Blog

Archive for 2014

Meaningful Team Transformation

Meaningful Team Transformation

Last week I facilitated an Insights Discovery Accreditation in Toronto.  It was a small group of seven brave souls, who trusted me with their education for four wonderful days.  They only had a rough idea about what they were in store for. All they really knew was that they wished to be ‘trained’ in using Insights Discovery in their organizations.

But a funny thing happened on the way through accreditation… we bonded as a team despite never having met each other before.  On day one we grinded it out, working through the logic and mathematics of the model, on day two we experienced an Insights Discovery day, and on day three we put the learning into practice and spent time coaching each other with our personal profiles.  And then on the evening of day three we went out to dinner at a local Italian restaurant.  We decided to walk from the hotel, telling stories as we went – strolling along the cobblestone streets of old Toronto.

The time we had spent learning about each other through our Insights Discovery profiles meant we knew about the way each of us were naturally oriented to our world.  Some of us were quiet and reflective, while others were outgoing – laughing out loud at our own stories.   We had a wholly enjoyable evening comfortable in our own uniqueness, each approaching things in our own way, but with Insights Discovery we had a common language and an acceptance of differences which made each interaction, each shared story, a learning experience.

After dinner we departed, ready for the fourth and final day, though a few of us lingered to finish a glass of wine and wait for a taxi.  The waitress came over to clean up and said she was pleased that we had had so much genuine fun at dinner.  She asked how long we had all worked together and was astounded to learn we had only met each other two days before.

What had allowed us to evolve from a group of professionals into a team of colleagues who appreciated each other and were so engaged?  One participant said they felt more comfortable interacting with this group than they did with people back at the office they had worked with for years.  How was that possible?

Simply put, having an effective and easy to understand model allows for an appreciation of differences and the special gifts that each person brings to a team, to an organization, or to a group of new colleagues. The transformation this group went through is available to organizations which put their trust in Insights Discovery to help with personal development, connecting with clients and stakeholders, or making teams more effective.

–          Alan Maclachlan, President, Insights Toronto

Posted in: Company News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Measuring the Impact of Insights Discovery

Measuring the Impact of Insights Discovery

Last week I had the pleasure of teaching an accreditation for internal practitioners and trainers for a large multi-national company with offices in Canada, the USA, Europe, India and China.  HR people came from all over the world to attend.  (I am always honoured to be influencing the people who are in a position to impact their organizations through improving the effectiveness of their people.)

On the fourth and final day of the accreditation, the group divided into global regional HR teams responsible for rolling out Insights Discovery in their part of the world.  Senior VP’s joined us to critique their plans. The subject of return on investment (ROI) was discussed, as everyone wanted to feel assured that investing in Insights is worth the time and money.

At first appearance the idea that “improving business relationships” could be quantified sounds challenging and might simply require a leap of faith, – but this is not the case.  There are a number of approaches to measuring ROI.

As an example, the Assistant Dean of The Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, Barbra Kreisman, wrote her PhD dissertation on the cost of attrition on large corporations. She interviewed hundreds of exiting employees to uncover the real reason for their departure and discovered that there were two main reasons people leave a company; 1) they could not get along with their direct manager, and 2) they did not feel appreciated for their contribution.  In her paper Kreisman noted the impact on an organization of introducing Insights Discovery.  There was a positive influence on these two primary challenges.  First, on receiving an Insights Discovery personal profile, a manager more fully appreciated the impact they were having by understanding their own leadership style. It taught the manager the need to adapt their style when required, and to use the Insights model to better leverage diversity in the workplace.  Secondly, it gave the employee a way of highlighting their own unique gifts, which allowed them to be more appreciated by those they work with.  The end result is reduced attrition, which saves money for the company. It does this directly by lowering replacement costs and indirectly by having much more functional teams.

Other metrics Insights has been asked to impact include; measuring improvement in teamwork over time, extending face time in front of busy clients, increasing sales per customer in a retail environment, and improving manager/leaders 360 ‘scores’ and performance reviews.

Finally with regard to stick ability, it is interesting to note that in 2013 Kreisman reported that all MBA and EMBA students at the University of Denver are interviewed five years after graduation and asked to report on what was the most impactful thing they remember about their education and the majority said Insights Discovery.

If you are interested in knowing more about Insights Discovery, contact us at info@insightstoronto.com.

–          Alan Maclachlan, President, Insights Toronto

Posted in: Company News, Discovery

Leave a Comment (0) →

The Science of Leadership

The Science of Leadership

Last night at the Board of Trade in Toronto, I listened to Dr. Julian Barling of Queens University Business School speak on Leadership, from his new book, “The Science of Leadership”.  He was a delightful speaker, with a twinkle in his eye often answering questions with a dry, humorous wit.  However his work was serious and well researched as only an academic’s would be.

Given that my life is one of developing, designing and delivering learning for leaders, teams and organizations, I was particularly interested in his comment about the lasting impact of even a five-hour session on leadership development.  On page 164 he poses the question, “How much leadership training is necessary or optimal?”  He notes that in a Swiss study, ‘charisma’ (adapting with yellow energy?) could be taught to middle managers in a five-hour training session followed by a one-hour telephone conversation in which a personalized leadership plan was developed.  The same research team did 20 hours of similar leadership training and noted that the latter 15 hours held diminishing benefits.

He goes on the say, “Practically, understanding just how intensive the intervention needs to be would help management understand what investment is required to make an organizational difference.  Based on current available data, the benefits of leadership interventions exceed the investments required.”

This bodes well for us at Insights Learning & Development were our leadership interventions are often required to be time sensitive, effective, objective driven, and immediately impactful.  Teaching leaders to be self aware and to understand the unique gifts that each person brings to a team is of utmost importance.

Finally Dr. Barling suggested that it is not the big things a leader does that makes the difference but the little things, like thanking people for their efforts.

–          Alan Maclachlan, President, Insights Toronto

Posted in: Leadership

Leave a Comment (0) →

Renewal

Renewal

It’s the ‘March Break’ here in Ontario and school aged children have the week off to enjoy the last departing weeks of winter and the warming sunshine of spring.   I awoke this morning to a bright sunny day and my walk with the dog thankfully did not require gloves and a hat.  It has been a particularly long and cold winter and there is still a blanket of snow on the ground and thick ice on the pond, but something new is in the air… springtime.

For me it is the excitement of renewal.  We start to feel better because of a promise of new life, new ideas and new beginnings. We fall in love again and our minds become preoccupied with possibilities.  And as always my mind turns to self awareness.  Who am I?  Why am I here?  What’s important?

The Harvard Business Review says the most important attribute a leader can have is self awareness.  It’s the kind of revelation we love to address at Insights. 

–          Alan Maclachlan, President, Insights Toronto

Posted in: Company News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Insights and the Olympics

Insights and the Olympics

On February 7, 2014 the world will gather again for the Winter Olympic Games.  It has been 30 years since I competed in the Olympics for Canada, and although it was years ago, it feels like yesterday as memories flood back again, allowing me to reflect on the experience – and how lucky I was…

I feel the work we do now at Insights is a fitting tribute to the legacy of the Olympic Games. Take the Olympic flag, it was designed by Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, and has rings of red, yellow, green, and blue…  and black, on a white background. This was meant to represent at least one colour from every flag in the world.   It speaks to the diversity of humankind.  Insights Discovery also incorporates these colours, and is designed to unite people by allowing an understanding of differences to be the foundation on which better collaboration and self awareness are built.  Also the five rings represent the five inhabited continents. Insights Learning & Development now proudly has an office on every one of those continents, providing services in over 20 languages.

I often ask participants in my sessions to give me a show of hands as to who in the room thinks they could be on an Olympic team.  Often only a few brave dreamers raise their hands.  Then I ask, “What do you think it takes to be on an Olympic team?” (Answer this yourself for a minute before reading on…)

The answers to this question are often things like; Passion, Commitment, Teamwork, Dedication, Perseverance, Hard work, Determination, Focus, Trust, and Sacrifice.  Then I ask the simple question, “Are these skills or attitudes?”  Look back, – they are all attitudes… So logically it is more about the attitude that you bring to your world, than the skill that you have.

So the answer is that all of us can complete on an Olympic team – OUR Olympic team (at work and elsewhere) it all depends on your attitude.

–          Alan Maclachlan, President, Insights Toronto

Posted in: Company News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Insights on Officeland

Insights on Officeland

Today at 8:00 pm CBC Television is airing an episode of “Doc Zone” featuring Insights Toronto.  A film crew came to our offices and interviewed me regarding the benefits of investing in Insights Discovery for your employees.  It is interesting that in a program which features the new changing workplace,  Insights Discovery is highlighted as something unique and impactful.  If you miss the program live, you can view it at http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episodes/officeland

–          Alan Maclachlan, President, Insights Toronto

Posted in: Company News

Leave a Comment (0) →