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One on One... with James Lewis

We dip into the Society member database and pick…James Lewis, a Principal Consultant at Cubiks, a global talent assessment consultancy part of the PSI family. With online extras.

07 January 2020

One psychological superpower
The ability to predict future job performance with 100 per cent accuracy, or at least the ability to define ‘potential’ once and for all.

One workplace competency
Kindness. In 10 years of practice, I haven’t once been asked to define kindness as a distinct workplace behaviour. Is it inherent to Organisational Citizenship Behaviour? Could it underpin team performance? Can it be measured? If anyone wants a side project to help, or has any research to share, please get in touch!

One TV series
Brooklyn 99 (or The Detectorists).

One bias
Unfortunately the one where I believe I’m less biased than the average person (blind spot bias). Despite working in an industry at the cutting edge of mitigating bias in talent assessment, I’m reminded daily about the limits of my own perspective and the advantages of my own privileges in ways I’d never even considered.

One new song
Abusey Junction by Kokoroko.

One nugget of advice for aspiring psychologists
Don’t be too swayed by shiny new technology or trendy buzzwords. In fact, be a bit critical. Where’s the evidence? What’s the impact? The most exciting solutions are the ones that really work.

One game
Mario Kart N64.

One inspiration
Every time I hear the phrase ‘The first woman to…’, because it reminds me how far we still have to go for equality to be the norm. My inspiration comes from the stories of women and minority groups fighting for equality in so many contexts. I strongly believe psychologists play a critical role too, whether it’s actively reducing bias in promotion at work or dispelling myths about human differences – we must help change society’s perceptions and behaviours!

One proud moment
Gaining my Chartership in Occupational Psychology with the BPS. I submitted 10 entries in one final submission…

One podcast
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore Histories. I’m making up for lost time when it comes to history (PlayStation hours had a direct negative correlation on History revision). Dan Carlin’s podcasts are epic but well worth it. I’m nearly finished with ‘Blueprint for Armageddon’, six 4-hour podcasts exploring World War One in incredibly moving, thought-provoking and (in places) horrific detail.

One personality trait (via PAPI 3)
‘Conceptual Thinker’ (Definitely not ‘Need for Rules and Guidelines’).

One thing about the BPS
Remaining a global standard for practice and pushing for progress. More and more often our clients ask to work with BPS Chartered Psychologists to be reassured that they’re working with certified experts.

One beer
It’s a bold choice – Sleeping Lemons (Wild Beer). It’s a sour beer, which only really works in the summer. It sticks in my mind because it reflects an awakening, from being a basic lager drinker to suddenly seeing the diverse world of craft beers, brilliant label designs and the odd 12 per cent smoky Porter.

One book
Shogun by James Cavell.

One audiobook
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. Listening to the voice actor attempting so many different Hobbit accents is worth the money alone.

One hope for Occupational Psychology
That we remember each data point is still representing an actual person. We risk being carried away with automation, technology and data to the detriment of fairness, accessibility and personal experience. Technology should enable psychology to achieve even more, not replace the need for good psychology, compassion and real interaction.

One restaurant
Ottolenghi. They do amazing things with vegetables.

One old(ish) song
Le Long De La Riviere Tendre by Sebastien Tellier.

One thing psychologists could do better
Encourage companies to invest more in their own research. Long-term analysis in the context of their organisation is a hard sell in a climate of transformational change, exciting new technology and the need for immediate results. Arguably, taking time to gather evidence that generates better insights is actually the quickest way to arrive at the greatest outcomes.

One film
Star Wars: A New Hope. It’s not the best film of the original series, but it’s the one that blew my mind the most in terms of its cast of curious creatures, incredible world building and general sci-fi awesomeness. 

One alternative career path you may have chosen

One thing I’d save in a fire
Hay Hee chair. I’m going through a Danish design phase, particularly chairs.

One key learning from consulting
We are partners, not faceless suppliers or pushy salespeople. If you genuinely care about someone’s challenges and are passionate about the outcomes, you will co-create better solutions. This often turns into wonderful relationships where you see the most innovative solutions develop over time. I think consulting is mainly about caring about people and a strong belief that you can help them achieve something great.

One guilty pleasure
Lighthouse Family.