130 Transform Your Team Simply …

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 130

Need a simple tool to build a team…? Use iMA

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

How to transform your team simply

“Hole in One”

The plug on our bathroom sink has broken. It’s one of those fiddly ones; you press a lever and it lifts the plug to empty the water. Something has gone wrong inside so I can’t fix it. Not a problem for the rest of the family but difficult if you need to shave, unless you waste water running the tap.

So one day I was washing a dirty golf ball in the sink when I dropped the ball. Eureka! The sink started to fill because the ball fits the plughole perfectly. I have now expanded the uses for a golf ball, get a hole in one every time and have a simple solution to a problem, which leads me to the topic of this article.

One important way to enhance innovation is to have a team that works well together.

Those of you who lead teams will know that there are many instruments available to profile your team members, help people understand each other and improve performance. Some of these tools are expensive, some are quite complicated, and some are administered by qualified psychologists. Some are all three.

Recently, I became accredited to facilitate workshops using a behavioural tool known as IMA (Identify your style; Modify your style; Adapt your style for different people).

This tool doesn’t pretend to be a psychometric tool. It doesn’t set out to explain what is going on in your head or the head of other people. Rather, it identifies how different types of people behave and helps you to relate better with them. Put another way (and my thanks to Paul Z. Jackson and Mark McKergow for this), it is not about what is going on between the ears, but between the noses.

IMA shares the idea with other tools of splitting people in to different groups, in this case four colours and it does this using just ten questions. It also keeps the explanations short and snappy. In other words, it is simple.

You and your colleagues can find out more and try it out for free, here (if reading online, or type http://ima-yesand.eu/ in to your web browser).

Experts in psychometrics will say that it is too simplistic. I have found it to be accurate enough; people like it because it is quick and simple to complete and understand. Most importantly, it is easy to put the findings to use and so is more powerful for that. James Knight, its developer, has used it to transform the culture of companies.


Here’s how I use it when I am running a team event. (People complete the instrument online before the event.):

  • We discuss the different styles and people skim through the characteristics of their style and the other styles – if they consider they want to change their colour, that’s fine
  • The team creates a team profile on a flipchart showing the different colours
  • People discuss where the team may have strengths and how they might build on these
  • They also discuss where there may be issues and how to overcome these, e.g. “we can use Anna to track our progress and Alan to promote what we are doing”
  • Finally, I have individuals write down the three best ways for others to build rapport with them (e.g. from a recent workshop: “Do not dictate, be flexible”; “Be honest”; “Aim for team goals not individual goals”). The team displays these on a board to use in the rest of the workshop and record them for when back at work

Does an expensive waste outlet meet our need to stop water running down the sink? Yes, it does. Does a golf ball work just as well? Yes, it does. Just as IMA works. In the busy, complex world of business, is a tool that is simple to use, inexpensive and works just what you need?


Try out the profile for yourself with your team. You can run a team session too or if you are too busy to run one, I’d be happy to run it for you.

To Close

Let’s return to the bathroom and the theme of simplicity again. Earlier this year, I went to get a towel from the airing cupboard but could only find a towel we used when the children were babies. I grabbed it and went to the shower, calling out to my wife to ask if there were any other towels.

I showered and as I went to get out of the shower, my wife came in to the bathroom. “You can’t use this towel, it’s special,” she cried, grabbing my baby towel off the radiator “and all the others are in the wash.”

She thrust a tea towel at me. “Here, use this,” she said. I looked at her as if she were mad, but when you’re stuck….

She left the bathroom and I grudgingly started to towel myself down with the tea towel. A while later, she burst in to the room, brandishing a towel, laughing loudly and crying, “April Fool!”

I have seen laugh out loud films of spaghetti being harvested off trees (see it here or type http://bit.ly/kRX7sJ in to your web browser) which clearly involved a lot of work to achieve its objective (especially in 1957), but my wife’s simple and spontaneous April Fool joke worked just as well.

So, may I suggest, before you choose a complicated instrument for your team building needs… you might try a simpler solution first?

Have an outstanding week.

May you inspire someone this week.

John Brooker I Facilitate, Innovate, Transform.

Read: www.yesand.eu

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