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Behavioural Diagnostics for Teams? - Who wouldn’t?

Would a professional pilot take off without doing the pre-flight check?

How would you feel if your doctor suggested a course of action without a proper diagnosis?

Surely every good motor mechanic looks at what’s working, and also what’s not, before embarking upon a service of a vehicle?

Why then, do some leaders still shy away from using reliable and evidence-based behavioural diagnostics to conduct check-ups to help quantify what’s going on within their teams?

In an increasingly complex and risky world it can make all the difference to do so before, during and after major projects.

Perhaps they have had poor experiences with tools that end up reading more like a horoscope than an accurate profile, or are just far too complex and unwieldy for real teams to make any practical use of? If so, they were definitely using the wrong tools. With the right approaches, behavioural diagnostics can accelerate team development, releiveclashes and conflicts and enhance day-to-day performance.

As teams navigate increasingly complex environments, success or failure can make a real difference to an organisation’s survival. Just guessing about team dynamics and behavioural interactions can ‘make or break’ teams and is therefore not an effective methodology.

That fact is teams succeed or fail one relationship at a time. Even the best teams on paper can see their collective IQ and capability drop if the team chemistry is poorly understood and undermining their effectiveness.

A better approach may be to measure ‘behaviour’ as opposed to just personality, which alone cannot offer great insight into how someone may actually behave at work, nor how both individual and collective strengths and weaknesses manifest.

7 Reasons for measuring behaviour at work

1. It can change.

Personality is fixed and unlikely to change, so it makes sense to focus our efforts at the point where changes can be made - our behaviour.

2. It can be observed.

Personality is what’s on the inside; behaviour is what comes out. It affects, and is affected by, those around us.

3. It’s situational.

Our behavioural tendencies influence the kinds of work we might be best suited to, and who we work best with.

4. It’s practical.

Once people understand their behavioural impacts, and those of others, people better understand how different kinds of work might be approached and what sort of contributions are required.

5. It makes individuals and teams tick.

Understanding strengths and weaknesses makes people more engaged, happier and more productive at work, promoting a positive working environment and reducing turnover costs.

6. It can be predicted.

Since we can observe behaviour, we can predict it too. People may not always behave as we expect in every little way – as human beings, we always possess the capacity to surprise one another – but broadly speaking, we settle into ways of working, communicating and relating to others that can be expected to remain the same over a period of time.

7. It can be extrapolated.

Personality comes down to the individual – it’s their outlook on the world. By its very nature, behaviour is more fluid and interconnected with others, so it lends itself naturally to collation. We can aggregate key behavioural Team Role information to design and build teams, or map the behavioural preferences of two individuals to examine how well a partnership might work

It’s not hard to get it right, and whether a team is forming, storming, norming or performing (if you are a fan of Tuckman and his simple but effective model) a practical measure of strength and weakness can genuinely help to develop, stabilise and grow any team.

Just as prudent insights and diagnostics help the afore-mentioned professionals to obtain the best outcomes, avoid problems and engage in preventative maintenance, so too can good tools help leaders, managers and teams to avoid behavioural pitfalls, especially when the pressure is on.

The behavioural diagnostic tool that we use to identify team strengths and weaknesses is Belbin. It’s the ‘Gold Standard’ for workplace behavioural testing, and is not only accurate but also pragmatic and user-friendly.

Conceived and developed by Dr Meredith Belbin in the late 60’s, the research, norming and refining of the model and associated tools now has 30 years of validation and an impressive track record of success. The latest versions of Belbin and its cutting edge online diagnostics are truly world-class and at the leading edge, whilst also being backed by decades of experience.

Belbin’s individual and team profiles offer immediate insight and lasting value for leaders, managers and teams. That’s why it’s used by tens of thousands of organisations worldwide (and in 17 languages). These include major corporate, government, defence, NGO, education and sporting clients.

The reason they use it, is that it works. Not only does it work, but it’s highly cost-effective and very easy to access and deploy.

Belbin’s 9 Team Roles identify and help measure clusters of behaviour at work with individuals and how they impact team chemistry.

Profiles and reports can be obtained easily online for a quick ‘do it yourself’ session, or an experienced and accredited consultant can be engaged to take things further.

Sabre began using Belbin in 1989, along with many other well-known tools and models. As the years passed, our use of other tools fell by the wayside as we just continued to see speed and longevity of uptake with Belbin.

We use it because it works, and clients keep coming back for more of it.

Having been in the team and leadership development business for over 30 years, we stake our professional reputation on Belbin with clients of all styles ranging for the United Nations and the Australian Defence Force to majoruniversities like UQ, Monash and The University of Sydney along with corporates such as Wesfarmers, AGL, Airbus, IBM and many more.

Using Belbin to measure the behaviours at play within a team gives immediate and useful insight into where balance or bias may exist, and then how to maximise strengths and contain the impacts of weaknesses.

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