Something interesting happened in class today, but because some of you reading this may be new INSEADers who might take this elective, I will avoid giving too many details which could influence your own answers and give inaccurate results, which would do you a disfavour.
We all brought our laptops to class and filled in two Excel forms which generated a certain number. My score for the first assessment was very low and I realised people around me were scoring several times that number. (After officially reporting my score, I tinkered around with the Excel form, changing one of my answers to something I felt was less ‘harsh’ to see if my score would go up - and instead it went further down! So I really was an extreme case.) The professor then keyed in our numbers in a certain order. Then we did the second assessment and this time my score was fairly high.
Then the professor revealed a matrix (he joked that all self-respecting MBA professors have to use matrixes!) and suddenly I found myself in the best possible quadrant, having a combination of the two positive leadership attributes. The other 3 quadrants reflected different combinations of these characteristics (being present or absent). Because of my very low score for assessment #1 I found myself at one extreme end of the matrix, which made my little dot stick out conspicuously from the cluster of dots in the middle. The professor singled out my dot and a few other people’s dots that lay on extreme ends of each quadrant.
Someone asked if cultural differences would affect the scores and while it was possible, I also noticed that the classmates who had the highest and lowest scores for one characteristic (which reflects a certain personal value) were both from the same country and from the same sector.
Later on, a few of us were still discussing the findings and how my score was so extreme in the best segment. I said I was influenced by my own mother, who would question my reactions to things when I was younger, and so now I think more like she does. In fact, her score might even have been more extreme than mine, because she managed to rise up in the business world, got featured in business publications and still has lots of loyal employees under her who remember her to this day.
I’d love to discuss this further with people who have already taken this test. In any case it has been very encouraging for me. Of course a test alone may not be indicative of real life. What we say is different from what we do, although it may be a close enough comparison. Having the potential to be a great leader is very inspiring.