Leadership IQ: The 100% Leader Assessment

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| Written by Mark Murphy
Mark Murphy
Community Contributor
Total Contribution - 2 | Total attempts - 7,011
Questions: 10 | Attempts: 356

Leadership Quizzes & Trivia

Welcome to Leadership IQ's 100% Leader Quiz. This self-assessment consists of 10 questions designed to assess your talents at developing Hundred Percenters - people willing and inspired to give their maximal (100%) effort for your organization.
Remember that your score is just a starting point for your leadership development efforts. The greatest leaders didn't start out fully developed, but rather improved their abilities through training, practice and a desire to improve. (This test is for entertainment and personal development purposes only).
DIRECTIONS: For the following 10 questions, imagine that you're the new CEO of ChocoBot Inc., the world's largest maker Read moreof edible jewelry (e. G. Licorice bracelets, chocolate watches, gummy brooches, etc. ). There are two choices for each question, and you must select one.

Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    When you started as CEO of ChocoBot Inc., you were given the task of increasing profits in the candy necklace line. One potential cost savings that emerged was broken and damaged product in the Pearls and Baubles product line. This line is known for both its delicate blend of flavors and its delicate design. Currently about 10% of that product arrives to retailers broken, which costs you about $150,000 in lost profit. You meet with your Chief Operating Officer and Chief Research Officer and they each give you a recommendation. Which one do you choose?

    • A. 

      Your Chief Operating Officer suggests outsourcing the shipping of the Pearls and Baubles line to shipping experts Candy Movers. Candy Movers tells you that their "luxury packing" service will guarantee that 100% of the candy arrives intact. The shipping and extra packaging will cost you about $38,000 per year.

    • B. 

      Your Chief Research Officer says that they have invented an additive that strengthens the chocolate that makes up the necklaces The additive will cost about $5,000 per year, and only changes the taste and texture of the chocolate slightly. It was thoroughly tested, and is perfectly safe and edible. Shipping runs show that 100% of the candy arrives intact with this approach.

  • 2. 

    You were previously at a company where employee safety was one of the core values, and the safety record was exemplary. At ChocoBot, the employee safety record is mediocre at best. The executives have historically avoided this issue because they fear resistance from the employees. Safety initiatives at chocolate factories are notoriously difficult and require significant procedural changes for employees. ChocoBot has many long-tenured employees and it's feared that they would be unwilling to change (they've evidenced similar resistance on other projects). And the employees have not raised any concerns about safety. The employees do love the Employee Satisfaction Initiative which tackles pleasant issues like upgrading the vending and coffee machines, improving employee parking, etc. What do you do?

    • A. 

      Stay quiet about the safety issue. If the employees haven't raised any issues, it's not a big deal. And if they don't request it, they won't support it, and you won't achieve any results. Besides, they love the Employee Satisfaction Initiative, and it would be foolish to destroy that in order to tackle an issue they will probably dislike.

    • B. 

      Tackle the safety issue. Just because they don't want to do it doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do. The really smart and committed employees will likely take your side, and the ones who gripe are probably better off leaving anyways.

  • 3. 

    Every day ChocoBot generates thousands of pieces of candy that don't meet the rigid quality standards. The candy tastes fine, but it's somehow misshapen or broken. During the previous CEO's tenure it was discovered that employees were stealing this defective candy for personal consumption. They thought this was unseemly, so he and the executive team instituted a task force to monitor and reduce this theft. That task force still exists today. All of your executives sit on the task force, which meets twice monthly, and during your most recent executive team meeting, you received an update. The task force has been very successful in reducing theft, in fact it's almost nonexistent. Of course, because they're reducing the theft of candy that would have otherwise been thrown-out, no money has been saved or other tangible benefits achieved. But your executives, managers and Board love this task force and it was a favorite project of the revered former CEO. As CEO it's your decision to continue or discontinue task forces. Do you...

    • A. 

      End the task force. It's a waste of time and these people could be spending their time on more important issues. You need to communicate to everyone what is, and is not, important.

    • B. 

      Let the task force continue. Executives love it, managers love it and the Board loves it. You only risk generating ill will if you cancel it. It doesn't cost anything and it doesn't hurt anything. The benefits are minimal, but it's not worth the political capital you will lose, and that you need for more important issues.

  • 4. 

    You've got to motivate ChocoBot's middle managers to support a new, and necessary, change initiative. You're going to speak at the quarterly management meeting next week and all 300 middle managers will be in attendance. Neither ChocoBot nor these managers have much experience with change; they're in a very stable and protected industry. How will you tell them about the change initiative?

    • A. 

      Stay away from anything that might scare the managers and instead focus only on the positive aspects. You run the risk of terrifying these managers and chasing the best ones away. And then the negativity virus will spread to the frontline employees and you could face a stampede. Not only will that kill-off any change efforts, it could destroy your career. If your pitch is good enough, you won't have to worry about whether this change effort is seen as necessary, because people will already be bought-in.

    • B. 

      You've got to explain the risks of doing nothing and how this change effort is as critical to everyone's continued existence as breathing. These managers need to understand that if they don't change, their survival and the organization's survival could be jeopardized. You believe strongly that they have all the talent and skills to meet these challenges, and you will certainly communicate that message, but there can be no confusion about the seriousness of the challenge. You fear isn't that you're seen as too negative, it's that complacency will destroy the change effort.

  • 5. 

    You've also heard rumblings that employees feel the change effort will be too difficult; that it won't succeed because it's too hard. One of your senior executives comes to you and says "At least half of our managers don't have the skill set to lead this kind of change. So before we can start any changes, we need to pause so they can learn a whole new skill set. Also, the rest of the managers, who might have the skills, are worried that we're biting off too much. Most of them are really nervous about whether we can actually pull this off." What do you do?

    • A. 

      Push forward with the change effort. If managers are feeling nervous, that just means you've got their attention. Every change that was ever worth doing made somebody nervous along the way. Also, you're pretty sure that limiting peoples' resources can actually be an effective way to grow their skills and elevate their performance. Oftentimes the best work occurs under constrained conditions (after all, necessity is the mother of invention). Nervous energy is a whole lot better than complacency or apathy.

    • B. 

      Pause the change effort. If you learned nothing from business school it's that goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound). And it clearly sounds like your change effort goals aren't going to be Achievable or Realistic. Also, change efforts do not work if everyone doesn't have all the resources they need, and right now, your managers are lacking one critical resource: Skills. Even if they have other resources like Time, Budget and Authority, they're lacking Skills and that's a deal-breaker. Failed change efforts have destroyed a lot of CEO careers, and that's not a direction you want to head.

  • 6. 

    To drive this change effort you've established a Steering Committee. So far it's comprised of powerful executives, managers and even a few employees. And you've still got a few open spots to fill. You have two very powerful executives that are not enthusiastic about the change effort; in fact, they're openly negative. But they are wired throughout the organization. Do you appoint them to the open spots on the Steering Committee? (They will both accept if asked).

    • A. 

      Yes. They're very powerful and connected, and you need people who can work the grapevine. Plus, everyone else on the Steering Committee is very positive and their great attitudes will spread to these executives. Overwhelm the negative people with positive energy, and then leverage their political power.

    • B. 

      No. Their negativity will infect the team. Keep them far from the Steering Committee. You will have to deal with their negativity separately, but not on the committee.

  • 7. 

    There are 40 Senior Directors and Vice Presidents at ChocoBot. You know that 10 are really supportive of the change initiative and 10 are really against the change. The remaining 20 are sitting on the fence. What's the best way to sway the 20 fence-sitters?

    • A. 

      Spend your time with the 10 really supportive people. And then use the supportive people to sway the 20 fence-sitters (you think the fence-sitters will be more receptive to their peers than to you). Turn the supportive people into heroes and let the stories about their great work teach everyone else. You can't fix the negative people without a lot more work, so don't even try right now. For the moment just ignore them and spend your time with your supporters. Plus it's a lot more pleasant.

    • B. 

      Sway the negative people. They're pulling the 20 fence-sitters down to their level and you've got to negate their influence. So spend your time convincing at least some of the negative people to support the change and get them to release their powerful hold on the fence-sitters. The negative people are like an anchor, pulling your efforts to a halt. If you don't lessen their power, your change effort will fail.

  • 8. 

    You've got some senior managers and executives that are very difficult personalities. Your CFO, Hannah, is one such character. She's brilliant but mean. She believes that she's the best financial mind in the industry, and often belittles the financial skills of her fellow executives. When other executives give her feedback, she gets very angry and attacks them. She never changes the way she does things. When she's on an interesting project, she hoards the work and is very secretive. And all of her disruptive behavior has been going on for several years. On Tuesday, during an executive team meeting, she had another blow-up and made several nasty comments to other executives. A few days later you schedule a private meeting with her and you say...

    • A. 

      Hannah, you're a financial genius, no doubt about it. Maybe the best financial mind in the industry. But I really need for you to ease-up on your fellow executives, okay? They think you're territorial and sometimes even angry. And Tuesday's meeting really did not help things. All of this is making my life very difficult, so take it easy on them. With the shape of the economy, I need your financial intelligence now more than ever.

    • B. 

      Hannah, I've called you in today because there's a problem with your recent performance. In Tuesday's task force meeting you made three biting remarks during our brainstorming session, and that's just not acceptable behavior for that setting. Now, I can't force you to change, and I won't try. So you have a choice: you can change your behavior or keep it where it is. If you change, you will be much more effective and I can work with you to outline a very specific action plan. If you opt not to change, then we'll begin a formal 90-day improvement plan. I believe you're capable of changing this behavior. But understand that there are only two options here, and maintaining your present course is not one of them.

  • 9. 

    You're launching a new ad campaign for the Pearls and Baubles product line. You're going around to your most important clients to do a very detailed review of the campaign and solicit their input using formal market-research interviewing techniques. You put Joe in charge of finalizing the itinerary for one such client meeting. Joe is an eager, up-and-coming marketing manager who seems to have good skills and a good attitude. However, despite the fact that you've seen several drafts of the itinerary, Joe shows up to the meeting empty handed. You're very angry about this because it leaves you looking unprepared and amateurish in front of the client. You pull through the meeting and then approach Joe to discuss what happened. You believe Joe has a long-term future here, but he needs to get a clue and wake-up to the seriousness of a mistake like this. How do you start your conversation with Joe?

    • A. 

      Joe, would you be willing to have a conversation with me about the missing itinerary? I'd like to review the situation to make sure I'm on the same page as you. And if we have a different perspective, we'll work that out and come up with a plan for the future. Does that sound OK?

    • B. 

      I'll be honest Joe, I'm pretty angry about not having the itinerary. You obviously didn't listen when I said you were in charge of getting it done. If you're not going to do something, you need to tell me so I can do it myself or make other arrangements.

  • 10. 

    You're a strong believer in developing the next generation of leaders for ChocoBot. To that end, you and your executives have identified a group of "high potential" employees, and over the past few months, they've been given special assignments (so you can get closer to them, retain them and further develop their potential). But one of these employees, Karen, has seemed pretty burned out and mentally disengaged in the past month. You don't want to lose her, so you invite her to lunch to learn more about what motivates her, so you can do a better job of retaining and developing her talent. How do you direct the conversation?

    • A. 

      Only ask her about what motivates her. First, if you find out what motivates her, you will de facto discover what demotivates her, so this will be a much more efficient conversation. Second, if you start asking her about what might be demotivating her, you'll be cognitively solidifying all those negative thoughts in her head. And if there wasn't something actively demotivating her, you've now forced her to go looking for demotivators. You want her focused positively, not negatively.

    • B. 

      Ask her about both what motivates her and also what demotivates her. Motivators and demotivators are not flip sides of the same coin. Just because somebody has lots of motivators coming up this week does not mean they don't have any demotivators. And before you can spend all day trying to figure out how to give people lots of motivation, you've got to at least acknowledge (and ideally mitigate) the things that are demotivating them.

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