Why cool technology sometimes flops

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Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Latin, 17th century

Highly perceptive, keen


Discerning, shrewd

Examples of Perspicacious in a sentence

“The perspicacious 9-year-old easily picked up on my feelings without me even saying anything.”

“I take a perspicacious approach to my studies, analyzing every word in my textbooks.”

Analytical Listening, a listening technique practically explained | toolshero

via Analytical Listening, a listening technique practically explained | toolshero

Analytical Listening

Analytical listening - toolshero

This article describes the concept of Analytical Listening in a practical way. After reading you will understand the definition and basics of this powerful listening skill.

What is Analytical Listening?

Analytical Listening is about the ability and the capacity to properly analyse what is being said. This not only means understanding what the other person is saying and what they mean to say, but also being able to divide difficult questions into separate parts in order to get to the core. Analytical Listening sounds easier than it is. Distinguishing between central and peripheral issues is a prerequisite. Apart from that, common listening techniques help. The objective of Analytical Listening is to quickly see logical connections, as well as detecting possible gaps in all the information.

LSD technique

The LSD technique is definitely useful when it comes to Analytical Listening. It stands for Listening, Summarising and Dig deeper. Listening is actually hearing what the other is saying. This means full concentration on the other’s story is needed, as well as a thorough sinking in of the information. Briefly summarising what the other is saying is usually enough to get to the core. Moreover, it causes the other to feel like they are being heard and able to offer additions if the summary is (not) yet complete. By giving a short summary, the listener gives themselves time to let the information sink in and understand what they just heard. This is followed by digging deeper to get down to the core.

Audio Productions

Analytical Listening is originally a way of listening to audio productions, where the meaning of the sounds is interpreted correctly by the listener. It is often used by professionals working on audio productions. The Analytical Listening is actively engaged with the music they are listening to; each element of a piece of music is analysed in order to understand the intentions of the composer and/or lyricist. During Analytical Listening, the listener looks for the deeper meaning of what is heard. Sound itself has no meaning; it’s about the underlying layer. When someone says something, it’s not just about the contents. It’s especially the way they say it that gives meaning to the words. This intonation also applies in music. The underlying emotional implications of a musical performance indicate the composer’s meaning and intentions. Music is more than simply a mix of sounds. The composer and/ or lyricist is always trying to convey a meaning or emotion, such as happiness, sadness, anger, or love. Thus, music can be made about an endless array of subjects and emotions. This means there are many details for the listener to find. It’s about finding out the message behind the message.

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Analytical capacity

Analytical ability is very useful in many other occupations as well, however. Think of leadership roles, technical occupations, and the medical world, where it comes down to making many analyses. Listening analytically means looking at differences, possible risks, and the things that make no sense. By analysing these, the cause of the problem becomes clear. Addressing this will make the information clearer for both parties. In some cases, the analytical listener will cause the other to feel annoyed. The other may feel ‘caught’ regarding the fact that they did not provide complete information. By supporting and encouraging them, both parties will find common ground again.

Analytical capacity is a trait that applies to the analytical listener. This analyticalability is a quality that usually goes hand in hand with other abilities one has, such as empathic capacity, inquisitiveness, curiosity, desire to learn, being critical and open-minded. Analytical capacity is a mixture of all these traits and abilities.

Pitfalls of Analytical Listening

Apart from the power of Analytical Listening, there are also a number of pitfalls. For example, those who are strongly analytically minded and capable of good analytical thought tend to think things through too much and hesitate too much before coming up with a final judgment. Because of their analytical capacity, such a person will first go over all the options, weigh them, and closely examine all the pros and cons before making a choice. The indecisiveness this brings may be experienced by their environment as highly annoying.

The previously mentioned danger that the conversation partner will feel attacked is also a potential issue. This is because the analytical listener ask a lot of questions, which can make them seem distrustful towards their conversation partner. Besides deeper questions, the analytical listener will ask many ‘why’ questions, which people will often not be able to answer. The tip is to look for the answers together and not put the other on the spot. That could be felt as a negative confrontation, which stalls the conversation and could make it take a different turn.

Apart from that, the analytical listener is ‘allergic’ to ad hoc solutions that should be implemented in the short term. In some situations, however, they will need to accept these because not doing so would interfere with business operations. To the analytical listener, this will feel like implementing poorly thought out solutions without having made a correct diagnosis. Depending on the situation, the analyticallistener may have to learn to accept this.

Analytical Listening & Decision Making

Analytical Listening forms one of the foundations of good decision making. Listening thoroughly and analytically makes it easier to reconstruct a situation and find a solution rationally. This will then lead to optimal decisions. Especially when it comes to decision making, Analytical Listening is a large part of a leadership skill set. Complex problems are more easily understood, meaning a better prediction can be made as to which solution or method would be best. Analytical Listening can therefore contribute to all kinds of business roles that call for good planning and decision making.

Analytical Listening & Problem Solving

Moreover, Analytical Listening helps bring balance to a conversation and process information objectively. In conversation with others, feeling plays an important role. When the atmosphere of the conversation is good, chances are objectivity will disappear into the background. Being mindful of this allows for a balance to be created between feeling and logical reasoning. Analyses of causes can be made, after which the consequences of a problem can be better detected as well. An analytical listener is able to critically look at elements of a problem and apply models to them. By distinguishing main problems from partial problems, the analyticlistener can collect a lot of information, then research it. After collecting all of the data, the analytical listener will be highly able to make logical connections, detect the actual cause, and think of fitting solutions.

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? What are your experiences with Analytical Listening? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have any more additions? Does Analytical Listening help you to get to the core of the problem or to make decisions more easily?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our Free Newsletter for the latest posts on Management models and methods. You can also find us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and YouTube.

More information

  1. Bonet, D. (2001). The business of listening a practical guide to effective listening. Crisp Learning.
  2. Gearhart, C. C., Denham, J. P., & Bodie, G. D. (2014). Listening as a goal-directed activityWestern Journal of Communication, 78(5), 668-684.
  3. Thompson, K., Leintz, P., Nevers, B., & Witkowski, S. (2010). The integrative listening model: An approach to teaching and learning listening. Listening and human communication in the 21st century, 266-287.

How to cite this article:
Mulder, P. (2019). Analytical Listening. Retrieved [insert date] from toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/communication-skills/analytical-listening/

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Patty Mulder

Patty Mulder is an Dutch expert on Management Skills, Time Management, Personal Effectiveness and Business Communication. She is also a Content writer, Business Coach and Company Trainer and lives in the Netherlands (Europe). Note: all her articles are written in Dutch and we translated her articles in English

Intervision, a powerful communication tool explained | toolshero

via Intervision, a powerful communication tool explained | toolshero


Intervision - toolshero

This article offers a practical explanation of intervision. After reading, you’ll understand the basics of this powerful communication tool.

What is intervision?

Intervision is a form of knowledge development in a small group of professionals, managers, or other employees who share a common challenge or problem. Professionals and colleagues can consult the expertise of others to help them gain valuable new insights. The ideal group consists of about five to eight participants. Together they dissect a problem that has been introduced by a participant or so-called case provider. They do so by asking questions using the intervision method.

Intervision is not primarily intended to solve a problem, instead the group encourages each other to find answers by asking questions. These questions should help the case provider develop a new way of thinking in order to gain insight into their problem or question.

Intervision can also take place on a personal level. It can be about dealing with problems at work, problems with an approach, or other types of problems. Intervision is always tied to something from day-to-day practice, professionalisation and improvement, and learning and development. It makes the person involved aware of individual styles and preferences, their personal view on the work, and the way in which work is handled.

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The Value of Intervision for Organisations

If intervision is applied in a suitable way within an organisation, it will have a positive impact on the atmosphere in the group. For instance, it reinforces a sense of solidarity between different employees or even between people in general. It also helps the employee develop an awareness and learn to improve based on experience and intervision sessions.

Intervision helps with the development of so-called learning skills and soft skills:

Intervision Steps

Conducting an intervision session isn’t difficult. Follow the steps below to hold an effective intervision session.

Intervision steps - toolshero

Step 1: preparation

First it has to be determined where the session will take place, and whether a facilitator will be present. The facilitator leads the session and prevents participants from losing focus. The facilitator also ensures every problem is given an equal amount of time.

There are different ways in which an intervision session can be conducted. One option is that everyone brings a problem or issue to the table. In this case, the step-by-step plan below will be used for each individual problem. These sessions will take approx. three hours. Of course, this is pretty long. Moreover, people’s short attention spans will mean that everyone will lose focus after a few problems. It is therefore a better idea to hold a session in which only one or two problems are covered. That way it will take about 20 minutes to half an hour. The advantage of a short session is that participants will remain relatively sharp, resulting in useful advice.

Step 2: introducing an issue

In the first step, participants (five to eight) share their issue with the group. Each participant is given three minutes to explain their problem or challenge. Make sure it’s a current problem, not one from the past or future.

Step 3: question round

During the second step, participants will ask each other question to clarify certain details and learn more about the topic and problem. All relevant information that is obtained this way has to be remembered or recorded. Ensure that the information covers the entire scope of the problem, and that participants don’t start discussing possible solutions yet. This will be done in step four.

Step 4: brainstorming

Now that the information has been gathered, it’s time for a brainstorming session. The group will discuss how the problem can be approached from different angles, and potential solutions can be tested in theory. Use a whiteboard with post-its on which relevant ideas are written down. This visualises different aspects throughout the process. The person who introduced the issue to the session can listen in, but not take active part in the conversations about the topic.

Step 5: recommendations

Based on the brainstorming session, the participants make and share a list of recommendations to the person with the problem. It’s important that the advice in this step is concrete, with feasible suggestions and recommendations. The participants should give their recommendations within two minutes.

Step 6: feedback

During this step, the person who introduced the problem will take time to give feedback about the recommendations that have just been made. It’s important to point out elements that work and actually form a solution to the problem, as well as things that won’t work. This way the persons in the group will keep each other on their toes. Finally the case provider will summarise the added value of the session and what they will remember for the future.

Different Intervision Session Methods

In addition to the traditional method consisting of the step-by-step plan, there are a few alternative methods to do intervision. The most important ones will be explained here.

Gossip method

The gossip method is a frequently used type of intervision session and works best if the case provider is knowledgeable about the problem at hand. The problem is shared in the group, after which participants ‘gossip’ about what they’ve just heard. The case provider doesn’t participate. Participants are critical about the following matters:

  • Impression of the case provider
  • Potential involvement of the case provider in the problem
  • Cause of the present situation

Although this method is called the gossip method, it’s important that it is conducted in a safe, trusted group with mutual respect. The tone of the ‘gossip’ should be respectful and concrete. The method can be used for anyone and works best with a critical and strong facilitator.

Incident method

The incident method is very suitable for use when an incident has taken place to which the case provider has had and still has a strong emotional response. It focuses on the actions of the case provider. Here it is important that the case provider doesn’t share the outcome of the incident and that the situation occurred recently. In this approach, the group analyses the situation surrounding a problem in detail.

Now It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Are you familiar with this explanation of intervision? Will you be using the step-by-step plan to effectively resolve issues, or do you already use a similar communication tool? Which intervision method do you think will be most effective? Do you have any tips or additional comments?
Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our Free Newsletter for the latest posts on Management models and methods. You can also find us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and YouTube.

More information

  1. Lippmann, E. (2004). Intervision. Kollegiales Coaching professionell gestalten, Berlin et al.
  2. Hendriksen, J. (2002). Intervision: kollegiale Beratung in sozialer Arbeit und Schule. Beltz Juventa.
  3. Brinkmann, R. D. (2002). Intervision: ein Trainings-und Methodenbuch für die kollegiale Beratung; mit zahlreichen Checklisten. Sauer.
  4. Franzenburg, G. (2009). Educational intervision: Theory and practice. Problems of Education in the 21st Century, 13(1), 37-43.

How to cite this article:
Janse, B. (2019). Intervision. Retrieved [insert date] from toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/communication-skills/intervision/

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<a href=”https://www.toolshero.com/communication-skills/intervision/”>toolshero: Intervision</a>

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Your rating is more than welcome or share this article via Social media!

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Ben Janse

Ben Janse is a young professional working at ToolsHero as Content Manager. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business School where he focusses on analyzing and developing management models. Thanks to his theoretical and practical knowledge, he knows how to distinguish main- and side issues and to make the essence of each article clearly visible.

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HR Analytics, a powerful human resource management tool | toolshero

via HR Analytics, a powerful human resource management tool | toolshero

HR Analytics

HR Analytics - toolshero

This article provides a practical explanation of HR Analytics. After reading, you will understand the basics of this powerful human resource management tool.

What is HR Analytics?

HR Analytics is the application of data mining, statistics, analysis, and modelling of personnel data, the purpose of which is to improve productivity. HR Analytics is also called talent analysis or people analytics. It helps the human resource manager to make decisions based on data about employees, and it helps to recruit, retain, and train employees. If utilised efficiently, HR Analytics can have a major impact on business performance.

In this area of Human Resource Management (HRM), many analyses and studies are conducted that are relevant to employee performance. This involves recording a lot of data. It’s usually about a specific factor that is relevant to HRM. Examples can be productivity per employee, revenue per employee, training costs, and so on.

HR Analytics is not just about collecting data on employee performance, but also tries to offer insight into different processes within the organisation. It does so by collecting information about the process. This information can then be used to improve the process with Business Process Re-engineering (BPM).

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Value for the organisation?

Human Resource Management has access to very valuable data on employees. If used efficiently, this data can be used to enable change in the organisation and improve performance. The data is used to keep employee experience and satisfaction high, monitor performance, and draw conclusions about results.

The data can also be used to form recommendations about investments in training that will help employees develop the right competencies. Employees can be retrained for many different reasons. They might be getting a new job, or the revenue model of the organisation might be changing. The learned competencieswill then be crucial for the new revenue model.

What does HR Analytics measure?

In order to be able to effectively offer insights to the organisation, one must determine which data has to be recorded to model possible outcomes and predict scenarios. This is a multi-disciplinary process that requires the presence of both the human resource manager and someone from management who makes strategy decisions. Based on the organisation’s overall strategy, a strategy will then be created for human resource management.

HR Analytics can then be used to suggest certain data that should be analysed based on key performance indicators (KPIs). Certain statistics that are used a lot in HR Analytics are:

Income per employee

The income per employee is calculated by dividing the company’s total revenue by the total number of employees. The result shows how much money is being generated per employee on average. It is a measurement that can be used to determine the efficiency of the organisation as a whole.

Training efficiency

The training efficiency can be measured by conducting an analysis of multiple sets of data, such as test scores and performance improvements.

Training costs per employee

The training costs per employee are calculated by dividing the total training costs by the total number of employees a company has.

Turnover rate

The turnover rate is the rate in which employees voluntarily decide to quit their jobs. The ratio can be calculated by dividing the total number of employees leaving the organisation by the total number of employees that work at the organisation.

The same principle can be applied to involuntary turnover rate. This is when an employee is fired.

Absence due to illness

Absence is an often measured statistic and for good reason. Absence due to illness tells you something about the productivity and is measured by dividing the number of missed days by the total number of working days. If there is little absenteeism, this can be an indication of satisfied employees. If it’s high, it can indicate stress, dissatisfaction or other negative factors.

Types of data in HR Analytics

The data that HR needs for the HR statistics mentioned above is gathered from internal and external sources.

Internal data

Internal data specifically applies to data that has been obtained from the human resource department. The HRM system contains various data sets that are used for HR Analytics. Some examples of internal data are:

  • Employee appointment
  • Employee compensation
  • Employee training history
  • Employee performance reports
  • Details regarding potential top employees
  • Disciplinary action against employees

External data

External data is obtained from links with other positions in the organisation. Data from outside HRM is important because it offers a general perspective. Some examples of external information an organisation can use for HR Analytics are:

Financial data

To calculate the costs per employee for instance, HRM requires broad financial data. This information is requested from the financial department or the accountant.

Employee data

Employees generate a lot of data over time that is constantly being recorded. Examples of data that might be available are from when they were initially approached for the job or when the employee applied. The social media channels of an employee are also sometimes checked, as well as the input they provide in feedback surveys.

Historical data

Historical data is used to recognise patterns in the behaviour of employees in different times. Think for instance of global, economic, or political events. Such large-scale trends cannot be established only using internal information. An example of an event that changed the way employees thought about their jobs was the 2008 recession. This type of data helps companies predict how people will react in future situations.

HR Analytics in 4 steps

Developed and effective human resource departments have a large number of tools, procedures, rules, and frameworks at their disposal to analyse the results. In smaller organisations, however, the scale is often a lot smaller. To get started, you may follow the four steps below.

HR Analytics steps - toolshero

1. Create an action plan

The most important requirement for using HR Analytics to make progress is to define goals. What is the goal of the data analysis? What areas need to be investigated? Which systems and sources are necessary, and how can they be accessed? By answering these questions and including as many relevant matters as possible, a complete and focused action plan can be formed.

2. Collect data

The second step is actually gathering the data. Collect all the information that was asked in step 1. In order to get access to data such as absenteeism, the relevant departments will have to be contacted. Don’t forget to include all sources of information from the previous chapter. And don’t forget to consider the following:

  • Employee privacy
  • Employee permission
  • IT Security

3. Combine skills and technology

Few people are able to zoom in on very complex data and subsequently perform thorough analyses. Supporting technologies can help. For example, these can easily process the date into manageable reports and visualisations. Afterwards, let the HR expert interpret the data.

4. Analyse and develop

Once the HR department has access to the sources of information and technologies, powerful and valuable insights will become clear for the entire company. These insights can help the organisation increase productivity and strive for future successes.

Advantages of HR Analytics

Employees make up a large proportion of any organisation. Companies are aware that the success of their organisation largely depends on its employees. HR analyseshelp the managers of these companies to make proper, immaterial decisions by providing:

  • A better selection process
  • Lower retention
  • Automation
  • Process improvement
  • Improved employee satisfaction
  • Better staff planning
  • Better trained personnel

Now it’s your turn

What do you think? Are you familiar with this explanation of HR Analytics? What do you think are some of the pros and cons of this human resource management tool? Does your workplace also record and monitor data regarding employee performance?
Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our Free Newsletter for the latest posts on Management models and methods. You can also find us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and YouTube.

More information

  1. Angrave, D., Charlwood, A., Kirkpatrick, I., Lawrence, M., & Stuart, M. (2016). HR and analytics: why HR is set to fail the big data challenge. Human Resource Management Journal, 26(1), 1-11.
  2. Rasmussen, T., & Ulrich, D. (2015). Learning from practice: how HR analytics avoids being a management fad. Organizational Dynamics, 44(3), 236-242.
  3. Marler, J. H., & Boudreau, J. W. (2017). An evidence-based review of HR Analytics. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(1), 3-26.
  4. Lawler III, E. E., Levenson, A., & Boudreau, J. W. (2004). HR metrics and analytics–uses and impacts. Human Resource Planning Journal, 27(4), 27-35.

How to cite this article:
Janse, B. (2019). HR Analytics. Retrieved [insert date] from toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/human-resources-hr/hr-analytics/

Add a link to this page on your website:
<a href=”https://www.toolshero.com/human-resources-hr/hr-analytics/”>toolshero: HR Analytics</a>

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