Unlocking Team Potential: The Power of Using Meta Programme Analysis In Team Development 

Unlocking Team Potential: The Power of Using Meta Programme Analysis In Team Development 

Introduction:

In the current business landscape, teamwork has emerged as one of the most acute factors in achieving success. Teams with diverse skills and perspectives often outshine individuals who work alone. However, unlocking a team’s full potential requires a deep understanding of the individual thinking styles of individual members. By having this awareness, leaders can leverage the strengths of each member and overcome any weaknesses, leading to better decision-making, higher productivity, and superior results.

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) has been widely used in business for quite some time now and has proven to be a valuable tool for development. With the rise of technology and innovation, various NLP tools are available to practitioners to help them facilitate individuals or teams to achieve their desired outcomes. One such tool that is underutilized in NLP is ‘Metaprogrammes’ or thinking styles.

Many professionals still prefer using personality assessment tools that tend to categorize individuals into only four descriptors or points and provide an overview. This approach can be too restrictive and usually does not consider the complexity of an individual’s thought process in different contexts. Metaprogramme analysis fills this void. 

In NLP, we learn about the importance of modeling behavior. One key aspect is understanding our values, beliefs, thought processes, and perceptions in different situations. By examining our metaprogrammes, we can analyze and uncover the underlying cognitive diversity that influences how we think and behave in particular contexts. I have met many NLPers who don’t understand the power of metaprogrammes, and to be honest, I was one of them. 

Identifying and applying metaprogrammes unique to each individual requires active listening and observation of verbal and nonverbal cues. There are online tools available to assist in this process. By understanding cognitive styles, practitioners can help individuals achieve peak performance. Unfortunately, many people tend to oversimplify metaprogramme applications and ignore the dynamic nature of their context-specific use.

Understanding Metaprogramme Patterns:

Using metaprogramme analysis helps individuals obtain a deeper understanding of their cognitive preferences, values, and motivations. With insights into problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal interactions, thinking patterns empower individuals to unlock their full potential and achieve their goals.

One of the significant advantages of utilizing metaprogrammes for team development is that they enable organizations to gain valuable insights into the collective mindset of their teams. By analyzing the collective metaprogrammes, teams can identify their strengths and weaknesses and devise strategies to enhance team dynamics and communication.

When working with teams, avoiding technical terms like ‘metaprogrammes’ is a good idea, which can be unclear for some people. Instead, using more familiar terms like ‘thinking patterns’ or ‘cognitive styles’ when referring to the same concept is better. This helps to ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page and can understand the discussion without feeling left out particularly when explaining no one pattern is better than another but all are required with teams at different points. 

The Power of Thinking Styles in Team Development is:

1. Enhanced Communication:
People with varying thinking styles may have distinct ways of interpreting information, which could lead to misunderstandings and hinder collaboration. By recognizing and appreciating these differences, teams can develop more effective communication strategies that cater to the unique needs of each individual. 

2. Improved Problem-Solving:
By bringing together individuals with different cognitive approaches, teams can tap into various perspectives to analyse challenges and develop innovative solutions. Thinking patterns help teams leverage diversity to solve problems effectively and better understand strengths and weaknesses in different situations.

3. Increased Adaptability:
By recognizing each team member’s unique preferences and strengths, leaders can allocate tasks and responsibilities within their teams that best match their abilities. This approach also builds trust and respect, fostering a supportive work environment. 

4. Conflict Resolution:
Recognizing that different team members may have unique approaches to handling conflicts and acknowledging these differences allows for strategies that cater to individual preferences to be developed. 

5. Strategic Planning:
By analyzing team members’ cognitive preferences and thinking styles, leaders can gain valuable insights into their team. This information can then align tasks and responsibilities with individuals with the most relevant cognitive strengths, improving the team’s role satisfaction and overall performance. 

6. Team Cohesion and Trust:
Thinking patterns provide insight into how individuals perceive the world, including their values, beliefs, and motivations. When team members trust and respect each other’s thinking styles, they are more likely to work together effectively. 

7. Skill Gap Identification and Strategic Recruitment:
Integrating thinking patterns into the recruitment process enables the creation of targeted job profiles and the assessment of candidates based on the team’s requirements, ensuring new starters are a better fit for the team and addressing skill gaps more effectively. 

8. Communicating with impact
Every word we use has the power to either uplift or harm people. By understanding the communication style of our team, we can leverage language to guide them towards positive change or adaptation. By understanding and working with each team member, the leader speaks and acts for the entire team’s benefit.

How We Do This: 
Enhancing team performance encompasses three elements providing:  

  • Decoding and giving feedback to individuals. 
  • Conducting a Team Day- to enable team members to decode each other.  
  • Devising a coach in the room profile. 

Providing individuals with one-on-one coaching and feedback on their metaprogrammes helps them share their thoughts, opinions, and perceptions. This feedback allows them to understand themselves better so they can understand others. Accurate analysis of metaprogrammes allows individuals to identify their weaknesses and areas for growth, which enables them to form strategies to improve their skills.

Conducting a Team Day

By prioritizing understanding of others, team members develop a better understanding of each other. 

During the Team Day, everyone works through a personalized booklet that contains relevant information and exercises related to their work. Each team member has a quick reference guide to access the various thinking patterns and their definitions easily.

The facilitator, will guide the team through the booklet, providing insights on approaching and communicating with others to motivate and inspire them. 

During the session, individual criteria or values are explained, each metaprogramme  and groups of metaprogrammes are explained and described in body language and verbal language giving the impact of each.  Specific exercises are undertaken as a group to deepen the team’s understanding. 

Cooperation is gently enhanced by understanding team members’ cognitive styles. For example, a manager and a colleague may have different thinking styles. Still, they can find ways to complement each other by acknowledging and appreciating their differences in communication and motivation. They can then discover their combined perspectives are more effective.

Individual team profiles are displayed in the room. These are usually anonymized to help the team focus on the profile rather than the individual. The primary task of each participant is to comment on each poster regarding the profile’s strengths, areas for improvement, how that profile can help them grow, and potential frictions and irritations they may have with these profiles. 

The day also includes activities to understand the department’s behaviors and the customer’s needs. 

Outcomes for the participants for the day:

1. Understand my purpose and why I do what I do: 
This will help participants understand how their work aligns with their values and purpose.

2. Understand the impact of our department and company on our customers and consumers: 
This will help participants understand how to improve processes and deliver better results.

3. Understand what motivates me and how I communicate: 
This will aid participants in gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and how to communicate effectively with colleagues and customers.

4. Identify potential areas of conflict and learn how to prevent them from arising:
This will enhance team collaboration and productivity.

5. Learn how to transform conflicts into opportunities for growth and support: 
This will foster stronger relationships with colleagues and customers, creating a more positive work environment.

6. Network with other individuals: 
This helps participants broaden their understanding of the industry and develop innovative approaches to their work.

Devising Coach in the Room poster 

The team are left with two posters: one showcases the team’s collective thinking patterns, and the other is a coach-in-the-room poster. 

The coach-in-the-room poster highlights the team’s weaknesses( although the better term is blind spot). When they come together, they can refer to the poster to remind themselves to ask the questions they might not usually ask.

The ongoing benefits of the day and the posters are:

1. Enhanced Understanding:

Team members can gain a deeper understanding of their own and their colleagues’ cognitive patterns. This awareness can lead to better communication and collaboration, as team members can adapt their communication styles to align with the preferences of others.

2. Improved Questioning Skills:

Understanding metaprograms enables individuals to ask more insightful and targeted questions. This can be particularly valuable in problem-solving and decision-making processes, as team members learn to approach challenges from different perspectives.

3. Annual Review and Continuous Improvement:

   The practice of metaprogram analysis can be incorporated into annual reviews, fostering continuous improvement within the team. Team members can reflect on their metaprogramme preferences, identify areas for growth, and set goals for personal development.

4. Team Dynamics and Composition:

  The process encourages teams to consider the diversity of metaprogramme profiles within the group. This awareness can be used when forming teams or adding new members, ensuring a balanced mix of cognitive approaches that contribute to a more well-rounded and effective team.

5. Prominent Display and Constant Reminder:

 Displaying team profiles prominently serves as a constant reminder for team members to be mindful of their cognitive preferences and those of their colleagues. This visual reinforcement can help maintain focus on understanding and adapting to different communication styles.

6. Networking Opportunities:

Encouraging team members to network with individuals who have different metaprogramme profiles or complementary strengths can lead to a richer exchange of ideas and perspectives. This diversity can stimulate creativity and innovation within the team.

In summary, metaprogram analysis can be a valuable tool for fostering self-awareness, improving communication, and optimizing team dynamics. The ongoing nature of the process, coupled with its integration into team practices, contributes to a culture of continuous learning and development.

Conclusion:
Achieving optimal team performance is a game-changer for any organization. The key lies in understanding the power of thinking patterns (metaprogrammes). It assesses individuals’ thinking styles and helps them understand how they perceive the world and react to different situations.

By leveraging thinking patterns (metaprogrammes), you can help teams communicate, problem-solve, adapt, resolve conflicts, plan strategically, and work towards common goals. This knowledge can enhance team performance, morale, and collaboration.

As businesses evolve, it becomes imperative to understand different thinking styles and utilize them appropriately. Doing so helps teams and organizations stay ahead of the curve, optimize their output, adapt to new challenges, and achieve sustained success.

Recognition needs to go to Dr Jaime Leal’s approach to enhancing team performance through the F5 Team refresh, to Jaap Hollander, who developed MindSonar (online metaprogramme analysis) and Shelle Rose Charvet for LAB profiling.

Mindset On The Storm

Mindset On The Storm

Or how to deal with fear in difficult situations

I recently flew on a plane through Europe, from Malaga to Warsaw. The weather went crazy that day, and the flight was delayed due to a storm. It started like in Hitchcock’s movie: “A good film should start with an earthquake and be followed by rising tension.” Only this time it was not an earthquake but the take-off of an aeroplane, which seemed about to be blown off its flight path. I firmly grasped the passenger seat before me to survive the takeoff.

Spain has not seen such rainfall for 160 years. In Malaga, the biggest problem was the wind – 50 accidents were reported (Wyborcza Newspaper). Half an hour after our take-off, the airport was closed, and flights were redirected to Sevilla. The remainder of our flight did not look good either due to the raging cyclone Zacharias.

Many people could not bear the stress during this journey, and some could not keep their food down.

It is good to have context experience

Many years ago, I was afraid of my first flight – I was working on getting rid of this phobia using the NLP method. Effective treatment of phobias is also possible through frequent exposure to the stressor (Myers). The more often you fly, the less you stress. Also, I’ve had some previous, though not as intense, experiences with turbulences.

Measuring stress with 2 Garmin Venu models revealed a “low stress” result for me (but stress anyway), and a “high stress” result for my travel companion, Ania. Ania has less experience with flights than me.

During this flight, I began to wonder why some of us handle extreme situations better than others. It is about the level of anxiety and coping with it. I began to take notice of my thoughts and pay attention to what Ania was saying.

We all create mental strategies

In the past, I used to listen to what the crew said to each other and how they reacted – I tried to catch signs of normality, but I ended up catching disturbing signs.

I found a similar strategy with Ania: “I listen to what the flight attendants say and how they behave.”, “Why did she switch on this signal? “Why did the lights go out?” In a nutshell, Ania’s mental strategy in that situation was to focus on and look for elements that were inconsistent with what the situation should look like.

What strategies have I built during that time to maintain relative mental balance:

• I started repeating, in my mind, that the only really dangerous moments during air travel are the encounters with Earth, i.e. the take-off and landing. The mantra started to work when we were already high in the clouds.

• Then I tried to look at the situation from a broad perspective: I imagined the Earth and all the planes in the air at that moment – they wouldn’t fall like that. I also guessed that the thoughts occupying the pilot’s mind were completely different from the thoughts of the terrified passengers on his plane. I don’t know how to fly an aeroplane, but I imagined that the pilot’s thoughts were something like: “There’s a strong wind, so I need to position the plane slightly from leeward.” The global view of the situation helped.

• Then I began to notice all the flight attendants bustling and cleaning up after the passengers in torsions. I began to feel sorry for them and admire them – how important, responsible, and difficult their job was. I and my travel companion met the eyes of one of them – he said: “Difficult flight!” By the way, appropriate eye contact with another person can bring us into a state of balance (Porges – Polyvagal Theory). Maintaining balance through eye contact can be trained – it is the basis of “Relational Presence – being mindful during public speaking” workshops. A skill that helps in public speaking turned out to be also helpful in that highly stressful situation.

• Finally, almost completely calm, I started filling out Remainder on my phone with the tasks that I have to do in the near future after landing in Poland.

Mental toughness is a set of mental strategies 

As a child, I was an extremely anxious boy, and at one point, I was even diagnosed with vegetative neurosis. 

The conclusion is that mental toughness is not a personality trait but a set of mental strategies for returning to mental balance in stressful situations – it is a matter of mindset and flexibility.

On this occasion, I am reminded of the results of the research on the ways of thinking of healthy octogenarians. It was conducted many years ago by Jaap Hollander, the creator of MindSonar, along with Robert Dilts. Do you know what thought patterns healthy old people had? A) Matching (looking at what is good and correct, in other words, looking at the bright side of the situation). B) Focusing on the future (they have plans for the future and know that they have to work hard for it). C) Focusing on people (people are everywhere in their thinking) (Hollander, Dilts).

Now, let’s take a look at the 4-point strategy I employed to deal with a stressful situation on a flight and find similarities with the mindset of healthy octogenarians. I see common features.

A trivial statement comes to my mind: The two risky moments in life are birth and death – like the take-off and landing of an aeroplane. And between them, there is an empty space that we can fill, either with fear or with striving for mental balance. It may be a cliche, but somehow it is liberating.

Recruit, Retain, Retrain

In today’s dynamic work environment, the focus extends beyond mere recruitment logistics. It’s about securing the right talent at the right time, equipped with the requisite skills. 

However, there’s an additional layer: the imperative to streamline costs and embrace diversity. One solution lies in acknowledging what often escapes our notice—our thought processes. Our thinking patterns intricately shape our behavior and responses to specific roles. Understanding how we think, along with our values, forms the linchpin for aligning expectations with the purpose of a role. 

Furthermore, fostering an environment that encourages both autonomy and responsibility propels organizational advancement. How can we embark on this journey? By delving into the realm of measuring thinking styles. MindSonar, a tool that goes beyond surface-level personality assessments, becomes instrumental in identifying distinct thinking styles and values within any given scenario. MindSonar can play a role in various stages of the employee lifecycle—recruitment, retention, and retraining. 

Here’s how:

Recruitment

Identifying Suitable Candidates:

•  Use MindSonar assessments during the recruitment process to identify candidates whose thinking styles align with the requirements of the job. This can help you find individuals who naturally think in ways that are conducive to success in the specific role.

Enhancing the Interview Process:

  • Tailor interview questions based on the MindSonar results. This can provide deeper insights into a candidate’s cognitive preferences and help you assess their fit within the team and organization.
  • Through an articulate understanding of thinking patterns, one can tailor questions to identify strengths and blindspots in the different scenarios a candidate may encounter.

Reducing Turnover:

  • By understanding the thinking styles that thrive in your organization, you can select candidates who are more likely to be satisfied and successful in their roles, reducing the risk of turnover.

Retention

Team Dynamics:

  • Use MindSonar® to understand the thinking styles within your existing teams. This knowledge can be leveraged to build well-rounded teams with diverse cognitive approaches, fostering a collaborative and productive work environment.

Personalized Development Plans:

  • Tailor professional development plans based on individual thinking styles. This personalized approach can enhance job satisfaction and motivation, contributing to higher employee retention.

Conflict Resolution:

  • MindSonar® results can provide insights into potential sources of conflict within teams. Use this information to address and resolve interpersonal issues, creating a more harmonious work environment.

Retraining

Identifying Learning Preferences:

  • Use MindSonar to identify employees’ preferred learning styles. Tailor training programs to match these preferences, making the learning process more effective and engaging.

Career Development:

  • Understand the thinking styles required for advancement in specific roles. Use MindSonar to guide employees toward training and development opportunities that align with their cognitive strengths and the organization’s needs.

Adapting to Change:

  • During times of organizational change, use MindSonar® to understand how different individuals may respond. This information can guide change management strategies and support employees in adapting to new situations.

If you would like to measure how you or the staff think, contact Ian at 01455241204. Please remember, that while MindSonar provides valuable insights, it should be used as part of a holistic approach to recruitment, retention, and retraining. Combining these insights with your existing tools and methods will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of your employees and potential hires.

Enhancing Team Dynamics with MindSonar®: A Powerful Tool for Understanding Each Other

Effective teamwork is the cornerstone of success in any organisation. Teams that collaborate harmoniously tend to be more productive, innovative, and resilient. However, building and maintaining strong team dynamics can be challenging, especially when team members have diverse backgrounds, communication styles, and mindsets. In fact, you could argue a team is like a collection of different animal styles having a party! To overcome these challenges, many organisations want a more granular measurement that gets to the heart of problems and show the team a new way to communicate and collaborate. Organisations need skilled zoo keepers to do this or they could use a tool called MindSonar. MindSonar helps teams understand each other better and improve their overall performance.

We have been using Mindsonar in the UK for Team development in many organisations because it is adaptive and does what it says. It uncovers what is beneath that we cannot immediately see.

MindSonar is a psychological assessment tool developed by Dutch psychologist Jaap Hollander. It is designed to provide insights into how individuals think and make decisions in various contexts, which is immensely valuable in team settings. MindSonar is built on the principle that every person has a unique thinking profile, shaped by their beliefs, values, and cognitive strategies. By mapping these profiles, MindSonar helps teams understand each member’s perspectives and communication preferences.

Understanding MindSonar’s Approach

At its core, MindSonar assesses an individual’s thinking style based on the Meta Programs theory. Meta Programs are mental filters that influence how we perceive the world and make decisions. They cover areas like motivation, decision-making, social orientation, and communication. MindSonar identifies an individual’s dominant Meta Programs and represents them in a visual profile, allowing teams to gain deep insights into their members’ cognitive preferences.

How MindSonar Enhances Team Understanding

Improved Communication: MindSonar helps teams decode each member’s communication style. For example, it can reveal if someone is more focused on details or prefers a big-picture approach. Understanding these differences enables team members to communicate more effectively and reduces the risk of misunderstandings.

Conflict Resolution: By pinpointing potential areas of conflict, MindSonar allows teams to proactively address and resolve disputes. When team members understand each other’s motivations and triggers, they can navigate disagreements with empathy and find common ground.                     

Enhanced Decision-Making: MindSonar assists teams in making better decisions by considering a broader range of perspectives. Teams can identify which Meta Programs are overrepresented or underrepresented, helping them balance their decision-making processes.

Increased Empathy: Understanding the thinking profiles of team members fosters empathy and respect. Team members are more likely to appreciate each other’s unique strengths and contributions, creating a positive and inclusive team culture.                      

Tailored Leadership: Team leaders can adapt their leadership styles to better suit the needs and preferences of their team members. This leads to more effective leadership and improved team performance.

Implementing MindSonar in Teams

Assessment: Team members complete the MindSonar assessment, which typically consists of a series of questions or scenarios. The results are then analysed to create individual thinking profiles.

Team Workshops: Teams can participate in workshops facilitated by a MindSonar practitioner. These workshops help team members understand their own profiles and those of their colleagues.

Application: Once the team has a clear understanding of their thinking profiles, they can start applying this knowledge to their daily interactions, communication, and decision-making processes.

Ongoing Development: Teams can periodically revisit their MindSonar profiles and reassess their dynamics as they evolve. This ensures that teams remain adaptable and continue to improve their collaboration over time.

 Conclusion

In a world where teamwork is essential for success, tools like MindSonar offer a valuable means of enhancing team dynamics. By helping team members understand each other’s thinking styles, communication preferences, and motivations, MindSonar promotes effective collaboration, reduces conflicts, and ultimately leads to improved team performance. As organizations increasingly recognize the importance of psychological insights in team development, MindSonar stands out as a powerful tool for fostering understanding and cohesion among team members. Hire a zoo keeper or use MindSonar

Case Report: Helping a Professional find their Dream Job

Sometimes talented professionals don’t fit in a given corporate culture. A common response is to doubt oneself and try to fit in. Fortunately, this professional did a MindSonar profile.

During the intake he told the MindSonar professional that he had had previous jobs that ‘fitted like a glove’. He felt happy, appreciated and was able to contribute. His last two jobs, however, had not been a great success. He felt his managers didn’t trust him and he was making a lot of mistakes. Overlooking his previous job experiences, he noticed the ‘missing ingredient’: the feeling that there was a safety net while learning.   

In his MindSonar profile he focused on a previous job when he had a 100% ‘safety net experience’. He discovered that ‘autonomy’ and ‘positive feedback’ were very important criteria for him to feel proud of his professional abilities. MindSonar helped him to understand the unique combination of meta programmes that supported his “100% safety net experience”. A combination, that immediately explained why he didn’t fit in with the present corporate culture: this was not their dominant way of thinking. 

He rewrote his resume, reconsidered his job outlook and found  an authentic way of presenting himself during job interviews (focusing on his uniqueness). He was successful: he found his dream job within a few weeks!

The MindSonar professional running this project was Jascha Kamstra (Netherlands). Look her up in the Registry.    

Case Report: Helping a Bank develop an Entrepreneurial Attitude

A large Belgian insurance bank defined a new corporate strategy, in which it was important for their insurance brokers to develop a more entrepreneurial attitude.

A central factor in this development was the relationship between the insurance brokers and the local insurance agents in the community. The company defined a list of key competencies for their brokers related to dealing with these agents.

All brokers were profiled with MindSonar. Surprisingly, after a statistical analysis, it turned out that there was no significant relationship between thinking style, criteria, and key competencies on the one hand and sales volume on the other hand. Further analysis revealed that this had to do with the targets that were being set. Because targets were set at a relatively low level, their MindSonar profile did not make a lot of difference. It did not matter much how brokers thought or what they found important. The volume of sales was determined mostly by demand from the local insurance agents and the efforts of the brokers seemed to have little to do with it.

This finding led the company to change the system of setting targets. After targets were adjusted, thinking style did make a difference. A training program was developed in which brokers were trained in those competencies that their MindSonar profile showed them to be lacking in.

For this project the company won a prestigious training award.

The MindSonar professional running the project was Chris Minne (Belgium). Look him up in the Registry.