Case Report: Helping a Mining Company Solve an Internal Conflict

A mining company had serious communication problems in their community relations team. This problem persisted, even after several group trainings and coaching sessions. The majority of the team members had great difficulty with one person. This person had even been nicknamed “Don Pesimo” (“Mister Horrible”) because every time they proposed a solution, he would disagree and point out everything that could go wrong with that proposal.MindSonar was filled out by all team members and a workshop was organised explaining Meta Programs and Graves Drives. At the end of the workshop the team scores were discussed. The team and the leader of the company, who was also present, could clearly see that their predominant Meta Program was ‘matching’ (focusing at what is good and correct), except for “Don Pésimo”, who scored very high on mismatching (focusing at what is not good and incorrect).Simply explaining to them that their teammate was not a negative person, but rather using a different thinking style, was very helpful. He was relabelled as an internal consultant, being the one person with the ability to show them the dangers and pitfalls they could not see.

Today this person sits at the head of the board of directors when they meet. He has an important role in evaluating both team decisions and team processes.  The MindSonar professional running this project was Mónica Castañeda (Peru). Look her up in the Registry.

Case Report: Helping Dutch Equestrian Team Win the Olympics

Olympic Dressage How MindSonar Helped

In 2012 the Dutch equestrian sports people won 20% of all the Dutch Olympic medals in London. Three times silver and one bronze medal.

 Imagine you’re a brilliant rider. To be specific, dressage is your expertise. Day in, day out you are training to be in complete harmony with your horse and to achieve the perfect result on the Olympic Games. You have formed your own staff with an excellent trainer, groom, vet, farrier and so on. You ride and train your horses every day and you’re probably doing all this on your own estate or equestrian center. You’re over twenty-five years old, not single anymore and if you would like to, you may imagine that you also have children.

And then when you’re selected to be in the National team, especially for the Olympic Games, circumstances really change. Now you are a member of the Dutch Dressage Team. You have to deal with the other team members for about ten days. Your own staff is not nearby. You will be staying in the Olympic Village and see and meet all those other top athletes. You have to share a room with another rider of your team. The distance from the Village to the stables is at least 45 minutes.

So how do you deal with this as an individual top athlete? How do you stay focused? What kind of a team will make you feel at your best or beyond this? What do you need from the other team members and what are you willing and or able to give? What is important for you in the context of being part of this Olympic Team? That’s what our coaching program is about: How can this team be the best possible team in this moment in time for every rider?

For example in a team that scores a high average on ‘solo’ you really have to find out how much solo is needed for everyone and when. High score on ‘solo’ means to someone really have a desire to concentrate on their own affairs, a need for working alone, undisturbed by other people. Normally this is not something that people are consciously aware of … they just start feeling annoyed if there’s to much emphasis on doing all kind of things together, like “where do WE have breakfast, lunch and dinner?” “At what time do WE leave for the training?”

Or the difference between the thinking styles ‘global’ and ‘specific’. “How was you’re training?” asks one team member with the Meta Program ‘specific’. “Fine” answers the other with Meta Program ‘global’. “Hmm”, goes our ‘specific’ thinking rider, “Why being so rude? Why not answering the question, I am really interested in how you’re training was. I think I am not going to ask this again”.  Our ‘Global’ rider doesn’t have a clue of what is happening, because “fine” was how it was, a genuine answer. He’s not thinking any more specific than this.

Understanding and insight in each others Meta Programs is really a wonderful way to avoid misunderstandings and, as we found out in the last few years, to create a team spirit of respect and empathy. Of course this is helpful for any team in any context. Management teams, Project teams, sports teams. What makes the top athletes so special is their eagerness, willingness and readiness to learn and to improve every day. It is such a privilege to work with them.The MindSonar professionals running the project were Lot Wielders and Jennet Burghard (Netherlands) They were asked to do this again in 2014 (World championship for Eventing), 2016 (Rio for Eventing) and 2018 (World championship in Tryon USA). Look them up in the Registry.

Argentina won the World Cup as a High Potential Team

The Argentinian national football team became world champions. Due to the money involved, and above all, the number of people who train this sport professionally, it is the most competitive contest in the world. The level of difficulty is increased by the fact that a High Potential Team must be organized for a month, consisting of a fairly large number of people – 26 players plus staff. In addition, to be a coach of the national football team, it is good to be able to work in agile sprints – teams are created as projects, and planned to achieve goals: eliminations, championships, and friendly competitions.

Which team was your favourite during the last World Cup and why? Let me tell you that four teams qualified for the semi-finals.  Their managers (coaches) seemed to remain at the back of the teams they lead.  They didn’t consider that they have a great contribution to the victory and put knowledge above the competition, the team above the individual.

Let’s begin with some quotes from Didier Deschamps – the French coach – that explain masterful leadership:

“I don’t consider myself the most important member of the team”

“One of the main tasks of a manager is psychology”

“You always learn, especially from failure.”

I know, I know, we are all modest, and we declare that the team is valuable above all else.  Of course, we like to learn and we like the text promoted by my fellow coaches and business trainers that failure is nothing but feedback! All of this needs to be operationally transferred to the team.

Recently, Forbes Magazine published an article based on Ernst & Young’s Global CEO Outlook Survey, which found that:

86% of Polish CEOs believe that strategic decisions in the company should be made top-down (46% of CEOs from other countries have a similar opinion).

74% of Polish CEOs are more willing to reward individuals for their contribution to strategy implementation than teams for collective work and effort (50% of CEOs worldwide).

In the same article, there is an answer to the question of what, according to Polish and foreign bosses, determines success after the pandemic, and what characteristics are key. Vision and determination account for the most, 24% in Poland (25% – worldwide).  Humility is 10% (11%). Openness and transparency are 8% (16%).Humility, openness, and transparency are still not at the highest price ;).

Now to the next story about the Argentinian coach and the High Potential Team, which in my opinion is somewhat at odds with the CEOs’ choices in the study.

The fact is that the national team of Argentina four years ago was eliminated by France in the 1/8 finals of the World Cup. Before this match, the team itself fired the coach Jorge Sampaoli, whose way of running the team was extremely self-centered – at MindSonar® we call this set of values: POWER. They just cut him from the team during the tournament. The coach did not suit the LEARNING values, of players seeking joy and a sense of playing, he did not give them added value, and he disturbed them. A leader’s strong internal locus of control kills the team’s engagement and eventually kills the leader himself.

We are told how significant a strong locus of control is. Sure, that’s an important thing when it comes to achievements. We measure this in MindSonar®. Unfortunately, it often turns into a negative internal locus of control for the manager: “Everything depends on me, I control everything! And I will tell them!” = micromanagement.

Lionel Scaloni was then appointed interim coach of the Argentinian national team. And you know what happened next? Their development towards the High Potential Team began. Quote from Goles en Directo:

“Scaloni is the most beautiful case in the history of Argentinian football. All because of the humility of Scaloni, who got rid of his ego and played what his players wanted. He wanted to play vertically, and they wanted to play closer to each other, to enjoy the game. Modesty. From a guy who rose to prominence as a one-off, interim coach who was treated like a meme. Today, he is the youngest coach to win the World Cup.”

In an interview with Spanish Sport, Lionel Scaloni, the current Argentinian coach, spoke of his conversation with L. Messi in 2021 – because he felt strong anxiety after the draw with Brazil, he shared it with L. Messi. “Messi told me, ‘It doesn’t matter… we’re moving on… I’m sure it will be fine, and if not, it’s okay to try.’  It took the pressure off me…” (quoting Football-Espagna.Net). A manager who learns from a player’s attitude. A manager who lets go of the pressure! A manager who has concluded that the locus of control is not entirely within himself, that it is better to give leadership to someone with knowledge (value system: LEARNING + balanced cognitive patterns of locus of control and internal reference).

I hear our Polish managers passionate about football or I read sports journalists shouting: “We need a coach who will rule the locker room! Who’s going to hold the locker room by the face!” or “Only Herve Renard (Saudi Arabia coach) – he’s the best coach – did you see how he motivated the players in the changing room? You heard him say: ‘Messi has the ball in the middle of the pitch and you guys are not doing anything – why don’t you take your phone and take a picture with him on Facebook?!’ I see a value system here: POWER + extremely high: internal locus of control and internal reference.

I hear our managers and sports journalists like it, but it’s counterproductive. I would venture to say that the High Potential Team, the team of Argentina, would have fired Renard if he motivated them like that as they fired Sampaoli four years ago!

And as far as I know, the Saudi Arabian team did not go very far in the recent World Cup, but journalists do not mention this.

It seems to me that today’s manager, who has a chance to create a High Performing Team, is closer to Yoda than to Han Solo or any other Avengers.

From my managerial colleagues, I hear frequently uttered incantations: “This generation of young people (Y, Z) is hopeless, they do not engage in work! They don’t care about anything!”

Well, in response, I will again quote France’s coach Didier Deschamp: “Managing players is harder these days because of the arrival of new technology. They are all using it in their spare time so they become more isolated and selfish. They share less, they talk less. They have apps, their phones, and the Internet but they are less used to talking to people.” Didier Deschamps knows that the players are guided by different values than those that were close to him at their age, therefore it is a challenge for him, and … he adapts.

Think about your role in the team, about the team itself, while remaining its leader.

Maximize your performance with our mindset analysis – MindSonar®

The photo for this post from the dressing room of the Argentina national team was probably taken in 2016, unfortunately, I do not know the author.

Amplifying your Team’s Advantages (Financial Industry)


Understanding diversity in the financial industry and making it work for you

Financial institutions are pillars of society, secure and reliable institutions that take care of money transactions. Of course, the foundations of financial institutions are their employees, and these types of companies are extremely careful about who they recruit to positions within their organisations.

When we talk about financial institutions we are most familiar with banks, as we do business with banks almost on a daily basis. In doing so, we meet mostly with their sales departments. Far fewer people understand what else is needed in a bank’s inventory to perform safely and reliably. Hence banks employ a wide range of different team members who need appropriate qualifications in order to perform their work well. Staff members are provided with constant training, as banks are continuously evolving to offer their clients the most advanced and reliable services. As a business coach, I have worked with several banks operating in international markets and have trained heads of various departments, giving me the opportunity to recognise different ways of working, different ways of communicating and, of course, different thinking styles.

In my work, I use one of the best performing and effective profiling tools – MindSonar® – which allows professionals to identify their own ways of thinking and their most likely responses in specific situations. In this way, they are enabled to gain self-knowledge and to recruit team members who have different ways of thinking in specific contexts, which leads to creativity and the ability to solve even the most demanding challenges. Of course, an added benefit of knowing each other in this way is that they can more often avoid conflicts and resolve problems.

It is also true that understanding the diversity of team members gives the organisation, its leaders, teams and individual employees the responsibility to develop and strengthen their competences and thus enable each other to achieve the highest level of efficiency in communication, relationships and operations, provided, of course, that they are also suitably professionally competent.

We have recently prepared and delivered workshops with an HR department of a banking organisation.  The workshops are intended to strengthen communication and relational skills and raise emotional intelligence.  Analysis of a team’s MindSonar® group profile demonstrated a strong pattern of how individuals, specifically in the positions of sales managers, are similar in thinking styles in specific contexts. This is of course, logical, as a position of a branch manager or a sales manager requires a certain approach, and therefore, it makes sense for the organisation to either recruit or develop a co-worker who will cope with the challenges this position brings. At the same time, we discussed with these leaders how they value different thinking patterns in their teams. Despite relationships that sometimes require more input, it is precisely different patterns of thinking that strengthen and enrich a team, especially in the sense that it can achieve above-average efficiency and when it comes to financial management, appropriate returns.

Recognition that professionals need high-level communication and relational skills for their optimal functioning is crucial for both the development of the individual as well as the organisation. In identifying this, financial institutions, as the most technologically and security-wise advanced companies, are at the forefront of modern corporate operations.

An effective and widely useful tool enabling the profiling of diversity of thinking styles – MindSonar® enables identifying differences in thinking and facilitates guiding the development of individuals. Using MindSonar® means skilled trainers and profiling practitioners – MindSonar® Professionals – can assess individuals or entire teams and show them where and how they can progress, accessing coaching and specialised workshops. Organisations and teams can develop optimally and achieve maximum prosperity.

Improving Diversity in the Workplace

Improving Diversity in the Workplace

Words by Levitha Biji

Leicester business owner opens up about her experience of racism, which led her to start a business based on equality, diversity and inclusion 

Experiencing racism once – in a new business owner’s life – motivated Minakshee Patel to start her own consultancy firm. 

Whilst at a Polytechnic in the mid 1980’s, she stood in an election for the Students Union. She wrote history being the first female as well as the first Asian during the election. However, there were some individuals who believed she didn’t have a place there, she told us: “They used a derogatory term to describe me because I am Asian, I was shocked.” Being the character she is, the experience made her more determined to win the election, which she did. She said, “It was more about them than me.” She eventually started her own consultancy business, Minakshee Patel Consultancy. 

She turned this experience into a positive one and now Minakshee, who has 16 years’ experience, wants to make a difference by adding value regarding equality, diversity and inclusion to other organisations and ensuring their employees have a voice. This business owner’s goal is to be a catalyst in her clients’ journeys to help them reach their goals by using MindSonar®. 

MindSonar® measures cognitive diversity and the insights gained enables staff to perform at their best and improve diversity & inclusion within the workplace by helping to address unconscious bias, leading to a competitive advantage for your organisation.

Cognitive Diversity: a Workforce needs a MindSonar® solution

Only a few weeks ago I was reminded about diverse thinking. I coach Colts Rugby and had, for my sins, agreed to help the under 7s team. Being prepared for herding cats, I planned a session to finish with a game. One 7-year-old explained how I could improve the game. I reluctantly entertained his idea and it was a hit. I had fun, the kids had fun and we were more productive in achieving the same outcomes of evasion, pace and teamwork.  

So let me ask you to stop and think. Yes, stop and think.  How many people do your clients have in their workforce that look like them, agree with them and act like them? The other rugby coaches did not question the game I had proposed. They look and sound similar to me.  

A lot has been written about diversity in the past 25 years and much has been concerned with demographic diversity. That is, diversity which is based on colour or race, sexuality, gender, age and culture.  Rightly so.  Demographic diversity is a must. It has been proven many times that an organisation that does not actively engage in diversity can limit ability and productivity. Organisations with a diverse workforce have the ability to be more productive. The Royal Academy of Engineering identified research into culture and inclusion in engineering and found that ‘inclusion benefits the performance of individual engineers, with 80% reporting increased motivation, 68% increased performance and 52% increased commitment.’

Failure to engage with people who are diverse has led to well documented disasters such as the 9/11 bombings in the USA. The CIA at the time was populated with highly intelligent men, ‘the best of the best,’ white, Ivy-League educated men. They overlooked the warning signs of a terrorist attack. Why? Because they could not perceive the threat or signs of build-up in terrorist activity. Despite the high entrance examinations and psychological assessments to become an agent for the CIA they lacked diversity and reference experience beyond their world. They lacked understanding of an impending problem. Their perception in the context of attacks in the USA was: it will never happen, they cannot win.  The CIA agents were all from a similar mould and this had served the CIA well. 

However, while the agents lacked demographic diversity and reference experience to a problem, it has also been argued they lacked understanding and had little cognitive diversity within their group. As MindSonar® professionals we can explain the measurement of others against ourselves as thinking differently or being cognitively diverse.  We know this in simple terms as how you think and what you value, what drives or motivates YOU is different to ME. Neither is good or bad, it’s how that style serves us at that time in a specific context.  Our cognitive style, as we know, is not our personality. Our style is not fixed but it is flexible.   

Let me give an example that might prove helpful for clients.  You know when you have experienced a problem and you have contacted a friend or called a wise parent who has provided new insight to your approach because they experienced the same or a similar problem before?  I suspect you can recall how grateful you were for their input and how much time it saved you. Imagine doing this always in the work environment.   Imagine if the CIA had access to MindSonar® measurement for building a team of diverse thinkers?

So back to our problem: the skills of MindSonar® can help – instead of dialling a friend or colleague, why not advise a client to dial internally and ask some questions about what approach would be more helpful from referenced experience? What options or steps could be useful here? What could go wrong or what do they need to solve this? By using the opposite of your meta programmes you gain access to a range of new answers. Jaime Leal uses this approach with teams by leaving them with a MindSonar® coach in the room poster – a set of questions that a team can ask of themselves to manage their blind spots. 

It would be fair to say fostering demographic diversity gains different views, but it is not targeted at thinking differently.  Yes, we may gain some advantage if we have people from different backgrounds but if they attended the same school, and the same training programmes, they are likely to act like each other.  So demographic diversity only partly meets the world of change we face with artificial intelligence which poses many challenges to our work. 

With complex problems we need a variety of views on how to approach and understand information or to solve problems. Price Waterhouse Cooper identify that we are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs and changing the skills that organisations are seeking in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and HR challenges – at a time when business leaders are already wrestling with unprecedented risks, disruption and political and societal upheaval. 

Now we know the problems, it is fair to say we have one of the best solutions available: MindSonar®.

If we are going to meet the demands of the future, we need to share how we can develop understanding of  a workforce in others so that workforce can be more productive, solve problems more effectively and challenge each other to gain results. Perhaps we need organisations to develop a change in what they ask when seeking the right people for the roles they have. Instead of asking: who do we need? Perhaps we could encourage organisations to ask: what do we need in terms of thinking style and values against our long-term needs and gaps in the organisation?

Organisations by their nature in these unprecedented times and rapid development want success regardless of their motivators and the quickest way to gain success is by harnessing the right workforce to do the right job at the right time. The workforce that understands and harnesses different styles through understanding will be the workforce that lasts and WE  have the key to unlock their success.  

After over 20 years of coaching rugby, a diverse, uninhibited thinker, aged 7, brought fun and energy to my coaching. Cognitive diversity in the workplace to meet future demands is so important because #thinkingmakesitso when we use MIndSonar®