Sarah Leahy, Learning & Development Manager

One of the most significant challenges I was tasked with upon joining Centro was to help our finance and design teams to work together more effectively. Both teams contained good people who were successful in their own right, but neither team understood the other and the relationship between the teams was difficult.

Having investigated the situation I came to the conclusion that the source of the problem was the lack of understanding each team had of the other. Each function recognised the importance of the other, but they struggled to understand the differences in their approach to the point where they often felt they were working at cross-purposes with one another.

Sometime before joining Centro I had trained as a MyBrain Practitioner and I felt that the MiND tool would be the ideal instrument to help each team gain a better insight into the differences that may exist between the type of people who chose to work in finance relative to those that chose to work in design.

I have to admit to being a little nervous as I organised the first workshop. I was new to the organisation and it was the first time I had run a MiND workshop for an intact team. I needn’t have worried though - the slides, games and props supplied by MyBrain International are brilliant and the scripts they provide flow extremely well. They also tend to be very well received by delegates as the MyBrain approach is not at all ‘preachy’, but is rather to facilitate a workshop that is fun and interesting in which delegates make discoveries for themselves.

The impact the half-day MiND workshops had on the design and finance teams was amazing. Both teams learned a lot about themselves but, more importantly, by gaining an insight into the way in which our brains form the foundation of our preferences and personality, they came to realise that the different perspective and approach provided by people who think differently could be an advantage as well as a challenge.

Originally I had only intended using the MiND tool to address the specific issue with the finance and design teams. However, in the weeks following those workshops, word spread throughout the organisation that a MiND workshop could really help teams perform better. And soon after that the decision was made to roll the programme out to every team and every Director in the organisation.

Interestingly, by using the MiND tool more widely we started to get benefits we hadn’t anticipated. The first was that the MiND tool created a ‘safe’ language for people to discuss personal differences. This greatly enhanced the effectiveness of communication across the organisation and resulted in better working relationships. We also incorporated the same language in some of our other training courses.

The second benefit was that when we looked at the team profiles across the organisation we realised that many teams suffered from a lack of diversity. I guess it’s obvious that when you split people into teams based on functional specialisms, you inevitably end up with a lot of like-minded people working together. As a result of this awareness, whenever we are recruiting or restructuring, the neurological diversity of the team is a factor that managers now take into consideration. Over time this has resulted in our teams gradually becoming more diverse, better balanced and more effective as a result.

The final unexpected benefit is that after attending just one half-day workshop, people seem to remember the MiND tool for years to come. I have worked with a lot of teams during my career and MiND is the best team development tool I have used. It is also one of very few that has ‘stuck’ in the minds of delegates and become embedded within the organisation. So much so that if I talked to someone who attended a workshop three years ago I guarantee that they would be able to both remember their profile and also have a good attempt at guessing the profile of other people, making it one of the best learning and development investments Centro ever made.

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