Arguably, your people are your biggest asset. Without them, nothing would happen – or it would certainly make your life far busier and more stressful. It’s true that ‘people buy from people’ – your people. And when you’re looking for that elusive ‘USP’, the reality is that the one thing you possess that no-one else does is your people.

You’ve hired some really smart people who are capable of making your vision a reality. But those people need to be happy at work if they’re to perform to the best of their abilities.

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of managers believe employee engagement is one of the most important factors in overall company success[1], which is perhaps unsurprising when you consider:

  • Companies with a high level of engagement report 22% higher productivity[2].
  • Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability[3].
  • And they experience a 41% reduction in absenteeism[3].

An investment in your team is an investment in your long-term success. So meet Emma…

Emma runs Brave Canary alongside her part-time role as HR and Admin Coordinator. A very people-orientated person, Emma is a licenced Insights practitioner and her vision is to help bring teams together, so they work more effectively and productively.

If you’ve not heard of Insights Discovery before, it’s a psychometric tool that uses a four colour (‘energies’) model to help people understand their style, their strengths and the value they bring to the team.

Here I spend 5 minutes talking to her about her business…


How do you help your clients?

While you can do Insights as an individual, it really comes alive when you put your profile together with others. It’s only when you understand the skills you have in a group, that you know how to best work together to get the most out of the team.

It’s only natural for people to put on a front, often to hide their weaknesses or insecurities. But Insights is able to look underneath, because when you understand people better, you can deliver better as a team and know when to push people outside of their comfort zone to help them achieve more.

With Insights, every member of the team is given a profile, which assigns them a primary colour energy:

Red: assertive

Blue: detail-orientated

Green: people-orientated

Yellow: outgoing

And then just over half will have a secondary dominant colour. By understanding your dominant energies, it shows you what you’re really good at so you can do more of it. And then the things that don’t come naturally are just a stretch.

For example, just because you’re not ‘red’ doesn’t mean that you can’t be assertive, only that you need to push yourself a little harder in that area in order to achieve it.

The interesting bit is when you get two people with identical colour energies, who approach things in two different ways. Insights helps you to understand the nuances of the colours, identifying the strengths/weaknesses and where people differ and why. The profiles are crucial here because they’re so detailed.

View an example…

It’s the session where the magic really happens though. Together we look at how each individual works with their colleagues, the cause and effect of their behaviours and try to understand why certain people might not work well together. When we know how people work best, we know how to focus the energy within the group.

For example, I worked with an NHS client where there were doctors on one side – primarily red, assertive energy – and nurses on the other – primarily green, caring energy. The two would constantly clash because they didn’t see the world in the same way. Through Insights whey were able to understand the different personality types, adapt their communication style and work together better to create a more valuable team.


Who do you work with?

The real sweetspot is a team of 8-12 people because it’s small enough for personal interaction, but large enough to have a good conversation, and you get a better mix of colours. And ideally this team is looking to understand themselves, and others, better.

But the clients I really enjoy working with are the sceptics. They walk into the room with such a negative attitude, thinking, “What am I here for?”. But then you see the popcorn moment where they get it. In an instant their body language changes, they’re engaged and pushing themselves and their team to dig deeper and they really enjoy it. It’s the best feeling!


What do your clients value most about your service?

I am a people person and it’s important to me that I make each session personal to them and their team. It would be easy to take a cookie cutter approach to what the session covers but I don’t, instead choosing to put a lot of thought and effort into what I plan to cover to make sure the session meets the team’s needs.

I take the time to connect with the manager ahead of the session so I can understand the challenges in advance and focus accordingly. And then I always follow up because people always leave the session with grand ideas and I want to ensure that’s not lost and they put together a plan of action.

One of the aspects of my job I love the most is facilitating the room, and I promise, I will challenge you and ask the difficult questions to understand what’s stopping the team from achieving their goals at the moment. Most of the time the answer is in the room, and it’s healthy to get it out in the open so we can make it better.

I see it happen a lot, where there’s big grievances within the team and it comes down to a simple misunderstanding, where people haven’t realised the impact they were having on others. They’re mortified when they find out and actively want to understand what they can do to stop it happening again.

Insights gets into all the nooks and crannies that people try to hide. I adore being in a room with people I don’t know, watching them develop and come together as a team. It’s hugely rewarding to know I’ve facilitated that.

But I guess the thing that makes me different from other licenced practitioners is that every day I work as part of a team that lives Insights. It’s not a theoretical thing for me, I can give you real examples and tell you how it works in practice because it’s something I use on a daily basis to get the best from our team.

In particular, it’s a really useful tool in leadership meetings because we can call it as we see it without getting personal. So for example, if the discussion is getting abnormally heated I can turn to my colleague and say, “You seemed very red there, why are you so stressed? What can I do to help?” By challenging the colour rather than the individual we open up, communicate better and support each other to move forward.


When should someone consider Insights for their team?

Insights Discovery advise that profiles should be re-done every 3-5 years, but I think the best times are if someone has changed jobs, for example taking on a managerial position that would draw out a new skills base. Or if something significant happens internally, such as a company restructure, a large number of new starters of if the team has been separated.

Given that many people have been working remotely in recent months, perhaps with furloughed or redundant colleagues, now is an ideal opportunity to re-energise the team and pull them back together with a positive attitude of “We can do this”.

When you imagine that your team has trudged away at their laptops for weeks on end without the everyday office banter and without the ‘normal’ reward and recognition, it can’t not have affected their mental health and well-being. The simple gesture of someone saying “Good job” in passing has been lost, so it’s only natural that people will start to forget the value they bring.

But Insights is an opportunity to remind people that they are not the sum total of what they delivered that day and makes them feel valued within the company.

They say people buy from people, well people also work for people. By investing in Insights for your team, you’re showing you care about the team as a whole, as well as the individual contribution each person makes, and recognising how brilliant you all are.


How do you work with your clients?

The first step is always to schedule briefing call so we can discuss any initial concerns or challenges and I can understand what they’re hoping to get out of the session.

I’ll then start to craft the session, thinking about specific exercises for each colour and what would deliver the most value to the team.

View an example…

1-2 weeks before the session I’ll send the profile links out to everyone. And then when I’ve had the responses back, I can pull the team colour wheel together. This allows me to pinpoint potential successes, convert challenges and identify gaps to fill, which I’ll then share with the client ahead of the team session.

It’s really important to me that I work closely with the client and actively seek their input because they know their team best. I’m working with raw data, which might tell me that someone has ‘red’ or ‘blue’ energy, but the client can provide a narrative around how those behaviours play out day-to-day.

And while I plan as best I can, I’ve done this long enough to know that people always surprise you. Facilitating that discussion on the day means that sometimes we need to go off schedule to have a difficult conversation, or get down in the detail about a particular challenge, because ultimately it’s going to help the team perform better. It’s what makes every session different and every session interesting.

Then afterwards I always follow up to debrief the team, reminding them of what happened on the day, what everything in the profiles meant, and where they sit on the colour wheel.

View an example…

And finally, after 3 and 6 months I follow up again just to check-in and see how everything’s going. Insights is so valuable to building a strong team, so it’s important that you do something with it afterwards to remind people day-to-day. As well as sharing my own experiences, I can share initiatives that other clients have implemented to keep the colours front-of-mind, like sticking coloured dots onto people’s monitors.


Give me your sales pitch…

If you want to do something for your team, you can’t get better than Insights. When compared to other psychometric tests, it’s far simpler to remember because it’s a colour rather than a code. And it’s meaningful because you can use it to start a conversation and add value. Insights doesn’t go away – invest in it once and you’ll always know how to get the most out of your team.


What’s the best way for someone to contact you?

My colour energy is predominantly yellow, so I love a chat! But I’m happy to communicate in whatever way works for you:

Send me an email: emma@bravecanary.co.uk

Give me a call: 07958 656 813

Visit my website: www.bravecanary.co.uk

Connect with me on LinkedIn…

Follow me on Twitter


Sources:

  • [1] Source: https://fasttrack.com.au/blog/employee-engagement-leads-to-greater-productivity/
  • [2] Source: https://hbr.org/2013/07/employee-engagement-does-more
  • [3] Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nazbeheshti/2019/01/16/10-timely-statistics-about-the-connection-between-employee-engagement-and-wellness/#e63025d22a03