See how the MBTI improved communication and team work

A global leader in consulting, technology, outsourcing, and local professional services, Capgemini employs around 120,000 people in 40 countries.

Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business and technology solutions that fit the clients’ needs and drive the results they want.

The company was responsible for delivering services for one of the UK government’s most challenging online projects.

The management team that was looking after the IT architects working on the project wanted to improve their internal communication and succession planning, in order to be able to make better and faster decisions.

Having already used the MBTI® instrument to help different personality styles work together effectively, Capgemini invited OPP to help them take this further, in order to find tangible strategies for better communication within the leadership team.

By bringing in an outside party, Keith Rounding, head of HR for this area, hoped to trigger a more open dialogue within the leadership team that would be the catalyst for a shift in their patterns of behaviour.

OPP’s consultants worked with Keith to identify the specific business issues that needed addressing, set objectives and design a solution that would fit with the leadership team’s culture and experience.

Keith reports a positive experience of planning the development: “OPP were not averse to taking a fairly open view on where we went with it; we mutually understood the boundaries of our work together, and there was a good level of understanding by OPP of where we were in our own work with this leadership team. OPP adopted a collaborative approach to discovering what it was we wanted – even when we weren’t entirely certain ourselves!”

Keith wanted to help the team improve the way they worked to allocate architect resources across competing project priorities, by encouraging a more streamlined approach to problem-solving.

As the leadership team were already familiar with the concepts raised by the MBTI framework, OPP’s philosophy was to build on this interest, applying what the team already knew about each other’s types in order to produce lasting improvements in the way they communicated and made decisions.

To begin, one of OPP’s consultants observed the leadership in a real one-day working session, following up with a period of planning between Keith and OPP based on the outcomes of the observation. They identified competition over the architects’ resource as a source of tension, and put in place a series of development activities that would get to the heart of this issue.

OPP then led a structured team development day using a series of MBTI exercises based on real-life business examples. This included exercises in which participants positioned themselves around the room according to how they would choose to resolve different business issues, and a session where each participant prepared a monologue about their own strengths. OPP also ran some individual coaching sessions to help participants assimilate the learning. As Keith explains, “some people were absolute opposites on every axis. Seeing this represented visually really helped us to understand why someone behaves and works in the way they do – and to reconsider the value of their standpoint.”

Feedback was generally positive, and the participants described the exercise as both credible and thought-provoking. As a result, a follow-up day was arranged to focus in more depth on the core elements of problem-solving.

During this second team day, the participants concentrated on using the improved communication skills - which they had already started using in their everyday work - to address the issue of business planning for the coming year and to talk about how resources would be allocated.
One year on from the start of the development, Keith describes how the sessions OPP ran still stick in the minds of the participants: “People still talk about the first team day in particular, and the lessons that came from it. The awareness it has given us as a group of the motivators and drivers of people in the team has really helped our ongoing discussions.”

For example, the language of the MBTI instrument has ‘stuck’ – team members talk openly using MBTI terminology as a way of referring back to what they learnt. This linguistic framework has helped them recognise where differences lie, what they really mean and how to use differences constructively to deliver better business results.

According to Keith, the team are also showing themselves to be much more receptive to the idea of the tier below them securing the future of the company after them, rather than experiencing this as a threat. This is seen as indicative of the more trusting culture that is beginning to develop within the architects’ group.
Essentially, using the MBTI tool as a framework for change within the leadership team has made them conscious of the importance of collaboration and viewing differences constructively as vital pillars of a leading business. It has laid the groundwork for realistic succession planning to happen, inspiring confidence on the company’s ongoing success.
The awareness it has given us as a group of the motivators and drivers of people in the team has really helped our ongoing discussions.

Keith RoundingHead of HR. Capgemini