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Who’s The Best Person To Do An Assessment?
By Michael Pruitt

When watching Good Will Hunting, I couldn’t help but relate when Matt Damon’s character, Will, picked up a piece of chalk and solved an incredibly complicated math problem that couldn’t be cracked by others. Despite being MIT’s janitor, Will bested graduate students because he had a natural ability to make connections between numbers.

I’ve found that successful business people are a combination of three personality types. There’s the charismatic type – people who have the ability to really believe in an idea or product and articulate it at a high level. There’s also the hard worker type – those who tend to be linear, tactical and task-oriented. Finally, there’s the intuitive type, which is the toughest to explain. In short, people who are strong in this type are the “Wills” – people who are very talented at seeing patterns and picking out critical details among a lot of noise.

When business assessments are performed, it’s important that they are helmed by Wills because these people enter a new environment, look into a machine, and have the natural ability to point out which cogs aren’t working. I’m stressing this because a misconception surrounding assessments is that their success depends on the framework – that is, whether a consultant follows the right formula. Frameworks are important, but an assessment needs to be more than a checklist. Success also depends on the consultants having the correct personality type, people who can see patterns that drive the process. These consultants can seamlessly switch between being solution architects, facilitators or project managers for their clients because they intuitively see the gaps and opportunities.

The word assessment is very popular these days. It’s a very loaded term, and there are some stereotypes surrounding it. People picture some smarmy guy who comes in and tries to sell them on something. That isn’t really an assessment. That’s a backdoor sales qualification, and that is the wrong “consultant.” For me, it’s about coming in and really understanding the end-to-end business needs of my client so that I can help them.

So, what I recommend is for you to ask yourself two questions the next time you are in a pitch meeting. Is the person in front of you a Will? How do you know?

Michael Pruitt chronicles his pursuits as both an Engagement Manager and an avid cyclist, and will talk about the overlap and learnings from both in this blog series. You can contact Michael at MichaelPru@vmc.com.

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