Understanding How We Work

Who said training was boring? Not Tonic! We recently had a training day in Central London and it was a fun-packed, team building and highly informative experience. No doubt we will be talking about it for a while and trying to find ways in which we can integrate what we learnt into our business strategy.

During one of the sessions on the day, convened by Inspire Change, we discussed and compared the individual reports of a communication style survey the Tonic team had all filled out a couple of weeks before. The results revealed four personality types – driver, expressive, analytical and amiable – arranged into two different graphs, one for ‘relaxed’ environment and one for ‘pressured’ environment, each tallied depending on the individual’s responses to the survey.

The driver is decisive, independent, competitive and set on results. It came as no surprise that Tonic’s senior management group scored well in this category! Then there is the expressive – open, direct, extraverted, spontaneous and dreamy – in which a few Tonicians were ranked very highly. The third personality type, found in a number of the Tonic team, is the analytical who is efficient, indirect, cautious, organised, data-focused and task-oriented. Finally, there is the amiable – open, indirect, warm, people-centred, compliant and loyal – an area in which the Tonic team as a whole came out strong. Overall the results revealed we are a likable, driven and well-rounded bunch – well, that’s no surprise!

These personality types were really brought to life by Kate Philp who joined us at the end of the afternoon to tell us a bit about her life experiences; Kate has been deployed to Iraq twice and was injured whilst serving on operations in Afghanistan in November 2008, when the armoured vehicle she was commanding was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). As a result of her injuries, Kate had her left leg amputated below the knee, but after 16 months of rehab she was determined to return to work and pursue her professional ambition. Following further revision surgery, Kate was inspired by Walking With The Wounded to give a new focus to her rehab and take on their South Pole Allied challenge 2013. A challenge that meant she had to walk 335km in -35 degrees and constant wind and do it in no more than 16 days. Now this would make even the strongest men cry, so imagine doing it on a prosthetic leg!

Kate’s outlook on life and personal challenges were nothing less than impressive and left us all a bit teary eyed.  Her leadership style highlighted the importance of utilising the strengths and weaknesses of different personalities so that the team can work at its best. And her experiences underpinned that learning from others, adapting to other people’s ways and collaborating together in good and bad times, is the key to success for any endeavour.

So why did we feel the need to take out a full day to examine each other’s personality traits you may ask?! Well at the end of it we were an even more self-aware, energised and motivated group – exactly what you want from a training day! It reminded us of Tonic’s number one asset – its team of fantastic, diverse, hard-working, fun people – and gave us an opportunity to further understand all of these different personalities. How we work as individuals is vital to determining how we can use our collective strengths efficiently as a team. This will help us to provide the best service to existing and new clients, and ultimately grow as a company.