You might not be shocked to hear that several NBA teams used personality profiling as part of the selection process in the recent NBA draft.

As personality profiling has become a standard practice in many organizations, it makes sense that NBA teams would look to leverage these tools, especially given the investment that will be made and impact these choices can have on an organization.

However, it's the way in which these NBA teams use them that may come as a bit of a surprise.

Of course, talent and potential are always going to be big drivers in who teams select, but they also know that it's how well that talent and potential develops that will determine ultimately whether a player will be successful or not.

Like many companies, the NBA teams get the potential players to take the personality tests to get a good idea of who they are, what behaviors are dominant, and try to assess their characters.

Unlike ordinary companies though, NBA teams have extensive scouting reports on their prospects, and the assessments are used to confirm what teams already know, as well as to deepen their understanding of the players, but it doesn't stop there.

According to Bill Barker, of PI Midlantic a leading expert who works with several NBA teams, here are three ways in which NBA teams use personality assessments to ensure they draft the right person.

1 - Assess the fit for the role

Given that the NBA only has a small number of positions on a team it is possible for them to create profiles for each of those positions, identifying the ideal attributes for each of them. This can be done by assessing people who were previously successful in the role, and understanding of what a team is looking for from particular position.

So as well as assessing a player's suitability for a position based on size, speed and skill.

They can now extend that assessment to behaviors. For example, if a player is gung-ho when it comes to risks taking you might not want to have him has your point guard, as this could lead to an unacceptable level of turnovers.

That information alone shouldn't be a deciding factor, but it does help paint a picture which can help with the decision making.

2 - Assess the fit to the team

When you are putting a team together, you need a combination of different skills, attitudes, attributes, and behaviors to make a successful team. For example, you need to some have leadership, calm-headedness, aggression, etc., and different players can bring these different attributes. The testing is used to see how well a player fits into the team, does he bring some missing component, how well does he complement the existing setup, and how well will he fit in. Who will be comfortable taking the shot with the game on the line?

You can have 5 of the best players in the world, but if none of them have leadership capabilities, then the team is never going to achieve its full potential.

3 - Define individual coaching plans

The assessment isn't just used to ensure that the right players are drafted. It's also used to so that the right coaching plans are put in place to ensure that the talent develops to meet its full potential. When it comes to getting the best out of people there is no one size fits all approach, as much as we would like there to be.

Identifying how much structure a player needs to feel confident in executing on both ends of the floor is critical. Some players excel because they are told where to be on the court at all times, others excel because they are given the freedom to create opportunities on their own.

Tailoring a coaching approach that helps develop the right behaviors and that is attuned to existing behaviors is always going to have a better chance ensuring that the talent comes through on the court.

If your company is using personality assessments, don't just stop at using them to assess the individuals. As Steve Picarde Jr. President of PI Midlantic says "Learn from the NBA and ensure that you're people are a right fit for the role, the right fit for the teams, and also that you have the right coaching plan to get the best out of them."

Published on: Jun 26, 2017
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