|WIN-WIN: Winfield Padgett liked the Harrison Assessment so much, he started a company with it.
photography by Elizabeth Lavin
Personality tests might be okay for determining whether a potential employee is a “blue personality type with strong tendencies toward chartreuse,” but they say relatively little about how well-suited a person is toward a particular job. Enter the Harrison Assessment, a work-suitability questionnaire that has been warmly embraced in Australia and Asia for more than 20 years and is now being offered in America by Dallas-based Padgett Performance Group.
Developed by Australian Ph.D. Dan Harrison, the Harrison Assessment relies on the paradox theory, which measures the balance of twelve different personality traits along with their various productive and unproductive inclinations. “It has been successful in Asia because it’s similar to their 3,000-year-old concept of yin and yang,” says Jim Povec, one of the principals of Padgett Performance Group. “It says that any trait can manifest itself in different ways.”
Winfield Padgett, of Padgett Printing of Dallas, was so impressed when he took the test that he decided to start Padgett Performance Group with Povec. “It’s very useful for hiring because the scores on the different traits can be measured against different jobs to see where an individual fits best,” Padgett says. “If you can be matched to a job where you are happy, you will be more productive and get better at the job.” The test can also help members of a group see where each person’s strengths and weaknesses lie, in order to better understand each other.
And CEOs are also finding the Harrison Assessment useful in understanding their own behavior. Because the paradox theory can help determine how an individual’s traits can flip under stress, executives can have a greater awareness of their own behavior in difficult circumstances. “In emotional intelligence,” Povec says, “self-awareness is the first step, and the Harrison Assessment is perfect for achieving this.”