Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness: The Case of Florida Atlantic University Football


Sports are an excellent laboratory for understanding how leadership impacts organizational effectiveness. The criteria for success are clear and easily quantified (i.e., winning vs. losing). Moreover, frequent changes in personnel and leadership provide quasi-experimental evidence of how these factors play a role in success. In this essay, I consider the case of the Florida Atlantic University football program.

In the fall of 2011 there was a great deal of excitement in Boca Raton as it was the opening season for a brand new football stadium. The $70 million stadium seats around 30,000 people and is located in the heart of the campus. The season, however, was disappointing for FAU fans. The team finished 1-11 (1 win, 11 losses), dead last in the conference, and had an average attendance of 17,565 (ranking 103rd among its FBS competitors). The legendary Howard Schnellenberger, who had announced his intention to retire prior to the beginning of the season, stepped down as head coach.

The team did not fare much better over the next five seasons. Carl Pelini was hired to begin the 2012 season, but subsequently resigned midway through the 2013 season for alleged illegal drug use. Charlie Partridge took over for the 2014 season and recorded three consecutive 3-9 records before being fired in November of the 2016 season. One month later, FAU hired Lane Kiffin as the head coach of the 2017 season.

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How to Flunk Uber

Uber_logoDelia Ephron, a best-selling American author, screenwriter, and playwright, published an essay in the New York Times entitled “Ouch, My Personality, Reviewed” that is a superb example of what Freud called “the psychopathology of everyday life.” She starts the essay by noting that she recently used Uber, and the driver told her that if she received one more bad review, “…no driver will pick you up.” She reports that this feedback triggered some “obsessive” soul searching: she wondered how she could have created such a bad score as an Uber passenger when she had only used the service six times. She then reviewed her trips, noting that, although she had often behaved badly (“I do get short tempered when I am anxious”), in each case extenuating circumstances caused her behavior. She even got a bad review after a trip during which she said very little: “Perhaps I simply am not a nice person and an Uber driver sensed it.”

The essay is interesting because it is prototypical of people who can’t learn from experience. For example, when Ms. Ephron reviewed the situations in which she mistreated Uber drivers, she spun each incident to show that her behavior should be understood in terms of the circumstances—the driver’s poor performance—and not in terms of her personality. Perhaps situational explanations are the last refuge of both neurotics and social psychologists?

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Humility: The Antidote for Bad Leadership

leadership-styles-1024×682Popular wisdom will have you believe that a leader is someone who exudes confidence and charisma because they appear smart, interesting, and engaging. However, more often than not, these types of leaders wreak havoc on the workplace. A growing body of research suggests that humility is a far more important quality in a leader than charisma.

Organizations tend to favor people who “seem” leader-like. Individuals who are self-promoting, interesting, and politically savvy tend to get earmarked for promotion. These leaders know what it takes to get ahead and get noticed, and they strategically cater to audiences who can offer them power, influence, status, or access to resources.

Charisma is the elusive quality of being charming, captivating, and pleasant to be around. We are naturally drawn to charismatic people because we feel good in their presence. However, charismatic people also tend to have inflated views of themselves and their skills. They also tend to be more self-promoting than others. Too much charisma can make for ineffective leaders as their tendency to be narcissistic can alienate those working under them.

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Don’t Miss Your Chance to Get Hogan Certified in 2018

CertWith four and a half months left in the year, you still have time to get Hogan Certified in the US in 2018. Hogan’s certification and learning programs will equip you to leverage Hogan’s powerful assessment tools to solve critical business problems. Whether you want to select high performers, develop your high potentials, coach executives, or build stronger teams, the first step is to become Hogan Certified.

Hogan offers both Level 1 and Level 2 Workshops.

The 2-day Level 1 Workshop provides and in-depth understanding of how to use and interpret the Hogan Assessment Suite, offering a comprehensive tutorial of three Hogan inventories – Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI); Hogan Development Survey (HDS); and the Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI). Participants attending both days and successfully completing the Level 1 curriculum will be certified to use and interpret the Hogan inventories.

The 1-day Level 2 Workshop prepares the learner to apply more advanced feedback models, properly set the frame for a Hogan feedback session, create developmental action plans, and understand best practices for presenting Hogan data.

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Engagement — Who Is Responsible?

rawpixel-653764-unsplash*This is a guest post authored by Rob Field, Learning and Development Director at Advanced People Strategies.

Every business I know is working to measure engagement. After all, the difference between good and great lies in discretionary effort. Drive higher engagement and get better results. What could be simpler?

How to make it happen and where the responsibility lies is an interesting question. Often measured, evaluated, and benchmarked each year by HR through surveys – real ownership belongs to the line manager who can create a working climate where people enjoy contributing and feel valued. You can put anything you like on the walls about the corporate culture and ‘how we work around here’, however, it only becomes a reality through interactions managers have with their teams and how individual team members treat each other. That sets the culture, which determines the level of engagement.

We become engaged by what is important to us. Our values and motives, the things that drive us to act in particular ways. All of this can be measured, accurately. Supporting managers to understand their motives and values as part of their ongoing development is critical to their effectiveness as leaders.

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Does a Computer Know Your Personality Better Than Your Friends?


A few years ago, as I was standing in the bookstore, I heard someone on the radio talk about a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showing that a computer algorithm, relying only on the things you “like” on Facebook, makes more accurate judgments of your personality than your friends. If you heard about this study, it might have made you feel a bit squeamish. Maybe it even made you want to delete your Facebook account. In the wake of Cambridge Analytica, it is certainly reasonable to wonder just how much big data companies (like Facebook, Google, Verizon, or Visa) know about you. Having personally reviewed this study before it was published, I was not quite so concerned. Let me explain.

The study itself showed that aggregated Facebook likes (i.e., the things that you like on Facebook) can be used to predict self-reports on a personality test. Further, when the total number of likes is large enough, the aggregated likes show a stronger relationship with self-reported personality than reports from your friends, family, spouse, or colleagues. This was widely reported to indicate that computers make better personality judgments than humans. I have three problems with this conclusion.

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Forget Charisma, Look for Humility in a Leader

EMMYjonhamm2AMC.jpg.1200x630_q90_crop-center_upscale*This article was originally published in Talent Economy.

The existing paradigm in the business world holds that successful CEOs are ambitious, result-oriented, individualistic, and, above all, charismatic. The rise of agency theory, or the notion that incentivizing managers should improve shareholder returns, put greater emphasis on the need to hire leaders that appear leader-like. Unfortunately, conventional wisdom of what a leader looks like is, quite simply, incorrect.

Charisma is a very attractive characteristic in a leader. Yet, when promoted, these individuals create chaos and ruin for their organizations. Humility, rather, is a much better indicator of leadership success. Jim Collins, renowned author of Good to Great, conducted extensive research on organizational success. His work clearly demonstrated that companies led by modest managers consistently outperformed their competitors, and tended to be the dominant players in their sectors. Moreover, humble leaders tend to stay at their organizations longer than their arrogant counterparts, and their companies continue to perform well even after they leave because humble leaders often ensure a succession plan before they depart.

The problem with Charisma

Organizations tend to be good at identifying people who “look” like leaders. Individuals who seem confident, bright, charismatic, interesting, and politically savvy tend to get earmarked for promotion. Personality assessments show that charismatic leaders rank highly on measurements of self-confidence (Bold), dramatic flair (Colorful), readiness to test the limits (Mischievous), and expansive visionary thinking (Imaginative). These leaders know what it takes to get ahead and get noticed, and they strategically cater to individuals and audiences who can offer them power, influence, status, or access to resources. While these individuals are highly interpersonally savvy and excellent self-promoters, they lack basic leadership and management skills.

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Does Personality Change? On the Stability of Personality Assessment Scores

ShermanSahm*This post was co-authored by Hogan’s Chief Science Officer, Ryne Sherman, and Hogan’s Director of Global Learning, Jackie V. Sahm.

Does personality change? This is a question we receive regularly from our clients, along with a lot of hypotheses about when and why scores shift. Answering this seemingly straightforward question actually requires addressing three related questions:

  1. How often do scores on assessments change?
  2. When scores on assessments change, how large are those changes?
  3. Why do scores on assessments sometimes change?

How often do scores on assessments change?

Personality assessments—like the ones we create at Hogan—measure patterns of behavior. Decades of research have demonstrated that personality assessments predict future behavior, including workplace performance. A major reason why personality assessments work so well at predicting future behavior is because personality is quite stable; that is, people do not change very much. For example, in one study elementary school teacher ratings of students’ personalities predicted how those students behaved as adults 40 years later! The best method for quantifying personality stability is the test-retest correlation: you take a test now and we see how well it predicts your scores on the same test in the future. The short term (14-21 day) test-retest correlations for the Hogan Personality Inventory scales range from .69-.87. The long term (8-year) test-retest correlations range from .30-.73. A meta-analysis of 3,217 (7-year) test-retest correlations ranged from .30-.70. The point here is this: personality test scores are highly stable. Thus, most of the time, a person retaking a personality assessment will get very similar results.

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WEBINAR—Team Effectiveness: Moving Target or Continuous Journey?

Leadership_You’re Invited ImageThe demanding nature of today’s globalized markets has forced organizations to be ever reliant on teams for breakthrough solutions that keep them ahead of the competition. While effective teamwork is still necessary for success, today’s teams face far bigger obstacles than teams of the past.

Stumbling blocks of late include the modern team’s makeup, which is usually arranged to flex with the continuously evolving business landscape: they tend to be more diverse, operate in a digital environment, and are increasingly dynamic. Perhaps these challenges are behind the alarming statistic that only 1 in 5 teams are considered high performing!

Dr. Gordon Curphy, famed author of The Rocket Model, will guest-host this upcoming webinar, brought to you by Hogan’s Solutions Partner Team. Dr. Curphy will be discussing the elements of team effectiveness, pitfalls to avoid, and how a consultant can use the Team Assessment Survey in conjunction with individuals’ Hogan results to help struggling teams of the Fortune 500 get back on track. More specifically, we review how to effectively deploy and utilize these metrics in the following talent management initiatives:

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Hogan Announces RELEVANT Management Consulting as New Distributor

Untitled-1Hogan is proud to officially announce the addition of RELEVANT Management Consulting to the Hogan International Distributor Network. Hogan has an intense focus for helping individuals, teams, and companies across the globe be the best they can be, and we are so happy to have RELEVANT improving our reach throughout Europe and beyond.

Leading this charge is RELEVANT owner, Dr.René Kusch, a renowned psychologist that is known for being a go-to Hogan Expert in German-speaking countries. Dr. Kusch has been working with Hogan Assessments since 2008 and is also a member of the global Hogan Coaching Network. He exemplifies the hardworking, but still hedonistic spirit of Hogan with his workplace mantra of “Relevance arises where goal-orientation, effectiveness, and fun come together.”

Together with Sarah Asskamp, Head of Operations, and their 10 consultants, RELEVANT consults global German organizations, but also supports consultancies, coaches, and trainers to develop, offer, and implement solutions for their own customers. Additionally, RELEVANT has already been working with other Hogan partners, distributors, and clients from all over the world for many years.

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