We use the CPI 260® assessment in much of our coaching with faculty, staff, and higher administration. This 260-question online assessment provides insight about how a given leader is likely to be viewed by neutral and objective others. It also compares an individual’s characteristics with successful leaders in business.
Despite the business-focused comparison group, we have been impressed with this tool’s capacity to give useful feedback and worthwhile food for thought to faculty about their leadership strengths and weaknesses. Equally significant, however, have been the differences between our academia-based clients and the business world referenced by this assessment. This series of blog posts highlights the differences and peculiarities we have found to be most important in our work with academics.
In this blog post, we give a brief overview of how the CPI 260® works as a background to the academia-specific differences we describe in subsequent posts.
How it Works
The CPI 260® reports on 26 separate measures including qualities such as empathy, dominance, capacity for status, amicability, sensitivity, flexibility, tolerance, and insightfulness.
Each of these scores ranges from 0 to 100 within a standardized normal distribution normed at 50. In the general population, 68% of scores (1 standard deviation) fall in the 40-60 range. 16% of scores are higher than 60, while the remaining 16% are lower than 40.
While the distribution in the general population is symmetric around the mean, successful business leaders have scores that are higher than 50 on nearly all of these measures. (There is one notable exception to this pattern – we’ll highlight this in an upcoming post.)
Patterns in Academia
The first notable pattern we have seen in our work with academics is that faculty on the whole are much more similar to business leaders than to the general population – whether or not they have held a formal administrative role. This makes sense to us. While faculty careers are not touted as leadership, the requirements of classrooms, labs, funding mechanisms, mentoring, committee-work, and disciplinary contributions draw on and develop leadership skills.
There is a myth in academia that leadership=administration=the dark side. In truth, leadership is neither optional nor problematic for faculty. Leadership is the warp and weft of a career that is designed to move thought, knowledge, policy, practice, product, governance, commerce, peers, and students in directions that matter.