Imagine you are the leader of a multidisciplinary team and you want to boost your team ability to innovate in response to the dynamic business competition. How would you approach that? One of our customers, a local sales and support organization for a global IT-solutions provider asked us for a team intervention. I decided to combine the Mindsonar® test with other business NLP techniques. In the following text Mindsonar® Meta Programs are indicated in italic.
The big frame
The team was composed of various disciplines: technical support, marketing, sales, management and fulfillment. The objective of the team meeting was quit simple: how do we translate best practice of the current operation into innovation for a newly set up business line. This business line used a completely different business model: instead of delivering the product directly to large customers, the full service was delivered via business partners to consumers. Central question: how to accelerate revenue and market presence?
Each team member filled in a Mindsonar® test for a specific context: the biweekly team meeting. I used the test results for:
- Individual feedback to team members – how to improve personal performance;
- Design of the interventions during the team meeting;
- Choosing stimulating interactions.
Each team member received the standard Mindsonar® report including personal drives. During the team meeting each team member received feedback on their behavior during the team exercises. These were specifically focused on improving team interaction and creativity.
Design of the interventions
Analysis of the Mindsonar® results led to the following conclusions:
- 9 out of the 13 meta programs showed a high deviation from the average
- Team members showed a variety of Graves drives.
- Meta criteria (what is important to me) came from different angles (people, task, cooperation)
Based on this I designed the following interventions:
- A presentation to create awareness of the positive effect of diversity
- Experience the positive effects of diversity in a one-to-one setting
- Gather meeting information using questions that are tailored to diversity
- Group brainstorm with feedback on successful interactions.
Choosing stimulating interactions
Positive human interaction fosters the birth of innovative business concepts, plans and actions. Depending on the context similar or diverse kind of people boost creativity. Because the problem cause was unknown, I used a three-step approach with different interactions:
- Information gathering
- Problem solving
- Finding creative solutions
For the information gathering phase I analyzed two meta programs: Global/Specific and Procedure/Options. By plotting team members in a XY-graph I set up two teams of maximum diversity and one team of maximum similarity (see graph). These teams answered a set questions that were formulated using as many as different meta programs as possible. The advantage of this approach is gathering a great range of information.
In the problem-solving phase the complete team interacted. Practical guidelines for team cohesion, such as balancing internal and external reference, were already given in the presentation. These guidelines came from an analysis of two types of meta programs and the Graves drives. During and after this interaction I provided feedback on specific meta programs that stimulated group cohesion (matching, specific, concept and use)
In the creative phase team members used the Disney Strategy as a general process. Now the teams were set up from the principle of similarity on two sets of meta programs : towards/away from and matching/mismatching.
For the dreamer (I,E and G): towards/matching. For the critic (F, D and A): away from/mismatching and for the realist (C, H and B) people who easily switch between towards/away and between match/mismatch.
By using Mindsonar® to boost team interaction various effect arise:
- A rich set of information is gathered
- Information is analyzed from different perspectives and filters
- Creativity is stimulated
The Disney strategy are described in Skills for the future (Dilts with bonnissone).
Specific meta programs for team learning are derived from Energie door Wisselwerking (Rien van Leeuwen).
Mindsonar® is a product of the Institute of Eclectic psychology in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.