Team Insights is Alva’s tool for data-driven team development. You can read all about how to interpret the graph and the four different profiles in our interpretation manual. In this article, we will share our best advice on how to debrief the results to the team, to get a good discussion going and enable the development of a more well-functioning group.
BEFORE THE DEBRIEF
Make sure to set aside enough time for the debrief, given the size and state of the team. A well-functioning team of four might do well with an hour; a twelve-person team with some ongoing tensions or problems might need a half-day session.
Make sure everyone on the team has taken the personality test, and send out reminders as required. Emphasise that the quality of the insights will be significantly improved the more members that have taken the test. Needless to say, however, if someone feels very uncomfortable about taking the test, this needs to be respected.
Familiarise yourself with the results beforehand. This will make the debrief run a lot better. You can use the interpretation manual as your guide. Make sure to look for findings that might be sensitive to the group. For instance, are there any apparent outliers? Apparent sub-groupings? If you believe these findings reflect a sensitive pattern, try to come up with a plan on how to talk about these findings.
BEGINNING THE DEBRIEF
Start by setting the scene. The first step of the debrief is to establish the purpose and tone of the session, as well as to provide team members with some basic information. Some points to emphasise:
- The focus of the debrief is development, not evaluation: There are no right or wrong profiles. This is an opportunity to improve self-awareness and mutual understanding.
- Team Insights represents well-grounded indications, no absolute truths. See it as a tool to get a general sense of group dynamics and, above all, to generate useful questions.
- Participation in the discussion is always optional. Make sure to ask whether everyone is comfortable discussing their individual business profiles in the workshop (note: the full personality report should not be displayed). This will enable you to discuss e.g. each person’s flexibility score. If some member does not want to discuss his/her individual profile in group, that is of course fine.
- Who will have access to the results? Will the manager and HR have access to the full results? Will the team have access to each others' business profiles? Make sure to check this so that you know your organisation’s settings. The individual always has access to his/her own full results.
- It is usually a good idea to agree on keeping the things being discussed in the session to yourselves, so that everyone feels comfortable sharing.
Quickly go through the logic of the profiles and the graph. Quickly go over the team graph and the four different profiles represented. For support on how to explain these things, look at the interpretation manual. It is usually good to mention that:
- The team graph and profiles are based on the big five personality data
- The team graph represents a simplified abstraction, intended to facilitate team development discussions (results are not as rich as in the full personality report)
- The meaning, in brief, of the four different profiles.
Also collect any initial questions from the group to make sure everyone is on board.
GOING THROUGH THE TEAM’S RESULTS
The Team Overview (the ‘absolute’ view). Explain to the group that in this view, the team is benchmarked against a large norm group. Some good initial questions to pose:
- Do you recognise yourselves as a group? Any surprises?
- Your individual positions - do you recognise yourselves?
- Are there any missing profiles? What might that mean for team dynamics? (You can also point out that missing profiles may not be a problem, since that role might be covered by someone in the group anyway. This is what you will look more closely at when you go to the Team Dynamics view.)
- Is the team diverse or similar in terms of personality? I.e., are you spread over a large area in the graph or rather concentrated? Do you recognise this? What does that tell you about your strengths and challenges?
Group Dynamics (the ‘relative’ view). Explain that here, the team is compared to itself, i.e., members’ positions are affected by where other members land. Some questions to discuss:
- Compared to the absolute view - are the differences large or small? Do any of you change profiles? Do you recognise these patterns?
- Are you covering more or less profiles than in the absolute view?
- Are there any sub-groupings? Do you recognise these from your daily life as a team? How about the mutual understanding between members who are far from each other?
The members’ individual flexibility. Usually, highly flexible members are more likely to change profiles. They are also often those who compensate for missing profiles. Team members with distinct profiles, on the other hand, often have a more characteristic role in the group.
- Do you recognise your own flexibility score? The score of your colleagues?
- What are some pros and cons of having a flexible profile?
- What are some pros and cons of having a distinct one?
- For those with distinct profiles: What role do you optimally prefer to be in? The rest of the team: Do you enable this person to be in this particular role? Could you do it even more?
- For those with flexible profiles: What types of roles do you generally feel comfortable taking? Do you sometimes get to flex too much? How can the rest of the team help you?
Some specific themes. If they haven’t come up already, the topics listed below are usually valuable to discuss in light of the results. What do the results tell you about…
- communication: Do you recognise that you have different preferred communication styles? Do you find it easier to communicate with members close to you in the graph? When might it be worth adjusting your communication style to the receiver?
- work styles: How about e.g. individual vs group work? Starting up new projects versus working on those already on the table? Ideation versus execution? Could you use these differences when teaming up on tasks and projects?
- motivation and driving force: Are some of you e.g. more motivated by measurable targets, and others by teamwork and meaningful processes?
- stress and disturbing factors: Could the profiles tell you something about what stresses you out? E.g. being stressed by change vs stagnation? Too much vs too little social interaction?
WRAP-UP AND NEXT STEPS
Make sure to allow some time for wrapping up. The most important thing to discuss is how to use the insights going forward. Team Insights can be a rewarding ‘one-off’ exercise, but its real value lies in putting the insights into action in the team’s everyday work. Some useful questions:
- Most important learnings? What do you take with you from this debrief? What was the most surprising thing you learned?
- What can you as an individual do differently? E.g., write down three things that you can improve, based on the findings from the debrief. For instance: ‘Try to bring a suggestion for a solution when I’m bringing up a problem with a Driver colleague’.
What can you as a group do differently? Identify the most important things the group could do better. One option is to let everyone write their suggestions on post-it notes, and then share them with the whole group by putting them up on a wall. These can then be reorganised according to themes.