Ministry of Defence
MBTI Case Study
Eight teams within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) were tasked to bring a new and creative approach to how they worked together, and the management team identified the Myers Briggs Type Indicator as the most appropriate tool to initiate a shift in culture and working style.
People Vision were engaged to provide two facilitators (Mary Cover and Sheila McAlpine) to design and deliver workshops and individual coaching sessions using MBTI to:
Develop new ways of working.
Bring a new sense of dynamism to the teams.
Help individuals understand their own and others’ working styles.
Promote a recognition that each person has leadership responsibilities.
Most participants were unfamiliar with MBTI and many were doubtful of its value at the outset. Reflective development work of this sort represented a significant cultural shift for all eight teams. Historically, there had been a culture of independent working and some participants struggled to understand their roles and responsibilities within the context of the wider team.
It was therefore essential to build engagement quickly, managing any resistance and creating an environment of openness and trust to maximise the impact of both the group sessions and the individual coaching.
Mary ran a full-day workshop on MBTI for all eight teams, to explore type and deepen individuals’ understanding of differences in communication and working styles. She concentrated on practical, hands-on activities to shift the focus away from abstract psychology, keeping the event grounded in people’s actual experiences of their day-to-day working lives.
Following this, she ran half-day events with each team, using the principles covered in the main workshop to explore the team’s strengths and potential weaknesses. Each event closed with an action-planning session to put measures in place to address any issues which had been identified.
In parallel with this, Sheila carried out 1-2-1 coaching and feedback sessions with 31 people based around their MBTI Step 2 reports.
The coaching sessions used the following additional tools:
Robert Klein’s Leadership model.
Zig Zag Decision Making model.
Paul Marciano’s “Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work”.
Steve Radcliffe’s “Leadership Plain and Simple”.
Feedback from the participants indicated that they found the 1-2-1 sessions valuable, and were using the MBTI Step 2 reports as a framework to support their ongoing development.
Each team used MBTI as a tool to facilitate an open and objective discussion of their capability and performance, and to help them identify a set of development actions.
The eight teams’ management body, the Assistant Heads Team (AHT), devised and implemented an action plan based on issues uncovered through Mary and Sheila’s work, including holding weekly meetings to identify short-term priorities and fortnightly meetings to discuss longer-term strategy.
People Vision has been engaged to provide a facilitator to work with the AHT later in the year, to review progress on their action plan and promote continuing improvement across all eight teams.