Uncover your style to strengthen your process
Each year, the Mottis staff takes a step back from the hectic pace of our everyday schedules and spends time getting to know each other better at our annual retreat.
This is not the typical, painful office retreat with lots of teambuilding activities that really only build a sense of awkwardness or “problem-solving” physical challenges that bring on flash-backs of the grade school gym class horrors. No, in true Mottis fashion, this year’s retreat was much more of an organic affair, with plenty of time for corn hole, jet skis and even a screening of Art & Copy, a documentary film about the advertising industry.
While we all enjoyed the unstructured time to visit with colleagues, we did spend a bit of time exploring how each team member’s personality types manifest in the workplace, and how we can use the diversity of our office to our advantage.
Each Mottis employee has taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, a personality test that uses a series of questions to assess how you gather information and make decisions. There are no wrong answers on this test, each answer simply indicates how you perceive the world. Though there are many activities that stem from this assesment, our retreat activity focused on how each person approaches decision-making. This activity assumed there are four steps to making and executing a decision:
- Sensing – How did we get here? What are the facts?
- Intuition – What interpretations can be made? What are the possibilities?
- Thinking – What are the pros and cons of the alternatives? What are the logical consequences of each action?
- Feeling – How will the outcome affect people? What are the underlying values for the choices?
Each person was given a slip of paper that simulated how much time they would spend on each step, assuming a 30-minute timeframe to solve a problem. For example, based on our personality type, my fellow ENFJs and I would in theory spend 5 minutes sensing, 9 minutes intuiting, 2 minutes thinking (ouch), and 14 minutes feeling. To actually see how each of our colleagues approaches decision-making, we had a spot in the room for each phase and counted a few seconds for each “minute” of this scenario, rotating throughout the room to simulate moving through the problem-solving process.
While it might not sound very interesting on paper, I actually found the exercise extremely valuable. Being able to physically see how many of our designers spend a great deal of time intuiting (assessing the possibilities of a challenge), long after much of the account team has moved on to the feeling stage, was fascinating.
These types of activities have gotten a bad rap over the years (and most of them, for good reason probably—we have all seen this done poorly) but this showed me how valuable such activities can be and how they really do belong in the workplace. Knowing why someone reacts the way they do has value not just so we can have patience for our differences, but perhaps more importantly, so we can use each person’s strengths to strengthen our overall results. Because I apparently spend the least amount of my time “thinking,” I know I need to seek out a partner for whom this is a primary focus. If I have already moved past “intuiting” and am formulating a plan, I need to have patience when someone who is still at the intuiting stage comes up with a great alternative, because in fact that is usually when some of the best ideas are formed.
I highly recommend working these types of activities into the workday from time to time. And you don’t need to wait for a retreat to do it. Take a few hours one afternoon to learn something about your colleagues. Not only is it a nice break from the daily routine, but, if done right, it will also increase the productivity of the daily routine in the process.
Feature image: Win Puzzle Game | Andre Shibata