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June 27, 2016 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Global Talent Development Practitioners using Psychometrics to help Develop Teams, Leaders and Sales People driving Organizational Culture



Rebecca Bales

Global Partner - US, Canada and Latin America


Lumina Learning


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – June 27, 2016


CEOCFO: Ms. Bales, what is Lumina Learning®?

Ms. Bales: Lumina Learning is a global talent development organization. We use state-of-the-art psychometric tools to help the development of individual contributors, teams, leaders and sales people and help to drive organizational culture.


CEOCFO: Talent development is a wide category. Would you give us a couple of examples of how you work with an individual or a company?

Ms. Bales: The significant difference between what we do and what some of our competitors do is we do not use our developmental assessments to stereotype or pigeon-hole people. We have created psychometric tools designed to empirically measure a person’s behavior traits and their personality, without limitations based on where their strengths may or may not fall. For every single quality, we measure the polar opposite of that quality independently. Some tools that are on the market may say, “How competitive are you or are you not.”  We say, “How competitive are you and how collaborative are you.” There are certain situational, contextual relationships where someone may put on their competitive nature, whereas in another situation they may tend to be more collaborative. It is all based on the individual. Some people lean heavily on being competitive in everything they do, while with others, it would depend on the particular situation.  However, we independently measure this so that we do not force the choice - one way or the other. We are designed to enrich and not reduce. It gives people a more open view of who they are, with their unique strengths and talents they possess to bring to the picture. We do this through raising people’s self-awareness. Once people can get to know who they are at a deeper level and how they will typically show up, then they can better understand others and how they may be different. This creates and leads us down the path of valuing the differences in people and in how they work, behave and communicate. Once we can do that, then people can better relate to one another, understand how to better influence or manage others, how to work more effectively together and get to the innovative, synergistic connection with each other. There are some really great assessment tools out there that can tell you what your strength is on a team and what role you should play. However, they do not then tell you how to better connect with and how to build a synergy between all of those players on that team and how to better communicate with or manage those people on that team. At an even deeper level, we can show a team’s dynamics in all three personas. It is highly valuable when the team learns how to make available their underlying strengths that may be useful for the team’s success of a particular initiative. 


CEOCFO: Did you understand from the beginning the intricacies or has your in-depth approach developed over time?

Ms. Bales: We started that way. The history of Lumina and a majority of the partners come from the field of talent development. Most of us have dealt with psychometric tools for the majority of our careers. We felt something was missing from the typical typing tools we had used in the past. Knowing that our assessment results are scientifically measured is very important to us. We are not categorizing people; instead, we are able to show the complete person and to help individuals learn to be agile with their behaviors so as to create more effective relationships and work results. We actually measure where a person overextends their behavior when they get under stress and pressure. Our research results show that some people do overuse a strength while other people overextend in other behavioral areas, perhaps one they have been ignoring. In this manner, the overextending can be of benefit to this person if they learn to develop its positive use. Each person is different – this is what we recognize and honor.


CEOCFO: Lumina is a global company. Are there many cultural differences throughout the world that you need to account for in your measurements and assessments or, at the end of the day, are people people? 

Ms. Bales: Obviously, there are cultural differences. Our statistical validity can be examined independently from culture to culture because of this. Some cultures are typically high “Outcome Focused” while others are typically high in “Discipline Driven” or in “People Focused.” Understanding this data and what it means is extremely important when working globally; otherwise, your behavior may come across quite amplified and out of place. This could create extreme misinterpretations in your communication.


CEOCFO: Who is turning to Lumina today? What types of people and what types of companies?

Ms. Bales: That is a great question! We have found that companies on the forefront of their industry, the cutting edge, want something new and they want something different. Many have used some of the same tools that have been around as long as the 1920s. The new, innovative companies are always looking for a better way, something new that might give them an edge and is based on the latest research. They realize technology changes so fast, as in no one even wants to keep a cell phone for two years anymore because of the fast-changing technology. The same is true in the world of assessments. We are on that forefront of our industry being based on the latest psychometric research as well as technology. We are currently featuring a new mobile app for the iOS and Android systems. Our approach to measuring behavior and personality is also cutting-edge designed to measure all three facets of an individual which provides a fully rounded picture of a person. Given this, we do tend to get those cutting-edge industry leaders. We also get a lot of millennials. They do not want to be stereotyped or placed in a box any longer. They tend to gravitate towards our instruments and our approach.


CEOCFO: You mentioned Spark. Would you tell us a little more about your different offerings?  

Ms. Bales: Lumina Spark is our flagship offering. It is our behavioral/personality psychometric tool which I described previously.

Our latest product, which we are really proud of, is called Lumina Emotion. It is an emotional intelligence assessment. It measures your “Emotional Sparks” – what is happening inside of you. It measures those in the effective use and in the overextended use. It also measures your Emotional Reactors – how we are going to react in given situations.  It is what is driving our emotions. We are unique in this market because most emotional intelligence or EQ products are designed and developed by organizations completely independent of a personality tool. Since we have both, we can correlate how your internal emotions drive your outward behaviors, basically how your emotions can impact behaviors that show up in Lumina Spark.

We also have Lumina Leader, which measures leadership competencies. It can be run as a self-assessment or a 360, where you have the opportunity to invite others to respond about you. It is built upon Lumina Spark so it can tell you what leadership competencies you are using, to what degree you use them, and in what way you are using them.

For team development we offer Lumina Team, which gives us the ability to look at teams as a whole with their collective energy in the underlying, the everyday and the overextended team personas. This is always very interesting and our teams get real value with this approach.

They are also able to continue the practical use of our tools through the use of the Lumina Splash mobile app. This can be used on their tablets or smart phones, so they can keep the splashes of their teammates or customer or others close at hand. Then, when they have a meeting with another person, such as their boss or teammate, they can actually overlay and compare their splashes. This will give them a reminder of what they can do to better connect to and communicate with the other person prior to their meeting. This can be based directly on their assessment results if the QR code is scanned in, or they can speed read using the app so that they consider the other person’s behaviors. It will give them a hypothetical splash with hints and tips for connection.

Additionally, we have Lumina Sales, which is designed for sales individuals. Lumina Sales is based on twenty-four sales qualities and identifies how a sales person would manage those qualities in their effective use or overextended use. An example of an overextended use would be where a sales person might tend to acquiesce too much in closing or be too pushy or blunt with a customer. These sales qualities are also laid out against a six-step sales/buyers cycle, so we can see at which stage of the cycle the individual would have strengths or developmental needs. This bridges the gap between sales behaviors and sales success.


CEOCFO: Would you give us an example of how those two go together: the twenty-five-year-old millennial or twenty-five-year-old graduate student or someone entering the market? What type of report would you give to your clients?

Ms. Bales: Once an individual’s awareness is sparked it creates a space to make a different choice. Choice is power. Viktor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space, and in that space lies power to change and create your future.” Therefore, we create that space for you to make a different selection than what might just normally be your default. You may realize in this particular situation that it is going to be advantageous or more effective to step back and select a different action or reaction than you might normally. You may be ‘sparked’ by an emotion, but what is the behavior that will be displayed as a result. You can learn to be more agile with your emotions and, therefore, have behaviors that bring you more happiness and success.  

Lumina Spark and Lumina Emotion are both forty-page reports and are full of state-of-the-art graphics as well as text.  What we do with the results depends on the objective at hand.


CEOCFO: How do you help people not only to understand but to actually do actions that will make a difference and not revert to form? 

Ms. Bales: We can ‘spark’ that awareness. I keep going back to the word “spark,” because that’s what we do – we spark awareness in an individual. The key is for the individual to see, recognize and create a goal plan around it. Now, if you create a goal/plan for anything, such as, “I am going to pay bills once a week,” and if you do not take any steps toward that goal, you are not going to accomplish it. It’s all about practice. We absolutely must practice. We have to create situations where we practice. Learning is a process. The best success anybody has in developing teams or leaders is when there is practical application of the principles being taught back into the workplace and when there are follow-up opportunities to continue the learning process with the consultant. Learning journeys should be created, not just a one-time event. An event should be followed up with coaching sessions for individuals or leaders who are trying to apply these new concepts and become agile with their behaviors. Once we have sparked the awareness, we should ask, “Now what are you going to do with it? How will you apply this?” If you have the opportunity to come back together with the individual(s), whether it is for team coaching, individual coaching or another session, then you can have those discussions. It is through the practice process that you change behavior and then actually get an individual to reach higher peak performance levels.


CEOCFO: Do many of your clients work from soup to nuts, so they do the assessments and get the information and then work on the follow up or do you find that some people go with just the assessment and do not really realize what they might be missing without an extended engagement? 

Ms. Bales: I think there are not as many, of course, as we would like that do the extended engagement. I think that most organizations see the value in it and understand learning and development and training is a process. We do have quite a few clients that do twelve- to eighteen-month engagements. Those are the ones where we really stay with them so they learn a small bite of curriculum in one session then, for a month, they go away with a plan to apply that kernel back in the workplace. Then when they return and meet with us again, we have discussions and evaluate their experience. Between sessions they are in a cohort and receive coaching and additional knowledge bites. Sometimes there are budgetary issues or time issues which prevent this type of engagement; this is when our mobile app becomes extremely valuable. However, to get the team to be able to come together is so valuable, and we work with our clients to encourage follow-ups via webinars or peer coaching or other things that can help support the team in their progress forward.


CEOCFO: How do you reach out to potential clients? How would people find you if they were looking online? What terms or phrases would they search under?

Ms. Bales: We work mostly through referrals. Sometimes we get new clients through their attendance at a speaking engagement or webinar where we were featured. If one is searching on the internet, they find us through key words such as leadership development, team development, psychometric tools, assessment tools, etc.


CEOCFO: Why should people choose Lumina Learning?

Ms. Bales: I have been in the industry of psychometric tools and talent development, since the beginning of my career. Lumina has brought more value to my clients than any tool I have ever used in the past.  It works and the value it brings to my client is huge. This is why I am with Lumina Learning. Lumina honors the individual and their uniqueness of who they are, and when they embrace polarities or where they actually overextend. The fact that everything is empirically measured is very important. We do not make inferences or assumptions – everything we do is based on the scientific approach to identity. Technology evolves, science evolves and psychometric tools evolve. Why would someone not take the most up-to-date approach in all areas? Why would you keep using a telephone with a cord when there is a better way now?


CEOCFO: What is the takeaway about Lumina Learning?

Ms. Bales: The takeaway is that Lumina is based on the latest findings and research in the area of personality and behavior. We put the revenue back into the company in product development, technology, validity and research, and state-of-the-art graphics. We are continuously evolving our tools and programs as well as developing new and improved tools because we can and because the industry should not settle for less from a company that helps people and organizations evolve and improve.


“Technology evolves, science evolves and psychometric tools evolve. Why would someone not take the most up-to-date approach in all areas? Why would you keep using a telephone with a cord when there is a better way now?”- Rebecca Bales


Lumina Learning



Rebecca Bales








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