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Commonly Asked Questions about the CPI 260®

With the baby-boomers retiring, another organizational “hot topic” is Leadership Development. If you are certified, the CPI 260® tool  is great for addressing this, as it can reveal a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of new leaders. Because the in-depth assessment is used mostly for succession-planning, leadership development, and selection, and asks participants to be somewhat self-revealing, individuals taking the assessment often raise specific questions about the tool – all are legitimate and deserve attention. Here is a list of the most common questions about the CPI 260 and some suggested answers that will help you administer the tool with ease, and provide assurance to those taking the assessment. You most likely are familiar with these questions and answers as a certified provider, but if you could use a refresher, read on.

1. Will my boss (or someone else in the company) see my answers?

No one (other than the certified grader) will have any access to the individual answers; however, someone else may see the profile and hear its interpretation, depending on how the Inventory will be used.

2. Wouldn’t it be better if someone completed the Inventory about me so I could get their feedback?

Many instruments and surveys can be completed by other raters; they present a picture of you through others’ eyes. CPI results can not be used like this. No one else can answer the items for you, and if someone else did, the results would reflect their personality, not yours. You will only receive an accurate picture by answering the questions yourself.

 3. Can I leave the items blank?

If you cannot make a choice, if some item absolutely is not applicable, or if you would rather not reveal what the item is asking about, then leave it blank. However, if more than 10-15 items are left blank, the resulting profile may be invalid.

4. What if I can’t decide on an answer?

Remember, you can leave a few items blank. However, some people find themselves hesitating on many. Choose the answer that is most like you in this case, even though it may not apply to you literally or always. It is actually better in this Inventory to choose quickly than to devote a lot of time figuring out what the items mean.

5. Why are some items repeated?

Actually, very few items are repeated verbatim. Several constitute variations on a theme and allow us to measure the same concept more than once and from more than one vantage point.  While you might think they are tricks to see if you are answering consistantly, they are actually not used that way.

6. If I were to take the test again tomorrow, I would answer some questions differently; so how can it be valid?

Most people change their answers on a few questions; however, the profile is based on answer patterns across many items and not just on how you answered one or two of them. Generally, the similarity of profiles between day one and day two – even when taken months apart – is extraordinarily high.

7. What effect does being in a good or bad mood have on the profile?

The CPI questions and results are influenced by your mindset when you take the inventory. Thus, someone who suffers from depression or someone who is struggling with a major life transition will notice that the Inventory is sensitive to these variables. The test reflects your psychological state at the time you complete it. However, minor stress or mood swings will not have a major effect on the results.

8. I took the Inventory before – can I use those scores?

A good rule of thumb is that if you were assessed more than six months ago, you should take the Inventory again. All of us change our perspectives from time-to-time, and the Inventory might reflect a few important changes in you, even in as short a period as six months. Also, completing the instrument for different purposes affects the profile in subtle ways. Again, what is important is your mindset which will be different depending upon the potential application and on how you view this purpose.

9. How should I answer the questions – for my work behavior, or for home-life with friends?

Even though you are completing the CPI assessment in connection with work, it is best if you answer the questions so that you reflect your general tendencies, regardless of the situation.

Hope this guide helps when using the CPI 260 (or the CPI™ 434) in an organization.

For more info about the assessment, check out the CPI Manual

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