From 2008 to 2011, I worked as the leader of the human resources team at a Fortune 50 company. During that time, I had a challenging experience at one of the company’s manufacturing plants, which employed 1,200 people. Immersed in a list of negative key performance indicators, my challenge was to recover governance while facing the possibility of a plant shutdown.
Some of the issues that we were dealing with included a very controlled environment with restrictive labor laws, employee behaviors that contradicted corporate values, a high rate of absenteeism, unpaid wages and benefits, and jeopardized safety compliance.
The HR team seemed to be the “lightning arrester” in the middle of the storm — we had to solve every single challenging situation involving a worker. Was this right? That’s a story for another article, but the fact is that we handled it.
Team Role Assessment
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the benefit of using a team role assessment to assemble our task force, but I wish we had. Hogan’s personality tests and Team report would have helped us to design our task force to function most effectively by allowing us to better understand each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, potential derailers or dark-side personality characteristics, and key values and motivators. As I describe the actions we took to respond to the crisis, I’ll point out how a team role assessment would have served our team in this situation.
Our Action Plan
Our first action was to create a situation room. Any information we received had to be analyzed in that room, where we would work as a team to generate a timely, effective decision.
Once the situation room had been created, our second action was to define roles, a chain of command, and communication channels. Our strategy required team members to be relatively ambitious, reasonably hardworking, and good team players, who would not be driven by status concerns but would be willing to move into positions of authority or leadership roles when needed. An average Ambition score would have been ideal for this. The subscale Self-Confident would have needed to be high, as well.
Additionally, we saw the need to have some members of the team be dependable, planful, organized, reliable, and responsible, with high standards for their own and others’ performance. High scores on the Prudence scale would have been ideal to pinpoint these characteristics. Since we were facing a crisis, we also would have wanted team members with high scores on the subscale Calmness.
For our third action, we had to create a plan to maximize the use of our resources, including tasks, time, money, and people. We also had to assess potential consequences. For the most effective planning, it would have been ideal to have a combination of team members with above-average scores on the Not Spontaneous subscale, which would have indicated that they would take a planful approach and enjoy predictability, and team members with above-average scores on the Generate Ideas subscale, who would be good at brainstorming and thinking creatively.
The fourth action? Execution! This was the time for the team to demonstrate its effectiveness at making changes to our favor. For this, we needed team members who would have scored low on the Inquisitive scale. People who score low on this scale tend to be practical and levelheaded, take a pragmatic and hands-on approach to problem solving, and be good with application and implementation.
The fifth action was communication. This changed depending on the level of impact that we needed the message to have, from updating information every day or announcing difficulties or successes until we reached the final end, which was recovering the governance of the manufacturing plant. Since our audience was such a large group, we would have benefited from being able to look at the subscales Self-Confident, Likes Crowds, and Exhibitionistic, because we needed our communicator to be confident and appear comfortable in front of a crowd.
The Final Outcome
We finally did improve the key performance indicators in this manufacturing plant, and governance was recovered. The team was dissolved, but for me, it was the best management experience ever. This made me grow in my professional career.
While we managed to resolve our challenges without the use of a team role assessment, I can see in retrospect how the power of personality assessment would have made it easier for us to take an organized and purposeful approach to assembling our task force and correcting the key performance indicators to prevent the plant from shutting down.
To learn more about how you can use Hogan’s assessment solutions during a crisis, please call us at (918) 749-0632.