Crelos June 2009 Newsletter


June 2009


Welcome to the Crelos regular update

Personality and change

Over the last few months I have met with many leaders who are facing the need for fundamental change. Our discussions have been wide ranging and typically lead us to consider the question of ‘have we got the right people’ to deliver the change? In answering this question I have reminded myself of the importance that personality data can play.

Personality testing is typically used in organisations to understand people at an individual level, what are their likes and dislikes, preferences and foibles. Yet by focusing solely at the individual level organisations may be missing a trick. Aggregating individual personality data can help to unravel key cultural characteristics that will enable or resist organisational direction.

The study of personality can be traced back over two millennia but it wasn’t until the early 1990s that an empirically derived framework for studying personality became widely accepted in the scientific community. Decades of research involving hundreds of thousands of individuals revealed five broad dimensions of personality. These so-called Big Five dimensions – Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Intellect – provided a basic model for conceptualising and measuring personality.

Personality traits are not just fanciful labels, they are highly correlated with organisational and life outcomes. For example, a geographic personality map* of the US shows that in regions where intellect is high more patents are produced per capita and more people work in the arts, technology and R&D than in places where intellect is low. The prevalence of traits associated with agreeableness, such as warmth, generosity and friendliness, is linked to lower crime rates – people are more trusting in safe places. In states where rates of neuroticism are high, life expectancies are short and rates of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes are high. In such places, residents are also less socially connected than in regions where people are more emotionally stable.

Personality captures an individual’s behavioural tendencies, emotionality and capacity to acquire new information. It makes sense that more innovation and discovery occurs in places with high concentrations of intellectual people because pushing knowledge to the limit requires curiosity and imagination. It also makes sense that rates of sickness will be lower in places where people are emotionally stable because psychological health is a key determinant of physical health.

In evaluating your organisation’s ability to change look first to the predominant aggregate personality traits and their implications.

Ali Gill CEO, Crelos

*Ongoing research by Dr Jason Rentfrow, at the Department of Social and Developmental Psychology, and Dr Sam Gosling, at the University of Texas, aims to examine geographic variation in personality.

At A Glance...

Thinking Aloud

Looking Forward



New Research

Did You Know?


Thinking Aloud


What Now? - Managing and leading through the next phase of the recession

This new ‘thinking aloud’ article is part of a series of papers designed to prompt thought and engage conversation. This quarter, we look at the typical organisational behaviour issues that leaders will face as we enter the second phase of the recession.

I’d welcome your comments so please do contact me




Looking forward


Employee engagement in a change environment

Change is inevitable for people and organisations and, even though managing change is a core skill for HR professionals, there are numerous academic studies that indicate that 70 per cent of change programs reportedly fail (Rune Todnem, 2005).

Using construction business Costain's Project Management Academy as a case study, this paper discusses the dynamics of change within organisations, presents a rigorous approach to managing it that is based on a model of sustained behavioural development and illustrates how in today’s organisation lasting and successful organisational change will best be achieved through engagement in behavioural change.





Crelos have just released a new guideline entitled ‘Due diligence – The assessment and development of management teams’.

Our fundamental proposition is that Investing Fund Managers, Boards (both Executive & Non Executive Directors) and Regulators (of all industries – BoE, FSA, Ofcom, Ofgem, Ofwat, ORR etc) are responsible for performing “Management Due Diligence” on a variety of occasions in assessing the suitability of individual Directors or the ability of Management Teams to lead and manage highly complex businesses.

The wrong leader in the wrong job will damage share price, business performance and business sustainability. There is a scientific basis upon which organisations can better predict how well people will do in particular jobs and, like most things, if done well it can make a substantial difference. Yet, evidence shows that the majority of appointments are still completed without thorough and objective assessment despite the fact that data provided from these assessments is highly predictive of individual, team and business performance.

Our goal is to draw attention to the value that objective, scientific assessment and subsequent development can add. Business is open to human interpretation, judgement and the decisions of people in leadership roles. Regulators, Executives and Non-Executive Directors as well as Fund Managers have a role to play in ensuring the very best practice is used to evidence capability and fit in order that a business and the people that work for it have the best opportunity to deliver on their strategic objectives.

The Guideline was released by the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales) Corporate Finance Faculty. Although it deals in the detail with pre-investment Due Diligence and post-investment Performance Reviews, it has great potential to be the precedent for the “Due Diligence” which should be performed on individual Directors and Management Teams on a variety of occasions

To get a copy, please email us at or phone 01491 845548.






Perfecting Performance Series – Due Diligence, the assessment and subsequent development of the management team - March 12th, 2009

Crelos were invited by the ICAEW’s (Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales) Corporate Finance Faculty to examine the critical importance of the Management Team to the success of transactions including initial Leverage Buyouts, Venture Capital investments and subsequent restructurings. Ali Gill, CEO of Crelos and presenter, demonstrated how management assessment is critical to due diligence, and how management team development roadmaps need to be tightly woven into the business plan.

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion which looked at the due diligence of the management team in-practice. Drawing from their own personnel experiences, the panel members discussed what is being done in the area of measurement and development of high performing teams, what is best practice and how it is applied.

To obtain a summary of what was discussed, please email us at or phone 01491 845548.



New Research


The seven secrets behind great teaching

Crelos have recently teamed up with TES (Times Education Supplement) magazine to look into what makes a talented teacher. The 15 award-winning teachers were chosen because they represented a cross-section of the teaching population - from primary and secondary teachers to heads.

We carried out a number of assessments, including psychometric tests and interviews and looked at their personalities, motivations and behaviours. The article written by TES as a result has generated a very lively debate amongst teachers. Click here to read the article and the comments.



Did you know?



… that, according to recent research by Deloitte on CEOs view of the economic downturn

  • 43% expressed a high or very high concern about losing top talent
  • 40% will try and attract critical talent with ’hard to find’ skills, with
  • 30% reporting they are looking to bring in more leaders

… in a survey carried out by McKinsey in February 2009 only half of the board members polled said that their board had responded effectively to the global economic turmoil, demonstrating that many boards of directors are not providing the leadership demanded by the global economic crisis. In the unsuccessful companies, boards were mostly blamed for ineffective talent management and restructuring.

… that, according to a survey carried out in the U.S. by Modern Survey in February 2009, employee engagement, which had decreased during the first year of the recession, is now rising back up. All five components of Modern Survey’s Employee Engagement Index show at least some improvement over the last six months. The most dramatic improvement is a statistically significant six point increase in the percentage of U.S. workers who report a willingness to “go above and beyond” their normal job duties to help their company succeed.