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Ah, Tuesday. Day after dreaded day, day before slump day, day where the erosion of hope and good faith grows palpable.

So, what better day to go browsing the LinkedIn discussion groups, where we find:

Recommendations Personality/Profile Assessment for C-Level

with the added kicker, that

we could implement quickly and independently (without the need for an outside consultant)

Right, first of all, few

[if any]

psychometric assessments marketed for executives will reflect what actually makes a difference:

  1. narcisissm
  2. psychopathy/sociopathy
  3. political agility

and, if you don’t know why those three dimensions are the most critical, then you can continue waxing lyrical about behavioral competencies.

But, regardless the reality/specificity of assessing psychological traits of executives, let’s head for the deep end…

First, I dare you

[double, nay triple, dog dare you]

to show me the empirical proof that you know what makes an executive successful

[and, you are not allowed to adopt any framework/mental model presented in the business literature]

[in fact, if a copy of Fast Company or Harvard Business Review is open on your desk, this conversation is over]

For every data point you cite, I want a statistically significant sample of both exemplary and failing leaders, in comparable industries, company-size, points in the business cycle, and extra-curricular situations.

If you intend to psychometrically compare female and male leaders, double the sample size for complete gender representation. For every ethnic/geographic grouping you include, show me the sample.

[given historic demographics, BC wishes you the very best of luck in finding a truly representative population – here’s a hint, it’s right next to the leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of the rainbow]

Got all that? Really?

Well, if you insist…

Test every C-Level executive you already employ.

If they fail: FIRE THEM.

Now test every successor you’ve identified through your best-practice


endorsed 9-box grid.

If they fail: TAKE THEM OFF THE LIST, and inform them they don’t have what it takes to become an executive at your company

[you may, at this point, engage an – internal, obviously – L&D professional to construct a questionably effective development plan – do not, under any circumstances, consider a highly skilled and experienced external executive coach]

Done all that. Good.

So, you have a valid tool, and have rigorously applied it to your existing executive talent. Time to move forward…


There are reasons people study to become clinical psychologists. There are reasons that BadConsultant’s brethren earn their fees.

Ill-advised, on-the-cheap solutions are bad enough when affecting real people; to believe that a similar approach should be applied to C-Suite is… just… well, it’s…

[sighs melodramatically, swoons]

This BadConsultant thinks he needs a little lie down…