Continuing with my journey into psychometric profiling...
In July 2010, I attended a training course with my team of fellow project & program managers, on the Strength Deployment Inventory & Motivational Value Systems, based on the work of Elias H. Porter, coursework from Personal Strengths Publishing. Checkout the reference material at the end of the post.
The essence is around improving relationships and managing conflicts:
The essence is around improving relationships and managing conflicts:
- Strength - the SDI helps people identify their personal strengths in relating to others under two conditions: 1) when everything is going well, and 2) when they are faced with conflict.
- Deployment - means to move strategically or take a position for effective action. The SDI suggests ways that one's personal strengths may be used to improve relationships with others.
- Inventory - the SDI is not a test where judgements and "right" or "wrong" answers are graded. It is an inventory for taking stock of motivational values (the basis for how you feel and act in different situations). It is a self-discovery tool.
We were a team of nine project and program managers based in two sites in UK (Southampton & Staines), collectively we managed a portfolio in excess of £50 million pounds (close to R1 billion+ South African Rand), with our teams extending across to France (5 PMs), Israel (6 PMs), India (2) - roughly across the globe we had about 25 project & program managers involved in technical program & product management, for a Set Top Box software stack (middleware & applications), interacting with a development team in excess of 350 people worldwide, including 20+ development managers, ~30 system architects, 3+ Chipset vendors, 5+ STB device manufacturers & customers such as BSkyB, UPC, Sky Italia, Foxtel, Sky Deutchland, Yes, Get, Tata Sky...
The core product team was run from the UK, where I was based. I started off with owning the development & delivery of the product to one primary UK customer, then moved on to coordinating and managing the product release schedule for multiple customers. So I was part of the R&D Technical Product team, my customers would be the customer-facing delivery & account managers (who spoke directly to the clients). Our UK PM team itself was split between locations, we'd meet regularly for PM forums, we weren't a fully well-formed team (hence also the course to find out about your colleagues), however we didn't really need to be (how many management teams are really self-organising and fully collaborative hey?) since we were each consumed with specific areas of responsibility within the product-space, albeit we all shared the same strong delivery mindset...
I would interact with hundreds of people across the globe, different levels of seniority, departments and domains. Often faced with multiple customers, competing project priorities, and hard-to-please-clients in terms of timelines, quality, etc. - and an engineering team (system architects, UI/UX designers, software developers, integrators & testers) scattered across the globe, challenged to maintain clear communications of priorities, direction, not to mention language and cultural challenges as well.
Working in this environment, I not only had to maintain a sense of myself (as a person, individual, professional), but also have an appreciation for the relationships I would have to foster to get the job done. Projects don't deliver because of a project plan, because of a PM constantly checking up on the status, no...it's the people that deliver projects (and mind you, I have paid my school fees in this area!).
According to Donnie MacNicol, who ran our training (article published in April-May 09 Construction Journal titled "Colourful Relationships"):
PMs are often at the sharp end of projects, needing to deliver even when multiple technical challenges exist and relationships are under strain. It is critical that PMs develop strong and sustainable relationships to allow them to influence others. This will require them to understand: a) the impact they have on the feelings of others (b) what makes others 'tick' and how they react in certain circumstances (c) what makes themselves tick.
The SDI is a self-development tool based on Relationship Awareness Theory.... underlying assumption of SDI 'all human beings need to interact with others in a way that makes them feel good about themselves'. The SDI looks at our motivations in good times as well as when face with conflict.
It is important to understand a person's intention and motivations as this allows us to relate more effectively to them and their actions...
The SDI distinguishes our underlying motivations by introducing four main Motivational Value Systems (MVS), which describe 'how we seek to be valued by ourselves, others and in all life situations'. Our MVS means we seek to be recognised for being:
- of genuine help to others - BLUE
- focused on achieving results - RED
- self-reliant and orderly - GREEN
- part of an effective group - HUB (which is what I came out as)
|Four Motivational Value Systems (I was a HUB)|
Our behaviour may vary due to circumstances and the environment, but our MVS will remain as an anchor when things are going well... Relationship awareness theory defines conflict as a reaction to a perceived threat to self-worth so, typically people are willing to go into conflict about things that are important to them. This allows you to identify their conflict 'triggers...
...we approach conflict with a predictable sequence of motivational changes and related behaviours. Initially we tend to focus on the problem, the other person and ourselves. If the conflict is not resolved, then our behaviour changes and we will tend to focus on on the problem and ourselves. If still not resolved, then at the 3rd stage the person would focus only on self-preservation. Conflict is rarely resolve at this stage.
So our training entailed getting to know ourselves, as well as our fellow team members. We each created our SDI/MVS profile, had individual and group-sessions to talk about it.
My results - What is a HUB then??
|My MVS in relation to Our PM Team Members|
According to the MVS, a HUB is Flexible-Cohering:
- Concern for flexibility (TRUE - I have always valued flexibility)
- Concern for welfare of the group (SO TRUE - strongly believe the team & people are crucial)
- Concern for the members of the group and for belonging in the group
Valued Relating Style: Being curious about what others think and feel...Being open minded and willing to adapt...Experiments with different ways of acting...Proud to be a "member"...Likes to know a lot of people...Likes to be known by a lot of people...Likes to be known as flexible
Rewarding Environment: Friendly, involving, sociable, democratic, playful, changing, flexible...Encouraging interaction...Being heard and listening...Sensitivity to feelings...Consensus-building.
- You feel best about what you are doing when you are... able to coordinate your efforts with others in some common undertaking that involves closeness, clear lines of authority, and opportunity for self reliance.
- You feel most rewarded by others when they treat you as a... good team member who knows how to be a loyal follower, knows how to exercise authority, and knows when to follow the rules and when to use judgement.
- You identify with and feel most at ease with people who... clearly are flexible in their behaviour and readily able to adapt to whatever the situation calls for.
- You are attracted to and intrigued by others who are... generous in their help; who are strong and want you on their team; who are quite patient and don't lose their heads.
- Ideally you would like to be... a well-rounded person capable of complete flexibility in behaviour.
- Ideally you would like to avoid ever being... subservient to others, domineering over others, and/or isolated from others.
- You fell distant from and somewhat contemptuous of people who... are outsiders and who reject membership in your group's efforts or withhold support for group's efforts.
- You feel discomfort from people who... commit themselves to the group effort and then let the group down by failing to live up to their commitments.
It is interesting that most of the stuff still resonates with me...also one of the reasons why I still try best to balance hardcore project delivery mindset against the agile/lean value & team-based principles...
My Conflict sequence is [B-G]-R
|My Stages of Conflict|
I do appreciate the following descriptions for conflict resolution:
- A person who will strive to maintain peace and harmony yet with a careful eye toward the personal cost of doing so. If these efforts fail, they will finally fight for their rights, but only as a last resort and possibly explosively ([B-G]-R).
- A person who wants most to keep harmony and good will. If this does not work, they try to disengage and save what can be saved. If this does not work, they then come out fighting, probably in an explosive manner (B-G-R).
- A person who first meets conflict with caution, examining the situation carefully and logically and waiting for all the facts to come in before making any commitments. If this does not work and there is no important principle involved, they would defer to the other person in the interest of harmony. If the conflict continues, then they would come out fighting, but only as a last resort (G-B-R).
- A person who meets conflict and opposition quite flexibly, that is, with an approach that differs according to the situation and circumstances rather than by a fixed sequence. This may prove to be confusing to others and they may experience the person as unpredictable.
Check out the last video which captures pretty much the conflict stages...
Here are three clips that talk through the whole SDI. Incidentally the presenter has the same MVS as me, so it's quite apt!