The Hartman Value Profile – Replace Your Surface-Level Personality Tests
In his research, Hartman demonstrated that how we think, feel, and act is rooted in our deepest held values.
There are an array of tools available on the market to help organizations build strong teams. I’ve been exposed to a number of them and each has a unique approach. I use the Axiometrics version of the Hartman Value Profile. I like this tool because it is easy to use, extraordinarily accurate, and rooted in an approach that has a positive tilt.
I have been using the Hartman Value Profile for over twenty years. For the first ten, I used it to strengthen the teams in the organizations where I worked. For the last twelve, as a consultant, I used it to help clients strengthen their teams and staffing practices.
Easy to Use
I particularly like the Hartman Value Profile’s ease of use. It takes an individual about 10 minutes to complete the online exercise. That doesn’t mean it is simplistic. The profile is built upon the research of Robert Hartman and validated in the marketplace. It is easy to use because it is brilliantly constructed. Each section of the two-part exercise can account for 6.4 quadrillion permutations.
This gets to my second point, accuracy. Though theory and research discoveries of Robert Hartman form the basis of the profile, it has been broadly and thoroughly validated through both academic peer review and workplace testing—for more on this check out information on my website. I’ve been using this tool since 1994. It has consistently provided accurate insights across thousands of reports. It has a built-in rho factor that assures that no report will be generated if a logical thread does not exist.
The Positive Tilt
The profile focuses primarily on clarifying strengths, but is also identifies biases and provides coaching to ameliorate unproductive activities. It is able to do this because it is designed to measure one’s core beliefs and values, not just the behaviors that they give rise to.
In his research, Hartman demonstrated that how we think, feel, and act is rooted in our deepest held values. Having started his academic career in Germany during the rise of Hitler (thus his expeditious move to the US around 1940), Hartman was troubled by what he saw in his homeland. One of his famous quotes is: “If evil can be so efficiently organized, why not good?” Thus he spent his career exploring human values and the hierarchy of values. His work complements other research in the field that has demonstrates that conflict among people does not primarily arise out of lack of knowledge, skills, experience, or some acumen … it arises out of style—how each of us processes the world and the tension that exists between one style and another. Most of this conflict arises out of our competing strengths and the biases embedded within them.
The Logic of the Hartman Value Profile
Through his research, Hartman demonstrated how the mind processes the world and the self. Though I am at great risk in oversimplifying his work, let me discuss one aspect. Hartman described the mind as processing in three ways: empathically, pragmatically, and systemically. Empathic processing is related to intuition; it is one’s non-judgmental, non-time bound connection to people or things. Pragmatic processing is present-moment awareness, the awareness of options and making choices to achieve results. Systemic processing is imagination; it is conceptual and structural thinking.
The level of focus and clarity with which someone uses these talents defines one’s basic style. For example, someone with high focus and clarity in regard to empathic processing will be tuned in to people, will feel their pain, and respond empathetically. The embedded bias to this style is that such a person may be influenced by others’ feelings, may take on their feelings, and may be swayed or even overwhelmed by the emotional content. Conversely, someone with low focus on this type of processing will view things more objectively, with less emotional interference. However, this person’s embedded bias may be a lack of attention to the empathic dimensions, a team’s emotive connections, and may overlook important emotional elements or disregard the “human factor,” and unintentionally step on others’ toes. This is just one small facet of a tool that has an extraordinary capacity to shed light on how we engage the world and think about ourselves.
My firm uses this tool in three areas: team-building, recruitment, and coaching.
Each year we help a number of organizations understand the dynamics of their teams. The process we use is always a lot of fun and people enjoy getting to know and appreciate one another on a deeper level. Each team member receives a personal report that elaborates on their strengths and how to use them, including coaching notes on how to shore up areas that might be interfering with their performance or personal happiness. In a team meeting, we discuss a map of the team’s style: its decision-making culture, its strengths, and its biases. In one case, we worked with a national nonprofit organization that was experiencing conflict between the board and staff. Members of both teams completed the exercise. The resulting map clearly demonstrated the need for more consistent communication and longer-range planning. By using the profile, we showed where the issue arose. We then identified processes, practices, and accountabilities to implement to solve the problem… and eliminate the blame game.
The Hartman Value Profile offers valuable insight during the hiring process as well. There is nothing more expensive when it comes to personnel than making the wrong hire. In such cases, the individual that took the job is usually unhappy, frustrated, and unproductive, but can’t leave because of the implications. And the hiring manager is annoyed, frustrated as well, and now has an additional human resource problem that must be solved. The Hartman Value Profile can provide clarity in the hiring process by helping hiring managers to ask good questions, particularly about the candidates’ management and decision-making styles. Though the profile provides only one perspective on the hiring process, and is never the determinant for hiring, those who use it are far more informed about the candidates’ approach to work and thus make more informed decisions.
Finally, the Hartman Value Profile is a valuable tool for coaching. I’ve used it with executives who have sought out our services as well as with managers and their direct reports. The profile is an excellent tool, not only for self-improvement, but also for understanding where there are conflicts of style and the sources of those conflicts. This perspective aids in structuring non-threatening conversations that very productive in reaching resolution.
The more I use the Hartman Value Profile, the more I experience its contribution to organizational effectiveness. If anyone would like to experience the Hartman Value Profile, for themselves or their organization, please feel free to contact us and we will set it up.