They say what gets measured, gets managed, but many believe this represents much of what is wrong with business today. After all, the competitive metrics that we measure do not always lead to businesses that are, in the words of the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI) not only the best in the world, but also the best for the world.
So how do we measure the second type of business and business leader? There have been attempts at deducing related measurable metrics, such as the amount of waste a company recycles, but this is a far cry from measuring the intentions and spirit of a business, its practices, and its perceived role in its environment.
But what if we could measure the level of intention and awareness of responsible leadership practices? What if we could test the initial awareness of these principles before and after an intervention, such as a teaching programme on responsible leadership? And, if you pursued these questions to their logical conclusion, what exactly would you be measuring?
These questions motivated a high-level team of researchers from 2 GRLI partners in Switzerland, Business School Lausanne and the University of St Gallen, to develop CARL — the Competency Assessment for Responsible Leaders. CARL is an online tool that takes a mere five minutes to complete, yet it measures over 45 competencies and sub-competencies, across five domains of action.
The road to developing this powerful assessment started in 2012 at the Rio+20 Summit. Following the launch of the 50+20 vision, Dr Katrin Muff of Business School Lausanne (BSL), then in the middle of her tenure as the dean of the school, met with other partners in the GRLI and discussed the many challenges facing society and the world.
Katrin was already an active proponent of the principles of responsible leadership, as was BSL, which is well-known for teaching a well-rounded and inclusive curriculum as well as for its intention of being an alternative to traditional business schools. The 50+20 vision started a fruitful relationship between BSL and the GRLI and saw Katrin being elected to the GRLI Board of Trustees.
It also birthed the Collaboratory process, which is used by BSL Lausanne, the GRLI and many other individuals and organizations to explore complex issues, define goals and outcomes and proactively work towards their solution.
Using this Collaboratory process, Katrin and fellow researchers Professor Thomas Dyllick and Anna Leichti set about defining the key metrics of responsible leadership, cataloguing and categorising them and developing them into the powerful CARL assessment tool.
As a foundation, the team used Anna’s meta study of all literature on responsible leadership and associated surveys. From this, the team distilled five competency dimensions, namely Stakeholder relations, Ethics and Values, Self-Awareness, Systems Thinking, and Change and Innovation.
These dimensions were mapped across the dimensions of knowing (knowledge), doing (skills) and being (attitudes), which in turn are based on a wide body of literature on responsible leadership.
This mapping process ultimately led to 15 main aspects and 45 sub-competencies (three apiece), which could be tested and assessed. These were trialled within BSL and the University of St Gallen, and in a controlled case study with Swisscom, giving the researchers real-world insight into the understanding and application of responsible leadership principles.
These first tests delivered valuable, measurable results, but took between 20 and 30 minutes to complete, far too long for many of the leaders that the test targeted.
The team then partnered with Fehr Advice in Zurich to create a complex online tool that would appear simple to the user, that only took five minutes to complete, that used innovative online behavioural software and well-structured questions to deliver useful feedback to the responders and that simultaneously add to the growing body of data on responsible leadership and its assessment.
With the development and testing completed, the CARL assessment was launched to the public and it remains free for all users. At BSL, the test is used extensively to measure pre- and post-course understanding of responsible leadership principles and the researchers hope to further refine the test, their research and their teaching methods as they get data on the efficacy of their responsible leadership teaching models.
Have a look at CARL here and take the test yourself: http://carl-test.org/