Derek Lusk, Head of Executive Assessment, AIIR ConsultingDerek Lusk, Head of Executive Assessment
In today’s highly dynamic and fast-paced world where organizations are constantly driving towards transformation, developing strategic, agile, and resilient leaders who can lead their way ahead always tops their list. The more businesses leverage leadership development as a strategic tool, the better equipped they are to stay future-ready. Though billions are poured into leadership training—approximately $370 billion per annum according to the Training Industry—these programs often miss the mark when it comes to up-skilling and increasing the capabilities of leaders. As such, it’s crucial the best ways to make leadership development a strong tool in driving performance and leadership capabilities, particularly in a world hungry for competent and inspirational leaders. Enter AIIR Consulting. The Pennsylvania-based global leadership development consultant spearheads innovation excellence in this niche, helping organizations lead their leadership-training endeavor. Committed to increasing the effectiveness and performance of leaders, the company strategically integrates coaching and technology to bring agile leadership development to today’s connected leader.

In an interview with Manage HR, Derek Lusk, the Head of Executive Assessment at AIIR Consulting, shares his insights on how the company leverages its expertise and experience to provide unrivaled leadership development solutions to its clients.

Could you elaborate on the genesis of AIIR Consulting?

Founded in 2009 as a coaching company, AIIR Consulting is driven by a passion for helping leaders navigate change and shape a better future. Adhering close to this, the company got the ball rolling with an exceptional executive coaching service suite that leverages its proprietary four-stage AIIR methodology—which involves assessment, insight, implementation, and reinforcement. Our executive coaching is designed to create sustained behavioral change, drive performance, and help leaders face competition, adapt to changes, and mitigate unprecedented challenges.

With innovation embedded in our corporate DNA, we’ve gradually grown into a multi-service consulting organization by extending our footprints into several other service lines; executive assessment being one among them. Our executive assessment leverages quantitative data and combines decades of consulting experience and expertise with AIIR assessment methodology to identify high-potential leaders who can lead organizations through the transformations. Being able to inject insight and experience into the leadership pipeline, it replaces ad-hoc practices with proven processes that increase their success rate. Leadership Development is another area that AIIR Consulting excels, helping leaders equip with the mindsets, skills, and tools to succeed in their current roles and shape the future. With such a diverse service portfolio, AIIR Consulting today serves as a go-to partner for organizations’ leadership development initiatives that bring a paradigm shift in the space.

Our executive assessment leverages quantitative data and combines decades of consulting experience and expertise with AIIR assessment methodologyto identify high potential leaders who can lead organizations through the transformations

How does the AIIR Coaching Experience™ transform the leadership development industry?

At the core, AIIR Consulting is a customer-first company that has a sole focus on ensuring its clients’ success by finding a better way for them to unlock their leaders’ true potential. Dedicated to providing the best customer experience, we’ve introduced the AIIR Coaching Experience—a powerful combination of data science, business psychology, and technology. It helps us serve clients with our robust technology, Coaching Zone platform, while enabling us to enhance the efficiency of our programs by managing leadership development projects. This way, AIIR Consulting can measure leaders’ current effectiveness, evaluate their goals, and allow stakeholders to understand the progress and see the improvements in leadership effectiveness.

What gives AIIR Consulting an edge over the competition is its ability to merge technology with business psychology. Our business model is completely grounded in research, industrial-organizational psychology, and our value for science and data, so do our recommendations on how to develop leaders and coaching engagements. When it comes to the assessment side of things, we’re helping organizations de-risk their talent management decisions that enable them to alleviate the chances for wrong hire—which puts them at a disadvantage. By providing organizations with objective talent indicator data rather than subjective biases in hiring executives, we help organizations meet DEI norms and alleviate ‘leadership emergent’ that snowballs into a headache for them.

Could you provide us with a case study that exemplifies AIIR Consulting’s value proposition?

AIIR Consulting caters to a broad range of customers, irrespective of their industry verticals. Our recent collaboration with a client where we helped them with their leadership assessment needs well exemplifies our value proposition. Relying on conventional talent review models, Human Resource Business Partners (HRBP) nominations, and supervisor rating to select leaders, they often failed to find the best among their talent pool to lead their organization. In our initial assessment, we identified that their high potential talent pool was a group of extroverted and socially aggressive individuals who had been selected for leadership roles based on politicking rather than their actual leadership skills. We then leveraged our exceptional assessment methodology to manifest their leaders’ inefficiency to assume the role that they were holding within the organization.

To help them mitigate this challenge, we infused our executive assessment methodology into their organization and created comprehensive reports on each individual in the talent pool, helping the client with objective data to choose the best leader. The company also conducted executive coaching to help them develop necessary skills to handhold the organization in today’s highly dynamic world and helped the client figure out how their leaders can work together and create a succession plan for the entire organization. Post-collaboration, the client was able to filter out wrong hires, cleanse their talent pool, which ultimately leads them to progressive growth.

What changes did the pandemic bring to AIIR Consulting’s business model and the leadership development space as a whole?

Like many others, the leadership development arena had also witnessed the devastating effects of the pandemic. Worldwide lockdowns, work-from-home edicts, and the subsequent shift towards the virtual environment have literally shaken the industry. But, as an agile company with in-depth expertise in science and technology, AIIR Consulting had successfully pivoted towards these changing tides quickly. Committed to providing our clients with uninterrupted services, we took a strategic turn towards the virtual space by reengineering our programs and service portfolio.

Executive assessment is one aspect that has gained a lot of traction in today’s virtual world. Since in-person meetings are no longer an option to identify talents, organizations are now bolstering a more quantitative approach and putting more emphasis on objective data and other assessment methods to find the right one to lead them ahead.

How does the future look for AIIR Consulting?

Our ability to think ahead of time and quickly adapt to changes helped us stay ahead of the curve in today’s highly competitive business environment. As an organization that is always striving for growth, AIIR Consulting is constantly looking for opportunities to expand beyond its niche areas, augment its capabilities, and further extend its footprints to the global markets. To do this, we’re now establishing strategic partnerships with leading global consulting firms. The next big thing that we’ve on the horizon is improving our tech stack to better serve our existing clients and attract new customers. We also have our eyes set on the future, where we’re constantly looking for other technologies that we can integrate into our core competencies.