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Identifying behavioural strengths to drive development

Here at GFB, we have been designing and running behavioural assessments for over 20 years, helping thousands of people to benefit from the insights they receive.


Once individuals know what's helping them to be successful (and what's holding them back), they are in a much better position to develop their leadership skills and achieve their potential.

Since the year 2000 we have supported organisations and individuals with the identification of their behavioural strengths and development areas in a variety of ways depending on budgets, timeframes, frameworks and technology.


Options to identify behavioural strengths include activities such as work-shadowing, development centres, behavioural event interviews, 360 degree feedback, and self-report tools. There are pros and cons of each data collection and development method but since the pandemic we have seen an increase in the demand for self-report development tools and we’ve recently implemented some interesting and accurate individual assessments. This methodology is typically utilised when looking to benchmark and develop large numbers of individuals against a set framework and/or when budgets/time or access are restricted but how do you get them to really work?


This article details some of GFB’s key recommendations for the implementation of such projects to ensure individuals and organisations get the most from them.


Building on our experience and expertise, to get the most from self report behavioural tools GFB recommends that:


  • They are designed based on a well validated, relevant framework with clear definition of behaviours and levels. Self report tools and their following reports not only help individuals to review development requirements in relation to their role, level and organisation, they also help to embed awareness and understanding of such frameworks by sign posting development opportunities and creating a common development language.

  • Questions are designed by business psychologists. This ensures essential design criteria and methodologies are followed – ensuring questions only ask one thing, are easy to read and are not open to interpretation.

  • Technology works smoothly and is device accessible, making questionnaires as easy as possible for individuals to complete. Removing any barriers to completion and ensuring those who may require adaptive technology, screen readers, contrast settings etc. can utilise current coping mechanisms and technology to complete any such questionnaires. When working across different countries questions should be provided in an individual’s native language wherever possible.

  • Ideally possible norm data should be utilised – either using a large external data set to identify individual strengths and development areas or when data allows, we recommend the creation of an internal norm. This will allow an individual’s responses to be considered in relation to responses from individuals at the same level or within the same organisation as themselves.

  • It is essential that individuals are honest in their responses – these tools only work for developmental purposes as individuals must complete them honestly to get the most from them. Communication for any project is key in driving the honesty of responses. When individuals really believe that the tool is for their benefit and purely for their own development responses are more honest and individuals get the most from any such process.

  • Additional options, such as including manager responses, a 360 element or the flag that individuals will be reassessed can help ensure individuals are considered in their responses. Including a 360 or 180 element of any assessment can provide additional insights, although logistically this is not always possible.

  • There may be some individuals who rate themselves overly favourably or negatively which is a risk with any self report tool – even psychometrics which have been developed over a numbers of years. However, even in these cases the relative performance against each behaviour can provide useful development insights. What is their lowest or highest scoring behaviour and what is the relevance of these behaviours for their role?

  • Although it is considered that personality and motivational preferences are pretty static over time, what can support an individual’s development is the self-awareness of their preferences and drivers. The introduction of these tools alongside behavioural scores can be invaluable when considering how and where to focus an individual’s development and their future potential.


Will self report behavioural tools work for you?

Self report tools can provide invaluable data to inform an individual’s development if they are based on a clear framework, designed by business psychologists, completed honestly and delivered with a clear communication plan and with the support of a wider development structure.


Once individuals know what's helping them to be successful (and what's holding them back), they are in a much better position to develop their leadership skills and achieve their potential.

GFB are well placed to design, develop and host self assessment behavioural tools and advise on their implementation. If you are considering behavioural assessment options and would like to speak to one of the GFB expert team on assessment options, do get in touch.

Feedback from GFB clients:

“There is no doubt that the behavioural feedback made the learning interventions more impactful. The participants were more informed about their needs, clearer about what they needed to focus on and had already started self-reflecting on where they were at against our framework. They were primed and in the right frame of mind to be learning and challenging themselves –it provided a really powerful kick start to their learning journey”.


“GFB’s survey provides individuals with a user-friendly tool that aids development. The relationship between the behaviours is clear and you can easily identify the behaviours to do more of and those to improve upon”


“My development report allowed me to write a thorough PDP for the first time in my career. It was especially great to get a second opportunity at the end of Aspire to re-do the assessment to see how we had moved on”.


“The tool is straightforward to use, with easily tailored messages and the report provides a good basis for conversations.”


“We’re very happy with the pragmatic approach taken by GFB. This has revealed areas of strength, weakness and development needs in a way that is enabling us to create focused and achievable action plans.”


Detailed case studies and client references available upon request.


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