October 1

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The GC Index: Review & Ultimate Guide

One of the paradoxes of modern business is that we’re increasingly using data to inform decision-making, but there’s a real lack of actionable data on the people that solve problems, drive initiatives and innovate solutions.

Over the last 20 years, businesses have adopted personality assessments such as MBTI, DISC, Insights and the like. Whilst these increase self-awareness and can improve team relationships, the “relevance question” remains:

When did you actually make a business decision using your personality instrument?

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The GC Index: finally a “personality test” that’s relevant to the C-Suite

Over the last couple of years at Xquadrant, we’ve found ourselves using personality assessments less and less with our clients, and are using instead a powerful modern instrument called the GC Index.

The GC Index doesn’t measure personality. Instead, it measures how individuals are driven to create impact within a business setting. This is significant and relevant for senior business leaders because:

  • It’s outcome- and action- orientated
  • It directly maps to core business activities in any company
  • It’s optimised for “speed to impact”
  • It’s a unifying lens to inform decisions across multiple business processes
  • It scales from a single leader to an entire organisation

In other words, the GC Index is a tool that provides direct business value to the C-Suite and other organisational leaders: it bridges the gap between people decisions and business results. This results-orientation is why Xquadrant is a proud accredited GC Index partner!

Whilst the GC Index “looks and feels” like a personality assessment, it’s quite different as you’ll see.

The objective of this article is to help you understand the possibilities that emerge from this tool. We’ll cover:

  • The background and credentials of the GC Index
  • The specific benefits to you as a business leader
  • A detailed review of the GC Index in use
  • Comments on our own experience with the tool
  • How the GC Index complements personality assessments that you may already be using in your business
  • How the GC Index adds value in multiple business scenarios

Finally a “personality test” that’s relevant to the C-Suite...

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The GC Index: Background


The GC Index is a relative newcomer to the field of people metrics, and it’s already had a major impact.

Development of the tool began in 2013, as a research project sponsored by a global consultancy to investigate whether it would be possible to identify those highly creative and obsessive individuals within a business who would ideate and drive transformational initiatives, understanding that these people don’t always fit into the corporate “machine” and may not be easily identifiable.

By the time the index was finalised and launched in 2017, the scope had widened to not only identify the ‘game changers’ within an organisation, but also to understand the nature of the unique contribution that every individual was driven to make.

The response to such a business-focused people instrument has been very strong, and as of 2020, over 1300 clients in 50 countries use the GC Index:

GC Index - Client Logos

Furthermore, the product has earned a string of endorsements:

GC Index: Gartner

The GC Index was awarded “Gartner Cool Vendor” status - something no personality assessment has achieved and a testament to the business focus of the tool.

“The GC Index offers an innovative framework for measuring and improving organisational culture. It focuses on finding out how individuals prefer to contribute — and therefore have their biggest impact — while feeling satisfied in their roles.”

- Jouni Forsman & Ian Keene (Gartner)

GC Index: REC

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has validated and partnered with the GC Index to be more relevant to the Good Recruitment Campaign and its 3,500 recruitment members to attract & retain the best talent.

GC Index: HRD

The HR Director magazine is leveraging The GC Index® to bring more value to the HRD/Chief People Officer community in the UK to attract, retain & develop the best talent and create diverse organisations

GC Index doesn’t measure personality. Instead, it measures how individuals are driven to create impact...

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Benefits of the GC Index to the business leader


So, why do we at Xquadrant increasingly use the GC Index as a key tool in our executive coaching and leadership team development work?

I would point to five immediate reasons. The GC Index:

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

The GC Index is outcome- and action-orientated

Companies bring various data to bear when making people decisions. For example, in recruitment, you may analyse expertiseexperience and personality. However, until now nobody has known how to measure the impact that an individual wants to make within the business.

The GC Index does exactly that. It measures the energy you have to create impact in different ways across the business.

In other words, it helps you understand the outcomes that your team are motivated to create, and point the activities and projects where each person will contribute with most energy and effort:

  • Will this person drive change?
  • Can they deliver?
  • Will they bring the team together?
  • Can they plan for success?
  • Are they innovative?
  • Will they strive for quality?

Whereas personality tests go deep into psychology, requiring you to imagine the possible causal chains guiding behaviours, the GC Index “cuts to the chase” and gets straight to the question of business outcomes.

The GC Index directly maps to core business activities in any company

Developed in response to very practical concerns of businesses regarding how to navigate digital disruption, the GC Index maps directly to the core activities that occur in any company.

In any project,

  • There is a fresh value-creating idea;
  • That is then examined, understood and turned into a plan;
  • The plan is executed; and
  • The resulting capability then continually improved and refined;
  • And all the while, the organisation works together to deliver these outcomes.

In GC Index language, these steps correspond to the five “proclivities”: Game Changer (creating), Strategist (understanding), Implementer (delivering), Polisher (continual improvement) and Play Maker (collaborating).

GC Index - Cycle

This tight correlation with the business cycle makes the GC Index applicable in virtually any business decision where people are involved, as we’ll see during the course of this article.

GC Index “cuts to the chase” and gets straight to the question of business outcomes...

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The GC Index is optimised for “speed to impact”

I recently heard Trudie Adock, Enterprise Learning Director at AstraZeneca, explain how impressed she was at the GC Index’s speed to impact, and I couldn’t agree more.

The success of any tool, system and framework we deploy in a business depends upon its adoption. When a tool is easy to adopt, results come quickly. The GC Index gets adopted easily and put to use quickly for at least 3 reasons:

  • Stickiness: Unlike many profiling instruments, the GC Index uses the language of business. It feels natural and unforced to speak of someone as a “strategist” or an “implementer” - so conversations are simple and the language sticks. Compare this with talking about “fiery red people” or “ISFJs” - which feel unnatural and forced.
  • Simplicity: Whilst there are 100,000 variants of GC Index results, there are only 5 proclivities and therefore only 5 words to learn. This makes it simple and memorable, so people can get to grips with what the data is telling them incredibly easily - and can explain the system to others in just a few words.
  • Relevance: There are so many scenarios in business that benefit from understanding in what ways people are motivated to create impact. Whether you’re optimising team performance, bringing together a new project group, launching an innovation initiative or driving a transformation project, the GC Index provides directly relevant data to assist in decision-making.

The GC Index is a unifying lens to inform decisions across multiple business processes

As mentioned previously, because the GC Index maps directly onto the core business cycle (from invention through execution to sustaining innovation), it’s directly applicable to multiple business use cases and scenarios.

We have examples of the GC Index being used in all of the following domains:

GC Index - Business Process

GC Index is a tool that provides direct business value to the C-Suite and other organisational leaders: it bridges the gap between people decisions and business results.

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We will dive into some example use cases in the latter part of this article.

The GC Index scales from a single leader to an entire organisation

GC Index - Profile

1) At the personal level, for example in 1:1 executive coaching (working on personal leadership and influence).

The standard GC Index report is a simple and helpful tool in these engagements.  However, as you'll see the real magic begins as you apply the tool more widely to real business issues across teams and organisations.

GC Index - Team

2) At the team level, for example in systemic team coaching (working on team dynamics and overall team impact).

Complementing the standard GC Index report, we also use the team GC Index report here, which shows how the energy of the team is split across the five ‘proclivities’.

It’s valuable to see not only the split of people’s primary focus areas, but also the overall amount of energy the team brings to each aspect of the business cycle.

GC Index -Org View

3) At the organisational level, for example in analysing the cultural make-up of a firm, planning innovation strategies or accelerating transformation projects.

The anonymised organisational report is helpful here: it’s a fraction of the cost of the individual profile and provides an overview of each team. This allows us to identify specific teams and areas that merit at deeper focus, and “unlock” the full profiles for additional insights in the places that matter.

The organisational view:

  • Allows insights into culture and focus at any level: Team, Department, Function, Level, Region, Division, Organisation, Business Unit, etc.
  • Shows where to focus and drill down further
  • Reveals organisational alignment issues, business challenges, under-performing areas of business, etc.
  • Provides a complete view of organisational culture in under 2 weeks
  • Highlights where in an organisation there is an underlying alignment or non-alignment to strategy, goals and core values

Have you ever made a business decision using a personality tool? If not, check this out..."

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The GC Index: An overview


So now you know why the GC Index is relevant. Let’s now dive into the detail.

In essence, the GC Index measures an individual’s energy to make an impact in 5 key areas (“proclivities”) that map nicely onto the core business cycle:

  • Generating creative business ideas - the “Game Changer” proclivity
  • Filtering, prioritising and planning these - the “Strategist” proclivity
  • Executing the strategy - the “Implementer” proclivity
  • Continually improving the result - the “Polisher” proclivity
  • Working together effectively to deliver on all this - the “Play Maker” proclivity

Imagination vs Obsession: The proclivities actually represent how we combine our handing of ideas (imagination) or tasks (action), and whether we focus on these obsessively or pragmatically:

GC Index - Framework

Here’s a thumbnail description of the five proclivities:

Game Changers

“It’s not about reinventing the wheel. It’s about finding something to replace the wheel.”

Game Changers are individuals characterised by an obsessive imagination that is not constrained by traditional ways of doing things – or by what they see as arbitrary rules and expectations.

They see possibilities and ways of doing things that others don’t. They have a way of imagining how things could be, and when they become obsessed with an idea, they see how things should be. Their contribution to an organisation is radical rather than an incremental change.

Strategists

“Why are we doing this?”

Strategists are ‘big picture thinkers’ who, at their best, see and analyse patterns and trends in their world. They have an ability to ‘see’ where events are taking us and how to respond to that prediction of how things will develop.

They will enthuse and influence others with new, creative and innovative approaches to doing things. They will have the business acumen and analytical skills to convert ideas into commercially focused strategies.

Implementers

“Let’s get the job done and move on to the next project”

Implementers have a strong drive to achieve. At their best, they can be relied upon to deliver. They are often seen as conscientious, ‘a safe pair of hands’.

They are typically high energy, action and outcome focused. They will get things done and demonstrate a resilience to setbacks.

Polishers

“If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly”

Polishers are rarely satisfied. They assume that things can always be improved and channel this optimistic drive into continuous improvements, innovations and the pursuit of excellence and perfection.

They can take products, processes and procedures with patience for incremental change, and constantly seek to improve them.

Play Makers

“Get the relationships right and the right tasks will get done”.

Play Makers are at their best when they are getting things done through others, they are the facilitators and orchestrators within a team.

It’s easy to assume that charismatic leaders are playmakers, but the truth is that charisma isn’t measured by the GC Index. What truly distinguishes the Play Maker proclivity is their ability to set aside their personal agenda to help the team win.

The GC Index profile

An individual’s GC Index profile is a score from 1-10 in each of these proclivities: so for example:

GC Index - Profile

This gives 100,000 combinations of GC Index results, so the intent is not to pigeonhole people.

For the sake of memorability, however, people will often refer to themselves by the first two proclivities. In the case above, this would be “Strategist/Implementer”.

Hopefully it’s already clear how a “Strategist/Implementer” might differ from say a “Polisher/Implementer”:

  • The former will prefer to focus on understanding the business context and key drivers, formulate the most impactful plan, get it done, then move on.
  • The latter will prefer to take a strategic priority, delivery on it, and then work on improving it until it’s truly delivered to a high standard.

The GC Index profile report is some 27 pages, and focuses on:

  • Your greatest impact in your organisation
  • Your approach to leadership
  • How you are creative and innovative
  • How you engage and influence
  • How you get things done
  • Which organisations you thrive in
  • How you work best in a team and who complements you

The GC Index: Personal Experience


As a “GCologist” (an accredited GC Index expert) I have reviewed and discussed many profile results with the individuals concerned. But my first experience with the tool was, as always, personal.

I had my own sense of where on the map I would fall: which proclivities I expected to dominate. And, naively, I thought that my knowledge of MBTI and other personality tools would allow me to second-guess the results fairly accurately.

I was wrong.

My number-one proclivity was indeed Strategist, as I expected. But the balance of the others raised an eyebrow; it was quite a surprise.

Digging deeper with the GCologist I was working with, I started to see the truth of the results. This was a real “aha” moment for me; a perceived area of mediocrity was actually a strength and a motivating factor; an area I thought would be highly energising turned out to be somewhat of a mirage.

I see this “raised eyebrow effect” repeatedly as I work with different leaders using the tool. Things click into place; there's a new self-understanding; and (importantly) new questions surface for the individual.

Comparison between the GC Index and Personality Assessments


The main difference between the GC Index and other personality assessments is, very simply, that they measure different things.

Personality assessments measure preferences for various cognitive processes (extraversion, agreeableness, dominance, etc…), and this can be genuinely valuable for self-awareness and development, and social dynamics.

The GC Index measures preference for impact; it’s much more focused on behaviours and outcomes and therefore it’s much more closely aligned with the interests and concerns of business leaders.

I’ve not met a business leader who’s uses a personality assessment to make business decisions. But the GC Index is directly applicable to a variety of use cases, as we’ll see in detail below.

Moreover, these aren’t limited to “HR processes” like recruitment or leadership development, but to any business process or transformation project.

We’ve taken a number of popular personality instruments - MBTI, DISC, Insights, Belbin - and compare and contrast with the GC Index to show how they are complementary. You can find our analysis below.

MBTI vs GC Index

MBTI vs GC Index - MBTI
MBTI vs GC Index - GC Index

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most popular personality tests in circulation. Based on the insights of Carl Jung, the tool assesses psychological preferences across four dimensions (Extraversion-Introversion, Sensing-Intuition, Feeling-Thinking and Judging-Perceiving). This gives rise to the famous four-letter combinations: ENTJ, ISFP, and so forth.

There’s plenty in the MBTI to explore, and it can be a great tool for self-insight. I’ve used it myself for years in both personal and business settings to understand how our personal style might create friction with colleagues.

However, the sixteen four-letter acronyms are opaque, difficult to remember and almost impossible to apply in real business situations for most people who aren’t prepared to invest the time needed to become an “MBTI geek”.

Putting it another way: I’ve got a business challenge. You’re an ISFP and I’m an ESTP. So what?

The GC index is a complementary tool to MBTI because whereas the MBTI measures personality, the GC Index measures where you want to make an impact in the business cycle.

As a result, the GC Index creates a totally different conversation. We need to address the high level of customer complaints. You’re a Strategist/Play Maker and I’m a Polisher/Implementer. Do you want to take the lead on organising the brainstorming workshops with the different stakeholders whilst I gather the data on the precise quality gaps we’ve already identified?

DISC vs GC Index

DISC vs GC Index - DISC
DISC vs GC Index - GC Index

The DISC personality tool is widely used in business and appreciated for its simplicity and insights into personal interaction styles. The instrument measures the following four characteristics:

  • Dominance (emphasis on accomplishing results, the bottom line, confidence)
  • Influence (emphasis on influencing or persuading others, openness, relationships)
  • Steadiness (emphasis on cooperation, sincerity, dependability)
  • Conscientiousness (emphasis on quality and accuracy, expertise, competency)

DISC shines in considering interpersonal interactions and understanding responses to stress. However, like MBTI it can be quite hard to remember what the letters stand for, and it can be hard to remember what other people’s profiles are and what that means in practice. “You’re high D, low I right… so what does that mean?”

When it comes to business decisions, DISC appears to be less practical. It’s rare to hear people talking about the fact that there isn’t enough “I” in the group, or we need someone with some more “S” for that role.

The GC index is a complementary tool to DISC because whereas DISC measures personality, the GC Index measures where you want to make an impact in the business cycle.

As a result, the GC Index gets straight to the business behaviours. “Our leadership team doesn’t have much energy for Polisher, so no wonder we aren’t improving our products and processes fast enough.” Or “As I have low energy for Strategist, I need to recruit an Operations Director who’s strong in both Strategist and Implementer”.

Insights vs GC Index

Insights vs GC Index - Insights
Insights vs GC Index - GC Index

The Insights personality tool has gained incredible traction in recent years thanks to the simplicity and memorability of its four colour model to help people understand their style, their strengths and the value they bring to the team.

Like MBTI, the Insights Discovery model is based on the extensive research of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.

The four colours are called Fiery Red, Sunshine Yellow, Earth Green and Cool Blue. See the chart above for some descriptors of each of these categories.

The Insights tool is great for personal insight and for team-building and communication-styles workshops. However, I notice some reluctance to use such forced vocabulary in a business setting. “I’m Fiery Red with a bit of Sunshine Yellow,” hardly trips off the tongue around the boardroom table!

The GC index is a complementary tool to Insights because whereas Insights measures personality, the GC Index measures where you want to make an impact in the business cycle.

So the GC Index is much more natural and easier to adopt in the business context: “I’m an Implementer/Polisher”. And it answers a broader set of questions than the Insights tool: “who do we need on this project team?”, “does this person have the energy to really drive innovation on our core product line?”, “does this person shore up the blind spot on our board of directors?”

Belbin vs GC Index

Belbin vs GC Index - Belbin
Belbin vs GC Index - GC Index

Dr Meredith Belbin and his team identified nine clusters of behaviour that can make effective teams:

  • Resource Investigator - uses their inquisitive nature to find ideas to bring back to the team.
  • Teamworker - Helps the team to gel, identify the work required and complete it on behalf of the team.
  • Co-ordinator - focuses on the team's objectives, draws out team members and delegates work appropriately.
  • Plant - highly creative, good at solving problems in unconventional ways.
  • Monitor Evaluator - a logical eye, making impartial judgements where required, weighs up the team's options in a dispassionate way.
  • Specialist - brings in-depth knowledge of a key area to the team.
  • Shaper - drive to ensure that the team keeps moving and does not lose focus or momentum.
  • Implementer - plans a workable strategy and carry it out efficiently.
  • Completer Finisher - scrutinises the work for errors, subjecting it to quality control.

The Belbin instrument clearly has a lot to add when optimising the dynamics of an individual team or when helping individuals identify their preferred contributions. However the framework can be hard to remember, with nine categories and some non-intuitive naming of roles making adoption quite tricky, and it rarely gets used in broader people decisions within a team or company because people play different roles in different teams (perhaps a specialist in one, bringing key knowledge, but completer/finisher in another).

The GC index is a complementary tool to Belbin because whereas Belbin examines the precise role people play in team situations, the GC Index brings a simple and sticky language to measure where you want to make an impact in the business cycle.

Think of Belbin as going “extra deep” on a single team’s dynamics, and the GC Index as providing strong insight on the individual team but also how the team fits into the broader organisational system and business processes in which it operates.

GC Index: Use Cases


The GC Index is the best tool we have found to bridge the “data gap” between people and business outcomes. As a result, it’s a single “people instrument” with use cases across the business (including, but not just limited to, HR use cases such as recruitment and talent development).

In the sections below you can explore different use cases for the GC Index.

The point however is not so much to focus on just one, but to understand that the instrument can be reused across the business in a variety of applications; thus creating a common language for deploying people to their greatest impact.

Using the GC Index to increase personal impact

The Harvard Business Review published an analysis of various studies that demonstrated an average of 31% productivity increase when employees are satisfied in their roles. The GC Index is incredibly valuable in directly aligning role scope with natural proclivity and motivation.

For example:

  • A Strategist/Implementer is going to be most productive in an environment where he or she can understand what is important and why, and drive projects to completion. Their contribution in a team will be to keep people aware of the bigger picture and ensure discussions are focused on tangible outcomes.
  • On the other hand, a Game Changer/Play Maker will be best in a role where divergent thinking and exploration of ideas is valued, and where different groups need to be brought together to make change happen. A highly operational, tactical role will likely frustrate this person enormously.

One client of mine noticed that his profile was rather ‘flat’, with no proclivity showing much energy.

Digging deeper, this revealed some frustrations with his current role, which had evolved from ‘building the organisation’ to ‘managing the organisation’.

The previous role played to his preferred proclivities: Game Changer, Play Maker and Implementer; the new role played to his least preferred areas: Strategist and Polisher. He realised it was time to scope out a new role in the organisation.

Using the GC Index to develop leaders

At Xquadrant we often use the GC Index in our work developing and coaching high-achieving leaders. Your GC Index score will reveal the leadership style that comes naturally to you, and it’s liberating to understand that you don’t need to force-fit yourself into someone else’s mould.

For example, here’s an excerpt of some of the leadership styles we’ve observed in famous and successful leaders, and the GC Index combinations that these styles represent.

GC Index - Leadership Styles

Beyond leadership styles however, there’s a deeper psychology to the GC Index that builds real self-awareness. Our strongest proclivities are likely to be rooted in formative experiences and our resulting assumptions about the world, what success looks like, and how to thrive. When we understand these drivers, we’re able to be less driven by unconscious biases and instead lead at a new level.

For example, here is a summary of potential underlying thought patterns for a Polisher (source: The GC Index):

GC Index- Polisher Psychology

Using the GC Index to improve team impact

Sometimes teams are given charters or commissions that simply don’t align with the natural energies of the people involved. Cue frustration and a sense of “fighting against the system”.

Have a look at this GC Index team summary profile, showing the energy distribution of the team as a whole:

GC Index - Team

High in Game Changer; high in Implementer; low in Strategist and Play Maker.

  • If this team was a corporate strategy team, we’d have cause for concern!
  • But if this team was a development team in a tech company, this would make a lot of sense: lots of energy around inventing breakthrough features and rolling them out (though it might be worth asking how well the team is guaranteeing code quality and ensuring that excessive technical debt doesn’t build up)

We have seen teams use the GC Index as a way of identifying mismatches, and re-negotiating their mandate within the organisation.

For example, one team had a high Strategist proclivity but was not being asked to contribute to any of the planning within their business unit. As a result, they were aware they weren’t having their greatest impact. With the GC Index as a common language, the team was able to identify how it could expand upon its operational charter to bring strategic recommendations to management.

When we run GC Index workshops with leadership teams, we’ll use the tool to investigate the team’s contribution and blind spots:

  • What are this team’s strengths?
  • What needs to be in place for this team to work most effectively?
  • What will be valued and held in regard?
  • What is the team likely to pay least attention to?
  • What tensions are likely to arise?
  • What are the ‘gaps’ / potential weaknesses in the team?
  • What does this team need from its leader?

Using the GC Index to improve internal team dynamics & collaboration

A recent study of 1100 companies carried out by the Institute of Corporate Productivity found that those that promoted collaborative working were 5x more likely to be classed as “high performing”.

When we run leadership team workshops, we often start by putting up the anonymised GC Index profiles of the entire team and ask: “whose profile is whose?” It’s amazing how little teams really know of each other’s core drivers.

Can you really spot the game changer in your midst? Do you know who has the highest energy for continual improvement, or who has a burning energy to ensure everyone is working together effectively? Teams generally find they didn’t know their colleagues as well as they might have guessed.

Also, how do the team and the team leader relate?

For example, here’s a team in a manufacturing company: we’re looking at the aggregate results for the team compared with the individual profile of the leader.

GC Index - Manufactuing Company

The standout insight here is that the team has almost zero energy for creative game-changing innovation and for play-making collaboration, and an overabundance of energy for implementation. This may cause the team to get stuck in the weeds, resist change initiatives in the wider company or fail to get ahead of marketing trends.

The leader, having stronger Strategist and Game Changer proclivities than the team as a whole, will need to work carefully to open the team up to the necessity of these activities and lift their focus from operational tasks.

Using the GC Index to improve recruitment & team formation

Recruitment decisions are complex. Even once experience, expertise and personality have been factored in, there’s a real risk of recruiting “in the leader’s own image” or “in the team’s image”.

For example, consider this online legal product company:

GC Index - Legal Company

The team reflects the predispositions and blindspots of the leader almost exactly! Rather than bringing complementarity, there’s a real structural weakness, especially around energy for innovation and strategic thinking.

So how can we use the GC Index to inform recruitment? Here's another real example.

Sally, Rachel and Julie are the founders of a small business. Their GC index profiles are below. What do you notice?

GC Index - Sally, Rachel and Julie

As you can see, they actually have rather similar profiles. All three are game changer/polishers. So we can expect lots of creativity and an obsessive and potentially perfectionist drive to turn ideas into reality.

Sally is the only one with a high energy for Strategist, so we can imagine that she may be struggling to channel the others’ energies towards the most probable and worthwhile initiatives. This indeed turned out to be the case.

None of the founders have a lot of energy for the implementor proclivity. They are more interested in developing the initial ideas and ways to improve what they've already built, but actually delivering the projects is less exciting to them. To compensate for this they were looking to hire a chief operating officer.

Having sourced a number of candidates and filled them for experience, expertise and personal chemistry, they had a shortlist of three candidates.

The GC Index profiles of the three candidates are below. Who would you hire?

GC Index - Adrian, Jane and Michael

On the surface, you might well point to Michael. He has an extraordinarily high energy for getting things done, and also has the strategic site to make sure he is working on the right things. However giving the profile of the existing team, perhaps he is just too different? He has a low energy for a game changer and therefore may not be as open to the creative ideas from the rest of the team, and his locally make a score suggests that he might be overly concerned with achieving his own goals rather than optimising the outcomes for everybody.

Jane would appear to be a much easier fit, though perhaps she's actually less keen to be focused on the implementation, and a relatively low strategist score might also fail to complement the team.

These insights confirmed some of the questions and conversations that the executive team were having about the new hire. In the end they went for Adrian, who brought both a strategic perspective and a desire to get projects over the finishing line, but who also had an openness to new ideas that the founders valued.

We would never recommend making hiring decisions based uniquely on the GC index profile, but as you can see the profile can inform the process by highlighting areas for exploration and discovery, and helping the team anticipate how the person will fit into the bigger organisation.

Using the GC Index to overcome diversity & inclusion challenges

Companies are rightly focused on increasing the diversity of their organisations, aiming for a more just and productive mix of genders, ethnicities and ages.

However, it’s quite possible that despite all this focus, managers (and indeed whole organisations) can recruit in their own “cognitive image”. In other words, we have a tendency to hire people who think like ourselves.

Imagine an executive team that on the surface looks diverse: even representation of men and women; different cultural backgrounds, and so on. It could still be possible, in GC Index terms, that the team is entirely composed of, say, Strategists!

We need teams with diversity of thought and focus, and not just diversity of background.

The GC Index has been shown to be independent of gender, cultural background or age. It’s therefore a fantastic tool for laying aside prejudices (“men are more strategic than women” … or whatever) and ensuring a true psychological diversity.

It’s also incredibly helpful to use the tool as a way to explain that someone’s not just been hired on the basis of their gender or skin colour, but “because they bring a much-needed Polisher proclivity to the team”.

Once again, we’d not recommend making selection decisions purely on the instrument, but it does bring objective data to inform the decision.

Using the GC Index to drive cultural change

If we want to shift corporate culture, we need to be able to understand the culture that we have. Culture isn’t uniform; there are often different pockets of culture within the same firm. And from a business perspective, we want to understand:

  • How innovative is this organisation?
  • How much focus on quality is there?
  • Where are we thinking the most strategically?
  • How much of an execution drive do we have?
  • Where are the cultural clashes occurring?
  • Who is already embodying the cultural norms we want to see?

All these are questions the GC Index can shed light on. Using the GC Index organisational metric, we can easily and cost-effectively build an overview of each department or team within the organisation, as shown below:

GC Index - Org Chart
GC Index -Org View

From this we can then drill into the specific areas of interest. For example:

  • What is the implication of such a low Strategist proclivity in our Development organisation?
  • We seem to have two types of sales team: those strong in Implementer/Polisher and those strong in Play Maker/Implementer. Does one of those two types of team consistently generate better results?
  • Where are the pockets of Game Changing innovation that we can tap into?
  • Our US leadership team has almost no energy for Play Maker. How is that impacting the motivation and alignment of that organisation?

Using the GC Index to accelerate digital transformation or improve any business process

Every transformational initiative follows the business cycle we outlined above, and is therefore ripe for improvement by the GC Index. Ideas are generated (Game Changer), a plan is formed (Strategist), the work streams are delivered (Implementer) and the resulting output iterated upon (Polisher) - all whilst the wider organisation is brought along to support the change (Play Maker).

So you can map your digital transformation initiative, new project, or business process against the 5 GC index proclivities, such as the real-life example shown in the graphic below

GC Index - Process Mapping

You can then use this information to:

  • Identify the best people for the team - those with inherent motivation for the task at hand, and ensuring a balance of viewpoints
  • Help the team understand and anticipate at which point in the process they will have the most and least natural energy for the task at hand (and perhaps distribute leadership accordingly)

Using the GC Index to engage employees

How to engage employees around the company mission or around company values?

Well, very often companies come up with a motto or mission statement and roll it out to employees - one size fits all. And it doesn’t resonate.

We’re now seeing GC Index clients “translate” their key internal communications so that they resonate with each of the five proclivities. They can then send tailored messages to each employee to help each individual better understand how they - with their proclivities - can contribute meaningfully to the corporate mission.

One client had an internal mantra of (I disguise slightly:) “Innovate radically!” The idea of radical innovation resonated well with the Game Changers, but how would an Implementer relate to that message? They’ve now translated that message to engage all 5 proclivities.

I won’t share their exact messages here, but you could imagine something like…

  • For the Game Changers, “Innovate radically” works well
  • For the Strategists, “Prioritise our most promising innovations”
  • For the Implementers “Test bold new ideas in the market, fast”
  • For the Polishers “Radically improve every offering”
  • For the Play Makers “Work together to bring our best innovations to reality”

Using the GC Index to demonstrate commitment to employees

An increasing number of firms are choosing to become certified as “A GC People Company” to demonstrate that they understand the direct correlation between an engaged, empowered workforce and better business performance.

“Being a GC People Company enables us to recruit people for the impact they want to make, value people for the impact they do make and develop people for the impact they have the potential to make.”

- Jo Lewis – Talent Director TM Forum

GC Index - People Company

Using the GC Index to improve M&A outcomes

When you are integrating two organisations following a merger or acquisition, how can you make informed and objective decisions about who goes in what seat in the integrated organisation? And how can you know what really drives your new colleagues?

Enter the GC Index.

You can very quickly establish a shared language in the combined organisation around the contribution that everyone wants to make, and can objectively ensure that the new org chart is populated by people with an inherent motivation for the requirements of the role.

Colleagues can quickly understand what makes each other tick, and create working agreements that go “with the grain” of each person’s makeup.

The GC Index & Xquadrant


At Xquadrant we use the GC Index in both our 1:1 coaching engagements and in our executive team coaching work. Once the instrument demonstrates its value within the executive team, we are then able to help companies scale it across their business in a progressive manner, focusing on the top business challenges and apply the GC Index insights to help solve those.

Xquadrant differentiates itself from other GC Index Partners in three ways:

  • With Xquadrant, the GC Index tool is just part of a broader world-class leadership language that we help teams to adopt. Using the “language of impact” by itself has limited value; when we combine that with leadership tools to communicate vision, drive change, improve influence and think strategically then the value is multiplied.
  • We have also developed a “high-touch, high-tech” model that allows the insights from the GC Index to be scaled cost-effectively. Employees can access their profile results and understand the implications in the Xquadrant Hub; Managers can see how far people have progressed in implementing the findings from their profile report, and teams can use the Hub to plan and stay accountable for resulting actions.
  • Our 1:1 and executive team coaching is distinctive, focused at the intersection of strategy, leadership and purpose against the background of digital transformation. Quite simply, we coach some of the world’s top leaders and executive teams and bring powerful, focused world-class coaching to mobilise people around top strategic projects.

Getting started with the GC Index


If you’re interested in understanding how the GC Index might help you, your team or your business, please get in touch. We may even be able to arrange a complimentary assessment for you!


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