A tale of using insight to build a highly creative tribe.
Predictive Index (PI) is a funny thing. You answer three questions and get a scarily accurate report back. It’s not quite the denial/acceptance realisation but there are stages of initial disbelief, moving from ”how can it get all of that information about me from three questions?” to curiosity “how on earth does it work?” and then into acceptance “this is great, how do I use it?”
I first encountered PI in 2011, and decided to take the ‘test’ again after revisiting my report when I joined Red Badger in 2017. There were some differences, mostly around circumstances (I was much happier second time around) but one thing stood out.
“Andrea is currently involved in more routine and repetitive work than she would like – she is trying to become more tolerant and calm and is adjusting to working to someone else’s timescale - which is slower than she would like to go!”
Oops, impatient Andrea strikes again. But, park your ego for a second I told myself. What does that really mean? For this statement to still apply six years on is a bit worrying. Or is it? Yes, I like going fast and getting on with stuff, and I enjoy newness and variety. So what? Well, consider this: what impact am I having on the team if I’m impatient and bored? Have they noticed? Why am I holding back if I’m not being my authentic self?
Which leads me to planning our inaugural team meeting. When asked about objectives, everyone said they wanted to get to know their teammates better and have some fun. Hardly surprising as we’re a relatively new team and are rarely all together. We also have different job roles across brand, sales and marketing functions, so while there are things we work on together, there’s often a lot which is separate.
Jen - our HR manager and qualified PI guru - had already offered to do PIs for the team, so this felt like the ideal time. What better way of learning about your colleagues than also learning about yourself?
Putting the Me in Team
Pitching the idea of a behavioural tool which predicts aspects of job performance to the team was funny. For a start, involving HR makes people think they’re in trouble (sorry Jen). Then there’s the scepticism about how it could be valuable when PI is such a light touch psychometric test. However everyone completed their questionnaires and had 1:1 sessions with Jen, running through their individual report and understanding their behaviours better.
Here’s what happened framed around our brand principles (because I work in marketing and think that’s cool).
We explored the four areas of P.I. where we each featured on the scale of low to high and then looked at what sort of team we are.
The factors are:
- A = Dominance - the drive to exert one’s influence on people or events
- B = Extraversion - the drive for social interaction
- C = Patience - the drive for consistency and stability
- D = Formality - the drive to conform to rules and structure
Even if it wasn’t surprising, seeing how we fit on the spectrum of each factor was fascinating, helping us to understand the positive behaviours we have as a team and the challenges that we face. Of course we enjoyed being referred to as ‘Grounded Optimists’, but thought being perceived as ‘having a lack of depth and substance’ could be an issue - especially as we collaborate with all areas of the business. We’re going to try to give more detail, process and formality when the situation calls for it.Honest
We all enjoyed sharing information about ourselves and learning about our team mates, perhaps more than we anticipated. There’s a new-found respect for our individual contributions to our tribe and also an understanding that the best ideas don’t always come from those who shout loudest. Equally, there’s a realisation that you can’t sit back and let others drive everything, you have to make a contribution. A glance at the challenges we face as a team with mixed dominance highlights how easy it could be for us to be in conflict.Find a way
With PI you receive great tools to help work out how to manage yourself better and improve your relationship with others. Shifting the onus from ‘I’m right’ to ‘how can I help this person?’ is a mindset change but is going to help us all.
Even sharing our PI placard with our colleagues will help start conversations about how we like to work. So simple, right? Here's mine.
PI, despite being up against some stiff competition, was chosen as the favourite part of the day by three of the team. Already one team member has built an action plan for three key relationships to help improve communication and impact.
When asked “What will you do differently as a result of today?”.Strong opinions weakly held
How did PI play out during the other activities on the day? Well as you’d expect the person with EXTREME dominance (aka Ingrid) won the crazy golf despite a valiant effort from player number 1 (aka Reece) who showed us the way on every hole and didn’t get distracted by the bar.
The most talked about 3’ story (share a positive story in three minutes anyway you like) was the person with moderately high extraversion (aka Nathalie) who mimed baking cakes to the Muppet show theme tune.
The person with ‘situational’ patience (aka Sam), painstakingly drew our portraits on our arms with a Sharpie in the pub - his high extraversion or low alcohol tolerance taking over perhaps? Any surprises?
The least dominant person wrote in their post-event feedback
“I enjoyed the light competitiveness, although I'm disappointed I didn't win (I thought I might potentially be the only one who knew how to hold a golf club)”
An unexpected competitive side there Tim.
With 'moderate detail' the organiser could have anticipated that the VR experience at the top of The Shard would be closed because of the high winds and snow. Fortunately their low patience and low formality meant they didn’t check the small print and we got to see London look like this. Well done me.
So should you be excited about Predictive Index?
Hell yeah. It’s a great tool for learning about yourself and your colleagues, managing conversations, improving performance and helping hire people into the team (by the way we have a vacancy for a Senior Marketing Manager in the team - apply here). Above all else, it’s united us around common themes, given us belly laughs and helped us celebrate our differences.
And in the words of Positive Sign Girl "You're all talented".