The growth of our human soul can’t be interrupted. Quite the opposite, despite our ups and downs, we are in a continuous evolution flow. We, as individuals are always interacting with each other exchanging thoughts, feelings, emotions, and knowledge to provide and receive quantum to help us in this journey.
Leaders are responsible to guide and help people and teams to accomplish specific missions and purposes according to their values and visions. With that task in mind, they need to assess their abilities taking into account some aspects and criteria to fully understand strengths and weaknesses, balance them out and create a forward momentum in a fast-changing and uncertain environment.
There is a variety of models available in literature in this direction. All of them can collect data and provide information to facilitate the analysis for the challenge of assessing people. They all have different focus and approach distinct aspects of human nature.
This article suggests a different model called SHARP (Spiral Human Assessment Reflecting Plotter). The model is based on four dimensions and two parameters. The dimensions are individual, team, organization, and society. The idea is to get a broad view of competences related to different perspectives.
The parameters are the hard skills and the soft skills, which united we can call as human skills. SHARP has four different quadrants representing the dimensions, which are always assessed by the two parameters. The spiral represents the continuous evolution flow to be tread by individuals, teams, organizations, and the society. It is not a path to be followed in the plotter. There are several applications to the SHARP Model, and more alternatives can be created by practitioners. Two of them will be explained next.
This assessment is divided in four steps.The assessment is made in a subjective way starting from the center of the plotter towards the extremes. The further from the center, the higher are the skills. The result is a dot positioned inside the quadrant. During the assessment shall be observed aspect such as how much his or her skills are present or being used to reaching goals, achieving a mission or a vision, fulfilling a purpose, and commitment to defined values.
The first step is to ask the person being assessed to evaluate him or herself about his or her soft and hard skills as an isolated individual (left upper quadrant). This assessment represents the interaction of the individual with him or herself.
After that, it necessary to assess how the individual perceives him or herself using the same parameters, but as part of a team (upper right corner). This assessment represents the individual-team interaction. Once again, another dot is placed on the plotter. Then, the individual assesses his or her skills regarding the organization (lower right quadrant). This assessment represents the individual-organization interaction. Finally, a fourth dot is placed on the lower left quadrant that is dedicated to assessing how the individual recognizes his or her skills in favor of the society. This assessment represents the individual-society interaction. It is important to highlight that society is a very wide concept and can be described as a family, a group of friends, a neighborhood, a city that the individual lives, a country, or the world. At the end of this first step it is possible to link the four dots to create a quadrilateral and assess the figure.
The second step is to ask a different person to repeat the same process providing an external assessment of the individual. This person can be a friend, a teammate or his/her leader. A different quadrilateral will be created, and eventual discrepancies will be identified. For the sake of illustration, the image below represents these two assessments. The black quadrilateral is the self-assessment and the red one was plotted by the third part.
Dots in the red zone means low maturity individuals regarding his or her skills. Dots in the yellow zone represent moderate maturity individuals. Dots in the blue zone represent high maturity individuals. One of the most important aspects to be considered is that an “ideal” dot is placed close to the diagonals of the plotter, since this position represents a balance of the two skills inside the quadrant. Dots positioned near to horizontal or vertical axes demonstrate an imbalance.
The third step is to observe the discrepancies between the assessments. In this example, a great difference can be noted on the individual and team quadrants. More discrete discrepancies also exist on the other quadrants but are not so relevant.
Finally, the fourth step is dedicated to openly and collaboratively discussing the reason for the discrepancies, coming to a common sense and developing action plans to enhance the individual performance to be observed in a future assessment.
The goal here is to assess a team, rather than an individual. There are only three steps to be followed. In the first step a leader shall ask all individuals of a team to make their own assessments as explained previously. The result of this step is a collection of dots in each quadrant. The image bellow depicts the result of the assessment of a team composed by 8 people. The example is not real and was created just to demonstrate different possible scenarios of analysis.
The second step consists of the analysis of the quadrants, which provides important insights and reflections. Let´s take a close look at some of them:
- In the Individual Quadrant it can be noted that seven of the eight people are grouped in a certain position and there is one person away from this group. Also, we can observe that the team is not on the diagonal. Therefore, something can be inferred about this scenario. What is the difference between the perception of this individual from the rest of the group?
- In the Team Quadrant we observe all dots grouped in the same area, on the diagonal, but still in the yellow zone. It means we are in the right direction, but some improvements are still needed.
- In the Organization Quadrant some dots are close to the horizontal axis, some are close to the vertical axis and another one is isolated. Actions must be planned to bring people closer to the axes to the diagonal.
- In the Society Quadrant all dots are scattered. Multiple actions must be planned to bring the team to the diagonal, since there are different scenarios for each dot.
The third step is dedicated to discussing the reasons for the discrepancies, coming to a common sense and developing action plans to enhance the team performance to be observed in a future assessment.
Tips for Practitioners
- The boundaries between the red, yellow, and blue zones are intentionally blurry, since it is hard to define limits in a subjective assessment and the goal is just to collect a perception, rather than finding a precise measure.
- A scale from zero to five or zero to ten can be created on the axes to ease the assessment, but this is not mandatory.
- The soft and hard skills can be measured as a general perception or specific parameters can be defined to guide the assessment. This can be done for the whole plotter or for each quadrant. Individuals or leaders shall define the most suitable parameters for each context.
The SHARP Model is an easy, but powerful tool to be used and it can be applied in a varied of scenarios. Infinite types of situations can be found both in the individual or in the team assessment. Leaders have the opportunity to discuss with the followers and the other member of a team and create, together, action plans to improve performance and behaviors. Periodic assessments can be caried out to observe the effectiveness of the actions.