Hit send, and the amazing happens: you get a detailed report on your working style, key strengths, and other significant data. It is truly phenomenal how much information they manage to pull out of a seemingly arbitrary list of questions.
You get a detailed report covering the following areas (a sample report can be found at the end of this post):
A report on your ideal working style, if external factors were removed. Are you a people person, or do you immerse yourself in your projects? Do you focus on one task fully, or do you juggle multiple assignments?
The report details the following traits: how dominant you are, the pace at which you work, how extrovertedyou are, and the degree to which you conform to the norms around you.
Logic style– you get told whether you prefer to base decisions on fact, feelings, or a balance of both. (A cynic might call feelings a lack of logic, but whatever.)
Energy style. Do you work bests in intense bursts, or slow and steady? The report draws distinctions between several styles and points out your two main styles.
Energy levels. Regardless of your style, different people have different amounts of energy reserves. How much can you put out before you collapse in a heap? You are given a number ranking you along a scale, detailing how much energy you have to put into your energy style.
It’s important to point out that almost all results are framed in the positive: there is no right or wrong way of being, just different styles. The key is figuring out if you are doing what best fits your personal style, this is ideal for both your personal satisfaction and you company’s benefit: the best employee is one who is happily doing what they are best at. (The only exception might be the energy levels, where seemingly higher is always better.)
Most of us don’t get to work in our ideal environment. This section takes the data from the previous section and measures what sort of effect your environment is having on your style. Any difference between your ideal self the style you currently adopt is called “stress”.
A visual graph shows to what degree, if at all, your dominance, pace, extroversion and conformity traits are being pushed or pulled in directions that are uncomfortable for you. Overall, you are then told if, and how much, dissatisfaction you are experiencing as a result of these discrepancies, and how much this drains your energy.
The type of persona we exude may be quite different from our true self. This section explores any differences. Again, it’s amazing that all these sections are generated based off your own answers yet are remarkably accurate.
Once it’s all said and done, what are the practical applications? This section describes your styles of communication (do you write long poetic emails or are you short and to the point?), leadership (do you order people around, or are you a master of diplomacy?), and backup style. This last point refers to how you act when you’ve had enough, when you are out of energy. For example, you may at least feel like becoming a dictatorial steamroller and forcing that incompetent intern from HR to send you the file you’ve been asking for for a month.
There are a couple of different uses to the PDP report:
As an individual, you can take the test to learn more about yourself, your working style and the ideal environment you should seek out for yourself to maximize your well-being. The main issue is that the PDP seems to typically be sold as a license of multiple tests, not a single one that you can just take personally.
As an employer, you can have all future employees take this test to learn what type of job would be ideally suited for them. You wouldn’t normally put someone with low extroversion in the sales department, and you might see that a potential hire for an administrative role is actually not so good with details.
You can take this report to the next level if you have an employee who is leaving take this test to help you find someone who closely fits his or her working style. A variation of this is creating a theoretical template of the ideal candidate for a job, and then seeing which applicant falls closest to the graph you’ve drawn. For example, there is a specific pattern for entrepreneurial individuals; if you are looking for someone to spearhead a new, innovative project; you can gauge how close an applicant fits the bill.
It should be noted that the results of the PDP contain a lot of complex data and a represent tremendous amount of research. Therefore, part of the process of acquiring a license to administer these tests is having someone (usually from HR) receive training in reading the reports.
My one criticism of this system is how primitive their website is. Seriously, such a great resources should not require you to have to battle through miles of text and outdated graphics to figure out how to take the test. Turns out, you need to contact someone to even take a demo test.
That said, the PDP is an impressive tool that quickly gives you a snapshot of an individual’s working style and can be an insightful and helpful resource to understanding both yourself and your present and future employees and achieving increased efficiency and work-satisfaction.
Do you think this system could be a benefit to you? What do you feel are its limitations? Let me know in the comments below.
As an example, check out my own PDP here.