“We’ve done Belbin… What do we do now?”
We’ve been having a lively discussion in the Belbin office. (This is not an uncommon occurrence.) Specifically, we’ve been talking about the number of times we hear, “We’ve done Belbin – what do we do now?”
Firstly, we all took issue with the notion that Belbin could ever be ‘done’, but what’s usually meant is that the team have received their Belbin Reports, and possibly attended a session or workshop and played the Belbin games. So, what then?
The next step depends on the intended destination
When we hear this question, more often than not, it’s because no one was quite sure of the initial objective. Perhaps HR or L&D decided ‘to Belbin’ the team, but the ‘why’ was unclear or never established. So the team ends up with lots of interesting material, but no direction.
Is the team looking to boost performance? Foster psychological safety? Analyse and adapt team culture? Change ways of working and form new teams? There are any number of desired outcomes, and Belbin can help with all of the above, but you need to know your ‘why’ in order to take the next step.
Empowering the team
Oftentimes, Belbin falls within the purview of HR or Learning & Development within an organisation, but we believe that, to have a real practical impact, Belbin needs to be handed over to team managers, who are closest to the roadblocks the team faces and are more likely to have desired outcomes in mind. They’re also best placed to plan the next practical steps in the team’s Belbin journey.
The practical stuff
As we’ve discussed, you need a clear understanding of where you want to get to (why not give us a call?) but here are a few ideas to get you started on applying Belbin with your team. If you’re not sure where to start, why not attend a Practical Day? This is a hands-on taster session designed to help you get to grips with the essentials.
Add Observer Assessments
Belbin isn’t Belbin without observers. Learning is limited when we rely on self-reporting, but Observer Assessments open up the conversation to the rest of the team, so you can get a more accurate picture of how someone operates—and how their behaviours are received by others.
Perhaps you’ve run a team session, but haven’t yet examined the results with individuals? Self-understanding comes first, before you can begin to build the team. How does the individual see themselves and how does this fit with others’ perceptions? If there is disagreement, why might this be? If there is agreement, how can they work on strengthening their preferred roles?
For example, to become a stronger example of a Shaper, someone might have to focus more on bringing others along with them, or recovering difficult situations with good humour. The Belbin Individual Reports provide in-depth analysis and advice on strengthening your contribution and many other topics, and some great discussion starters for coaching.
Analysing team and organisational culture
Once team members are comfortable with the language of Belbin and understand the value of talking strengths, you can begin to position this within a team setting. The Belbin Team Reports are designed to initiate team conversations by exploring a team’s culture in Belbin Team Role terms. The various pages of the report identify cultural trends within the team, any Team Role ‘gaps’ and overlaps which might need addressing. They list the team’s characteristics too, by collating the team’s observer words from their Observer Assessments. But the Team Report is only a snapshot. Why not get into the habit of completing a Belbin Team Role Circle in each meeting? This can provide an at-a-glance view of the Team Role balance in the room and manage expectations for how each person might contribute to the discussion.
Start the conversation
Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin. Our Belbin Team Conversation Cards can help you explore potential issues, like ‘How is conflict managed within our team?’, ‘What are the barriers to effective communication for us?’ and ‘How are people coping with significant change?’. For the big issues, why not ask the team to think about or scribble their answers at the beginning of the session and then return to discuss them at the end, when things have opened up a little?
We’re here to help
Of course, we’re always here to continue the conversation too. Our trainers and consultants have a wealth of experience in helping teams grow with Belbin and offer bespoke workshops to suit your team’s particular needs.
Whatever your team is facing, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on 1300 731 381 or email Team@Belbin.com.au