Assessing Complexity of Information Processing via Observation

Any given person’s current ability to handle complexity (CIP) can be measured and expressed by level in terms of strata.  Complexity of information processes (CIP) level is defined as: “The maximum scale and complexity of the world that you are able to pattern and construct and function in, including the amount and complexity of information that must be processed in doing so,” (Jaques’, 1996).

Increasing CIP

One’s ability to handle complexity is not static.  It matures with age in a predictable manner.  A way to accelerate the maturation has not yet been found.  For reasons not yet understood, some people mature to a higher level of capability by the end of their careers.

This is why some people desire to move up the corporate ladder to more and more complex jobs (high potential mode), and others are content to stay within one job throughout their career (expert mode).  A full appreciation of this concept can help you use your employee training and development dollars most effectively.  Knowing an employee’s progression path will point toward one of two strategies: increasing depth of knowledge (expert mode) or breath of knowledge (high potential mode).

Matching People To Jobs

Just as any given person’s current ability to handle complexity (CIP) can be measured and expressed by level in terms of strata, types of work found within organizations vary in complexity and can also be measured and expressed in terms of strata.

Being able to match a person’s current capability or CIP level to the complexity level of a job, which can both be articulated in terms of strata, is the key to organizational efficiency and effectiveness.  Knowing this should be at the root of all your selection and succession planning processes.

Narrow Your Interviewing Pool

One way to assess CIP level is by observing the way one constructs his arguments when fully engaged in debate and by examining the type of information used in those arguments.  PeopleFit consultants are trained in this process and can screen your external candidates for CIP level. If one does not currently have the ability to handle complexity at the level required of a certain position, no amount of training, coaching, or personal will can change it so you need not waste your valuable time interviewing the candidate.

The actual content or topics discussed during the interview are irrelevant.  Therefore, candidates are free to discuss topics they are familiar with and have given some forethought to.  The interviewing process can be done over the phone and takes only 45 minutes.  Once the interview is complete a transcription is made and assessed.  Results are available within a week.  Through this process, PeopleFit can quickly and easily tell you whether an external candidate meets the minimum requirement, adequate CIP, for any role.  Then, you can decide whether to spend your time interviewing the candidate.

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