No matter who is around the table, organisations should know their people better. And when they don’t, the consequences can be at best challenging and at worst disastrous.

I was posting a comment on Linkedin today about the dire consequences of rogue CEOs and Executives in organisations. It was about the effect that they can have on others inside & outside the organisation, as well as sometimes on the potential viability of the business. In fact it was around a particular CEO in the news, their personality and the regular assault they make on employees, customers and shareholders – from throw-away comments to denigrating their people, paying-customers and even the competition. Publicity-seeking, self-aggrandising, manipulative, bullying, quarrelsome and harmful individuals don’t just exist in locked institutions, they are in every place that I have ever worked.

And it’s taken me a long time to understand who they are, how they work, to see whether they are willing or able to change and what that change might look like. Amongst other things, I specialise in working with people who have what we call derailing-personalities – those who take themselves, their teams and the organisation potentially to the brink.

It’s a real challenge for a company when the CEO regularly demonstrates derailing behaviours. The higher someone gets in an organisation, the more precarious the results of their behaviours are. I would like to bet that many if not most of this particular CEO’s senior executives have had personality profiling of some sort to detect dark & derailing behaviours. For example all pilots have had personality profiling for risk behaviours – it’s mandatory in the airline industry. So why not for the board, chief executive or other executives of an organisation? And at least those working in high-risk sectors and this can include healthcare, legal profession, teaching profession as examples.

As an executive coach I use an extremely useful & important range of assessments called Hogan Assessments, that not only look at the bright-side but also the dark-side of executives’ personality and around their reputation – how other people regularly see them. With such an assessment this behaviour potential can be readily detected and choices made. Hogan Assessments are invaluable for the Selection and Development of middle and senior executives throughout many organisations and are underpinned by well over 30 years of reasearch.

So whether it’s a politician, a corporate executive, a surgeon, lawyer or a teacher, it’s important to know whether people are likely to mess up a role or even to finally drive the company into the ground.

For me, information is power and no-one is immune from being made to take responsibility for their actions.

Organisations need to know who their people really are.

John Aspden is a Team Alchemist, Facilitator & Executive Coach with Cognitions, working in the healthcare, medical technology & biotechnology sectors.  He is certified to use Hogan Assessments HPI, HDS & MVPI.