Sprint vs Marathon

As a runner (who is currently training for my first marathon in over 8 years), I can appreciate the differences in what’s required to prepare for a sprint versus a marathon.  The approach, discipline, attitude, coaching and training are quite different.  The organization of the races themselves is unique, (i.e. – no need for water-stops in a sprint…)


The same can be said for the coaching required for an employee who is stretching themselves at work.  I often utilize a behavioral assessment as part of a workforce analytics solution with my clients (The Predictive Index– PI).  It will reveal three pieces of data:


  1. The employee’s natural behavioral style at work.  Call this their baseline/DNA, as it is stable over time.
  2. How the employee believes they need to adapt to their current work environment.  This measurement often changes each time they take the assessment and reveals where the employee may be stretching from their natural style.
  3. How the employee’s behavior may be perceived by others.


#2 is where I want focus.


Because it captures what is going on with the employee in the present moment each time they take the assessment, I encourage my clients to administer the five minute assessment every six months or within 30 days of a major change (PI has a subscription-based pricing model, so there is no additional cost to do so…)


This is the finger-on-the-pulse of your workforce!  Has a new manager taken over a group?  If so, give that team the assessment within 30 days and see how they are responding to the change.


If an employee is stretching from their natural style, the PI will reveal how it’s affecting them.  Is it draining them?  Is it feeding them/are they learning from that stretching?  How much energy do they have to put towards being flexible and adaptable?  Is there a gap?  The data reveals all of that, and more.


With this data you will know who is in crisis, who is stretching, and who is adapting.  If you know someone is in crisis (and you’ve given this assessment in a timely manner in regular intervals) you can prevent a molehill from becoming a mountain, and you have a shot at increasing engagement, and reducing turnover.


With the data revealing that an employee is in crisis, you can approach the employee, check-in, and ascertain what’s going on, and how you can help them.  Is it a sprint?  Is what you are seeing in the data the result of a steep learning curve or adjustment that will resolve quickly?  If so, you have connected with them, they know you are there to help and support them in their efforts.  Not a bad thing…


But, what if it’s a marathon?  What if this is the new-normal?  The employee will require different levels of support and coaching to adapt to the new environment.  To prevent burnout and disengagement, they will need to change their approach, discipline, and attitude.


The insight and awareness created by applying analytics to your workforce will help you diagnose and prevent long-term problems from festering.  The PI software also provides an actionable Coaching Guide based on the data with how to get the best out of an employee in any situation.


But first, you need to know if they running a sprint or a marathon