Building an Effective Team

The Octogram test results can be used on three levels:

  1. Personal
  2. Team
  3. Organizational

On a personal level, the Octogram Talent Profile gives you plenty of insights into how you operate as an individual. At the team level, the Octogram gives you an effective way to put everyone in roles that play to their unique strengths and compensate for the weaknesses of other team members. At the organizational level, the Octogram allows you to see where key skills need to be developed and who can be promoted into or hired into the organization to fill those needs. In this article, I’m going to focus on using the test results to put together a team.

First off, you need to watch the video I made that describes how the traits of the Octogram relate to how people communicate.

The most essential element of building a team is clear and effective communication

So, right from the beginning, you can use the Octogram to help everyone understand how to communicate more effectively. By understanding your own style (how you appear to other people) and the communication styles of the other members of the team, you will be able to pull back or amplify different aspects of your own behavior to make interactions flow more smoothly and keep everyone moving together. This will also help everyone understand how to moderate or flex their own styles when communicating with other members of the team.

Next, the Octogram helps you place each member of the team in the roles that most suit their work style. Put your best Anchor in the role of proofreading, details, planning and paperwork. Put your strongest Networker in roles that require communications and messaging to everyone outside your group. Put your strongest Achiever in the role that most suits her competitive attitude and high energy. By taking the time to identify each individuals’ strengths and preferences, you dramatically increase your chances of success by making sure everyone is doing what they do best.

But how will this work in a practical sense?

First off, have everyone in the group take the Octogram test. The Talent Profile available on this site gives an extremely detailed view of each person (including the section titled “As a Member of a Team“), but there is a research version of the test available at Octogramtest.com for free. You also have the option of contacting one of our partnering psychological agencies for extra services like group reporting expert help on interpreting the results.

20150819_105159Next, get everyone to print out their Octogram graphic, you are going to sit down with them as a group to let everyone see who they are and to see who everyone else is. This meeting serves several purposes,

  1. it teaches everyone how to talk in terms of work styles and communication styles, it also gives them a vocabulary for this discussion
  2. it gives everyone some clues and insights into how other people in the team prefer to work and communicate, it also shares your own styles with the group
  3. it allows you to walk, with the team, through the roles and tasks that the group needs to perform and place people in positions that fit them best

That last point is the critical one, everyone can see why each person is doing what they do. How many times have you seen groups fall apart through lack of understanding in how to talk out problems or what other people are supposed to do? This also gives the group some insight into what kind of manager you will be and what they can expect from you. This sets expectations where they should be and avoids conversations 6 weeks or 6 months in the future about what they thought you were going to be like.

Culture

There are different ways to talk about culture. For example, the Octogram grew up out of an organizational culture model. But this paragraph is more about societal culture. The process I have described above works best in a societal culture that does not have a significant power difference between management and labor. In societies with a big power difference, it is usually difficult to speak about differences and conflicts between employees and employers. If you are in one of these society cultures, this process will still work, but you need to walk into this meeting with an open mind and work to make sure everyone knows that open communication and honesty are not only best, they are essential to the success of the group.

Communication and working together require understanding. The Octogram test is the best method I have found for making work styles understandable and for talking about these important issues in an open and honest way.

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