Personality test provides key information to guide businesses' personnel decisions
It may not be fortunetelling, but the Predictive Index gives important clues about an individual's success or failure in certain jobs.
In Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, the trademarked personality test is licensed to Bob Wilson & Associates Inc., a Carmel consulting firm that works with more than 200 companies, helping with hiring, retaining, managing and motivating employees. The firm also works with corporations on strategy and other management services.
Wilson, 54, "fell in love" with PI when working as a manager in a manufacturing company in Louisville in the mid-1980s.
"I knew I was not the best manager around and that I was not getting the most out of people who had worked for me," he said.
The test lifted the fog, he said, and helped him realize his strengths and weaknesses as well as those of his team members. With that knowledge, he figured out the best way to motivate and reward individuals to boost productivity and keep employees satisfied with their jobs.
Within a couple of years, he left the manufacturing company for his own consulting firm and bought the Indiana rights to Predictive Index. He moved his operation from Louisville to Indianapolis in 1993.
If someone is interested in starting a business, he or she "better be obsessed with succeeding," Wilson said.
He launched his venture in his home with the savings he and his wife, Dana, had accumulated with the goal of launching a business. But he did it without a business plan.
"My plan was to go out and sell," he said. "I had a marketing plan and a list of people to contact. I knew what I had to do and I did it."
The company developed a business plan about five or six years ago, an effort that included input from Wilson's consultants and others. Growth strategy includes expanding the firm's services to Fortune 500 companies. Most of the firm's clients are medium-size companies.
One of Wilson's earliest clients is Ray Hoffman, who has been working with the firm since 1988 and is a fan of the Predictive Index, a two-page test developed in the 1950s.
PI is a listing of nearly 100 adjectives-nice, neat, responsive, loyal and competitive, for example-that test-takers review before indicating which ones they would use to describe themselves and which ones others would use to describe them.
The results measure the internal drives that make people behave the way they do. The drives are neither good nor bad, Wilson said, but they can be linked to how well people perform certain tasks.
"It has been very beneficial to us," said Hoffman, vice president and chief operating officer at G3 Tech, an Indianapolis company that integrates voice and data systems. "PI helps us understand how people are motivated and how to deal with employees as individuals rather than groups of people."
Not all clients were convinced right away, though.
"I was absolutely skeptical," said Azher Khan, president of Calderon Textiles, an Indianapolis company that provides linens to health care, hospitality and rental markets.
Still, he has worked with Wilson about 10 years in hiring and making sure the company's 65 employees are in the right job. The company analyzes jobs according to the index and writes help-wanted ads with catch phrases designed to appeal to the type of personality desired for the position.
The index saved the job of at least one person, moving him from a top management position to a lower-level job.
"He was miserable, but a good soldier" trying to do his best as a manager, but hating it, Khan said of the employee who had been with the company nearly 20 years.
Calderon Textiles has also relied on Wilson's firm for strategy efforts and other management tools, Khan said.
"We're in the solutions business," Wilson said. "If a client wants it, we can do it."
Bob Wilson and his consulting staff help businesses make the most of their employees. The 19-year-old firm operates in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.