Insights – LINGOs partnership strengthens individuals and teams for global development

Eric Berg, Executive Director, LINGOs

When I was in the software business, there was an engineering manager with whom I never could seem to communicate. Somehow, no matter how much information I gave her, the time it took to make get a decision was always frustrating. After several uncomfortable confrontations I just came to accept that we would always have problems. This was unfortunate because we needed to work together on several important projects. It was only later I realized that what I perceived as procrastinating was her desire to get it right and really was a preference and style difference. Had I been a little more aware of that, I might have been able to provide information that would have improved both our communications and the speed of activities.

I want to share with you my excitement in having Insights (www.insights.com) as a new partner for LINGOs. A global company with many Fortune 500 companies as clients, Insights provides a wide range of products and services that help their customers:

o Develop individual awareness and effectiveness

o Build more productive teams

o Develop high performing leaders.

Insights’ products are based on Insights Discovery, a four color model based on the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. It measures a person’s preferences and provides an individual with an extensive personality profile which identifies strengths and areas for development. Each profile includes suggestions for development that can be put into practice the very next day.

Each LINGOs member representative attending the LINGOs Member Meeting in November will gain access to the Insights Preference Evaluator and will receive a custom 20 page personal profile. Members attending the meeting can also register for an all day workshop led by Insights staff to explore the meaning and application of their individual profile.

You are probably familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and may have completed that instrument and studied it sometime in your schooling. You might even remember your “type.” In some ways, the Insights Discovery model is similar in that it analyzes your responses to questions of preference and then feeds back a profile of your preferences and communication style. What is particularly attractive about the Insights’ model is that it has been extremely well “packaged” to make it simple to administer and apply in an organizational setting.

Imagine…

Ibrahim, the CD for Sudan, just sent Simon, the Regional Program Quality Manager, his final monitoring plan for the new microfinance program.

Ibrahim has already sent two versions of the plan, and there’s been a meeting and two tense telephone conversations about its adequacy.

Ibrahim can’t imagine why it is taking so long for a decision to made, while Simon cannot understand why there was such a rush on such an important document.

Both Simon and Ibrahim are considered outstanding in their roles and yet everyone knows they simply can’t get along. Many who know them both say it’s just bad “Chemistry.” 

In fact, it is more probably a question of opposing preferences and styles. With some Insights into these differences, Ibrahim and Simon can take their work and that of their agency to the next level. 

But don’t let the simplicity fool you; it is extremely revealing. I guess the best way to illustrate that is with my personal experience with the tool. Before we began serious conversations with Insights, I was offered the opportunity to complete the Preference Evaluator and get the personal profile I mentioned earlier. Being familiar with the Myers-Briggs and other instruments, I was eager to see the similarities and the differences. I completed the Evaluator and waited for my “report.” When it arrived, I quickly read through the resulting document and was startled with the accuracy and detail of what was produced. This may be best illustrated by the comments of my wife, Kathy, with whom I shared the report. She said to me, “I don’t know who these people are or how they know you so well but they may even know you better than I do after 30 years of marriage!” LINGOs Director of Member Services, Marian Abernathy, (with whom I also shared the profile) echoed Kathy’s comments when she said with a smile in her voice, “They pretty much “nailed” you.”

Some LINGOs members reading this know me well enough to appreciate some of the specific comments from my personal profile that Kathy and Marian are referring to. For example, under the section titled “Managing Eric” there is a list of “What Eric Needs.” One item says “Eric needs objective, direct and honest feedback…” to which is added the caution “- stand well back!” Everyone that has read the profile has stopped and laughed out loud in agreement at the caution.

Other sections identified weaknesses around listening adequately to others, making decisions hastily and my high sense of urgency creating stress for others. You can ask Robb Allen or Marian or other LINGOs staff members about those and I am sure each will have stories verifying the accuracy of those assessments.

So why am I sharing all this? I hope that LINGOs members will begin to realize the potential for using Insights Discovery to improve the communications and performance of the teams working within their organizations. During the LINGOs 2012 Member Meeting, a group from Insights will share how the Insights Discovery model is being used in corporations around the world. You’ll have an opportunity to see how members might begin to think of ways of applying it to staff selection, leadership development, team building, individual development plans and a host of other targeted initiatives. Those interested in a more in depth exposure will have the chance to attend the post-meeting workshop led by Doug Upchurch and the Insights Team and spend the entire day exploring their own profile as well as techniques for applying the model in their organizations.

If you can’t attend the LINGOs member meeting be on the lookout for announcements of how LINGOs Member Agencies can access this new LINGOs benefit. Corporations around the world are spending thousands and thousands of dollars on this tool. Through the generosity of Insights, it will be part of member agencies’ core LINGOs benefits in 2013. We are very grateful to Insights and look forward to sharing stories of how their generous support has made a difference in the impact of the work of LINGOs members.

The LINGOs 2012 Meeting is focused on engagement. For details, check out the Sept 10 post on LINGOs 2012 Member Meeting 

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