Longclose School, Cognita Group
I had tried many different approaches to engage and understand the dynamics and impulses of my school Senior Leadership Team, including transactional analysis and good old Myers Briggs. The use of such tools and frameworks certainly helped inform the way in which I managed them and the way roles were defined and tasks undertaken. However, something in this approach always seemed to be missing and I also felt we were dealing with externals rather than digging under surface tensions and beliefs. In this sense existing approaches seemed crude and clumsy.
It is my personal belief that real teams should support and look after each other and that teams are revealed, not created. What I was looking for was a tool or approach that allowed all members of the given team to ‘get behind the scenes’, so to speak, and provide, for each team member, a clear understanding of what motivates them at a fundamental level and therefore a means to gain a shared understanding of values and perspectives that comprise a team. This approach would also take into consideration how each team member viewed their role and where the group dynamic, relative strengths and weaknesses lay. I found exactly what I needed when Andrea Burns of ‘Catapult Solutions’ introduced me to ‘Axiometrics™’
The Axiometrics™ profiling tool is easy to complete on-line (it takes a mere fifteen minutes) but the understanding gained from this is truly staggering. The feedback is given by a trained facilitator and takes a couple of hours. It is handled in a sensitive way as it can challenge our own personal self perceptions which was certainly true in my case! All my SLT underwent this valuable experience and the after a Team Profile was produced and used as a tool for understanding within the team and how to develop and improve the school. It also provides a profile and guide for future coaching.
This has resulted in greater leadership at every level and better performance management throughout the school, which in turn has led to better academic results and ultimately higher pupil recruitment and retention. On a personal level it has transformed the way in which I manage my team, by way of anecdote the Axiometrics™ feedback showed clearly that one member of the team took it personally when I had to cancel meetings with her and this seriously affected her self- esteem. This was particularly true as our meetings were time-tabled for a Friday and her upset and resentment would be carried into the weekend. By changing the meeting day and time and always committing to the meet a much more effective working relationship has been established which is yielding results for the greater good. This is just one small example that illustrates how this training has impacted on me and the way in which I lead. I am currently using it with my new Nursery Management Team and it is proving very effective.
I wholly recommend Axiometrics™ and Andrea Burns’ team; they have certainly made an enormous difference to Long Close School in real terms with measurable improvements and outcomes.