The Burke Learning Agility Inventory (Burke LAI) has been commercially available since the end of February, and the response has been very strong. At EASI•Consult®, we knew that learning agility is a topic of much interest to those in talent management, believing that a person’s ability to learn is strongly related to his or her leadership potential. The Burke LAI is the first test of its kind that can actually measure learning agility.
Since we began distributing the Burke LAI, EASI•Consult participated in three conferences as an exhibitor. We started with the Society of Industrial-Organizational Psychologists (SIOP) Conference in April in Anaheim, California. The attendees were industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists who saw the Burke LAI as something they could add to their battery of tests for individual assessment for selection or development. Many also saw the Burke LAI as something that would assist them with their coaching engagements.
The second conference held in Atlanta was on Assessing and Developing High Potentials. This was a much smaller and more intimate group that consisted of I-O psychologists and leadership development professionals. As a group, they were split between potentially using the Burke LAI for individual assessment and as a component on learning as part of a leadership development program. Again, there was a lot of interest in the Burke LAI and we found that several individuals wanted to take the test as a way to learn more about it. We are making the opportunity to take the test available to any potential customer. In many cases, we find that people who try the test soon start the process to become certified and administer the test within their organization.
In June, EASI•Consult attended the SHRM Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Attendees at this conference were predominately human resource generalists. While there is strong interest in learning agility, EASI•Consult needs to better educate HR generalists as purchasers about the value and importance of using a research-validated test. There is also a learning process for understanding how a tool like the Burke LAI can be integrated into an existing training program or performance management system and add significant value to it.
What else have we learned? We were concerned that people who took the test would inflate their scores. This has not been the case. We have had a normal distribution based on those who have taken the Burke LAI thus far. This is what you hope will be the case.
During conversations with those who have taken the Burke LAI, we’ve realized that some folks have confused performance with learning agility. A person may have achieved a number of things during his or her career, but may not have demonstrated the ability to use a variety of learning agility approaches to achieve those results.
There also have been instances when people have been surprised that their learning agility profiles showed lower results than they expected for individual dimensions. However, when the overall results were discussed, they agreed with the relative dominance of the different dimensions. What does that mean? It means that people who took the test agreed with their highest and lowest dimensions. They may have thought or hoped that a specific dimension would be higher (closer to the 100th percentile), but they did not disagree with which dimensions were their highest and lowest.
A lot of attention was given to the development of the Burke LAI report and feedback has been very positive about the report’s specificity and ability to be prescriptive. We did learn quickly that people who went through the certification process and planned to use the test for training wanted materials to support the test. We now also offer training materials for sale.
People who were going to use the test for training thought the examples in the report were great but said they wanted more of them. We’re doing two things to respond. First, Warner Burke (for whom the test is named) is working with me on a book that we hope will be out late this fall. The focus of the book will be on developing learning agility. There will be pages of examples grouped by each learning agility dimension and organized by a person’s level in the organization. There also will be chapters that will talk about how learning agility can be incorporated into the different functions of HR, such as onboarding and performance management.
The other way that EASI•Consult can support an organization’s introduction of learning agility is to engage us to work collaboratively with you in the design of a training session that incorporates the Burke LAI. When we designed the certification process, we wanted to establish a standard of competence for using the tool. We did not want to make it too formidable. What we are hearing is that our customers want more help in applying the content. We are here to assist in any way we can. We are trying to accumulate “frequently asked questions” from people who have taken the Burke LAI and will put those questions and answers on our website for use by people who have Burke LAI Certification.
It is our intent to keep learning and applying those learnings back into better supporting the Burke LAI. We welcome your feedback.
Dave Hoff is the chief operation officer and executive vice president for leadership development at EASI•Consult ®. EASI•Consult® works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. EASI•Consult’s specialties include leadership assessment, online pre-employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people through professional assessment. To learn more about EASI•Consult, visit www.easiconsult.com, email ContactUs@easiconsult.com or call 800.922.EASI.