St James Boys’ School

David Brazier took over the Headship of St James Senior Boys School in September 2013 having previously been Head at Long Close School for 8 years. Whilst at Long Close he had successfully used Axiometrics™ to understand and develop the dynamic in his senior management team. Having successfully used Axiometrics in his previous school, he decided to extend its use to this new context.

Working with Catapult Solutions Ltd, all senior managers were profiled using the Axiometrics profile. This was followed by individual feedback and a team dynamics workshop for all senior team members.

The business problem 

  • There was a lack of recognition of other peoples’ skills and experience in the team.
  • Individuals in the team lacked an understanding of others’ values and beliefs in relation to their roles in the organisation.
  • Asking for help and collaborative working were perceived as a sign of weakness.
  • There was no team dynamic or team culture. This created a lack of joined up thinking and lack of accountability so that tasks were not completed and communicated throughout the organisation. Senior team members could view others’ contributions to the team with doubt or suspicion.
  • Although many ideas were discussed there was a lack of movement when it came to implementing and seeing through initiatives to conclusion.

Here is why.. 

  • The difficulty encountered was an old-fashioned, top down leadership structure with a lack of coherence
  • A reactive approach to planning with a lack of clarity around mission, values and vision.
  • Due to the historical management culture and previous management style, the team were lacking in confidence to make forward thinking decisions and there was a reluctance to take action and be accountable.
  • Most members of the senior team had only worked at St James and had not therefore had exposure to alternative ways of doing things in other organisations

Our Solution 

Following the success of the intervention at Long Close School, it was decided to use the same approach. This resulted in:

  • Each senior team member to taking the online Axiometrics profile.
  • One to one feedback with Axiometrics Analysts at Catapult Solutions Ltd on their Composite Attitude Survey (CAS) and their Personal Value Analysis
  • A 1 day Team Dynamic workshop run by Catapult Solutions Ltd which included:

– A focus on what the team felt was working and what wasn’t

– Analysis of the Senior Team Dynamic based on individual CASs to highlight strengths and vulnerabilities in the clarity, focus and balance of thinking in the team

  • Goal-setting and action planning
  • A follow up half day workshop to review progress and assess the changes made

Catapult Solutions are highly professional and were able to create a bespoke intervention for the needs of my culture and team. I have now seen it used in two different contexts with two different teams and it has raised the level of understanding and performance significantly. The clarity, objectivity and depth of analysis Axiometrics brings allowed us to open up interesting and challenging conversations that have enabled us to have more honest discussions about individual and team accountability for achieving our vision and goals.

David Brazier

Head Teacher, St James Boys' School

The Results

  • Each individual is much more aware of how they are perceived by other team members
  • Each has awareness of their strengths and vulnerabilities in the team
  • They are aware of how other people work and why they behave like they do

– Eg one team member’s frustration with a lack of pragmatic solutions and action was been voiced and understood in the Team Dynamic workshop. The way his valuing system operates in the team has since been recognised and utilised within the team – this has resulted in him being happier and achieving more while other team members have acknowledged the balance of thinking that he brings to the team as a strength to be used and not criticised.

  • Improved confidence and focus – one team member has embarked on a Masters Degree to move his career forward
  • There is greater clarity about roles in the team leading to greater respect for each other and greater efficiency – eg one team member previously seen as a ’fix it’ man or problem-solver is now seen as an effective project manager and is able to lead pro-actively on whole school initiatives and engage staff more effectively in them
  • The self-understanding gained from the profile and feedback has raised the team’s awareness of a range of thinking and strategies available to them to deliver more effective results
  • We are much more outcome-focused and purposeful in the actions we take and the initiatives we implement
  • We are more self-evaluative and honest with each other

This is a work in progress with a follow-up session planned with the SLT to analyse benefits to the school.

The Team Dynamic 

The team dynamic view created for St James captures the focus, clarity and balance of thinking in the senior team. Each colour block on the graphic represents one member of the team. Key points in this team profile are: