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Corporate / Create Movement

Red Pants was engaged in assisting a mission critical team within a rapidly expanding company during their post-IPO phase.

The team had seen a more than 50% turn over in the previous six months as many of the start-up talent had left and more seasoned managers came on board. Their targets were steep in a highly competitive market, and it was clear that success would only come from maximizing the team’s output.

We used the Gallup Strengthsfinder to analyze the team talent portfolio which showed that they were very coherent, shared a large number of strengths but were sorely lacking in one domain. Recognizing this and developing strategies to enter into these new domains was an easy and pleasurable team effort.

Learning that everyone’ strengths have a dark side – not being understood by people who don’t get you, people who own an opposing strength – was a powerful moment.

We used examples such as “Strategic” versus “Focus” to understand where others are coming from. Strategic means you have great peripheral vision, but it also demands that you have to make mid-course corrections and you might be seen as trying something different, always. Paired on a team or in conversation with a “Focus” person will feel like Mars talking to Venus – Focus concentrates on a singular destination, is goal oriented and can be perceived as single minded.

However, the real challenge appeared when the team went into a high-stress scenario and all good intentions were left on the i-pad. Panic demands such as “I need you to” and “this does not work for me” were thrown into the room. What happened?

Trust building is a key step to holding the team together and it all comes down to two question:

  • Do we share a Why?
  • Are we honestly embracing our differences? 

Red Pants encouraged the team to dig into the personality differences that had opened up. In two by two conversations, they acknowledged the other’s need for processing and communicating information in their own way. They practiced respect for each other by brain storming how opposing talents and ideas could be useful. Within a few hours work, the basis for kind and constructive communication within the team was built.

Checking in with the team later, we now hear them use terms like “I needed an Activator so I called Jane into the meeting.” “If I start to doubt a team member’s activity, I recall what’s his Why, which reassures me we are all going in the same direction, and I am cool.”

We were told that the team had not only met their aggressive quarterly goals but also been invited to share their team work with other departments.

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