During the first decade of this century, while working with a US Federal Government agency, Dr. Dawson developed a new approach to assessing the complexity and skill requirements of workplace roles and calibrating them to Lectica’s developmental scale (the Lectical Scale). Today, we offer a suite of services that provide useful information about the complexity demands of roles within organizations. This information is used primarily to improve recruitment prediction, identify talent, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of change initiatives and leadership development.
A number of factors contribute to the complexity level of a workplace role. One of them, illustrated below, is the number and nature of the stakeholders and stakeholder groups affected by the decisions made in a particular role.
We can help you plan for future workforce requirements with projective analyses of the complexity demands of future functions or roles.
Regardless of your organization's current structure, we can help you optimize your organizational design by conducting comparative analyses of the complexity demands of current and future functions and roles.
We can help you design new roles or reconfigure existing roles to fit the existing role-complexity range for a particular layer in your current organization.
With a Lectical Assessment and a PRCA, we can determine the fit between the complexity-level of candidates’ mental skills and the complexity range of a given role (determined with a Precise Role Complexity Analysis™).
Mental ability is the best predictor of recruitment success (see evidence presented below). We measure mental ability plus Precise Role Fit™, which adds additional predictive power by fine-tuning the interpretation of mental ability scores. See the PRCA & recruitment section.
Our certified consultants help new hires close gaps in their skills with personal development plans based on role requirements and the resources and recommendations in their Lectical Assessment reports.
With Lectical Assessments and PRCAs, we determine the fit between the complexity-level of team members’ mental skills and the complexity ranges of their current roles. Our certified consultants can then leverage Lectical Assessment reports to support the growth of team members whose skills fall below the fit range for their roles.
Lectical Assessments and PRCAs can also be used to configure teams optimally by ensuring good role-fit prior to hiring or promotion.
Poor role fit is a common cause of poor workplace performance. With a Lectical Assessment and a PRCA, we can determine whether or not the complexity level of an underperforming employee's performance on a Lectical Assessment is a good match for the complexity range of their role.
Our certified consultants provide development programs that (1) teach employees how to learn from everyday workplace experience (ViP) and (2) personalize learning by leveraging the diagnostics and resources in Lectical Assessment reports. Learners can set targets for themselves based on the role complexity of desired future roles.
For the Essentials+ version of Lectical Assessment reports, we plot employees' future growth trajectories. We use these plots to support personal development, but they are also employed, alongside PRCAs, to identify individuals who are likely to be ready for a particular role at a particular point in the future.
GRCA and PRCA analyses are conducted internally by Lectical Analysts. We do not license external personnel to conduct these analyses. However, we rarely deliver these services directly to an organization. This is because using these products effectively in organizations requires special training from Lectica in addition to general consulting expertise. Certified Lectical Consultants who work with the GRCA and PRCA are currently serving organizations around the globe. We would be happy to make introductions.
This table illustrates how role-complexity ranges for successive layers in an idealized organization would change from layer to layer. It also serves as a definition for Lectica’s Work Levels. We do not mean to suggest that these ranges would be ideal in the real world, in which boundaries between layers are necessarily much fuzzier. Think of this as a simple way to represent a complex reality—and a way to illustrate how Lectica’s work levels relate—roughly—to complexity ranges.
|Lectica’s work levels||Lectical range||Role levels|
|L3 E6||1115–1135||upper level, highly skilled professional|
|L2 E5||1095–1115||mid-level, skilled professional|
|L1 E4||1075–1095||supervisory, professional|
|E3||1055–1075||highly skilled labor|
This table illustrates how role-complexity ranges for successive layers in a conventionally hierarchical organization might look. Notice that the ranges are wider than in the idealized example, and the overlap from layer to layer is significant. In flatter organizations, overlap can be even greater.
|Lectica’s work levels||Lectical range||Role levels|
|L3 E6||1120-1165||upper level, highly skilled professional|
|L2 E5||1100-1145||mid-level, skilled professional|
|L1 E4||1080-1125||supervisory, professional|
|E3||1060-1105||highly skilled labor|
The Precise Role Complexity Analysis range for most roles is around 15 points. This is the most common range we identify for individual roles. To interpret what this range means in practical terms, it helps to understand that it would take 4 to 8 years for an exceptionally effective learner performing in the 1150–1175 range and working in an organization that actively supports learning, to develop through 15 points on the Lectical Scale. At the other extreme, an individual who is not an effective learner and works in an organization that is not supportive of learning might not continue developing at all.
PRCA results are used to calculate Precise Role Fit scores. A PRCA fit score of 90 or above is an indication of excellent role fit. The logical coherence of an individual’s thinking, as demonstrated in their assessment responses, is an indication of growth potential. Scores of 90 and above indicate a strong likelihood of relatively rapid future growth. This can be especially important when rapid growth is desirable.
For a new hire, the “sweet spot” in a role-range is usually in the lower end. This is because:
Of course, exceptions can occur. For example, when an individual with a high score but low experience has been selected for fast-tracking, it may make sense for them to spend time in one or more lower-level roles before taking on a higher-level role.
Lectical Level is an indicator of mental skill as applied in workplace decision-making. Mental ability is by far the strongest predictor of hire success, with predictive validities of .29 to .49, depending on the analytical method employed.* (See the figure below).
Precise Role Fit scores should add to this predictive power by ensuring that people are placed in roles that are just challenging enough to ensure high engagement. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using Lectical Scores and fit scores in recruitment.
First, single assessments are associated with measurement error. Someone can do well because they have cheated, or do badly because they are having a bad day. There is a risk that we will miss a great candidate or fail to identify a case of cheating.
Second, an assessment of mental ability should be used as a necessary but not sufficient criterion for making a hiring decision. You will still need to know about an individual’s experience, domain knowledge, specific job skills, etc. You will also need to get a sense of how well a candidate will fit into your organizational culture. If you think of good role fit as a precondition for consideration, you’ll be on the right track.
Third, a PRCA tells us how well the complexity of a candidate’s reasoning fits the complexity demands of a given role. It does not tell us anything about how well their skills will fit a particular team unless the mental skills of other team members and the team leader have also been assessed. It can be particularly important to know about the complexity level of a team leader’s mental skills. A mismatch between the complexity level of a leader’s skills and those of a direct report can have serious consequences.
*Schmidt, F. L., Oh, I.-S., & Shaffer, J. A. (2016). Working paper: The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 100 years of research findings. Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124(2), 262-274.
IES (US Department of Education)
The Spencer Foundation
Dr. Sharon Solloway
The Simpson Foundation
The Leopold Foundation
Glastonbury School District, CT
The Ross School
Rainbow Community School
The Study School
Long Trail School
The US Naval Academy
The City of Edmonton, Alberta
The US Federal Government
Antonio Battro, MD, Ph.D., One Laptop Per Child
Marc Schwartz, Ph.D. and former high school teacher, University of Texas at Arlington
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D., University of Southern California
Willis Overton, Ph.D., Temple University, Emeritus