As work and environments seem to increase in complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity, the more we want to believe that there’s deterministic solution.
Unfortunately, people do not work that way. The interactional nature & change that happens while we are together cannot operate like a machine or a game that has firmly defined inputs, outputs & pieces that can be removed then added or changed. That deterministic belief creates Trust Repelling organizations that constrict creativity & cause underemployment.
We are not deterministic machines that can have our personality or behavior or organizational culture placed into 4, 16, 32, etc. boxes. Then handed a recipe on how to make things better.
People, teams, organizations in this search for a deterministic fix can sometimes be fooled or convinced that an assessment of peoples’ personality or organizational culture or matching the person – team – organization to some external list of traits is the solution.
“once a belief or expectation is found, especially one that resolves uncomfortable uncertainty, it biases the observer to notice new information that confirms the belief and to discount evidence to the contrary. This self-perpetuating mechanism consolidates the original error and builds up an overconfidence in which the arguments of opponents are seen as too fragmentary to undo the adopted belief.” – Forer Effect
We all want to be understood. We all want to believe that someone can use a tool and understand us. We want to believe simple positive statements that affirm our feelings, fears, and personal beliefs are accurate. Unfortunately, it is not so simple.
In the video, Nolan shares his research into the vulnerability of organizations & the collective ‘us.’
Belief Confirming Statements
Like the original Forer Effect experiment, all the companies that took Nolan’s organizational assessment received the same exact responses/ results from the assessment. The results from the organizations showed ~84% validity rating.
- Your company has a great need to develop positive brand awareness
- You have a great deal of untapped potential which you have not turned to your advantage
- Some of the organization’s aspirations are unrealistic
- The company appears to be disciplined & well organized from the outside, but the internal workings are often worrisome & messy
- Forming business partnerships has presented some problems
- Above is from hex induction “The Forer Scam.”
Nolan’s closing statement around 11.17 in the video, he shares a poignant view of this experiment being about “Vulnerability not Gullibility.”
Organizations & people are not gullible because they believe statements that appeal to them or really would like a way to make sense of a complex interactional workplace. The experiment shows that 84% of us have shared concerns, beliefs, needs, & areas where we feel weakness BUT do not think that others share these challenges. Understanding that most organizations & people have this in common may lead to creating more empathetic workplaces. Workplaces which are Trust Attracting because people can be themselves & work to their full capacity.
I do not think you need an assessment for that to happen.