By Winston Pond
Belbin New Zealand
What do you do when the client is keen to assemble GetSet profiles for engineering students but time is tight?
For several years Belbin NZ has collaborated with the University of Auckland’s Engineering Faculty to provide students with a view of the people skills that professional success will require of them. GetSet has provided the vehicle for developing this awareness and knowledge – and a good example of building on a Belbin base.
The challenge was that this work had to fit into scheduled tutorial times of one hour – in reality - fifty minutes to allow for lecture changeovers on the hour.
It called for teamwork and effective use of the GetSet online facilities.The feedback session was scheduled for two weeks and two tutorial sessions further on. We sent out the completed profiles to all participants just 24 hours ahead of the tutorial – hopefully allowing each person time to familiarise her/himself with the profile ahead of us getting together – but not too much time to angst over any unexplained points.
Pre-circulating the profiles saved valuable tutorial time. On arrival we took the first ten minutes to explain the nine Team Roles and the key Belbin concepts of strengths, balance, the value of team members’ self-awareness and such.
Then ‘organised chaos’ broke out when we instructed all present to locate their top two Team Roles - displayed around the lecture room - and pick up and put on the appropriate sticky labels located at each station. Visualise at the scene – a tiered lecture theatre thronged with students each clutching a device that carried his/her GetSet profile, finding the right stations and then putting on the appropriate top two Team Roles icon labels. It led to some confusion, plenty of laughter and cheerful greetings as people with the same Team Roles came face to face.
Order was restored with the instruction to pair up with another person with the same top role and talk over what sort of work they most enjoy and then least enjoy. Ten minutes disappeared quickly as similarities in preferences and dislikes were identified.
The next step was to get each person to meet with someone with the sticky label that carried her/his bottom ranking Team Role and to work through a similar discussion. Five more minutes quickly consumed and the point made – the contrast in the style and content of discussion revealed the lack of common ‘touchstones’.
With self-awareness sharpened – often a case of confirmation more than revelation – the focus shifted to looking at how project teams assembled by the course director could make the most of the Team Roles talents of the individual members.
Each team came together, perched somewhere around the lecture theatre, and drew up Team Wheels. Each group shared and posted their members’ top two roles. The facilitated discussion then had each group focus on the Team Role balance (or lack of) revealed by the wheel, the top roles of all members and the implications and applications of this knowledge for the course project ahead.
A busy fifty minutes wrapped up with a short Q&A session and the course director reinforcing the link between the newly acquired Team Roles knowledge and language and success in the upcoming course project.
The takeaways? Heightened awareness of the need and benefits of teamwork in the modern workplace, increased self-awareness, understanding of Belbin Team Roles, enthusiasm about how the project teams might make the most of the upcoming assignment and enjoyment.
Fifty minutes that equipped all with increased capability to make a successful start to their careers
Belbin GetSet is a 15-minute questionnaire culminating in a workbook full of personalised advice and guidance for young people aged between 14 and 19. It helps them identify their strengths, project them in a positive way and manage their weaknesses effectively.
The Belbin GetSet programme also offers a variety of free resources such as lesson plans and 45-minute soft-skills modules. Please contact us for further information. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01223 264975.