Several years ago, after almost 20 years in business, I had begun to actualize a planned succession strategy. In doing so, my day-to-day role changed. An unanticipated result of these changes was an eroding of the passion I had for my work. I couldn't understand how this had happened; this is, after all, just what I said I wanted.

Personal Discovery About the same time, I met Ron Price, who owns and operates Lifequest, an organization that specializes in discovering and developing natural talent for personal and organizational excellence. I took the three-part natural talent online assessment called “Discover Your Greatness” (DYG), which measures what job tasks your personality meshes with, your workplace motivators, and how well you might respond to different situations and individuals.

Since then, I have continued to work with Ron, who has helped me discover what makes me tick, where my greatest motivations come from, and where I can truly excel as my job continues to change over the next 5 to 10 years. My passion for my work has been restored.

Spread the News My business partner also took the assessment. She and I soon recognized DYG's potential to help us assess current employees and hire new employees by matching a position's needs with a candidate's personality.

Lifequest's benchmarking process helps us do that. It takes key team members who would interact with a person in a particular position and asks them to describe a personality that all feel would be perfect for the position. These same folks then take an assessment, answering questions from the point of view of the perfect person in this position. The profile is then compared to the candidate's own assessment; the closer the match, the more likely the candidate will excel in this position.

When we hire someone, we weigh the assessment as one-third of the decision; the other two-thirds are fit with the organization's culture and actual skill set and experience.

We have given the assessment to several of our most recent employees before they were hired or interviewed. We've also given the assessment to people after they were selected from a résumé and brief phone interview as a potential hire. It's amazing how well the new hires are doing at their positions — and how easily they might have failed at a different job if we had tried to place them in another seat.

For employees hired before we knew of DYG, we use the assessment as an ongoing coaching tool and to help transition them into a position that fits them better. The assessment helps them understand why a new position would be good for them and for us.

Business Recovery Business owners need every tool available to find the individuals whose skills not only fit the business' needs, but whose motivations, personality, work habits, and communication styles also are compatible with the position.

Having tried too often to fit what seems like a highly skilled candidate into a position that he or she was not right for, I wouldn't want to do another hire or manage day to day without these assessments. It gives us insight into which position will allow someone's natural aptitudes and talents to flourish — and in doing so takes our whole team to new heights.

—Steve Larson is the founding partner of Architectural Building Arts in Madison, Wis., a full service design/build firm specializing in creative transformations.