Years ago, I read a light hearted article, “That’s the way the cookie crumbles” (Personnel Today 27 May 2003 Guru) which suggested you could tell someone’s Belbin team type by their choice of biscuit.
This was quite amusing to me, at the time, as “Which biscuit are you?” was a question I often used as an icebreaker during training sessions. (My favourite response had been the attendee who was sat next to her friend and chose a Twix Bar for them both as they got on so well together! )
What made the article more interesting was that Dr Meredith Belbin joined in the debate and offered a prize for anyone who could guess his favourite! All was revealed in the 24 June 2003 edition “My favourite biscuits used to be Jaffa Cakes….,” said Belbin. “But now the theory comes into question. Recently, I have opted for ‘organic’ ginger biscuits,”
I was delighted to find that this has now been updated with a range of different biscuits and available on the Belbin website under the blog on Belbin Team Role Biscuits. So what does it say about you if you choose a Jammie Dodger or a Viennese Whirl with your cuppa at a meeting?
But is Belbin helpful in how we relate to others? I have found the Belbin Role weaknesses to be useful in understanding others so that they are easier to work with. Each role has an ‘allowable’ weakness that is the downside to the strengths they bring to the team. It’s like two sides of the same coin. We can’t change people but we can change the way we think about them.
I used to be a Continuous Improvements Project Manager within a large company and worked with groups of staff to bring about changes within their departments to improve performance. As part of my role I had to ‘sell’ the programme to the staff so they would ‘get on board’ and help with the ideas and implementation. Although most people were quite positive and helpful, there would always be those that were negative and obstructive. These people would query everything, and bring up various objections, much to my annoyance. Why did they have to be so awkward and pessimistic?
When I discovered Belbin I found that these people were probably the Monitor Evaluators and their views could be useful in ensuring I wasn’t being too optimistic and that I had taken everything into account. Addressing their concerns meant the projects were more likely to be successful and run smoothly as they had identified any potential problems.
This change of view meant that I no longer found them irritating and instead listened to their concerns and made amendments where needed.
If you find someone annoys you, then perhaps their Belbin weakness is responsible. By being more understanding we can focus on how their strengths can contribute to the team’s efforts and make allowances for their weaknesses.
I found Belbin helped me to be more aware of how others are different and how this can help rather than hinder.
So, which biscuit do you choose?