Analysing a Poor Performing IT Team at an International Retail Bank: Part 2

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Part 2: Assessment Results of the IT Team 
Extract from IT Manager’s Profile

Did the IT Manager have the profile we ideally wanted to see for this role?

His LPA results suggests the following about him:

  • Very critical, challenging and most probably authoritarian
  • Rigid and inflexible, seeks certainty over uncertainty, does not like change
  • Cautious and slow decision-maker, but also very dominant, high in energy and very persistent

The LPA results revealed that this was someone who was clearly going to have substantial difficulty in providing the sort of leadership required in a complex technology environment, especially when working with younger people.

The Team’s Profile  

The LPA revealed the following about the team:

  • Their focus is on Execution and Quality Control – this would be ok for a high-risk ‘steady state’ where the quality of the output is essential, but is less effective when dealing with change
  • Their lowest rating was for Management & Momentum. The pattern indicates that output is likely to be of a high standard, but the there is a relative lack of drive to meet targets
  • There are creative people in the team, but no strong Catalysts – enthusiastic people who spread ideas – so the creativity may be held internally within the team

These results presented two inter-related problems:

  • Arguably the wrong manager
  • Possibly also a lack of ability within the team to engage management in what they do
Team Culture

The team’s culture was also assessed using the LPA. Our analysis that the culture could be described as:

  • Consultative
  • Open
  • Affiliative
  • Energetic
  • Creative
  • Driven
  • Dominance

Overall, the LPA results suggested a strong profile for a modern IT team facing the need to innovate and meet the challenges of a changing business environment, so apart from the lack of ‘Catalysts’ we expected that they should be performing well.

After completing the LPA assessments, we can come to the following initial conclusions:

  1. It appeared that the IT Manager’s personal profile was not be aligned with the requirements of the role
  2. The IT team itself appears to have a strong managerial profile, and from a purely psychometric point of view it should be an effective unit, but their strengths didn’t seem to be emerging effectively

Let’s now take a look at what the appreciation of capability and potential told us:

After completing the MCPA we determined that the IT Manager’s current level of capability was the lowest in the team. This was one consequence of the Bank having a time-based promotion system, so the department heads tend to be the oldest team members. While this may be acceptable in some situations, in a fast-developing area like IT it tends to leave older managers isolated and technologically challenged.

We will now look at the final element of the analysis to see how the team thinks about performance and behaviour

The last tool we used the ELDI focused on how the team thought about performance and behaviour. The ELDI specifically looks at assessing skills and abilities, personal attributes, as well as derailers.

Whilst the results attained were extensive some example of what emerged included:

  • The IT Manager is unable to empower direct reports despite him thinking he does
  • The IT Manager was seen as being inaccessible to his team
  • Derailers such as interference, temper and inaccessibility did not seem to be considered ‘bad’ behaviour by the IT Manager
  • In general, there was strong indication of the inappropriate tolerance of authoritarian behaviour, as well as tension between the different rater groups

Please see part 3 for the conclusions and recommendations.