By Deb Calvert
The Power of Multiple Views
During an organization-wide restructuring and culture reset, Jen Vifian, People & Development Manager at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Hospital, was introduced to her ECHO Listening Profile™—the scientifically validated assessment of listening styles. She found that ECHO “helped me to minimize my biases and understanding others better, including how they process information.”
After ECHO, Jen received feedback from a leadership 360-degree assessment (the Leadership Practices Inventory®) and completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®). She described her experience this way:
“We started with ECHO, and it helped me understand myself and others in conversations. But it’s been even more impactful when I reflect on how these assessments intersect. I understand why certain behaviors are easier and more natural for me.”
When multiple assessments are used together, practitioners, facilitators, and coaches have an opportunity to promote deeper self-reflection, connect the dots, and help participants apply what’s been learned more comprehensively. There’s more “stickiness” to learning that’s layered, nuanced, and reinforced.
As Jen discovered, the ECHO Listening Profile is an excellent companion to MBTI. A typical MBTI workshop introduces personality type theory and verification of your type. Participants leave with a four-letter type and a general understanding of others’ types.
What fewer facilitators understand or tap into is MBTI’s next-level indicators about communication style. The “function pairs” in MBTI are the middle two letters (ST, SF, NF, or NT). These two-letter pairs indicate what type of information you prefer, how you communicate, and how you learn.
Here’s where ECHO can enhance MBTI. Function pairs offer insights about innate preferences. ECHO reveals the listening habits that have been formed over time. Together, natural tendencies and behavioral choices can be compared and considered.
Practitioners who specialize in a single instrument can deliver more value when layering on additional tools in some situations. Keep in mind, the work of comparing, seeking consistencies or inconsistencies, and drawing conclusions about parallels is best done by the individual. Asking quality questions to promote reflection is the key role of the practitioner.
This facilitated self-awareness is high value with any combination of tools.
For example, if an organization uses CliftonStrengths, prompting team members to look at their strengths alongside their listening habits will help them see what comes naturally, what’s been adaptive, and what they can leverage to build new habits.
For teams struggling with unproductive conflict, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument® (TKI®) identifies individual preferences related to conflict responses. Adding ECHO gives these teams more to work with. They can pinpoint listening habits that may cause misunderstandings and conflict responses.
Working with a group that uses the suite of Everything DiSC® tools? The suite’s Agile EQ™ mindsets suggest modifications in listening and receiving information. ECHO is the missing link for translating mindsets into productive behaviors!
Coaching leaders? Any 360-degree assessment can be bolstered by deeper reflection and practical, behavioral insights. Take the Leadership Practices Inventory® (LPI®), for instance. It provides feedback about how often a leader displays key leadership behaviors, including “Actively listens to diverse points of view.” Jen’s report highlighted key behaviors she wished to display more frequently, and she determined that her ECHO Listening Profile would make some of these behaviors easier for her.
The Five Behaviors® Team Development instrument assesses groups on behaviors related to trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results. Many of these behaviors pertain to communicating. ECHO accelerates improvement in these very behaviors!
Another area for alignment is found in the periodic employee engagement survey. Most instruments have a section related to managerial effectiveness. Within that section, typical questions address, for example, how the manager communicates. Low scores here spotlight a need for managers to understand their own (and others’) listening habits.
These examples illustrate the benefits of adding the ECHO Listening Profile to your existing line-ups of assessment tools. In some organizations, there may be a misunderstanding that precludes the use of ECHO. For example, because another tool has been used or is currently being used, some may feel that ECHO is not needed. But just the opposite is often true. The use of other tools may be a beacon—with another assessment in place, an organization may need ECHO to maximize its value and application. Where one assessment surfaces the issues, ECHO provides the next steps for solving those issues by offering simple, easily applied suggestions for common workplace communication challenges.
There are certainly other examples where pairing assessments produces deeper-level insights, practical solutions, and broader adoption in the workplace. What are some of your best strategies for coupling tools to support colleagues and clients?
Deb Calvert is President & Founder of People First Productivity Solutions. She is an executive coach, trainer, speaker, and best-selling author. Deb joined the ECHO Listening Intelligence Certified Practitioner community in 2018.