Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Increasing average individual sales performance by 40% through introduction of Shadowmatch

“We were faced with a sales team who were performing at an average level at best. When confronted with a new, out of the ordinary sales pipeline, we realized this conundrum would result in us being unable to reach our targets, with a direct impact on business growth, capital budget allocations and staff recognition and rewards. Shadowmatch was introduced into the business to assist with recruitment of new employees as well as understanding where current sales consultants would be best suited. Shadowmatch had a major impact on the sales consultants performance, once introduced into the business."
- Director - Global Technology Company

The introduction of Shadowmatch into this business as a recruitment and career management tool has contributed to an increase in morale amongst the sales consultants, and greatly assisted in placing employees in the right positions. It further facilitated sales targets to be met, contributing to the overall financial results in the last financial year.

Customer Background:

The sales team of this Global Technology business was in place for almost three years, with some sales consultants performing on average, whilst most achieved below average sales results. Some of the sales consultants performed poorly, whilst some of them were unhappy in their positions. With an unprecedented sales pipeline introduced into the business, a real dilemma ensued, as the sales team was not adequately equipped to perform at the levels required. As is the case with most businesses, the role of the sales team is imperative in ensuring the success of the business in future, and the business wanted to look at how they could improve the quality of the sales consultants, as well as redeploy those consultants who were not well suited in their existing roles. Various instruments were evaluated to identify whether these gaps could be filled.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Shadowmatch used to identify Leadership potential

by Lizette Bester,

A leading South African Bank was faced with the challenge of identifying and fast tracking young, upcoming leaders. They wanted to invest in these individuals’ training and up-skilling in order to prepare them for future leadership positions in the organisation.

The next hurdle they faced was who to choose and what criteria to use in identifying these individuals. This type of investment is expensive and one doesn’t want to waste time and energy on someone who doesn’t intend staying in the organisation for a long time or who will never become a successful leader in the specific environment. It is significant to note that they were not looking for future managers, but rather for future leaders. Shadowmatch came to the rescue!

They were advised to identify the top most influential leaders in the organisation. These individuals didn’t necessarily have to be from the top management levels, they just had to be individuals who have a real influence on their environment, the task at hand and the people they work with.

Once these individuals were identified, they were all given a Shadowmatch access code to complete the online worksheet. A benchmark was created and the Bank now had a profile of the habits of the most influential leaders in the environment. They now had the opportunity to search their Shadowmatch database of almost 1 000 people to find those people who have similar behavioural patterns to the benchmark. Close to a hundred individuals with an 8, 9 and 10/10 match to the benchmark were identified. In other words these individuals had an eighty, ninety and almost hundred percent chance of becoming as successful as the top leaders in the Bank. They might be in need of the technical training, however they have the same behavioural patterns that would lead to successful leadership in that specific environment with that culture.

The Bank was now in a position to spend money and time wisely, training people that had the natural ability to become successful leaders in their environment.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shadowmatch: New Developments - By Lizette Bester

Dear user, we are on a continuous drive to enhance the system and to make it even more user friendly and comprehensive. We have a couple of new developments going live during June. These are:

1. Automated Benchmark reliability and validity checking: The system has been updated to automatically check the reliability and validity of the benchmark. The benchmark strength will be indicated by either a green, amber or red bar and the system will prompt the user indicating which individual needs to be removed in order to improve the benchmark stability.

2. Standardisation of reports: All the reports (short Personal Report and Matching Report) will be standardised to carry the same look and feel. Both the Matching Report and short Personal Report will now be sent as an attachment in pdf format. The e-mail that accompanies the short report will explain that the report is only an abbreviated report highlighting the strongest habits and that a full integrated Feedback Report is available. The Matching Report development will only be completed towards the end of June due to the fact that the Matching Report will also now include the Shadowmatch results page.

3. Multimove and copy: We have upgraded the system to allow the user to move or copy more than one Shadowmatch result at a time.
Other developments that you can look forward to, are:

1. The functionality of receiving a confirmation e-mail once an individual has completed a worksheet.
2. The functionality of e-mailing the full integrated Personal Feedback Report directly from the system.

With the continuous enhancements and new developments we strive to make Shadowmatch even more user friendly and empowering.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Shadowmatch USA

Shadowmatch USA has recently gone live and we are very impressed with what our colleagues in the States are doing. They have created their own website www.peoplesync.com and the information they have available on their website is very different to the information on www.shadowmatch.co.za/about . Shadowmatch clients in South Africa with a curiosity to see what they have done, can visit the PeopleSync website.

They have also done some fascinating work to explain the working capabilities of Shadowmatch by means of a range of YouTube videos. Click on this link to see any of the videos they’ve created: www.youtube.com/peoplesync .

In addition to the USA presence of Shadowmatch, we have also done some work towards creating multiple language worksheets for the international market. We’ve gone live with French as a first additional language. The market for French speaking clients are primarily in central Africa and we are looking forward to see the first batch of results from the French speaking business communities in central east Africa. Most interesting will be the possible difference in the time aspect of completing a Shadowmatch worksheet in French. Our early gut feeling is that there will be no difference.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


-by Heidi van Schalkwyk (MA. Industrial Psychology) -
"Habit is the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what keeps all within bounds of ordinance… It keeps the fisherman and the deck-hand at the sea through the winter; it holds the miner in his darkness, and hails the countryman to his log-cabin and his lonely farm through all the months of snow… It dooms us all to fight out the battle of life upon the lines of our nurture or our early choice, and to make the best of a pursuit that disagrees, because there is no other for which we are fitted…"
- William James, Principles of Psychology, 1890


Habits are learned behaviour or automated response dispositions that are repeated regularly without thinking. These actions are triggered by aspects of the context such as the environment or preceding events (Neal, Wood & Quinn, 2006). ShadowMatch has been developed to specifically measure the habits that are triggered within a specific working environment. These habits are usually necessary behaviours for an individual to be able to perform in that specific context.

People with the same habits can still be diverse regarding their backgrounds. Diversity is defined as the differences and similarities that exist among people. (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2001). Three major areas of diversity are identified namely demographic characteristics which includes culture, ethnicity, language, age, gender, religion, etc; personal characteristics such as values, beliefs, lifestyles, etc; and abilities and skills from a variety of different disciplines and areas of
work (Johnson & Johnson, 2003). Finally, emotional intelligence has become a buzz word in the last couple of years. It is an integral part of psychometric testing and personal development in the workplace. Emotional intelligence represents the understanding and managing of our emotional responses. It is the ability to deal effectively with daily environmental demands and pressures. Now, how do these three areas fit together?


The purpose of this case study is to illustrate that people from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, ethnicities, age and gender as well as different emotional intelligence abilities can still share the same habits which make them successful in a specific working environment doing a specific job.


A prominent South African Mining Company has decided to roll out six new learnership positions in their Information Technology Department, specialising in the configuration and maintenance of information technology programmes used by the company. As part of the selection criteria ShadowMatch was used as a screening tool in the process. It was done specifically to establish whether candidates had the same habits of those people that were successful currently within that job environment.

It was required that the top performers in the Information Technology Department, ShadowMatch worksheet in order to establish the benchmark for the learnership applicants. Two employees were identified as top performers; a white Afrikaans male, late 20s and a black Tswana female, mid 20s. After completion of the worksheet these two totally diverse individuals; regarding age, cultural background, ethnicity, language and gender matched each other’s habits 92%! This means that they were 92% the same regarding the measured behavioural outputs in the working environment.

Five critical habits were also identified. These were their strongest habits and of great necessity in the effectiveness of their work. Both the individuals have indicated strong habits regarding responsiveness (the habit of acting immediately), discipline (the habit of working in an environment where adherence to structure, rules and regulations and time frames are imperative), resilience (applying one self relentlessly to solve problems and overcome challenges), self confidence (the habit of acting with a high level of trust in your abilities, qualities and judgement, knowing who you are and what you can and can’t do) and simplification (the habit of breaking complex scenarios down to linear challenges that can easily be solved).

doing the specific job mentioned, should complete the What interested me was the fact that even though these two individuals shared the same habits, their emotional intelligence composite scales were markedly different from one another. Both individuals completed the Bar-On EQi previously for developmental purposes. The most significant difference was evident in the interpersonal realm. This realm is concerned with what is known as people skills. It indicates that when a person functions effectively in this area, this individual tends to be responsible and dependable. They understand, interact with and relate well to others in different situations. These individuals inspire trust and function adequately as part of a team (Stein & Book, 2006).

The white Afrikaans male indicated effective functioning in the realm of interpersonal skills, where as the black female indicated this area as an area of enrichment. Referring back to the habits of ShadowMatch, habits regarding people skills are also measured. These areas are called people positive, altruism and team inclination. I would also like to include the habit of conflict handling because a combination of emotional intelligence scales; including some of the subscales in the interpersonal realm; makes up effective conflict handling abilities.

Both individuals assessed on ShadowMatch demonstrated the habit of working with people in a positive way, building positive relationships, influencing others in a positive way, willingness to assist others without expecting something back as well as working with others as part of a team. The habit of conflict handling, taking on a problem or situation and dealing with it also registered as a strong behavioural outcome.

The results from the Bar-On EQi demonstrated that the black female lacked effective coping skills regarding the composite scale of empathy. Empathy is the ability to emotionally read other people, to be able to understand others and give consideration to their perspectives (Stein & Book, 2006). It might also be an indication that she behaves very selectively regarding empathy towards others. Her social responsibility scale also indicated limited or restricted ability towards being a cooperative, contributing and constructive member of a team or social group (Stein & Book, 2006). Regarding her ability towards interpersonal relationships, she seems to be just barely effective, indicating that there is still room for improvement in this particular area. Handling conflict in an effective and constructive manner ties closely in with these three composite scales.

Taking all the results into consideration, I took the time to speak to these two individual’s line manager. I asked her about their behaviour at work and how they handled tasks. Her answer verified the test results. Both individuals were extremely effective at their work, always reaching targets and outperforming what is expected of them. However, the white male was seen as a more approachable individual, whereas the black female was seen as more of a “hard”
individual, sometimes battling to cooperate effectively with the team.

It was evident. Even though both these diverse individuals shared the same habits; e.g. dealing or assisting people, being part of a team and handling conflict; the effectiveness thereof; emotionally; was different. The one (white male) had effective, constructive skills and abilities to deal with these types of situation, where the other (black female) also dealt with these situations but sometimes in an ineffective and destructive manner.


From this case study it can be concluded that people from diverse backgrounds regarding demographics, personality and skills can still share the same habits that can make them effective in a specific working environment. However, these habits are restricted to only output, the effectiveness of the specific output seems to be tied into the degree of emotional intelligence.

Therefore ShadowMatch seems to be an excellent tool to measure habitual outcomes, and what is needed in a specific work context. These habits can then be built on by using other developmental psychometric tools.


James. W. 1890. Principles of Psychology. New York: Henry Holt and Co.

Johnson, D. W. & Johnson, F. P. 2003. Joining Together: Group skills and group theory. USA: Allyn & Bacon

Kreitner, R & Kinicki, A. 2001. Organizational Behaviour. 5th ed. USA: Irwin, McGraw-Hill.

Neal, D. T., Wood, W. & Quinn, J. M., 2006. Habits – A Repeat Performance.

Association of Psychological Science. 15 (4), 198 – 202.

Stein, S. J. & Book, H. E. 2006. The EQ Edge. Jossey-Bass: Canada

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shadowmatch Personal Development Programmes (PDP’s):

Interesting Facts and Case Study

by Pieter de Villiers and Lizette Bester

The PDP’s provided by the Shadowmatch system have been designed to help people develop the habits that are critical for success in a specific environment doing a specific job. Habits develop when a person has a meaningful goal or purpose and they experience the behaviour towards reaching this goal or purpose as successful. When this behaviour is repeated over a period of time, it can develop into a habit. All the PDP’s have been developed with the aim to repeat a specific behaviour in such a way that this behaviour develops into a behavioural pattern, strong enough to become a habit.

During the process of testing the success of the PDP’s, the following important observations were made:

1. The success of the PDP is very reliant on the fact that the development programme must be a continuous process without any disconnectedness in terms of progress. In simple terms, the individual doing the PDP must not stop for a period and then continue later.

2. The role of the mentor is critical. The positive, motivational participation of the mentor with interest and inspiration is a pivotal part of the success. This is why the PDP’s come with a mentorship guide.

3. It is critical for the individual to choose a mentor that he/she is comfortable with. A mentor should not be forced upon an individual – the individual must choose someone that he/she is comfortable with and that he/she experiences as approachable and knowledgeable.

4. The individual doing the PDP must be part of the process to select the right PDP. If this doesn’t happen, the individual tends to not see the meaning in the PDP. This in turn can lead to the individual not developing the specific behavioural pattern because some critical building blocks are absent, these being: Having a meaningful goal and seeing the behaviour towards this goal as meaningful.

5. The business must have a positive approach to the PDP’s. It must be done as a positive growth and development opportunity for all participants.

Where all the above dependencies were present, 60% of a population doing a PDP under these positive circumstances has shown a change in behaviour (as acquired through the specific PDP) of between 22 and 28 points on the Shadowmatch system. 20% of the population has shown a positive change of between 15 and 22 points as measured by the Shadowmatch system and the remaining 20% has changed their behaviour with less than 15 points. The overall performance improvement of this population was 17%.

The best results ever was a 39 points change in behaviour with a 27% overall performance improvement.

It must also be kept in mind that 10% of people do not change their behaviour, immaterial of the efforts and development investments made by themselves and or their mentors.

The PDP’s must be seen in the same context as an official learning process through a university or a college. Some people attend a specific course, succeed in the exam and learn next to nothing in terms of long term competencies. Some people go to the same institution and become professionals. The Shadowmatch PDP’s have been tested and validated in terms of learning content as well as behavioural repetition. The way this process is facilitated is critical to the end result.

Case Study

A manager in the Human Resources department of one of our very active and loyal Shadowmatch customers completed her first Shadowmatch worksheet on 29 May 2008. Her score on the Discipline habit was 31 points, which is on the border of the category: Contextual habits (30 – 50 points). Compared to the benchmark, the system recommended that she develops a stronger habit in this area of behaviour. She chose a mentor and started with the Personal Development Programme on the 13th of January 2009. She followed all the outcomes as per the PDP and her mentor took responsibility of assisting her in reaching all the desired outcomes.

She successfully completed the PDP on the 10th of March 2010. As per the recommended Shadowmatch process, she waited a couple of months before completing a second Shadowmatch worksheet. It is important for the newly formed behavioural pattern to settle properly through the day-to-day activities at work as well as in a personal capacity. She completed the second Shadowmatch worksheet on 16 July 2010. The results were fascinating: Her Discipline habit now came out with a score of 43. This is a much stronger contextual habit and indicates a behavioural pattern in Discipline that is now 39% stronger.

Other related habits that showed a stronger pattern after completion of the Discipline PDP are: Routine, Frustration Handling and Resilience.

Her feedback regarding the entire process was very positive and she acknowledged that the PDP was tough however worth doing. She emphasised the importance of having the correct mentor – someone who you trust, who is supporting, reliable and approachable.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Workforce Optimization

Precision Recruitment

A business and job unique benchmark made up of top performers is used to recruit and develop individuals for best performance in a job. The system provides interview packs and system based comparisons between the behavioural patterns (habits) of an individual compared to that of top performers in the business doing a specific job under specific conditions.