This week saw the return of our regular team development sessions at Q2Q, and this latest session was based on Nigel Rinser’s book “It a zoo around here”.
Nigel has developed a unique understanding of communication styles, using animals to represent the various personalities:
The visionary, single-minded Lion; the playful, extrovert Monkey; the careful, analytical Elephant, and the caring, supportive Dolphin.
I used content from the book to create posters describing the profiles and communication preferences of each of the four animals, and the team individually decided which style of communication they felt described them the best. We then had a group discussion and challenged each other on whether we felt our self-perceptions where in line with how we presented ourselves in the office, it was quite an entertaining debate!
Interestingly we have a great mix in the team:
Two sliding between Dolphin and Elephant
One Elephant with a bit of Lion
One sliding between Monkey and Lion
And me, a natural Dolphin with Lion tendencies when stressed! 😊
Once we were all identified, we explored the section in the book about how to get the most out of each of the different animals.
For example, Lions like to be in charge, can be competitive and results driven. To get the most out of them, allow them the freedom to do things their own way, give them information quickly using bullet points, and help them to improve by giving them tasks that require cooperation with others.
Monkeys thrive on excitement, are playful and bring fun and energy to the group, and like a lot of variety. To get the most out of them, share in their excitement and fun, give them recognition, and inspire them to achieve bigger goals within a structured framework.
Dolphins are the patient ones, nurturing, caring and supportive, wanting harmony for those around them. To get the best out of them, be supportive in return, provide them structure showing them methods for achieving their goals, and remember to bring a level of emotion to conversations.
Finally, the Elephants can be cautious, meticulous, and sometime sceptical of anything new. Ensure you provide them with plenty of data, don’t pressure them into making quick decisions, and encourage them to develop communication skills to help them relate better to others.
This is just a small snapshot of the approach, but interestingly the session turned into a very enlightening discussion. Identifying as the animals, the team were able to share stories of examples where they felt they may be misunderstood by the rest of the group and could articulate using the animal persona rather than just feeling “different” to the rest of the team.
What started out as a bit of fun, ended up being one the most powerful sessions we’ve had to date, helping the team to understand each other a lot better, and therefore be even more supportive in the future.
It also demonstrated how, by having such a great mix in the team, we all bring different strengths to the team dynamic, with a great recipe of energy and fun, fierce determination, attention to detail, all wrapped up in a nurturing, caring, family environment.
If working with a tech support business with all the fun of the zoo sounds appealing, or you simply want to talk about the challenges within your business, get in touch with us – the kettle is on and it’s always “feeding time” at Q2Q IT!