Greensboro, N.C. — Feb. 21
In an unusual human resources development, leadership-consulting firm Kaplan DeVries Inc. has been awarded a patent for their 360 feedback tool, the Leadership Versatility Index (LVI).
The patent was awarded because no other leadership development tool uses pairs of opposite leadership behaviors (such as “Takes Charge” versus “Empowers”) and also assesses versatility and “lopsidedness” among the pairs.
Through decade-long statistical research and first-hand use of the tool in executive development, the inventor-designers, Robert E. Kaplan, Ph.D., and Rob Kaiser of Kaplan Devries Inc., determined the instrument detects “lopsided” leadership.
Extreme lopsidedness is a major cause of career derailment and undermines talent management for many organizations.
In fact, Kaiser and Kaplan’s statistical research indicates that versatility — having a well-rounded repertoire — accounts for half of what separates the most highly regarded leaders from the least well-regarded leaders.
Kaplan and Kaiser’s 2006 book, “The Versatile Leader: Make The Most Of Your Strengths — Without Overdoing It,” describes their concept and research in detail.
They found executives who avoid overusing their strengths, and who strengthen their weaker “muscles” so they can lead in a wide variety of situations, have higher employee morale and overall better business outcomes than those who rely on a single strength.
“There is a central human tendency to rely too heavily on our strengths,” Kaplan said. “In leaders, this often creates blind spots that lead to complete career derailment. The problem is expensive in both business and human terms.”
Kaplan said this problem has become more pronounced in the current leadership environment, in which “sensing” skills are critical to making fast adjustments.
He points to the business world described in Thomas L. Friedman’s book, “The World is Flat.”
“It’s a world that demands constant adjustment and does not tolerate leaders who are unable or unwilling to build up their weak muscles — or who overuse their strong muscles,” he said.