Talent optimization consultant David Lunken is using PI to transform stress into value
David Lunken is a consultant with PI Midlantic, a certified partner of The Predictive Index. Lunken and his peers at PI Midlantic specialize in talent optimization: a data-driven framework that helps clients align their business strategy with their talent strategy.
COVID-19 disrupted industries and upended entire organizations. At a time of stress and unease for his clients, Lunken used PI’s talent optimization platform to build confidence in the path forward.
“Folks are under stress. PI has a ton of data we can use to help them.”
Extending a helping hand
After the pandemic hit, Lunken had one concern: checking in on his clients. “The first phase was just, ‘We’re here for you, and we can help you. Let’s talk.’”
For Lunken and his PI Midlantic colleagues, this was an opportunity to provide value—not sell. And PI was there to support them, creating content such as an economic survival guide. Lunken reached out to his clients to share the guide, and was greeted with gratitude.
“I got a really high rate of response. People were emailing back and saying, ‘Thank you.’”
Fostering engagement through resilience
Another PI-provided resource Lunken used was The Resilience Series, a pair of virtual workshops designed to help teams navigate times of change or stress. According to Lunken, The Resilience Series allowed him to engage existing clients—so they could in turn engage their people.
“For a number of clients, they have a new business strategy in place,” Lunken explained. “But now they need to get people on board with it.”
Mobilizing employees to action isn’t easy, especially when most are remote and stressed. But through these workshops, Lunken helped his clients understand their chief people issues, so they could address them through talent optimization.
“Instead of creating my own training, I had a framework. I had a path to take my clients down, and I could use PI data to address their needs.”
Embracing virtual consulting
In the 2020 remote work report, PI found that 33% of people had never worked from home before COVID-19. When moving to virtual consulting, consultants need to contend with technology constraints while ensuring a smooth experience for clients—some of whom aren’t used to with remote meetings.
But Lunken didn’t shy away from virtual consulting. In fact, he scaled up his training efforts. “I trained 170 people in 2019. I already trained 70 people last month,” he explained.
This required a shift in the way he approached engagements. From facilitating Zoom breakouts, to staying animated during video calls, it was important that he maintain the same sense of engagement he’d achieved in person.
“We actually increased participation, and it was because clients had time. It’s a testament to people investing in their own employees.”
Expanding his consulting toolbox
With talent optimization, Lunken has helped his clients through their toughest scenarios. And he’s prepared to continue guiding them, no matter the people issues at hand.
“What PI has done really well is create an entire package,” he explained. “It provides a bigger toolbox, so I can say to clients, ‘I know we can be helpful. There’s lots of ways to do that.’”
In times of stress and change, it’s easy for business leaders to lean into what they know. But that’s not always the best way forward. COVID-19 may have altered the nature of work, but for Lunken and PI Midlantic, it’s just another opportunity to use PI data to solve their clients’ biggest needs.
“Pressure makes us do what we do, and can't help but to do. And PI tells us what that's going to be. Why not use that data?”