The “Growth & Outreach” team at MRG recently began working through a process with the new IDI Team Development Report. As it is a new product developed from the storied Individual Directions InventoryTM, we were all excited to see how this new tool would be able to provide valuable insights into our team dynamic.
But I’ll confess, I may have been the most excited of all of us. But first, a little background. I am very new to MRG, having begun my journey with the organization in January of this year, so like many new employees, I have a bias toward enthusiasm as I get to know my new organization. But not only am I new to MRG, the sales and marketing functionality within the organization is, in some ways, also new, or at least evolving. Our marketing expert extraordinaire, Lucy Sullivan, joined the team in the fall of 2016, and I came aboard earlier this year. However, the other three members of the team have a combined 60 years of MRG experience. (No, that’s not a typo. This place has staying power!) All of this is to say that we are a new team, using a new tool, around an evolving function here at MRG, so there are a lot of moving parts!
Having just received my own personal IDI Report earlier this year, I was eager to see how my scores compared with those of my new teammates. Now, as anyone familiar with the overall philosophy of MRG – either around motivation or leadership – understands, high scores don’t mean good and low scores don’t mean bad. Moreover, there really is no good or bad, there is just different. For example, if I score high on the Challenging Direction of Winning, and one of my team-mates scores low, it doesn’t mean that I’m more likely to be better at my job than that person, it just means that we approach our tasks with a different lens as it relates to Winning.
And as you might expect, there are a lot of different lenses on our team. What was particularly intriguing about the IDI Team Development Report was the opportunity to look at the areas where we have a lot in common (scores more closely clustered around the Median), and those where we have more diversity (scores that have a wider spread).
I had assumed that there would be some areas where we’d have a lot in common, as we are a fairly small, tight knit group, and in some ways that was the case.
As a group focused on Sales & Marketing, it wasn’t too surprising that we were all fairly closely scored on the Affiliating Direction of Expressing, and on the Affiliating Direction of Giving. Since the purpose of sales is commonly looked upon as a way of helping people, and marketing is about educating people about the work you do, I wasn’t surprised to see that as a group, we tended to find more energy from Giving and Expressing.
What surprised me, however, was just how broad the ranges were in almost every other direction measured in the IDI. It was especially eye-opening to see how different our scores were on the cluster of Maintaining, which include the Directions Stability, Independence, and Irreproachability. In each of those three Directions, at least two members of our team scored in 10th percentile or below, and two in the 90th percentile or above!
When seeing how differently motivated our team was, I had a gut reaction: “This looks like we’re in chaos. And I don’t feel like we’re in chaos.” And then what I’ve learned in my few short months here at MRG kicked in, and I remembered that difference isn’t bad, and it certainly isn’t chaos. Disparity just means diversity – and that’s a wonderful thing. Research shows that diverse teams are higher performing teams, so this diversity is one of our team’s strengths. With such a small team, approaching the same tasks the same ways could easily limit our ability to innovate or think creatively about new approaches. It could also very easily begin to feel rote, and that is the last thing anyone wants when they come to work each day. Especially when dealing with such an important cluster as Maintaining (which has so much to do with our ability to sustain performance and stay the course), every team needs any advantage it can get in order to continue performing at a high level.
Now this is just a taste that I was able to take away from our first session involving the new IDI Team Report. The report offers 20 themes to choose from, and we can keep exploring new ones over time to keep uncovering new insights and making more progress on working together effectively. As we do more work with our facilitator Christine Chasse, take more time to reflect on our individual and team scores, and start incorporating these insights in the way we work together each day, I can only expect that we will continue to reach even newer and even greater heights.
And the best part? If we’re doing our jobs right at MRG, we’re helping others to achieve greater levels of fulfillment and achievement in their own journeys through an ever-changing world of work.
If you’d like to learn more about the IDI Team Report, or any of the other tools available from MRG, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I would appreciate the opportunity to learn about you and your work, and see if there might be an opportunity for us to help.