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  • Trust and behavioural styles

    14/08/2014 | Lanzarote

    In this 'Schouten Blog' Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel (director coaching Schouten Global and coach of Team Brunel) writes, among other things, about her experiences in the talent-selection process, the training sessions on Lanzarote, her presence in the ports of the stop-overs of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.

    The greater the trust, the better the collaboration. Predictability of behaviour and the idea that the other person has good intentions are important in building trust. To accelerate that process, we included a questionnaire and a teamsession in the programme.

    Know yourself, know each other
    A questionnaire is always useful. We used LIFO®, about life orientations. LIFO® describes four different styles of communicating and interacting, and the difference in these styles can explain why people literally come to other decisions, conclusions and approaches. Awareness on these differences, can help to optimize cooperation, interaction and decision making. Roughly, the different styles are:
    • Green: Vision and connection
    • Red: Action and dynamics
    • Blue: Structure and ratio
    • Yellow: Relation and harmony.

    The purpose is to get an opening to discuss things about yourself, about interaction and collaboration. As long as the results have face validity and the language suits the target group it usually adds to a common language for processes. A test such as this gives everyone an opportunity to look at themselves. You get to know yourself. What are your preferences? What is your productive behaviour? What are your pitfalls? When do you react less effectively? And what irritates you - often a style that you do not recognise. Using the color-language of the test, we planned a teamsession with my colleague Jeroen van de Wouw. An afternoon to help (shore)crewmembers recognise each other’s styles and their own reaction to that by means of outdoor exercises - the “getting to know each other” part. That’s when you see that people can react in a totally different way to the same situation and you discover how someone’s own values and beliefs - the inner compass - influence his behaviour. Through actively becoming involved, you learn to broaden your own style and to tune in to the strengths of the styles of your crew mates. In this way you experience first-hand how teamwork becomes faster, easier and smoother when you actively use each other’s different styles, instead of pulling away of styles different than your own. This is how you create high performance teams. I planned to start and end the team-session together with the shore crew. In this small team they work as close together as possible and the quality of their cooperation contributes to winning the race. After all: behind every successful front office there’s a good back office! We planned to close this day with a barbecue at sea and a nice basis for rapid and transparent communication and confrontation.
    So far theory and planning!

    TeamsessionIMG_0909_Dubble blind vierkant.JPG
    Jeroen, senior trainer/coach Schouten Global, joined our team in Lanzarote and worked with them in a focused and energetic team training program. Using Life Orientations as an instrument for team communication and interaction, he challenged the team in several assignments. Jeroen likes to call them “silly exercises”, because they are brief, strange, have nothing to do with daily work, but they DO cause behavior and interaction like in normal work situations. The importance of goals alignment in the team was emphasized, the team showed their Lifo profiles in the assignments, and every team member explored his or her individual Lifo profile and “personal manual for use”.

    So, what did we do exactly:
    - The magic stick proved that it is challenging to be a high performing team, but when combining goal alignment, focus, personal expertise and trust in your team, you’ll get there!
    - The marshmellow challenge proved that different Lifo styles create different dynamics in groups, and that this behaviour can be quite powerful and recognizable! And creates impact of different kinds! see pictures added in this email
    - The Lifo model and profiles can be a pragmatic tool to communicate, interact and understand differences in style and approach of the team members
    - The blind track challenge proved how extremely well trained and focused this team is! Mission accomplished without a doubt, some improvement possible in the briefing and preparation.
    - The toxic waste challenge proved the same, this time with a little bit of difficulty in the project phase. Unuseful information and opinions can disappear when the going gets tough, but you really need all those ideas and expertise so some improvement possible.
    - The blind square challenge proved the same: a perfect briefing and preparation, taking enough time and hearing all kinds of ideas, thinking out of the box. And the a very smooth delivery, where blindfolded crewmembers could easily find each other, avoid collisions, work together, making 2 perfect blind interconnected squares.
    - And finally, the team intelligence assignment, untying an enormous knot without talking. Shore crew and sailing crew together, again, with a great focus, speed and performance!!!

    So…IMG_0903_Dubble blind vierkant.JPG
    “What an incredible good team , this team Brunel!” was Jeroens enthusiastic first evaluation. “They work together fluently, with an enormous drive and focus. They make a success out of every assignment in the shortest time span”.
    And they are. I know the way they easily adapt and blend into a teamstyle in briefings, so it is wonderful to see them grow in honouring creativity and how they all bring up and ‘try out’ different perspectives and ideas to solve those ‘silly’ assignments. How they really grew to excellence when the exercise was really challenging. But I hadn’t seen before how they work physically together. Used to working and living with 9 men on 20 m2 day and night, in blindfolded exercises they work like one big organism. Knowing where they all are almost without touching, with such a lot of respect, sensitivity and flexibility. That’s a huge difference in how we see people of business organizations interact. Most of the time in business contexts we don’t have the physical interaction to rely on, so we depend on the talking alone. Another difference between this team and a business team in general seems to be ‘challenge’. When this team reaches a boundary, all of them are motivated to find new possibilities and solutions within the given time. None of them leans back , or is just doing the job they’re supposed to do. It is never just about sailing, it is always about winning. That’s a wonderful energy, for this team in the Volvo Ocean and for all of us in this challenging VUCA [Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous] world!

    There’s room for growth, there always is, on the process level of communication and collaboration. During training the days after the teamsession, with sometimes 29 knots windspeed and high waves, jokes were all about colors. Feedback was in Lifo-colors too ’hé, are you practicing on your yellow now?’. . It seems that, after the questionnaires and teamsession, the language of colours helps opening discussion about yourself, about interaction and collaboration.It is increasing the predictability of eachothers intentions and behaviour. ‘To know yourself and to know eachother’; essential building blocks of trust.

    Nothing from this blog may be reproduced without written permission from Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel of Schouten Global.

    Update Team Brunel, August 14, 2014 
    by Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel, Director Coaching - Schouten Global
    Coach - Team Brunel in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15


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