“Why settle for sporadic success when you can harness the creativity of your unique talents and soar?”

Don’t Waste Your Talent: The 8 Critical Steps to Discovering What You Do Best

The Highlands Program: Evolution, Growth and Expansion

At the foundation of the Highlands Program is the Highlands Ability Battery™ (HAB), a standardized aptitude assessment rooted in a century of scientific research of human abilities. Since acquiring the rights to the assessment in 1992, the Highlands Company converted the instrument to CD format in 1999, and revolutionized the psychological testing industry in 2004 by transforming the assessment to an online format.

“With the evolution to a virtual platform, the efficacy of the HAB has expanded significantly, accommodating a wide range of clients nationwide and throughout the globe,” says CEO Kim Mumola. Our Certified Consultants now serve clients in countries including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, Germany, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

To date, over 100,000 clients have harnessed the power of the Highlands Ability Battery to improve their performance and make informed, proactive career decisions that align with their natural abilities.

As publisher of the HAB, the Highlands Company stands firm in its belief that the full impact and influence of the assessment can only be realized when the results of the HAB are debriefed by a highly trained, knowledgeable practitioner. Full stop. In fact, studies have shown that programs that do not include at least a minimal review of the results of an in-depth assessment such as the HAB will fall short of its objectives. In spite of the research, several test publishers in the market today have forfeited this fundamental component in their effort to reduce costs.

“Nobody forgets their feedback session. The debrief connects the results of the assessment directly to the client, which can feel both validating and empowering to them. Putting them into the context of the Whole Person Model can be a game changer. This integration sets Highlands apart from other assessments,” according to Dori Stiles, Ph.D., Director of Training and Research for the Highlands Company.

To date, Highlands has trained 1,150 career practitioners in the understanding and interpretation of cognitive abilities and their implications for life and career. The Highlands Company is unique in its hybrid mission to maintain the integrity of the instrument, its process and to support Highlands Certified Consultants (HCCs) who span the globe and provide a wide range of personal, professional and leadership development services.

HCCs have developed customized applications for a growing variety of client focuses and deliver those services through many different channels, including private coaching and counseling practices, business and executive coaching and consulting, public and private schools, tutoring services, outplacement organizations, in-house professional development and more. CEO Kim Mumola remarks, “Highlands consultants are credited with the company’s exponential growth over the past three decades.  We wouldn’t be here without their creative applications and strong knowledge of their niches.”

The Mission

Over three decades ago, the founders of The Highlands Company (formerly known as The Highlands Program) and authors of Don’t Waste Your Talent: The 8 Critical Steps to Discovering What You Do Best, set out on a quest to find out what makes a person successful, a question they posed to thousands of people. Their long-term research found that while everyone’s story was different, there was one common thread: Successful people do what they do best every day. They are guided by a clear personal vision, an accurate and precise picture of the work that expresses them best.

Having identified the key to success, the company mission was clear: to help people discover their natural gifts and talents and work where they can use them. When individuals focus on their natural abilities and construct a strategic plan, they experience profound and lasting benefits: reduced stress, greater overall balance, decreased burnout and increased satisfaction.

The methodology borne out of the research and backed by science and the belief that people are multi-dimensional begins with the HAB to identify a person’s natural talents and continues with an in-depth review of eight critical elements recognized by Highlands to take the whole person into account. The framework was termed the Highlands Whole Person Technology™, designed to “treat people holistically and honor their complexity.” 

Fast forward thirty years. The Highlands Company has held strong to its mission in the development of researched-based assessments, reports for practical application and programs for personal and professional development. The Whole Person Technology and methodology has transformed the careers of tens of thousands of career professionals, career changers and career explorers and has evolved as the premise on which other career development programs are now founded.

What was true then is still true now: Self-awareness lays the groundwork for career success. In fact, there is recognition, and even a demand, by greater numbers of people that using self-awareness to guide career and life decisions strengthens the individual and enhances the workplace. There really can be greater alignment between people and their work. In addition, today’s savvier organizations recognize and appreciate when current and prospective employees bring a greater level of self-awareness to the table.

The Highlands Whole Person Approach for the Future World of Work

“The world of work is constantly shifting, and so too are many people’s career aspirations and expectations.

Increasingly, digital, flexible, and remote working options offer many advantages, but that doesn’t necessarily make the career choices any simpler. Compared to a time when people often had only a handful of jobs throughout their life, mapping out a modern-day career path can be a complex and dynamic challenge.

To meet the evolving needs of the working population, the career counseling profession has developed to use a more holistic and integrated process.

Career counselors can help people navigate and build careers by making job choices that are aligned with their values, abilities, interests, and life stories.” PositivePsychology.com

Against the backdrop of an ever-changing employment landscape, it makes sense now, perhaps more than ever, for people to take a holistic approach to career exploration, career change and professional development. The Highlands Whole Person Technology has been a differentiator since its inception in 1992 and has served to set the standard for the whole person approach to life and career coaching today.

“One of the things that makes the Highlands experience so unique is the concept of integration,” according to Dr. Stiles, “Values sorts, interest inventories, personality tests, etc. each focus on one piece of the puzzle. The Highlands program was developed to put it all together in one place at the same time to consider what it means for clients now — and in future integrations throughout their lifetimes.”

The Highlands Personal Vision Coaching Program, which began as a 30 hour, in-person workshop known as the Personal Strategic Planning Seminar and in 2018 was converted to an online format, takes a holistic, integrative approach to managing change through transitions or turning points in a person’s life and career. The program was built around the Highlands Whole Person Model which provides a framework to explore eight critical elements of self-awareness:  natural abilities, skills, interests, personality, family of origin, values, goals and career stage.

Because these elements will be weighted differently during the transitions in a person’s life, the resulting outcomes will constantly evolve. This concept can help people understand that there’s nothing “wrong” with them because they’re changing. Growth relies on change.

And as Dr. Stiles puts it, “The Highlands Whole Person approach provides a lifelong tool for managing change.”

The Highlands Experience: Serving the Next Generation

It is clear that the Highlands methodology through the HAB and Whole Person Model is here to stay —  and growing strong, evidenced by the exponential growth in numbers of Highlands participants and the surge of next-generation HAB-takers.

Looking back over the first 10 years of the company’s launch, the number of early adopters who took the HAB was just under 1,000. Over the next two decades, that count has grown to over 100,000.

What we know is that those who first benefited from the program have become adamant in sharing their experience of the gift of self-awareness for their children, grandchildren, partners, business associates and others. Their recommendation to invest in themselves by starting with the Highlands program is verification of the power in providing a lifelong tool rather than a transient answer for sustainable life and career transformation.

Dr. Stiles sums it up best: “Thirty years ago, the initial field was seeded. Now, the next generation is sprouting, and reaping the benefits of the Highlands experience.”

The Highlands Company, celebrating 30 years of career transformation.

This blog was orginally posted on The Highlands Company website.