If you’re reading this, you are engaged to take the HAB or are considering using the HAB to help you make a decision about what to do next in your work life.  You are willing to invest in yourself and your future; and you are seeking a “different” type of information to help.  

The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) is the Gold Standard Among Human Assessment Tools rooted in the scientific research of human abilities and used exclusively by well-trained professionals. The HAB is not used by organizations for selection, rather it provides objective information for you about your natural talents. With the data, report(s), and interaction with a highly trained Certified Consultant, this entire experience lays an objective foundation for choosing or changing your career, making adjustments within your current field, adjusting to life circumstances, or creating a more enjoyable work day.

The HAB measures basic human abilities such as:

For the complete list of abilities measured by the HAB- Click here

Taking the HAB will equip you with a clear language to describe your gifts, the types of roles and responsibilities most aligned with your aptitudes, and tools for exploring your options. The experience will put you in the driver’s seat of your personal and professional development.  

And the information can be used over and over again as you face certain change throughout the years. The experience of taking the HAB is unlike other self-development experiences. The HAB and review is frequently enhanced with follow-up coaching to incorporate additional factors from the Highlands’ Whole Person Model for those interested in taking into account skills, interests, personal style, family, goals and stage of career.

Why Take the HAB?

Most people who take the HAB are facing a decision about what to do next.  They’ve done a fair amount of thinking about their options and tapped out friends and family for suggestions. Most have some ideas about what they do well and what they don’t, what they like and don’t like. However, they are lacking specificity, clarity, and the language to describe their internal reactions to their preferences. Sometimes even worse, they have relied on external resources as their sole source of feedback for what they “should” or “shouldn’t” do.

Without new information, from a credible source, you are likely to fall back on the same things you’ve already considered. The feeling is like listening to a record (yes, vinyl) when the needle is stuck in a groove.

While the HAB often confirms some of what people know about themselves, the HAB provides the kind of specificity that can be used to make meaningful, actionable change. Knowing the clear delineation between skill-based and ability-based performance can guide how you spend your time, effort and energy. Clarity about self-descriptors such as being a “people person” or good at “sales” can focus you on taking jobs that realize your greatest strengths. Understanding each ability building block enables you to disassemble and reassemble your talents to adapt to change.

What Do I Get When I Take the HAB?

When you take the HAB, you receive the 3-hour assessment, the comprehensive customized reports including your scores and interpretation, and a review or debrief with a Highlands Certified Consultant (all detailed below).

What Makes the HAB Different?

There are 4 major differences between the HAB and other assessments; 1) how abilities are measured, 2) how the results are reported, 3) the interaction with a Highlands Certified Consultant, and 4) the context used to interpret your results.

1)  How Abilities are Measured on the HAB

The HAB is unique in that it measures your abilities based on performance rather than perception. Exercises such as recreating designs from memory, manipulating blocks in space, and putting images in logical sequence are some of the virtual tasks you are asked to perform within a set amount of time.

For some, talents are specialized, such as a gift for music or design, or a gift for theoretical thought. For others, talents may be more generalized, such as a talent for leading teams or the abilities that make teaching, selling or writing easy.

Your scores in these different areas will be relatively high, medium, or low in comparison to the tens of thousands of people who have taken the HAB before you. There’s no inherent benefit to one ability over another—it’s knowing where your strengths lie that gives you the advantage. That’s how you can discover your real source of creativity and energy.

The categories of natural abilities measured by the HAB are: Personal Style dimensions which are predictive of behavior patterns, Driving Abilities which power all that you do, and combinations of Specialized Abilities which influence how you take in, process and recall information, your natural musical aptitudes, your visual influences and other enhancers and helpers which supplement your main Drivers.

2) Customized HAB Reports

The actual measurement of your aptitudes is only the first difference between the HAB and other assessments. A variety of customized reports are available detailing the definition, interpretation and application of your results. While abilities are the same regardless of the report generated, there are nuances in describing the application of the results for Students, Adults, Leaders, and Lawyers. The type of report you receive varies based on your purpose for taking the HAB.

For Student and Adult career explorers and changers, there are interactive career supplements. The proprietary technologies combine the ability building blocks into two options for exploring occupations, an Occupational Fit tool and Patterns. The Occupational Fit tool identifies the top 50 occupations from the Department of Labor’s ONET* database that match a subset of  abilities measured by the HAB. The Patterns identify ONET* occupations that utilize different combinations of your HAB measured abilities.

For professionals, the Leader report focuses on applying refined self-knowledge to the roles, responsibilities, and Tips on how to work with others.  A byproduct of self-understanding is understanding what it is like “not to be” you. In fact, thousands of professionals report shifts in how they interact with colleagues, team members and clients after taking the HAB. With great clarity they make shifts in how they spend their time, focusing on roles that leverage their strengths and delegating responsibilities that do not. The refined lens they have to understand themselves brings a greater focus on the abilities of others rather than potential motivational misattributions.

For Lawyers, the report defines which practice areas and roles are easy and which are more challenging. Understanding your optimal work environment, how you learn, and your preferences for communication can be especially helpful as well. 

Your results remain accessible to you for use at any time by simply accessing your portal and supplying your username and password. Should materials be updated, the materials in your portal will be automatically updated as well.


3) Interaction with a Certified Highlands Consultant

To thoroughly understand and absorb the knowledge gained from the results of the assessment and highly detailed reports, you will meet for about 2 hours with a Highlands Certified Consultant. Talking with an HCC is a requirement when taking the HAB.  HCCs have completed an extensive training program to interpret your HAB results, guide you through your reports, and answer questions.

The type of review or debrief to explain your results can take place 1-1 or as part of a group – always conducted by an HCC. When working one-to-one, your HCC can help you apply the information to your specific circumstances.

The debrief or review sets the HAB process apart from other experiences.  Not only does research support the importance of this interaction, it is the most frequently mentioned aspect by HAB takers. Read more about  The Power of Feedback: Why the HAB Includes an In-Depth Debrief with a Highlands Consultant.

4)  Context for Your Results – The Whole Person Model

The HAB provides a solid foundation upon which to layer other important factors for personal and professional decision making. Acknowledging 7 additional factors, The Highlands Company created the Whole Person Model for proving the rest of the context for self-understanding. Most people have explored some of these factors at different points in their lives; few have really teased out the difference between their natural abilities and skills.

The Whole Person Model is the Highlands’ way of acknowledging that humans are complex and life circumstances are dynamic. Knowing about any one of these factors isn’t enough to make a decision. Knowing about and articulating all of them, at the same point in time, provides confidence in decision making.  Interpreting abilities using the Whole Person Model helps explain the reasons for choices already made and helps with guiding future decisions.  

Should you want to explore more about working through the Whole Person Model, check out the test-publisher’s book Don’t Waste Your Talent. Should you want to learn more about working with an HCC, check out the Personal Vision Coaching Program on The Highlands Company website.

The “Ideal” HAB Taker

“Ideal” HAB takers are motivated to actively drive their personal and professional choices and their development. The HAB was created for the purpose of providing individuals with a tool to provide a refined understanding of their natural abilities in order to choose best-fit roles and responsibilities. It is intended for curious people wanting to equip themselves with objective self-knowledge useful both on and off the job. 

What HAB takers all have in common is recognizing the power of self-awareness for purposes of making well-informed, intentional choices. The HAB has provided the foundation for tens of thousands of people, many of whom use their results as a touchstone as they make decisions over decades.

My 30 years as a Highlands Consultant includes working with students (high school, college, graduate students) including over 20 years with UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Terry Business School’s Institute for Leadership Development, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, professional development programs for administrators and aspiring administrators in school systems across Georgia, and private businesses such as IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Manheim Automotive and Kaiser Permanente.” 

Dr. Stiles is the Director of Training, Research and Development for the Highlands Company, as well as the founder of Turning Points Coaching and Consulting. 

Reprinted with permission from The Highlands Company