Are you looking for something different to include in your next team-building day? Have you ever wished that there was a fun and easy way that you could enhance communication between your team members? Would you like to find out more about yourself and how you come across to others?
Then a Discovery Insights day might be for you! It certainly was for The Cambridge Judge Business School.
When Charmain Allen, Director of Operations was planning an away day with her Operations Managers, she started to consider options over and above the ‘traditional team building’ activities. As Charmain explains: “In their roles as operations managers, they have to work across the Business School and deal with a lot of different stakeholders, different levels, different personalities … so, I thought it would be useful to actually give them the tools to communicate more effectively and understand different peoples’ perspectives and each other.”
Although Charmain had not identified any specific gaps in the teams’ communication, as with any business, communicating with others forms an important part of their working day, both in their interactions with one another and with a variety of stakeholders. When Charmain came across Discovery Insights, she felt that it represented something a bit different to incorporate into their next away day. She had heard good reports of the way in which it had been used for change management in another organisation and approached Ric Hayden from Learning Cog to find out more.
Discovery Insights is a simple and easy to understand four colour model that looks at an individuals’ unique preferences. Prior to the workshop, participants take part in a short online evaluator, the output of which is a personality profile that highlights individual strengths and possible blind spots or areas for development.
Charmain arranged a half-day workshop to take place during the morning of the away day. The workshop, which was run by Ric Hayden, was highly interactive and provided a unique springboard for communication.
“Ric was friendly and energetic and certainly facilitated a lot of the conversations and made it a safe place to talk.”
After spending the morning examining their own individual strengths and weaknesses in communication styles and preferences in terms of how they like to work, the team changed the agenda for the rest of the day!
“My favourite element was the card game where you pass out cards to people that best embody that quality and because they’re all so positive – to have those from your colleagues is a real boost”
The afternoon was spent sharing one another’s profiles and talking in more detail about how they each like to work, which has been found to have had a long term impact on team dynamics and communication. “At times I am more aware of the way I may come across and the way my managers prefer to be communicated to” says Charmain.
Ange Fitzpatrick, Acting Information and Library Services Manager was a relatively new member of the team who attended the workshop. Ange discovered tactics that allowed her to maximise effective communication with others, particularly those who were polar opposites on the colour spectrum. As she explained: “People on the blue side they began to realise the value that I place on having a social interaction before we get down to business, and equally for me, I realised that being down more the yellow side of the wheel, that I can be quite exhausting to deal with! It’s definitely changed the way I approach people – so I try to tailor my approach to what I know they’ll be open to”
Ange was so impressed with the workshop that she decided to run it with her own library services team in a follow on workshop. As she explains: “We had a new member of the team here and were gelling into a new structure with changes in the roles that people were doing and thought it would be a great opportunity to see if we could recreate the experience.” The team learned more about one another’s preferred communication styles, something that they have been able to put into good effect immediately.
“We now know what makes each other tick a bit better so that when it comes to blending talents in a team project, we’re much more aware of the techniques and practices that will give us a good outcome rather than something that might potentially create friction or that somebody perhaps feels their voice isn’t being heard”
The Insights Discovery model is based on the extensive research of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and the subsequent work of Jolande Jacobi, one of his leading students. The model has been rigorously tested in its reliability and validity and is continually developed over time. The beauty of it is that it allows people to gain a deeper understanding of one another’s individual preferences in a very accessible way. But don’t take our word from it! As Ange sums up: “Certainly the results we’ve had here, both within my team and the wider operations group managers team have justified our faith in the method”.
This case study was researched and prepared independently by Emma Newman Consulting Ltd, a UK based organisation that specialises in training evaluations and market research. Further details can be found at www.emmanewman.co.uk