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November 16, 2017
The Predictive Index: Uncovering What Drives People

Established in 1955 by Arnold S. Daniels, The Predictive Index (then called PI Worldwide) was created as a pen-and-paper behavioral assessment to help companies manage personnel and enhance organizational development.

Fast forward to today, the core test remains fundamentally the same. In fact, when CEO Mike Zani and business partner, Daniel Muzquiz, bought the company with their investment company in 2014, PI was still conducting its assessments on paper.

Mike Zani The Predictive Index
CEO Mike Zani on a skateboard. Although the company is over 60 years old, Zani says that The Predictive Index has "the distinct feel of a startup."

Flash back to 2006, and Zani’s company was a client of PI, where he immediately fell in love with the assessment product. He was so blown away by it that he tried to buy the company in 2009, but the owners weren’t ready to part with it. But Zani was persistent, and by 2014, he finally convinced the owners to sell.

Ultimately, the acquisition came from a place of passion.

“When we bought it, it was a small company in an old Wellesley academic building. But the product was great, the client recurrence was very high, and it was based on a subscription model. We saw that you could SaaS-ify everything and unlock all of its potential,” Zani said.

After being acquired, The Predictive Index was rebuilt into a much more expansive, SaaS-based platform. It consists of a scientifically-validated behavioral assessment, a cognitive assessment, and a job assessment to help get companies get aligned on roles before they even start the hiring process. PI also offers a curriculum of management workshops. Through this, PI aims to help companies not only help create job-employee fit, but also give managers tools to manage their staff.

For example, a company using the platform could send out a behavioral assessment and a cognitive assessment to a job applicant. That applicant would fill out the assessment online, and the company uses those results to determine whether an employee would be a good behavioral and/or cognitive fit for the role.

In another instance, a former employee’s assessment could be used to determine what kind of employee would be an appropriate successor.

Some companies will also use the behavioral assessment to better understand the composite behavioral drives of their executive teams, which inevitably shapes the character of the organization.

Just prior to our interview, Zani had VentureFizz Founder Keith Cline and I take a behavioral assessment on their website. For both of the two sections, we were presented with a list of adjectives, and were asked to check off each and every descriptor appropriate to the question. The first section asked us how we think others would describe us, and the second asked us to describe ourselves.

The entire process took about 5 minutes, and after we were done, Zani read us our results before sending an analysis over email.

“Alex is a distinctly independent and individualistic person, strong-minded and determined,” my analysis read. “Venturesome, he will ‘stick his neck out’ and take responsibility for risks when he believes he is right. He finds the challenge of new problems and new ventures stimulating and responds to them with action.”

Keith, meanwhile, was called a “natural team player” who “likes working to influence to positive response.” According to the test, he’s about “cooperation and collaboration.” His personality type likes to ask, “How can I help you?”

Keith and I agreed – the assessments were dead-on.

PI distributes 3 million assessments per year to over 6,000 clients. According to the official website, The Predictive Index is available in “over 140 countries with over 70 languages available.” Moreover, “over 23 million people have taken PI assessments, while over 10,000 people are trained in PI workshops annually.”

PI currently has 80 employees, with 130 expected by the end of 2018. And the company keeps growing.

“PI was growing 10% a year with very little investment. Now we’re looking at 34% growth this year, and we hope to keep 30% growth as a standard course of direction,” Zani said.

What’s perhaps most impressive about The Predictive Index is not how much has changed, but rather, how much has not. In 1955, The Predictive Index was about giving companies a reliable psychometric tool to make the most out of an employee. In 2017, it still is.


Alexander Culafi is a Staff Writer for VentureFizz. You can follow him on Twitter @culafia

Images provided by The Predictive Index.