Wednesday 27 June 2012

Improving team dynamics & engagement via motivational maps

Did you know?
“….international literature shows one of the most important ways in which leaders
contribute to organisational development is through their impact on the
motivation, development and well being of staff.”

DfES Independent Study into Leadership,
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Jan 2007

Having a skilled and motivated team is among the most crucial elements of successful organisations. Group of dedicated employees can take on most difficult task, but fostering great team spirit and maintaining high performance can be very big challenge in itself. Motivational Map is a diagnostic tool which enables individuals and organisations to understand how motivated they are, what motivates them best and provides practical tool to increase motivation at all levels.
This exercise has sound academic credentials, but its biggest strength is that it has been proved in practice on thousands of people in all types of organisations: business, education and public sector. It is an exercise which, by focusing on a particular dynamic, helps reach better understanding and therefore awareness, which in turn helps maintain motivation.
There are many ways for conducting personality tests and increasing awareness, however Motivational Map also provides ideas for Reward Strategies, Appraisal System and Team Building Tool. The report can be constructed for both individual team members and the whole team.
There are various benefits of this exercise. Among the most important are:
  • The opening new channels of conversation between members of the team and the leader
  • One of the most important skills of the leader is Team Building. Increased awareness of the leader about the team and individual team members leads to better understanding of the dynamics in the group
  • Improved relationships between people involved in the exercise
  • Through the increased awareness the leader can also improve the motivation and focus of the team
  • Experiencing conversations of more natural and human nature also deepen relationships which in itself increase awareness and have positive impact on team dynamics and motivation
  • Motivational Maps also allow individual team members to understand each other better and adapt accordingly to accommodate different working and communication styles from within the group. These lead to more harmonious and productive working environment.

In order to produce a Motivational Map Report, participants are asked to complete a questionnaire (either online or paper based). The questionnaire is scored and report produced. The report includes 3 Top Motivators with their description and brief description of the lowest motivator. Motivational Map describes 9 Motivators. Their full description can be found here.
Motivational Maps can be used effectively in many different scenarios. Some examples include:
  • Handling conflict
  • Building high performing teams
  • Managing teams
  • Managing and communicating with staff – different motivational styles
  • Sales – understanding yourself and your client
  • Change Management of any type
  • Decisions making
  • Making effective and lasting decisions
  • Building effective teams – by understanding their motivators, and many more...

Motivational Maps also find their place in business coaching as one of the tools for unlocking potential of the team or individual.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Psychometrics and their value in Business Coaching

Psychological personality has vast influence over the team dynamics as well as the way we perform as individuals. There are various studies into the relationships between personality and professional success, lifestyle or use of social media. This relationships and linkages can be better understood through the use of psychometrics, i.e., an interpretation of quantitative tests which measure psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude and personality traits.
To become a better leader, manager, or a business person, individuals need to develop their self-awareness in order to understand their true potential and the impact they have on those around them. Psychometrics is used by Business Coaches to help individuals understand their personality, ability, and to develop their talent, encourage career progression or motivate themselves and their teams.
Bruce Peltier in his book "The Psychology of Executive Coaching: Theory and Application" states that:
"Assessment is an essential element of executive coaching"
One of the most popular assessment tools used by the Business Coaches is "disclosure-feedback model of awareness", also called Johari window (figure below). It is used to provide comprehensive feedback to the executive and coach and the goal of the model is to move knowledge from cells 2, 3 and 4 toward cell 1 and to make this cell larger.
The Johari Window

The Johari Window

Psychometrics can add great value to Business Coaching. The Coach can understand the client better, choose a coaching approach that builds faster and more effective rapport with the client, and can identify potential areas that require more attention at early stage. This way rapid progress can be made more efficiently and chances for any mistakes and omissions are minimized. It also enables them to get a better understanding about how people communicate, manage, lead or follow.
During conducting of the assessment the clients can receive a feedback that could be negative and uncomfortable. It is therefore essential to have clear discussion about confidentiality and the kinds of reports the Business Coach will use.
In order to maximize effectiveness, Coaches must have a good understanding of research basis for psychometric tools, which as well as providing great benefits, could potentially lead to some unfortunate unforeseen circumstances, e.g., used as capability assessment when the tool used is purely about motivation or preferences; used to identify weaknesses as opposed to ways of improving performance. Both in my business career and as a coach I have built an awareness of a several psychometric tools and their use and potential miss-use. There are cases in the US where organisations have been sued for using poor or discriminatory tests in assessment situations.
There are a very high number of psychometric tests in circulation, and the Business Coach must choose the approach that is soundly-based on strong theoretical and scientific foundation that is appropriate for the goal the client is presenting.
The key determinants of reputable tests are:
  • Objectivity - Results not influenced by administrator's personal preferences or biases. 360 instruments almost always have an inherent rater bias
  • Standardised - Each test uses a standard procedure and test results compared with known benchmarks
  • Reliable - Test comes up with the same results time after time, i.e., stable over time and not subject to transient mood or situation
  • Valid - Actually measures what it claims to measure
  • Discriminating (not discriminatory) - Showing clear differences between individuals on the behaviour being tested
    • Good examples include Management Development tool called Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Occupational Personality Questionnaire, series of tools run by Cambridge Psychometrics, Schein's Career Anchors (applied to Career Coaching situations) and strengths inventories such as Inspired Leadership and Strength ScopeBelbinFiro-B and Motivational Maps (a tool that builds on psychometrics to improve team dynamics as well as individual performance and effectiveness).
      The tool I have leveraged most in my coaching career so far is MBTI. The main strengths of MBTI in coaching are lying within its simplicity. It is fairly easy for the client to understand the structure and process of the testing. MBTI describes what happens to the individual under pressure and offers specific solutions, which are based on research and tailored to each individual, so the stressful situations can be managed as effectively as possible. This technique also provides tools and guidance for best way to match Coach and Client, which is essential when considering hiring a Business Coach.
      I look forward to learning most about how to get the most out of the use of psychometric tools and especially their application in team building and development situations.