The Bombus team have recently been treated to a Team Effectiveness Day from Motivus Consulting. Motivus is a training consultancy for management, leaders and teams. The purpose of the session was to help us understand ourselves and our fellow team members and our preferred styles of working. I genuinely feel it was a 'treat' to have done this; it was absolutely fascinating.

Before the event:

In the days leading up to the session with Dan the studio was awash with reservation, apprehension and even a touch of nervousness. We joked about maybe having to fall backwards, relying on each other to catch us and hopefully not falling flat on the floor in an embarrassing heap. And when we saw neat stacks of different colour baseball caps in the room the event was to take place, our hearts literally sank to our boots. On the day however, we were eating that scepticism within the first 10 minutes.

Dan uses the Insights Personality Profiling model, which is built around the model of personality first identified by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.

We each completed an online questionnaire a few days before the actual day - the Insights Preference Evaluator. It's 25 questions each with a choice of four statements. You simply decide which statement feels most like you, which feels least like you and where the remaining statements fit in-between.

What happened on the day:

The day consisted of a series of easy tasks, responding to statements about how we feel or behave in certain situations. There was a circular mat on the floor coloured in sections with curious numbers, on which we stood and moved around depending on our responses to poignant and actually quite fun questioning from Dan. From this, we learnt which colour we naturally fall into and we donned our baseball caps accordingly. And dare I say it, really quite readily. I've never worn a baseball cap in my life. (Curly hair - hat hair - you know what I mean ladies, never a good look is it?) But I was so engaged by the session I even wore mine during lunch.

Still sporting our baseball caps, we went to the field in front of our studio for a couple of team building exercises. It was interesting to see how the different colours responded to the tasks. And wearing the coloured caps confirmed our individual strengths and weaknesses.

Reds couldn't see the point yet wanted to take control; Yellows lost interest as it was taking too long; Blues were methodical and logical looking at the problems from all angles but the one who had the answer was a Green. But true to form, she was reserved in letting the rest of us know; she initially made her suggestion too quietly so not enough people heard nor were even paying attention. It took a Red to make the rest of us listen to her and see she had worked it out.

This was an important lesson for me (a Red) to learn: slow down, listen to others more and respect that others have different ways of doing things.

In the following days...

I found an article entitled 'How can we cater to introverts on the modern office' on The Guardian Small Business Network, which incidentally, gives a good explanation of the differences between an introvert and an extrovert. We had discussed this subject with Dan too - you might be as surprised as we were to discover the clarification.

Which colour are you?

The Insights Personality Profiling model Dan uses is based on four distinct colour energies which you can apply in your daily life to help you understand why you behave in the way you do, and why other people might behave differently.

All colours have equal value and everyone will use all four colour energies to varying degrees. It's how much of each which shapes our individual personal style.

Personal profiles:

Towards the end of the session with Dan, he handed out our Personal Profiles. The profiles are 20 or so page documents detailing our unique profiles. They've been generated from the several hundred thousand possible permutations of the preferences we chose in the Evaluator online questionnaire.

The detail is extraordinary. There are some painful truths alongside affirming statements but they are written in such a remarkable, positive way and can only be viewed as an incentive to moderate and improve our behaviour and responses to other members of our team. There are valuable suggestions for how best to interact with our opposite type on the Insights Wheel - these are the people we have most difficulty understanding as their preferences are so different to our own.

Later that evening, while I was cooking I invited my husband to read my profile. At one point he muttered something and laughed. "What?" I demanded. (Remember, I'm Red). "It says here if I want to communicate effectively with you, I mustn't mumble" he replied still laughing... Argh..got me!

Here's what the others had to say:

But don't just take my word for it; here are some thoughts from some of my colleagues:

"I was doubtful about our Insights session - having sat through some excruciating management training courses in my old life. But, I was impressed. I wasn't sure how a session of this sort would helpfully apply to a smallish team in a creative environment. However, I found that although much of what I learned was no surprise, it clarified my understanding of how I work and others too."

"Interesting aspects of each staff members personality came out which I think made us all think and even cherish what makes each person so unique at Bombus. We have such a wonderful array of personalities and yet we work so well together, I think this is what I may have taken away with me the most."

"The day has helped me to be more conscious of my approach when dealing with others, both in and out of the work environment. Understanding our team members ‘colours’ has helped us to reflect on the way we all approach situations and tasks differently, and made us all a little more aware of the sides to our own characters which could be improved!"

"It's made me understand myself more. What I learned about my own working style, I found comforting for areas I feel insecure in, such as working better alone."

"I didn't know what to expect and didn't much like the prospect of being analysed so started the day with a little trepidation. Dan's explanation of the Insights model, what the colours represent and how they translate into personality traits was really clear and engaging. It was actually pretty interesting and a little unnerving how accurate some parts of the profile were."