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Over the next years, the CAF will introduce an evidence-based framework for character-based leader assessments to provide a broader lens in support of selection and promotion processes.
As a first step, candidates on the General Officer and Flag Officer (GOFO) selection boards completed three online psychometric assessments. The first assessment was a non-verbal measure of general cognitive ability/reasoning (a core component of character), geared to the senior leader level. The second assessment was a personality inventory that measured various aspects of personality commonly associated with success in organizations. Finally, candidates completed an assessment of leadership skills that is commonly used in executive selection processes. The results of these assessments contributed the member’s overall score.
Candidates who are recommended to the Minister of National Defence for promotion to or within the GOFO Cadre will also be subject to a post-selection confirmation step using what is known as a “360 degree” assessment tool. This is a process that collects feedback from multiple evaluators regarding an individual’s leadership effectiveness. In order to obtain a holistic perspective of the candidate’s leadership behaviours and effectiveness, raters are chosen for the candidate from a diverse group as possible.
“General and Flag Officers share the responsibility for the stewardship of our institution, and for the profession of arms as a whole,” said Lieutenant-General Frances Allen, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff and chairperson of this year’s GOFO selection board. “Our evolving assessment framework is a step forward in enhancing the CAF’s overall efforts toward positive culture change.”
Across all selection boards this year, additional efforts were made to reduce bias and foster diverse perspectives. Key amongst the initiatives were a Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) review of scoring criteria and the inclusion of at least one voting member from a designated group such as a woman, visible minority or Indigenous member of the Defence Team.
“Increasing diversity and representation in leadership positions is critical to the success of our mandate and to the well-being of our people. Culture change starts with leaders and creating a diverse selection board for GOFOs is a commendable first step towards ensuring all candidates are given equal and fair opportunities. The incorporation of a senior DND civilian voting member was important to expand the perspective brought to GOFO candidate files,” said Mme Isabelle Desmartis, Assistant Deputy Minister Human Resources (Civilian), and board member for the 2021 GOFO selection boards.
Research and consultation are underway to develop an evidence-based framework for character-based assessments that can be expanded to other leadership ranks in the coming years. The intent is to expand the framework to Major/Lieutenant-Commander and Sergeant/Petty Officer 2nd Class and above levels.
The introduction of these changes to the promotion and selection process will accompany the forthcoming implementation of the CAF’s new electronic-based appraisal system – Performance and Competency Evaluation (PaCE) – with an overall end state of selecting inclusive leaders who embody the CAF’s professional values and ethos.
This process allows the CAF to evolve its appointment to command and promotion processes in order to be more inclusive and to ensure that those who are selected to lead truly embody CAF values.