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Building diverse teams based on primary behavioral traits

Cross Functional TeamsPosted by Testsson 2018-06-27 13:48

When dividing into teams for competition, like sports, we often select members based on their skills and personal traits fitting their position and to build a dynamic team. When having the opportunity to select team members for work we tend to choose people that are similar to ourselves, maybe because we understand how they function or we don’t have any clear plan. If the person is someone we’d like to go out and have a beer with we’d probably choose them as team mates. Trying to build a cross functional team with members who all have the same behavior impedes dynamism and the first thing to go overboard is often quality. Many companies focused solely on technical competence and perfunctory base the fit in the team on the beer test when hiring new people. When doing this over a period of time both throughput and quality will probably deteriorate in the teams. When having a team consisting of only one type of people you might end up with situations like conflicts between the dominant or no guidance for the passive.

A plan is needed to build more dynamic teams not only based on skills but also on personality. Implement the use of a behavior assessment tool to cater for a better mix of people in the teams. There are several assessment tools but Myers-Briggs and DISC are two of the ones I have been in contact with. Use the tools to assess the team and see what behavior you should be looking for in the next team member to get a good mix.

It’s also good if everyone in the organization understand how the selection process work with the best fit for a team as sometimes certain diversity is forced. This is of course done with good intent but might backfire and undermine its original purpose.

Building teams based on behavior might give you some teams that are obviously diverse when looking at origin, gender and age while others are seemingly homogeneous groups of people however still diverse when it comes to primary behavioral traits.

A well working team is not based on how the members look but how they behave in the group.

Image: Sample of primary behavioral traits as defined in DISC

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