Personal Survey Validity Study
by CSR American Aggregates
Aggregates is a subsidiary of Australian based Consolidated Sugar
Refineries. With 1100
employees located in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Ohio, they produce
stone for the concrete, asphalt, and construction industries.
company has been using the Simmons Personal Survey on a regular basis
for hiring supervisory personnel and have been very pleased with the
quality of employee the Survey is helping them to obtain.
They have also been using the tool to help their leaders make
the personal changes necessary to successfully practice the new team
management style that the company has put in place.
the present time, they have begun an in-house study to statistically
verify the accuracy, validity, and usefulness that they have seen in
the Simmons Personal Survey. While
the total process will include over a hundred employees, one part of
their study is described below.
1. The Simmons
Personal Survey was processed on five job candidates.
Steve Fleming, a Human Resource Executive within the company,
scored and ranked the candidates from 1 to 10 on several critical job
success factors, based entirely on his evaluation of their Simmons
Profile. Throughout the
applicant rating and ranking process, Steve had no other knowledge
about the applicants.
highly-skilled, well-trained interviewers from American Aggregates
interviewed each of the five candidates.
Their in-depth process included meeting with the applicant at
their current place of work and talking with people who worked with
them. From their testing
and interviews, each interviewer individually scored the applicants
on the critical success factors for the job and placed them in rank
order from 1 to 10. Throughout
the interviewing and ranking process, the interviewers had no
knowledge of the Survey rankings.
Steve Fleming reports:
of the Simmons was precisely in line with all five interviewers in
scoring success factors and in rank order.
That's tremendous credibility!
We are seeing that this tool is so powerful."
"We are finding so
many other uses for the Survey that go beyond the selection process.
We are using the Simmons as a tool for both individual and
company success. We use
the Simmons to answer questions in three critical areas:
Can the person do the job?
Will the person do the job?
Will the person fit on the team?
We're going to perform a Simmons on every person in a
story about American Aggregates is a powerful demonstration of the
Survey's remarkable accuracy. This accuracy is helping them to choose the best persons to
fit the job. It is also
becoming the tool for encouraging the growth and development of
their current employees.
Aggregates uses the Survey: To hire employees
best-suited for participatory management.
To assist current
employees in making the personal changes necessary to succeed in the
To reduce an extremely
high turnover rate.
around the world are struggling to find their way in today's
changing economic environment. While Total Quality Management has been highly promoted as
the path to financial survival in the future, it requires huge culture
changes within the company. Steve
Fleming, of CSR/American Aggregates, reports:
"Serious paradigm shifts are necessary to make TQM
successful. We feel the
Simmons Personal Survey is the tool that can help us do that."
assessment of the problem resulted in an individual turnaround and
tremendous cost savings by Keith Floto
we bought an existing franchise, the previous owner strongly recommended
that we fire or demote the current area supervisor.
‘She’s not going to be able to handle it,’ they said.
‘she’s got a negative attitude, not a team player.’
The Survey showed a
very high Self Esteem score, a
somewhat low commitment to work and low tolerance.
But it also showed good people skills and a positive attitude.
They had misidentified
the problem. While sharing
the Survey results with her we learned that she had experienced a deep
hurt in her life. She
wasn’t aware how much it was affecting her on the job until she saw
her Survey. We sat down with her and put together a development plan.
Within weeks there was a marked improvement and she is still
doing an excellent job with the company.
about cutting turnover costs! It
would have been very expensive
to loose her 10 years of
training and experience. We
would have lost an excellent manager with a lot of great strengths if we
had fired her on their recommendation.
We were able to work with her on the problems she did have, and
it not only turned out super, but it added a lot of validity to the
with a New Orleans Saints football player. by Dave Michiels,
football recruit we’ll call Scott came to the meeting with a very
hesitant, questioning attitude. He
didn’t see how Dave could tell him anything really
important just from checking “a bunch of words on a test.”
He was sure it was just going to be a waste of time.
next half hour, Dave related some of the young man’s significant
strengths along with a few negative areas that were pulling him down. Scott began to show more interest. Then Dave asked him what kind of problems he was having in a
makes you think I’m having any problems with a relationship,” Scott
believe your Survey shows that you are,” Dave replied.
yes, I am,” he admitted and began to relate the situation with his
wife. She was constantly
tearing him down. It was a
continual struggle to stay motivated in the face of this ongoing
criticism and attack. He
had begun to believe she must be right and was beginning to doubt his
own abilities. The
resulting guilt and self-condemnation were weighing him down, leaving
helped him see that her behavior stemmed from previous hurtful
relationships in her life. He
used the Survey to help Scott recognize that the strengths he had lost
confidence in were real. Yes, there
were some problem areas too, but with them clearly defined and put in
perspective, he saw could begin taking steps to overcome them.
sat back with his head in his hands.
He looked up with tears in his eyes and said, “You know, I’ve
been praying for 3 months for God to give me an answer to this and now I
have it.” The very Survey
Scott had wanted to avoid had given him insight into who he really was.
It had provided a realistic
basis to begin to feel good about himself again. He left with renewed hope and confidence that he really could
do what he had always dreamed of doing.
beginning you may be telling them things that they figure you may have
found out from someone else. Then
as you get more into it they ask, “How do you know this?
You didn’t find this out from a test, just me marking some
them begin by looking for a way NOT to believe the Survey, but it’s so
real that they have no option but to accept it.
V. P. Human Resources, Wang's
Inc. Memphis, TN
of the Surveys we have processed have been accurate and were verified
by other reliable information. The
Survey has consistently helped us hire good employees, reduce
turnover, greatly enhance performance, and increase customer
Measurement Produced Tremendous Turnover Reduction. Pat
Sumpter, Management Consultant
began using the Survey in 1990 as store manager for a supermarket
chain. I was the
strongest “nae-sayer” of all in the beginning.
I thought tests were hogwash, just a waste of time and money.
started out by doing Surveys on all existing management.
When Wes Crane went over the results of my own Survey I was
amazed. “How could you
possibly know that from a test,” I asked.
I could see the value of knowing that much about an applicant
before we hired him and I was sold on it!
I see that the Simmons Survey is not really a test, but rather a
remarkably clear picture of who you are at the time.
totally integrated the Simmons Personal Survey into our Human Resource
procedures, using it specifically at three levels.
job applicants were narrowed down to three, all were given the Survey.
We used it for every position, from entry level throughout
we originally began by giving the Survey to all of our existing
management, we could see how the Survey scores related to success in
our stores. We knew what
we were looking for in an applicant, and could choose the one who
would fit best.
used the Survey to help us know which employees were really ready for
Survey showed us if they had good emotional energy, commitment to
work, and attention to detail. Then we looked to see if their tolerance and consideration
for others was balanced with the appropriate decisiveness and
assertiveness to be a manager.
promoted the best candidate, but the benefits of using the Survey went
far beyond that. Each
candidate had the opportunity to discuss their Survey with us.
Often those who had not been promoted would say, “I really
want to move up into management. What is it that’s holding me back?” We would go over their Survey, showing them specific areas
that they could work on.
this assistance in their development proved to be extremely cost
effective. Before long we
were promoting entirely from within.
Department Manager Annual Review:
Each year the Department Managers took the Simmons Survey and
compared it to their results from the previous year.
In a meeting with the Store Manager, they would review and
acknowledge the improvements they had made.
The employee had the opportunity to make suggestions about what
they thought needed improvement, then the Store Manager made his
they developed specific goals for the next year.
development process has double benefits of reducing turnover and
months, the Survey was the key to reducing turnover
from a crippling 172% to a manageable 70%.
When we began, the cost of hiring and training an entry level
worker in the supermarket industry was $1000 each.
Management costs rise exponentially from that.
bad hire became successful career guidance.
by Wes Crane
done Team building also in churches where there is an existing staff,
where things aren't clicking the way they should be.
we did a Survey in a church that was having some personnel
difficulties. They had
recently hired a children's pastor who was not succeeding in that
particular job. Based
upon what we saw in his Survey, (very high assertiveness, lower
tolerance, lower consideration, high desire for change) this
children's pastor was not pastoral at all but was probably a very good
we gave the results to the individual, he told me that when he saw who
he really was, he felt like a weight had been taken off his shoulders.
He had been trying to perform in a job that wasn't him.
He had to be an empathetic youth leader instead of a strong
evangelist. Trying to be
a square peg in a round hole had put a tremendous pressure on him.
I talked with him, he said, "I think the church made a mistake in
hiring me, and I think I made a mistake in coming to work here.
Now, what can the Survey show that I should be doing?"
We gave him the results and showed him where his strengths were
and six months later he is successful as an evangelist.
especially confirms the Survey’s ability to predict job related
behavior. I had warned
them 18 months before, not to hire this individual.
had seen this man in action as dynamic and charismatic, and they
thought, “Oh this guy is so good, this is just what our young people
need.” It was just the
opposite of what they needed, especially because the previous youth
minister had been a real shepherd.
But this guy didn't have an ounce of empathy or pastor in him.
of the members of the hiring committee felt very strongly about hiring
him and the others were very soft, not decisive type people.
I all but jumped up and down and screamed and told them don't
do it, but they did it anyway. They
chose to go ahead with the hire and not face the conflict.
As a result, they had 18 months of misery until we were able to
help them do an outplacement.
are people who see tests as weeding people out. They see it as a
negative, that this person didn't get the job because of a test and
that wasn't fair. And
yet, this example shows that people can get jobs that are not good for
them and be miserable.
is an example of career pathing, helping people find they're in the
wrong place, and finding the right place.
Survey gives permission for the square peg to get out of the round
hole he had been forced into and find where he belonged:
was working with an Advisory Council made up of people from various
business backgrounds. When
I went in to Survey them for team building, one gentlemen came in, sat
down and looked me right in the eye and said, "Can that thing
tell me whether I should be an engineer or not?"
I looked back across the table and said, "Well, give me a
looked at the Survey for a couple of minutes, turned back to him,
looked him eyeball to eyeball and said to him, "The Survey shows
you should probably never be an engineer."
jumped off his chair and said, "Wow!
Now I can tell my wife."
This fellow had been an engineer for 10 years, was not happy,
was not being highly successful, and thought he was about to be fired.
He said that he had been forced into engineering by his dad who
put him through school. For
10 years he had hated every minute of it.
The Survey gave him permission to seek something else.
chairman called me some months later and said, "Remember that
engineer you gave the Survey results to?
He and another guy just opened a landscape business and he is
the happiest person in the world today."
we measured on the Survey gave him permission not to be an engineer
any longer. With great
relief, he accepted that information, went out and did something that
was very suited to his profile and became a very happy camper.
weekend retreat for a retail company, I was giving Survey evaluations to
the management team. One of
the Survey’s happened to be on the vice president’s own son. The young man had come aboard the management team about six
months before and was really struggling.
When it was time to give his results I asked if I could meet
privately with him and then bring the vice president into the
young man was experiencing severe depression.
He was having trouble coping and every day was a battle for him.
Every day it was a matter of just trying to get through the day.
We found through the Survey that he had become a master at
deception and manipulation to fool people in order to get through.
After an almost tearful conversation at one point, he settled on
some goals. At the end of
the session, we had set some things in motion for this young man.
point in time, we separated. We
were at a retreat session and it was interesting that during the night
the father heard the young son in tears.
The father asked how it was going and the young man said,
I’ve just been given a new road map for the rest of my life.
I realize I don't have to live this way any more.
probably tears of joy as well as having somebody recognize that he was
having a struggle and was able to give him some good help. He got other help after this but he was able to use the
Survey to begin. What
basically was just a training session ended up turning this young man's
life totally around. The young man went is doing well in another
industry right now.
look at that as one of the very nice helps of the Survey.
We don't try to get into people's personal lives but sometimes
that just happens.
Haile, Human Recource Manager
Industries, Lamar, MO
used the Survey for hiring, training, promotion and team building for
over 15 years.
Survey shows us employee attitudes that affect their ability to use
their job skills. For
instance, our draftsmen need to have the ability to sit at the desk,
stay at the task and do repetitive types of work.
might hire someone who has all the right technical skills, but
they’re a little different type of individual.
Well, that’s OK, we can work with that, as long as we know
that going in.
Study by Doug Jones
and accurate evaluation of personnel
- A family owned grocery wholesale company in the mid south.
Annual sales ($150 million).
company also operated about 10 company
stores, as well as servicing mountain stores, both large and small.
grocery company was one of my first clients when starting my consulting business
in the mid 1980’s. I knew
the owners from previous relationships.
My assignment was to begin to reorganize and upgrade management
for more improved store profitability and image.
of the process was to complete Surveys on all key store personnel.
We were able to accomplish a number of things as a result of this
We learned that the personnel was not as bad as management had
suspected, though not all superstars.
Most of the poor performance was due to poor training and
communications, correctable conditions
were a number of “rough gems” in the group, that later went on to
become very effective managers and even higher.
Growth and Development
particular individual stood out in my mind and was a source of some
satisfaction for me personally. Matt
(not his name) was an assistant manager, actually, a glorified stock
boy. When we tested
Matt, he showed up as having a relatively moderate emotional energy
level, basically a team member, not a leader at all.
He was not identified as someone to watch for future promotion.
year later, I began to get feedback that Matt had made a terrific
turnabout, had become a dynamic force in his store, often surpassing and
outperforming his store manager. Though
somewhat skeptical at the seeming “transformation”, I agreed to
re-test Matt to see if, in fact, he had actually achieved personal
results were shocking and undeniable.
Matt had shown significant personal growth in all areas of
character that would be associated with an effective leader.
Based on his actual performance and Survey results, I recommended
his promotion to manager.
at his store one day, I asked Matt what or who had been responsible for
his turn-a-round. His reply
was that I was responsible. Though
flattered, I asked that he be more specific.
basically said that when he saw his original Survey results, he was not
happy with the individual I had identified him to be and he wanted to
make a change. He took
charge of his own personal growth*, made a conscious decision to
accept the risks associated with leadership and grow as a person.
continues to be one of the top managers in the group at this writing.
Study by Doug Jones
- A group of smaller, neighborhood grocery stores in a large
metropolitan area in the mid-west.
Annual sales $10 million, 5 units.
completed a leadership study on all key personnel using the Survey.
Actually, I completed a number of different tasks for this
company (fictitious name Sonny’s Markets).
the individuals Surveyed was a young meat manager (Frank).
Frank had worked his way up from apprentice and liked his work.
The Survey suggested an individual who was having some difficulty
with something or someone in his past or present.
There was definitely a stress related problem, but he was in
denial about it.
suggested a number of scenarios that might cause this problem, i.e.
divorce, death of a family member, fear of losing a job, and others. He strongly protested that there was absolutely no validity
to this part of the Survey and I had made a mistake in the
week later Frank called me at the office to ask for a meeting which I
promptly set-up. At the
meeting, he expressed his thanks for my taking the time to explain all
the information brought out in the Survey and my thoughtful presentation
confessed that, in fact, there was a situation in his life that was
causing great personal stress and discomfort.
His father, whom he worshipped, was seen going into the home of a
neighbor, a woman not his mother. The
father subsequently left home and divorced his mother.
This event had been so devastating to Frank that even though it
had happened about 10 years previous, it was still having a serious
negative impact on his life and ability to work effectively and freely.
this information at hand, he was able to begin to put the past behind
him and reduce the stress of the burden he had been carrying.
He became a happier, more dedicated and productive employee.
Personal problems can and do affect a person’s behavior and
productivity on the job. The
Survey can hold a mirror up to the person and let them see how it’s
really affecting them. It
gives them the choice of what to do about it.)
company can provide this assistance to employees without meddling in
their personal problems. (The
consultant’s confidentiality can be an important factor.)
The expense of the Survey and consultant is minor in comparison
to the increased productivity over the years with an employee.
Study by Doug Jones
may not be classified as a case study, but it is an example of what
power the Survey has to change lives.
This story is about me - Doug Jones. SMS Associate.
first introduction to the Simmons Company, the Survey and Jack Simmons
was about ten years ago. The
initial Survey result was “disastrous” in my opinion.
It described an individual so out of control I was afraid the
company would not let me become an associate.
My scores were off the graph.
I swear that to this day, they began to include 1’s and 7’s
on the Survey because of profiles like mine...in the beginning.
a long story short, Jack and the staff at Simmons began to help show me
how I could not only help others, but the “doctor” could also use
some of the same medicine on himself.
As time went on, my profile began to move toward the middle
range, at least, be on the page.
able to understand who we are makes us much more effective in dealing
never forget Jack [Simmons] saying that “we are the person we have chosen to
be...but, that’s OK.
day I am a recovering “aggressaholic”.
I don’t blow doors off hinges anymore.
I actually stop and open the door first.
The old Doug would run over you and not utter a word.
The new model Doug may still run over you...from time to time,
but now he will go back, pick you up, brush you off and apologize.
you could call that growth. I
am still trying to grow and it is still a struggle.
Camps, General Manager
Products, Memphis, TN
distributor of warehouse storage equipment and material handling
equipment, Div. of E.H.S. (Ann
Tisdale, Sales Manager also uses the Survey with Sales)
an employee has been on the job for three months, completed training and
had a chance to settle in, their manager will review their Simmons
aware that this is a snapshot of them at this point in their life.
It’s not engraved in stone.
People can and do change. We
use it as an indicator of where the employee is now compared to where
they need to be for their position.
The Survey is a tool to guide us; to help us plan what we need to
do to help them get there.
Haile, Human Recource Manager
Industries, Lamar, MO
used the Survey for hiring, training, promotion and team building for
over 15 years.
been most important to us as a management tool for training.
I’ll sit down with the employee’s manager show them, “Now
this is where he might have some difficulties and this is how you can
instance, if an employee has very aggressive type behavior and his
manager doesn’t. We’ll
suggest to the manager, “You’ll have to stay on top of this because,
this person will run over you if you’re not careful.”
If they go into it aware of that, then normally they can handle
it with no problem.
Building by Wes Crane
worked with several companies in team building.
the most interesting areas of team building has been working with
churches in pastoral searchs. We
have been able to go in and work with a team of people who were trying
to put together a church for growth.
They were trying to find the right person in relation to a whole
range of criteria including, of course, the doctrines of the church, the
long term tenure of the previous pastor, members of the board and the
mix of the other pastors on staff.
into a board meeting where we gave Survey results of 4 candidates.
We had not discussed the candidate that we had chosen ahead of
time with the board. With
the results from their own interviewing process, they had picked the
very same candidate. And
between the two, of course we were able to make the hire on this
was interesting was that during the interview process when I was being
quizzed about the candidate through the use of the Survey, I made a
statement about a particular trait of the person's character.
There was a hush that came over the room and one of guy's kind of
gasped, he said, "Those were the same words the candidate used when
he was describing himself." Here
was a great validation for me and of course it validated the Survey
to this board more than probably any single thing we had done.
there we were able to explain some of the character traits that they
would need to look at in the board as a group, in the other pastors,
together with the new pastor coming in, in order for them to best work
together as a team for the church.
made the right choice a year ago. I
have been back to the church since and it's going great. The Survey basically validated that they had made the
right choice and got them off to a good start working together.
Study by Doug Jones
- A mid-sized family owned dairy and Convenience Store firm in the
midwest. Annual sales
estimate $50 million.
called in to work with this firm (further referred to as Brown Dairy) as
a result of a seminar I gave at a grocer’s training symposium
(Columbus, Ohio) in the late 1980’s.
The topic of the seminar was Developing Leaders.
The general manager of a convenience store group (about 15
stores) tried the Survey, liked it so much he asked me to complete a
leadership study of his key people using individual interviews and the
of this study were the realignment of several office and supervisory
store personnel job duties, movement of two key personnel to different
positions. The general
manager was so impressed with the results he achieved through gaining
extra insight in hiring and developing leader type individuals, he
recommended the Survey to his boss, the president of Brown Dairy.
The company produced milk, milk by-products and ice cream.
the rest of the story ......The Brown Dairy president was an individual
in his early forties, highly educated, and the third generation as head
of the family business. For
sake of this case, let’s call him Fred.
A leadership study using the Survey was completed on the top 13
members of the key management team.
this team were a variety of individuals who had varying lengths of time
with the company and different backgrounds.
The company had just purchased a small gourmet ice cream
manufacturing company and was in the process of assimilating those
employees into the total company organization.
Survey was instrumental in the development of a variation in the old
organizational chart, blending key players from the new ice cream
company (entrepreneurs) and a group of old line company dairy people.
The Survey results and subsequent interviews led to a course of
action which resulted in the reorganization and retirement of several
older employees and made way for some new ideas, new people to energize
the company. Some new
positions were created, including a personnel manager.
should be the wrap-up of a successful and long lasting relationship,
but, it was not to be. The
Survey results of the president exposed a man with so poorly developed
character that it was impossible for him to accept the results of his
own Survey. He readily
admitted we had correctly identified every other participant, but, that
the Survey was just wrong in his case.
the Survey was right on target. Many
of the key personnel surveyed had “eluded” to Fred’s character
problem and hoped I could find a way to help.
It seems that Fred was trying to live in the shadows of his
dynamic father, the former president and driving force of the
company’s recent success. Fred
did not possess the leader qualities to take on this job or walk in his
father’s shoes. This fact caused much stress for Fred (confirmed by the
Survey) thus making it virtually impossible for him to perform in a
highly effective manner.
company, in fact, ran somewhat smoothly through the combined efforts of
a loyal team that recognized Fred’s deficiencies, but allowed them to
be covered up by the staff’s excellent performance.
The “ship” however, was basically on auto pilot, lacking the
ability to make dynamic moves.
number of organizational recommendations were made and accepted by the
president, by and large, since they did not require that he do anything
different himself or face up to the fact that “he was the person he
had chosen to be”.
moral to this story was that the Survey did reveal some of the most
personal attributes, both good and bad an individual might have.
Is it how that individual accepts them and tries to grow as a
person that matters.
Survey’s tremendous value has been in selection and team building.
The restaurant business traditionally has an incredibly high
turnover rate industry-wide. The Survey really pin-pointed those
characteristics important for success.
Floto was a Human Resource consultant for a large Wendy’s franchise.
Their 57 stores were experiencing a turnover rate of 50 to 100%
Survey was used not so much to eliminate a person from the hire, but to
enabled us to put together a development plan for them.
From the Survey, we could tell his training manager, “These are
the things you’re going to see in their work.
This is how you can help them grow.”
The trainee and his supervisor were then working together towards
the same goals.
better managers meant they stayed longer, were more effective and felt
better about their jobs. The
bottom line was we not only lowered our expenses by reducing turnover,
we also increased sales with better trained managers.
results of a six month pilot study completely validated the importance
of using the Survey for Team Building.
stores were divided into two groups, with careful attention to balance
in all market factors. Group One followed the franchise’s well
established training procedures, without using the Survey.
managers and trainees in Group Two were given the Simmons Personal
Survey at the beginning of the study.
Each one had the opportunity to go over his Survey evaluation
with his supervisor and work up a personal development plan.
A follow-up Survey was done three months later with improvements
recognized and development plans reviewed.
six months, stores using the Simmons Survey for team building had
improved significantly more than the other stores in all three areas
tracked: 1.) Sales Increase up 10%;
2.) Quality Service And Cleanliness Inspection improved;
3.) Crew Turnover Rate reduced.
Overall profitability had improved as well.
tells us, “Some people are intimidated by taking tests in general and
by the Survey in particular initially, because it is so
accurate. But once they
understand how it is used to help them, they realize there’s no
risk to taking it. The
Survey really helped the supervisor build team work, with everyone
drawing off each others strengths and supporting them in the areas they
need to work on. As an
employer, we saw we had to
bank that we used it with the entire management team. It was very effective in pulling people together, talking
about their lesser strengths. By
allowing the Survey to identify them, we were able to confront some
interpersonal relationships that were deteriorating and effectively mend
Survey was very valuable in working with 7 people on the team together.
The inflexible member mention before could not be brought around.
It resulted in better team work with more interpersonal
co-operation between departments. Several
senior managers were able to acknowledge their problems. They took the
attitude of “I can work on that,” which allowed them to resolve
member of the team was an executive vice president who was hesitant to
follow through with difficult decisions.
He very capably made policy decisions but then wouldn’t stick
to his guns, wouldn’t carry them out.
He wanted to be liked by everyone and had a very difficult time
in taking a firm stance when it was required.
With the Survey test data to support what was actually taking
place, other team members had the courage to step forward and say,
“Yes, this is our observation too, and it’s causing us serious
talked to him, he began to recognize that this was a pattern in his life
that he could change. He
was able to become more aware of when this was occurring and was willing
to deal with it. The Survey
helped him to break out of immobility, make a decision and take positive
had also administered the Simmons Personal Survey in the course of
my assessment. I
have used the Simmons Survey for years now.
First of all, it helps break through denial.
It is tempting for some managers I work with to discount my
findings as shaped by my own prejudices or biased by the manner in which
I ask my questions.
Survey, though, is a result of how the participants describe themselves
and how their own answers compare with norm groups of other people in
similar positions. When
their own description of themselves produces a profile consistent with
what the staff told me, it is a powerful source of evidence for
confirming and adding weight to the interview results.
The Survey helps the participant take responsibility for what I
found in the assessment interviews.
My interview findings discover problems.
The Survey is a way of discovering aspects of the manager's own
character that may be at work in creating those problems.
have come to put a great degree of trust in the Survey findings.
By the time I meet with individuals for feedback and planning
sessions, I have come to know them well.
I will have spent hours talking to people who work with and for
them, hearing detailed descriptions of their strengths and weaknesses.
It is almost as if I have been doing my own internal validation
study. I gather huge amounts of interview data, then sit down and
review the Simmons Survey results.
Over and over again, I have seen Surveys that are consistent with
my interview findings. When
I review the Surveys with the participant's own managers, they, too,
confirm the Survey's validity.
and I reviewed the results of his Survey to discover what his results
might tell us about how his character was contributing to the problem.
The Survey was absolutely consistent with my interview findings.
His Assertiveness score was extremely high, consistent with
someone who wants things his terms now, who would order and demand
rather than ask or persuade. His
extremely low Tolerance score was consistent with anger when his needs
weren't met. The level of
his score on this scale was predictive of someone who would be highly
critical of others, vindictive, and have a very short fuse in dealing
with staff who weren't able to live up to his expectations.
A low Considerate score added evidence that he was the kind of
person who would focus primarily on his own needs without giving much
thought to the impact he was having on people around him.
Add to that a very low Optimism score (The glass is not only half
empty, it's dirty, too!), suggesting extreme pessimism, fault-finding,
and a tendency to blame others for things that weren't working in his
there were strengths in this Survey report as well.
His Courage score was very high, suggesting an abundance of
self-confidence and a willingness to take risks.
While there is a potential downside to this aspect of his
character, he is in a extraordinarily demanding industry.
His score suggested that he performs at his best when challenged
and he is in a job where high levels of urgency are the order of the day
and, like a race horse when the gates open, Mike is always ready to rise
to the occasion. His
Sociability score was ideal for someone in an executive position.
In fact, his customer relationships were very healthy.
People like him, provided they don't have to work for him.
His Direction score was ideal for his position, suggesting that
he had no problems making decisions and making things happen.
In combination with his challenge orientation to life, his
customers could count on him to do whatever it took to continually rise
to the occasion time after time. (Of
course, his staff were the ones who were paying the price for his
success in the field. He
was driving them relentlessly, without so much as a thought about the
impact he was having for his treatment of them.)
gave Mike one week to think about our conversation and arrive at some
decisions about what he wanted to do about some of the concerns
expressed by his staff and the character traits suggested by his Survey
report. I left the meeting
feeling cautiously optimistic that he had let the message in and that he
seemed to be genuinely concerned about what his staff, through me, had
to say about him.
first words to me a week later were, "I want you to know that I was
stunned by our conversation. I
have thought about nothing else for the last week.
I had already planned to take some time off and I found that
whatever I was doing, I was thinking about our conversation.
My wife and I had a long talk and she finally opened up to me and
confirmed a lot of your findings. I
really had no idea that things had gotten so bad.
I always thought I was the kind of manager who was open to
hearing about things and I thought they would let me know if there was
something that they were unhappy about.
But I guess if you work for the kind of person you described last
week, it would be hard to go into your bosses office and talk about it.
Let's get to work. I
want to turn this around."
then proceeded to do some personal vision work and created an action
plan to address some of the issues that surfaced in the interviews and
in his Survey. I was
touched by one of the items he put on his to-do list.
He made a list of people he felt he needed to apologize to
individually. He also
called a staff meeting to talk about what he had learned and to express
his commitment to being the best manager they had ever had.
been two years now and, while he is still prone to slip back into some
of the old behaviors when under extreme pressure, his boss and his staff
have been grateful to see a genuine commitment to improve his
relationships as work and have seen some substantial changes in his
approach to them. Mike is
still in his position, accomplishing more than he ever has before, and,
more importantly, his level of esteem has risen throughout the company
as he becomes more and more skillful at dealing with people
prediction: Within ten years, he will be the President of the company
because he has had the courage and the commitment to deal with the flaws
in his character.
My own Survey: The
Creation of a Turning Point. by Bob Wall
learned about my own blind spots through my own experience with the
Simmons Personal Survey. First
of all, I want you to know that I am a hard sell when it comes to any
kind of assessment tool. I
went to a graduate school in clinical psychology that was highly
critical of psychological assessment devices and made me very wary of
using any instrument in my consulting work.
Finally, in the midst of a personal crisis of my own a number of
years ago, I consented to take the Survey from Wes Crane, a colleague
and friend of mine in Seattle who has been using the Survey for years.
I had never told him so but I thought his faith in the tool was a
bit overwrought. But,
with great skepticism, I completed the Survey.
must tell you that my Survey results created a crisis for me.
It described someone I certainly would not want to work with.
If this person worked for me, I would fire him.
I would certainly never hire him.
I was initially tempted to dismiss the results as completely off
the mark but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the
Survey was telling me things that I had to be responsible for.
were some aspects of the Survey report that I argued with Wes about.
My results suggested that I valued smooth, conflict-free
relationships to the extent that I would sell out on my own personal
standards to keep the peace. I
knew this couldn't be true. "After
all, Wes, I am an expert in conflict management.
I have trained people all over the country in conflict management
strategies. I have
written about it. This
simply can't be accurate." Rather
than try to convince me it was true, Wes wisely asked me to just
observe myself for a while.
a month, I had a client miss an appointment on a day that I already
had a great deal of writing to do. Getting dressed up and fighting the traffic to and from his
office easily cost me a couple of hours.
It was a real inconvenience and a waste of my time.
I was more than a little bit irritated.
next week when my client and I got together, he started to apologize
and explain that he had forgotten to put our appointment in his
Then I heard these words going through my mind: "Oh, its
okay. These things
It was no big deal." I
will never forget having a moment of realization.
"Is this what I do? It
wasn't okay with me that he missed the appointment and I'm sitting
here about to minimize the situation and smooth it over rather than
speak my mind." So
rather than gloss over the event, I told my client that I was there on
time and he wasn't and that I was going to bill him for an hour of my
He was just fine with that and we got down to the business at
I didn't discover anything else from taking the Survey (and there
actually was much more), that one awareness has had a huge impact on
my life. It was true.
I did have the skills to deal with conflict but I began to
discover that, much like the Survey predicted, there were times that I
would minimize and justify rather than use the tools that I was giving
to other people. And all
of this was happening without any conscious awareness on my part -
driven by character and force of habit. I
could look back and see a pattern of not getting what I wanted in my
life and being resentful about it but not being aware that I was the
source of the problem. I
wasn't standing up for myself and asking for what I wanted.
this experience with my client, I began to catch myself in the act.
Now, whenever I hear myself starting to minimize something, I
will say to myself, "There I go again.
Is this really okay with me or am I about to wimp out
again?" More often
than not, I begin to take a deep breath and state what is really on my
mind. Sure, sometimes I
still play the role of a wimp but at least when I do it now, its a
conscious choice rather than me functioning on automatic pilot, driven
by a character that doesn't like conflict and wants everyone to feel
awareness proved to be a turning point in my life.
Rather than hoping people will read my mind, I have learned to
make sure that I take responsibility for expressing my needs.
My relationships have improved.
My business has thrived. All
because I was willing to take responsibility for the results of my
Career Failures to a Halt and Open a New Door: John
Beane, Human Resource Consultant
Human Resource Manager was having problems with a young man working
for her in the sales department. She said “I've really got to decide what to do with this
guy and I'm really looking forward to getting the Simmons Survey.”
on his Survey I quickly recognized that this person did not have a
sales profile whatsoever. He came closer to a customer service representative, but not
a salesperson at all. I
included a recommendation that she should let him go because he just
was not cut out to do sales.
she was counseling him at his termination, she said, "You know, I
just really don't think you're cut out for sales." He
responded, "I've about come to that same conclusion."
It turned out that this gentlemen had been fired from every
sales job he has ever had. He
had considered looking for a different venue of work and the Survey
confirmed the decision for him.
Dagastino, District Manager
Franchise Management Inc., Memphis, TN
Survey is valuable because it allows us to accurately predict
individual performance issues, like their commitment to work,
Survey helps the person understand why they do what they
do, which is the only way they can improve.
It becomes the basis for their training.
Ongoing Personal Development
We’re working with a seafood company in the Bering Sea, one of the managers aboard one of the processing ships had a Survey that was more towards the worker profile. He had been promoted into a very strong leader role and was being successful but it was at a high cost to himself. When we approached him with the Survey, and showed him the areas that needed improving for him to move up in the company or even to be comfortable as a leader, he took that on as a challenge to make it happen. Here is a case where a young man knew that to be successful and to move up he had to be uncomfortable with where he was and had to make change. He dug right in the next day. His boss would call me on occasion and say, "You just would not believe what this guy is doing." He got into reading self-help books and leadership books all on his own. In a conversation with him later I found that he did a lot of self-talk. He looked at his own behaviors while he was handling people in different situations. Over the next two years he took the Survey a couple of different times as a measuring device to see how he was doing. Every Survey that we measured him on showed an increase in leadership traits.
The key was his response to his first Survey results. He realized that he wanted to be more, to do more and was going to have to change character to do it. Upon accepting that, he set about doing everything he could to start building a stronger character. Over a two year period of, he went from basically the good worker up to a very well-adjusted middle executive. That was about five years ago and now he is very successful, in charge of all the production of the boat. He has made lasting change now
Positive Response To “Bad” News. The other day I Surveyed a young man that the Survey showed to be very depressed. He was 23 years old, going to school and working part-time but everyday was a struggle. He was doing poorly in school and was not doing very well on his job either. The guy was extremely depressed but didn't know that's what he had. He just thought that he was not a good person. We were able to show him why he had been feeling bad for so long.
We were able to point out that he did have good qualities but when you're depressed you don't see them. His response was so positive. "You mean I'm not crazy?" - with a smile on his face. He is in the process of getting some help now and has even taken a full time job for the first time. I recommend oftentimes some reading for them like a book called "Feeling Good" by David Burns which is a great book on depression for people who want self-help. And then we recommended to his boss that they get him some kind of help also.
A 2-stage story about depression
I met with a young man about 24 years old who is the warehouse manager. As I gave him his Survey results, I told him that the pattern I saw indicated depression: classic low energy, low optimism, low work, low detail, low considerate score. He said, "Yea, you know, it's interesting that you would find that, because I've been trying to hide that from everybody for years, including my girlfriend." As we talked on I encouraged him to invite the boss in to discuss it. We had a great conversation between the boss and his worker about depression. His boss was very interested and agreed to send him to a doctor to be tested for depression. I also recommended the book by David Burns for him called "Feeling Good.” What I saw the next week was really exciting. He had done it all. He’d made the doctor’s appointment, was prescribed an antidepressant, had begun reading the book, even had been open with his girlfriend. The doctor had told him, "Son, you’re kind of like a 3-way light bulb who's stuck on dim. We're going to turn you up." He was absolutely pleased that he was not having to hide this anymore, and was looking forward to new doors opening for him now. II.
After the warehouse manager’s Survey, I had another evaluation to give the boss. Oddly enough, this one showed a pattern of depression too and I explained that this person would also need the same kind of help to get going. Well, then he revealed that he had run his own Survey through on someone else's name, to make sure that I told him the truth. He agreed that the Survey was right on. “It just absolutely pegged me to the wall.” He had been depressed for so long that he could not remember a time when he felt good. He was really excited about the conversation we had just had with his warehouse manager a few minutes before. He said, "That’s been my problem too, and I am going to do something about it." Interesting enough, he went out and bought the book too, and began taking an herbal medicine for depression.People oftentimes, especially depressed people, won't act right away. The Survey had put their problems in perspective and helped them see things more clearly. Both of these guys were relieved to have decided to do something about it and just took off. What is interesting is when I was first there, they were both kind of depressed looking. When I went back the next week, there was such a visible difference. The boss had the biggest smile that you have ever seen. He thanked me about 3 times and he said, "You know, all because we took the Survey, this has opened up a whole new door for all of us here. I give the Survey the credit and I'm glad I started using it.