Going global: the role of virtual technology in MBTI® training

Qlik® is a leading data analytics platform and pioneer of user-driven business intelligence. Its portfolio of cloud based and on-premise solutions, which includes Qlik Sense®, QlikView® and Qlik® Cloud, helps customers to understand data and explore hidden relationships within it. Founded in Sweden in 1993, Qlik now has headquarters in the US and does business in more than 100 countries with over 40,000 customers

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A data analytics company with a globally-dispersed workforce wants to reap the benefits of development. How can Qlik take their MBTI® delivery to large numbers of people around the world, quickly and cost effectively?

In some ways, Qlik is a dream organisation for MBTI practitioners. The MBTI framework has been part of Qlik’s organisational culture for more than five years, starting when its leadership used MBTI insights to transform working relationships. The MBTI assessment has since been included in Qlik’s continuous learning environment. Qlik wanted to accelerate the scale of MBTI usage and invested in the certification of 11 in-house practitioners in February 2017. Since then, more than 600 team members – one quarter of Qlik’s global workforce – have experienced MBTI insights and development programmes.

Qlik stakeholders, including the Executive Team, support and encourage the use of the MBTI framework, which is positively received by the organisation. A resulting challenge of the strong buy-in is the lack of capacity and resource in the team to deliver the training as frequently as demanded, and to deliver it with a scalable method. Responding to this challenge, Vikki Sly, VP Global Talent Development, and Michelle Supple, Global Talent Director, began working on new and innovative ways to scale MBTI training. Vikki says, “The number of countries in which we have team members creates extra complexity when it comes to delivering engaging and insightful learning content, and being able to bring it to where our team members are located.”

For Qlik, and particularly for Talent Development as part of Qlik’s Global Culture and Talent team, the vision is to ‘Develop Everyone, Everywhere’. MBTI training and investment in learning is one of the ways Qlik wants to address this. It helps all Qlik team members deepen their awareness of themselves and others, and it activates their own learning. 

Finding a delivery solution that is both scalable and effective is essential to Qlik’s success in people development.

How can OPP help?

The Global Culture and Talent Team has 11 MBTI-certified practitioners, including Michelle and Vikki. They are all experienced in one-to-one coaching and they all deliver workshops, both face-to-face and virtually. OPP partnered with Qlik to create a customised two-day workshop focused on two key areas:

  • Advanced coaching techniques using type dynamics
  • Virtual teams: how to deliver training that works

Advanced coaching techniques using type dynamics
This program helps Qlik practitioners take their MBTI coaching skills to a more advanced level. Qlik wants to ‘unlock the power of teams’ by getting people to communicate better and make decisions together – in short, to collaborate effectively, even when working remotely. “Teams are what’s important now – cross functional teams, not only intact teams,” says Vikki. “So, how do you get that to work? Because the power of the team is not the individual. Our motto with the MBTI solution is that a team is more than the sum of its parts, because if you can get a team to function at a higher level, it comes from the team functioning, not the individual. It’s that interdependent state that you get to because you actually know how to cooperate with each other and work together.”

Type dynamics gives experienced practitioners a deeper, more specialised understanding of interactions so they can more accurately pinpoint the precise issues for individuals and teams – and, importantly, assist with how to resolve them. Areas covered in this session include:

  • Typical challenges faced by different personality types
  • How learning and engagement is influenced by type
  • How MBTI preferences link to people’s drivers and blockers
  • Stress for different types – and personalised coping strategies

Bringing type dynamics into coaching makes the learning experience more personalised and relevant for the person receiving the training. It becomes their development. And for Qlik, which is globally dispersed with many remote workers, this really matters.

Qlik’s Global Culture and Talent Team have a pro-learning ethos, which depends on the practical application of tools and learning points during and after training sessions. “We believe that to create a continuous learning environment, people need to own their own learning,” says Michelle. “That means we have to get insight tools out to them which help them to understand themselves better, and each other, to improve all levels of interaction.”

Type dynamics gives practitioners and team members the tools for improving performance, both at team and individual level. The question for Qlik is, having gained this expertise, how do practitioners get it out there? How do they reach their people?

Virtual teams: how to deliver training that works
Qlik needs to reach as many people as possible in the most cost-effective way possible. This requires virtual technology, which was the focus of the second program. Qlik’s practitioners are confident and experienced in face-to-face delivery, both in groups and one-to-one settings. Some used virtual techniques for one-to-one sessions, but delivering sessions to teams virtually and using technology to reach remote workers was a new prospect.

Given that global development would focus very much on teams, it was a key area to develop. As Michelle puts it, “We’ve done very little virtual team workshop delivery, hence the requirement for this. The virtual delivery has mainly been one-to-one. I think probably 95% of my feedbacks have been virtual and one-to-one. It’s not the same. We wanted to create something that was more engaging that brings MBTI to life in a more interactive and practical way.”

“We realised we don’t have enough material to be able to do that with confidence,” adds Karin Rossi, Lead Organisation and Development Consultant, “and this is the key – to take teams through it, not individuals, because we get more people more quickly if we do it that way.”

OPP’s facilitators took the Qlik Practitioner Team through the second part of the workshop, which focused on:

  • Thinking through and testing methods of virtual delivery in one-to-ones and groups
  • Applying design and delivery principles for effective virtual delivery
  • Effective communication and how to increase effective team working through MBTI insights
  • Providing practical materials/exercises to scale individual and group coaching sessions in a fun, engaging way

Qlik’s practitioner team will be able to tailor the materials to address particular team requirements.

The workshop was tailored to meet a specific Qlik need, and the immediate feedback was positive. Dash Heaver, Program Manager, said it would, “...give greater depth to feedback sessions and allow for greater self-awareness and development of individuals and teams.” When asked about the virtual component of the training, Rachael Fitzpatrick, Senior Director of Culture and Talent, said, “[It] will provide me with [the] confidence to deliver a quality outcome that will be enjoyed, even though I am not in the room.” 

Julia Allen, Senior Director, Global Education Services took her team through MBTI training and said, “Thank you for facilitating the MBTI session. Every member of the team has given positive feedback since the event and many would like to offer a similar session for their direct reports. I really enjoyed the exercises and overall approach. Any Qlik leader who does not embrace MBTI is missing out in my opinion, so I will do my best to spread the word!”

Given Qlik’s need for virtual delivery options, Michelle Supple was clear about the difference the training would make. “When you’re delivering virtually, you’ve got your slide deck on the screen, your development workbook over here, your cue cards over there, and you have to make it engage through a video screen. It is hard. So, I think the two days of training have given us more materials to work with and given us more confidence to deliver to individuals and to groups virtually, in a much more practical, interactive and engaging way.”

The Qlik future
By undergoing this training, the MBTI practitioners within Qlik have the means to make their training scalable, which gives them the confidence to get behind other bold Qlik initiatives. Michelle explains, “One thing about having a more scalable solution is that we’ve introduced a brand new in-house leadership program, which targets those people newly promoted to leadership. We’re running the pilot with 20 leaders but we’re putting another 80 leaders through it this year. We will put everyone through MBTI. These are global cross-functional working teams they will all experience MBTI in a virtual manner as they are dotted across Asia, Europe, the middle East and Africa, and the States. We will take a lot of the learning from the two-day session to build workshops that actually cater for that.”

Michelle, Vikki and the team are big believers in the value of the MBTI framework and what it can bring to Qlik. This belief explains why they were driven to find a solution to their business challenge. “I'll be talking with our executive team about why it is really important that we invest in this, and what it will help us to do,” notes Vikki. “As a business, it should help us to understand our differences better so that we get to a functioning place where we value diversity – so that diversity becomes an asset instead of something we work around.”
I think the two days of training have given us more materials to work with and given us more confidence to deliver to individuals and to groups virtually.

Michelle SuppleGlobal Talent Director.