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    Aug 07, 2015    |

Type Analysis: Taking Teams to the Next Level

As a facilitator, the most popular requests I receive are team-building workshops. I’ve seen first-hand the value of using splitting activities to not only highlight the impact our preferences can have on team interactions, but to capture agreements and commitments going forward to mitigate conflict and work more productively. It is the latter I find most paramount to any workshop, and often times as trainers we can forget the importance of bridging the ‘what’ to the ‘now what’. If the training does not result in behavioural change, then unfortunately, insights tend to decay.

In addition to splitting activities, I also like to perform what we call a Team Type Analysis. While the splitting activities provide great content and discussion, I find an in-depth analysis of represented preferences helps to round-out our day together and really consolidate the message that all types and all preferences are valuable on a team. If we are missing any, our team interactions may be easier, but they are not necessarily more fruitful. Furthermore, a type analysis also helps add a few more items to that evolving Action Plan, helping teams move forward toward understanding and communicating better with one another. In fact, it’s one of the most valuable exercises I find when encouraging people to ‘flex’ outside their type code to inject what may be otherwise needed or – advocated for – in their own team.

If you’ve never performed a Team Type Analysis, it simply involves documenting everyone’s verified type on a chart and then discussing some of the distributions you and the team observe. Be sure to use verified type – this ensures buy-in, especially as individuals are permitted to choose the type that aligns with them best. If confidentiality or anonymity is a concern, feel free to use ‘anonymous’ check marks or percentages on the chart as well – you can still gain great insights without needing to know which member of the team has which type! Finally, before you begin, always make sure your discussion revolves around open questions, and not prescriptive dialogue. Your job is not to make assumptions regarding preferences and behaviour, but to ask the team if – and how- they experience their team’s types.

As a facilitator, focus on the following in your analysis and subsequent discussion:

1. For homogeneous or imbalanced teams who share many of the same preferences (and lack others!), ask:
Knowing what we know about preferences, where is this team imbalanced? As a result, what may be some key contributions? Knowing what we know now about the preferences, what behaviours or perspectives might we be missing out on? How can the team include that perspective in their decision making and/or communication?

2. For heterogeneous teams who have diverse preferences , ask:
When and how may these differences be leading to conflict? How can the team use these differences in a positive way rather than seeing them as a basis for conflict? Are we making equal space for all perspectives to be heard?

3. In regards to the leader’s preferences, ask:
In what ways do they influence the focus and work of the team? Do team members avoid presenting some types of information because they know that the leader will not see it as important? Any developmental areas here?

4. Always re-iterate that preferences do not necessarily equal skill. Just because a team has – or doesn’t have- certain preferences does not mean they are automatically good or bad at something. Have the team focus on their strengths and blind spots, taking into account both their preferences and the skills they have developed.