Personal Development Exercise (PDE)

The PDE is a psychological assessment of an executive or manager. A report is produced describing the strengths, weaknesses and developmental challenges of the interviewee. The report is based mainly on a four or five-hour interview of the individual carried out by a consultant.

Before carrying out a PDE it is important to know the environment in which the individual operates. Therefore we put a lot of emphasis on getting acquainted with the company culture and the requirements of the position. This enables us to determine the right fit of an individual in a given position.

The PDE process and in particular the interview are conducted in a non-threatening way. It is critical that the individual feels comfortable and relaxed in order to remain open to our developmental suggestions.

We believe it is possible both to influence and modify human behaviour and also to adjust responsibilities in keeping with the job holder's personal attributes and company requirements. The desired result of these two approaches is to increase managerial effectiveness, and the PDE can be a new start in developing the skills of an executive or manager.

1 The PDE Process

A typical PDE Process consists of the following steps:

  • Getting acquainted with the company and the business issues
  • Analysing the requirements of the position
  • Carrying out the interview
  • Feedback to the superior
  • Writing and delivering the report
  • Feedback session with the individual
  • A three-way review of the profile with the individual, his supervisor and the psychologist

*In the case of a PDE with an existing employee, the feedback to the individual precedes feedback to the supervisor.

2 When To Use A PDE

A PDE is recommended in a variety of situations, some of which are:

  • External recruitment
  • Before an important career move
  • In the context of succession planning
  • As a management audit tool
  • As a developmental tool
  • As a feedback tool
  • As a career counselling approach
  • Before considering an expatriate assignment
  • As the first stage in a team building exercise to be based on group objectives

In some cases PDEs are used by a CEO or top management to familiarise themselves as quickly as possible with the management team below them. This approach can be used in the following examples:

  • New CEO
  • Mergers
  • Acquisitions
  • Venture capital

3 The PDE Interview

The Interview takes 4 or 5 hours and is conducted in an open and unrestricted way. The interview is semi-structured and covers the following issues:

  • Personal background
  • Educational background
  • Professional experience
  • Insight into business priorities
  • Leadership style
  • Vision
  • Achievements
  • Work skills
  • Motivation and ambition
  • Social skills
  • Decision making
  • Capacity for self assessment

4 The PDE Report

The main body of the PDE report describes the following dimensions of the interviewee's personality:

  • Intellectual capability and qualitative aspects of problem solving
  • Emotions
  • Motivation
  • Interpersonal style
  • Psychological insight
  • Work skills

In the conclusions of the report we provide a balance of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual. We only take into account their psychological profile. Technical skills are not assessed. Finally, we also make a number of recommendations about how the subject of the evaluation can improve managerial effectiveness.

5 PDE: Conclusion

The PDE process is a tool for evaluating the managerial effectiveness of the interviewee within a particular company context. However our approach differs from others in that we aim to go beyond a pure assessment by (re)launching the development of the individual in the context of their present and future roles in the company. In this sense the PDE process is also a powerful tool for influencing the managerial climate in an organisation.

Our ultimate goal is to increase the competitiveness and profitability of corporations by optimising the performance of their leaders and managers.