Lynda Mears, Learning Relationship Manager

I became a MyBrain Practitioner more by default than design and I can honestly say it was the best thing I have done in my career in L&D. Over the years I had gathered relevant qualifications as long as my arm and when my manager enrolled our team on the Practitioner training I approached it with an open mind but also with a degree of cynicism. What was going to be new and beneficial of being accredited in yet another tool? However, within ten minutes I was hooked, realising that the MiND tool, backed up by thorough neuroscientific research, did not compartmentalise participants but rather gave them a licence to be fluid and flexible. It wasn’t prescriptive in any way, but offered a language for real conversations, insight and development. And that for me is one of its main benefits and its use opened up many more areas of potential for me as an L&D consultant across the Santander business.

I decided to first of all use it with a successful but challenging team in the business for whom I was the Learning Relationship Manager. The regional managers within the Agency Division, working within the branch network were compensated and incentivised individually and therefore had no perceived need to work as a team. On top of that they effectively operated as a franchise, yet their Director needed them to perform but without true jurisdiction, finding it sometimes difficult to engage them. The team session was designed to enable open and honest conversation with the objective of attendees recognising the benefits of working together, sharing knowledge and information and understanding the potential that synergy could bring.

Before the session I spent time giving MiND feedback individually to each of the managers so they would all enter the room understanding their own profile and, I hoped, a curiosity about their colleagues. Even with that foundation laid, the day started with some painful bare bones of feedback and conversations that were necessary in order for people to progress and start to build genuine respect for each other. And through the typical 'forming, storming, norming' sequence of feelings, we did reach the 'performing' stage. Some of the managers described it as cathartic and others as reaching a moment of epiphany. No matter what we call it, the important thing was that the team reached a tipping point of insight with a mutual understanding of why other people react in surprising ways and why they themselves could be the cause of miscommunication and even a shutting down of relationships. It resulted in a detailed action plan which still forms the basis of monthly meetings where each member is held accountable for both individual and team performance. The Director reported some months afterwards how much more productive, successful and engaged all team members were and how the MiND workshop had been a breakthrough for the Agency team.

I continue to use the MyBrain materials and resources with teams across the bank. I love the way that MiND is personal and individual and gives people permission to be the way they are, because they finally understand WHY they are that way! And I love the way it enables rich, honest conversations within and across teams, that don’t just improve performance, but also increase employee engagement.

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