The Leadership Circle Profile™
What are the big take-aways?
Last month I was in Washington, D.C. for a few days to take a certification course in the Leadership Circle Profile, a 360° leadership assessment tool. (A 360 measures a person’s leadership effectiveness by soliciting feedback from various colleagues in her orbit, i.e. as in a circle drawn around her: herself, her boss, boss’s boss, peers, and direct reports.) Many leadership coaches and consultants, as well as in-house human resources professionals, offer 360’s as a service to clients who seek assessments of their current strengths and growth edges as a starting-place for leadership coaching engagements.
Of all the packaged 360° assessments out there, the Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) was the first to intentionally integrate various adult development theories (with an emphasis on Robert Kegan’s “forms of mind” framework) while also being rooted in a dense philosophy that explicitly defines effective leadership as a creative and spiritual pursuit. This combination is what I like about the LCP and why I chose to get certified in it.
Why do I like it?
I also like the LCP because of what it measures. As the brochure explains, the tool assesses 18 “creative competencies” which “measure key leadership behaviors and internal assumptions that lead to high fulfillment, high achievement leadership.” It also assesses 13 “reactive tendencies” that “reflect inner beliefs and assumptions that limit effectiveness, authentic expression and empowering leadership.” The LCP summary report shows how a leader’s creativity and reactivity are interrelated and in dynamic play with each other.
The measurement is done by self-assessment and by 10-20 raters (called “evaluators”) in the leader’s workplace, via user-friendly online surveys. It is a compelling process and I can understand why LCP certification candidates are themselves required to experience the instrument, and a debrief with a practitioner, prior to taking the course. What impressed me most was how complex and nuanced the tool is, which manifests in how well it provokes the kinds of questions in a leader that can propel meaningful coaching conversations. One’s LCP report quickly surfaces interesting areas for productive inquiry. In my opinion, the LCP’s power is further enhanced by the clarity, elegance and visual appeal of the report materials.
In what situations would this be useful?
The LCP is designed for growth-oriented emerging and veteran leaders in an entity large enough to provide a minimum of 10 (optimally 15-20) evaluators surrounding each participant. Its pricing is geared toward organizations that are committed to making, and able to make, a substantial investment in nurturing better leadership. The competencies the LCP measures are universally applicable to leaders in any sector or industry. For my clientele, I can imagine this assessment being useful at any time, and especially in the midst of an individual or organizational transition, because the LCP has the potential to reveal fresh perspectives and new narratives about who the leader is and who she is becoming.
Note: The LCP is not a performance appraisal tool and should not be considered part of any performance-review process. As the website explains, “[b]ecause this tool measures internal belief structures and therefore produces more powerful and vulnerable information, treating the results confidentially is of highest priority.” Of course, leaders who take the LCP are encouraged to share the results with their supervisors as part of – what ought to be, ideally – ongoing conversations about their growth.
What other resources might “pair” well with it?
The LCP is presented beautifully, with superb graphics, on The Leadership Circle’s website. If you’re interested in a thorough discussion of the philosophy, theories and research behind the LCP, I highly recommend the book co-authored by its developer, Bob Anderson, entitled Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results. I reviewed it in the Leadership Library shortly after it came out a couple of years ago. As I wrote then, I wholeheartedly agree with the authors’ fundamental premise, which is that “the inner game runs the outer game.” In other words, a leader’s inner capacity for learning, adaptation and transformation directly affects her outer creativity and effectiveness.
For more about the neuroscience behind “leading your life” creatively in all dimensions – including as a parent – consider Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, splendidly reviewed here in Brain Pickings.