Continuing with my journey into psychometric profiling...

In July 2010, I attended a training course with my team of fellow project & program managers, on the Strength Deployment Inventory & Motivational Value Systems, based on the work of Elias H. Porter, coursework from Personal Strengths Publishing. Checkout the reference material at the end of the post.

The essence is around improving relationships and managing conflicts:
My Results
  • Strength - the SDI helps people identify their personal strengths in relating to others under two conditions: 1) when everything is going well, and 2) when they are faced with conflict.
  • Deployment - means to move strategically or take a position for effective action. The SDI suggests ways that one's personal strengths may be used to improve relationships with others.
  • Inventory - the SDI is not a test where judgements and "right" or "wrong" answers are graded. It is an inventory for taking stock of motivational values (the basis for how you feel and act in different situations). It is a self-discovery tool.
We were a team of nine project and program managers based in two sites in UK (Southampton & Staines), collectively we managed a portfolio in excess of £50 million pounds (close to R1 billion+ South African Rand), with our teams extending across to France (5 PMs), Israel (6 PMs), India (2) - roughly across the globe we had about 25 project & program managers involved in technical program & product management, for a Set Top Box software stack (middleware & applications), interacting with a development team in excess of 350 people worldwide, including 20+ development managers, ~30 system architects, 3+ Chipset vendors, 5+ STB device manufacturers & customers such as BSkyB, UPC, Sky Italia, Foxtel, Sky Deutchland, Yes, Get, Tata Sky...

The core product team was run from the UK, where I was based. I started off with owning the development & delivery of the product to one primary UK customer, then moved on to coordinating and managing the product release schedule for multiple customers. So I was part of the R&D Technical Product team, my customers would be the customer-facing delivery & account managers (who spoke directly to the clients).  Our UK PM team itself was split between locations, we'd meet regularly for PM forums, we weren't a fully well-formed team (hence also the course to find out about your colleagues), however we didn't really need to be (how many management teams are really self-organising and fully collaborative hey?) since we were each consumed with specific areas of responsibility within the product-space, albeit we all shared the same strong delivery mindset...

I would interact with hundreds of people across the globe, different levels of seniority, departments and domains. Often faced with multiple customers, competing project priorities, and hard-to-please-clients in terms of timelines, quality, etc. - and an engineering team (system architects, UI/UX designers, software developers, integrators & testers) scattered across the globe, challenged to maintain clear communications of priorities, direction, not to mention language and cultural challenges as well.

Working in this environment, I not only had to maintain a sense of myself (as a person, individual, professional), but also have an appreciation for the relationships I would have to foster to get the job done. Projects don't deliver because of a project plan, because of a PM constantly checking up on the status,'s the people that deliver projects (and mind you, I have paid my school fees in this area!).  

According to Donnie MacNicol, who ran our training (article published in April-May 09 Construction Journal titled "Colourful Relationships"):
PMs are often at the sharp end of projects, needing to deliver even when multiple technical challenges exist and relationships are under strain. It is critical that PMs develop strong and sustainable relationships to allow them to influence others. This will require them to understand: a) the impact they have on the feelings of others (b) what makes others 'tick' and how they react in certain circumstances (c) what makes themselves tick.
The SDI is a self-development tool based on Relationship Awareness Theory.... underlying assumption of SDI 'all human beings need to interact with others in a way that makes them feel good about themselves'. The SDI looks at our motivations in good times as well as when face with conflict.
It is important to understand a person's intention and motivations as this allows us to relate more effectively to them and their actions...
The SDI distinguishes our underlying motivations by introducing four main Motivational Value Systems (MVS), which describe 'how we seek to be valued by ourselves, others and in all life situations'. Our MVS means we seek to be recognised for being:
  • of genuine help to others - BLUE
  • focused on achieving results - RED
  • self-reliant and orderly - GREEN
  • part of an effective group - HUB (which is what I came out as)
Four Motivational Value Systems (I was a HUB)
 Our behaviour may vary due to circumstances and the environment, but our MVS will remain as an anchor when things are going well... Relationship awareness theory defines conflict as a reaction to a perceived threat to self-worth so, typically people are willing to go into conflict about things that are important to them. This allows you to identify their conflict 'triggers...
...we approach conflict with a predictable sequence of motivational changes and related behaviours. Initially we tend to focus on the problem, the other person and ourselves. If the conflict is not resolved, then our behaviour changes and we will tend to focus on on the problem and ourselves. If still not resolved, then at the 3rd stage the person would focus only on self-preservation. Conflict is rarely resolve at this stage.
So our training entailed getting to know ourselves, as well as our fellow team members. We each created our SDI/MVS profile, had individual and group-sessions to talk about it.

My results - What is a HUB then??