Working in a multidisciplinary team can be fun and rewarding. In the harsh day to day reality of dynamic business settings however it is often the opposite and team members tend to ‘shut down’ when faced with difficult meetings. Teamleaders want to boost the team skills to innovate but do not know how to built a bridge closing the communication gap. One of our customers, a local sales and support organization for a global player asked us to help build that bridge. I decided to combine the Mindsonar® test with other business NLP techniques.
What is the big picture?
Team members from various disciplines had to work together to set up a new business line. These disciplines included technical support, marketing, sales, management and fulfillment. The objective of the team meeting was to translate existing best practice into innovation for a newly set up business line. On the surface everything seemed to challenge the current business model: instead of delivering the product directly to large customers, the full service needed to be delivered via business partners to consumers. It faced the team with a new focus: how to accelerate revenue and market presence.
Each team member filled in a Mindsonar® test for a specific context: the biweekly team meeting. The outcome of the test was used for:
- Individual feedback to team members – how to improve personal performance;
- Design of the interventions during the team meeting;
- Finding stimulating interactions.
Each team member received the standard Mindsonar® report with personal drives. During the team meeting I intervened by providing each team member with feedback on their behavior during the team exercises. I focussed on improving team interaction and creativity.
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 settingGather meeting information using questions that are tailored to diversity
- Group brainstorm with feedback on successfull interactions.
Finding the right interaction
Positive human interaction boosts the emergence of innovative business concepts, plans and actions. Depending on the context similar or diverse kind of people boost creativity. Because the cause of the problem was unknown, I used a three-step approach with different interactions:
- Information gathering
- Problem solving
- Finding creative solution
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.
This article was published at the Mindsonar site on February 7, 2015 by Rien van Leeuwen.
- The Disney strategy is described in Skills for the future (Dilts with Bonnissone).
- Specific meta programs for team learning are derrived from Energie door Wisselwerking (Published by Ruysdael, Author Rien van Leeuwen).
- Mindsonar® is a product of the Institute of Eclectic psychology in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.