Thursday, April 27, 2017

Disrupting Talent Development with Revolutionary Assessment Tools

Employee engagement in the US has been hovering at about 30% for a decade. Despite numerous attempts by companies to move the needle via surveys, engagement initiatives and tantalizing perks, the majority of employees remain mostly “ho hum” about their companies, their jobs, their leaders.

Gallup, who does ongoing analysis of employee engagement, had this to say, “Creating a culture of engagement requires a company to take a close look at the critical engagement elements that align with performance and with the organization’s human capital strategy. Managers and leaders should keep employee engagement top of mind – because every interaction with employees can have an impact on engagement and organizational performance.”

So what’s a company to do? How do they get that closer look at critical engagement elements – effective leadership, a sense of purpose, career development, communication, meaningful work – to motivate and retain employees? One tool that companies use is psychometric assessments. Yet many of the companies that use them are using the same old assessments year after year, some of which were created back in the 1940s. As someone once said, you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.  Many of those older tools are mired in old thinking. They focus on “typing” people or putting them into categories or boxes without acknowledging the vast complexities of the human personality. They measure human doings versus exploring human beings.

It's time for a different approach.

Lumina Learning is disrupting the world of talent development through its revolutionary psychometric tools, which are bias-free, jargon-free, empirically measured, and based on the Latest Big 5 research. The Big 5 Personality Traits are:
1.       Open to Experience
2.       Conscientiousness
3.       Extraversion
4.       Agreeableness
5.       Neuroticism

National Geographic’s publication Your Personality Explained, called the Big 5 the cutting edge approach to measuring personality because it doesn’t categorize people as “types,” but rather empirically and scientifically measures each of their 5 personality factors for a more unique and comprehensive picture.

Typing individuals not only limits their potential, but can give them an easy out when explaining their behavior. For example, if someone is typed as a take-charge personality, they may think it gives them license to step on toes or be overly aggressive to get things done. “That’s just who I am.”

Lumina Learning’s assessment, Lumina Spark, recognizes the complex contradictions that make each one of us unique. For example, an individual may have both introvert AND extravert qualities; they can be tactical AND strategic; they can focus on results, AND also care about the people.

The Lumina framework embraces the fact that each individual possesses opposing personality traits. It’s “AND” thinking versus “EITHER/OR” thinking. Lumina embraces the paradox. 

Lumina Spark achieves this more comprehensive view by looking at 8 aspects and 24 qualities, and measuring these along a continuum to create a unique portrait for each individual. And it goes deeper.  Each quality is measured for three personas:

1.       Your Underlying persona – who you are most naturally
2.       Your Everyday persona – how you “show up” based on what’s required of you at work
3.       Your Overextended persona – how you behave under stress

The Lumina model is built around understanding ourselves and others so that we can adapt our behavior and communicate and work better together. Individuals are complex, and should not be placed in boxes, limiting the beliefs about their effectiveness, their capabilities and their ability to develop and expand.

“Spark” employee engagement by giving your people the latest tools to discover and apply their full potential.

Want to learn more? Contact us at to learn about upcoming Lumina events. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Embracing Our Emotions – Both Positive and Negative

There is a lot of buzz in the industry around Emotional Intelligence, which primarily deals with having interpersonal skills.  The issue is really much broader than this.  As we go throughout our day, we may experience a variety of emotions based on specific situations or how we perceive our interactions with others.   

“What’s with all the leadership closed-door meetings? Are we going to have a layoff?” (fear)  
“How dare they pass me over for that promotion. After all I’ve contributed to this company?” (anger) 

These situations can ignite emotional triggers which drive our behaviors and reactions.  Becoming aware of these emotions, being in charge of them, how we react and behave because of them is the key.  We call this being flexible or agile with your emotions. 

Most of the time, especially in the workplace, we don’t take the time to think about the emotions we’re experiencing, or to consider how they might impact our behaviors.  That usually happens after the fact - on the drive home when we ruminate on a heated discussion and wish we’d handled it differently. Or it may not happen until someone calls us on our behavior the next day. Or worse, it may not happen at all.

In his work, psychologist Robert Plutchik identified eight basic emotions and their opposites: Joy – sadness; trust – disgust; fear – anger; surprise – anticipation; sadness – joy; disgust – trust; anger – fear; anticipation – surprise. Plutchik theorized that:

  • Emotions have served an adaptive role in helping organisms deal with key survival issues posed by the environment
  • Primary emotions can be conceptualized in terms of pairs of polar opposites
  • All emotions vary in their degree of similarity to one another

We need our emotions! Even the ones that we might consider negative – sadness, anger, fear, disgust. In fact, according to an article in Scientific American, “anger and sadness are an important part of life, and new research shows that experiencing and accepting such emotions are vital to our mental health. Attempting to suppress thoughts can backfire and even diminish our sense of contentment.”

So the key is not to suppress your emotions, but to become more aware and appreciative of them, and in so doing, recognize how they impact your behaviors.  This enables your ability to reframe your behavior into a more productive response.

Once you have an awareness of how you typically respond to certain triggers and in certain situations, you can choose a different response. It’s not about avoiding certain emotions, or interpreting them as good or bad. After all, your emotions are your emotions. It’s about understanding them and learning to adjust your behavior accordingly.

When we experience an emotion, we should recognize and act on it. You know you are feeling something, what are you going to do with that? Are you acting in a way that aligns with your belief system, or are you reacting to old baggage? Emotions are not good or bad, right or wrong. We have to reframe and understand where they are coming from, or act on them and make a change.  Our emotions come into play when our core values are compromised.  If our behaviors are not in line with our core values, it creates discontent within us.

So how do you begin the journey from recognizing emotions to managing behaviors? Lumina Emotion is the internal compass that helps us align our behaviors with our values and beliefs.  The Lumina Emotion Portrait uncovers the relationship between your inner feelings, emotions and behaviors. It examines unique patterns of behavior, including how you may tune up or tune down certain behaviors to suit the needs of your environment. It also focuses on how you can overplay your strengths and highlights potential blockers to interpersonal effectiveness - those emotions we feel when we are overly stressed or under pressure. Lumina Emotion helps you understand how you will react. It takes you on a journey to composure, which helps you find the behavior that will rescue you.

Interested in learning more about Lumina Emotion? Contact us at to learn about upcoming Lumina Emotion events. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Getting to the Heart of Leadership

When faced with a decision, do you rely on your head or your heart? Many would argue that decisions – especially business decisions – are best when made as the result of carefully reviewing facts, weighing the options, and then making the most logical choice. In other words, go with your head and forgo your heart. As leaders, however, we make many decisions throughout the day. And a number of them – if you want to be a truly effective leader – need to involve your heart.

No matter what the poster on the wall might say, it’s YOUR actions and reactions as a leader that establish the true culture of an organization. Your employees look to you as a model for how they treat one another, how loyal they are to their team and the organization, and how they behave in general. Showing some heart in your behaviors, in your conversations and in your approach to decision-making will go a long way to ensuring that there is heart in your company culture.

Here's an example. You may tend toward being direct and purposeful. Say what you need to say and move on. But remember, words are powerful. They convey information and they also inflict feelings. As Maya Angelou said, “people will forget what you said…but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  You can still be direct and purposeful, but how about wrapping those words in a blanket of gentleness and kindness? Think about how that might affect the outcome.

When you are in a difficult conversation, take a deep breath, count to 5, and imagine yourself in the other person’s shoes. How might this impact your conversation?

As leaders, we’re busy. We move through the day from meetings to issues to decisions with little time to reflect or to tap into that inner voice that helps us align our actions, intentions, and values: our heart. Last month was “heart health” month. In honor of that, I recommend that, going forward, you do this brief exercise before going into an important meeting or difficult conversation.

Spend a few quiet moments to get grounded. Feel your connectedness to the earth – imagine the trees, rivers, mountains and oceans that make up this beautiful planet; feel the ground beneath you.
Imagine your audience. What do they need to hear from you? How do they need to hear it? What can you say, or how can you say it in a way that conveys positivity and optimism? See yourself as the conduit between your audience and what they need from the meeting or conversation.
Connect with your inner self. Listen to your heart to understand what you need to do to connect with your audience.
Set an intention for the meeting, such as to be direct but open, tough but gentle, logical but empathetic, or simply to have clarity and openness. Let your connectedness guide your approach and your message.
Get out of your head and into your heart. Be receptive to new ways of showing up.

And as you make decisions throughout the day, give your heart a voice in the process.

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung

Lead on,