LML in the Newsroom

By Veronika Wiederin

In my work as a Business Coach I had a request from the editorial department of a newspaper team to give them a first insight into the Let Me Learn Process® and to show them directly some practical applications of the process within their daily working life. Together with the head of the department, we decided to do a four-hour workshop with the team.

The Team

Since I had all the Learning Connections Inventory (LCI) scores of the team prior to the workshop, I was able to prepare both contents and procedure close to the needs of the team.

The editorial team consists in five young women (names have been changed):  Ava, Bailey, Carla, Demi, and Elena. All of them have Precision at a “Use First” level, which is no surprise since all of them are working as journalists. Quite interesting is the fact that out of five persons, there are two strong willed learners – Demi and Bailey. The latter has all four patterns at an “Use First” level, but unfortunately, Demi did not join the workshop. You can see the interaction of the team’s patterns in the chart below.

Graph of the team's LCI scores

During our preliminary talk, Ava, the Head of Department, introduced me to some of the problems with a team that has only been working together for six months: Deadlines are difficult to hold, Carla hardly comes to the point in her research and is not well organized, and Demi and especially Bailey are easily offended by her comments and often do not follow her instructions. Ava likes speed and is a very quick connector, but her team sometimes has difficulties understanding what she wants from them. All in all, they are a very young team getting along well on a personal level, but on a constructive level, cooperation is often difficult.

From a first analysis of their LCI Team Profile, I could easily understand her complains. I use the Let Me Learn Process® to gain more insight into the dynamics of teams. It helps me to better understand relationships at the work place and allows me to explain to my clients why and how a certain thing did work or not.

During the four-hour workshop I introduced them to themselves as learners, to the dynamics within their team, and let them experience the similarities and differences amongst them.

The Workshop

Warming up

Since there is a big variety in Technical Reasoning, I decided to choose a hands-on exercise to start the workshop. I handed out an animal 3D-puzzle with no instructions, and to my surprise and joy, they all acted like described in the books:

Elena (S:23, P:29, T:15, C:24) hates to use her hands. She gave her colleagues an unlucky look, saying she hated puzzles even as a child. She moved back in her chair and folded her arms.

On the other hand, Bailey (S:27, P:27, T:28, C:26) beamed and moved all the puzzle parts in front of her. After the exercise she told us that she would have preferred to take the puzzle outside and do it on her own. She was the builder in this exercise, and the others often had to tell her that in their opinion this exercise should be done as a team.

Ava (S:16, P:31, T:18, C:29) was very frustrated that there were no descriptions nor instructions. She saw all those tiny little pieces, took one, and broke it. After that she only contributed in giving funny comments without touching anything. When the team ran out of time she motivated them and created a new species of dinosaur which contributed to keep frustration in the team quite low.

Carla (S:20, P:29, T:25, C:28) felt very comfortable in building and cooperating with Bailey under Bailey’s guidance.

In this case the team was split into two people building and enjoying while two people felt frustrated, out of place, and unnecessary.

We discussed their thoughts, feelings and observations about themselves and the others. All of them found new sides of their teammates and started to reflect on their own thoughts, acts, and feelings as a learner.

Presenting the Let Me Learn Process® as an Advanced Learning System and discussing their individual profiles, it was wonderful to see how quick they were able to link the experiences of the 3D-puzzle exercise to their pattern combination. As soon as they grasped the idea about the characteristics of the four patterns, we had a lot of group discussion about their different approaches towards their work, about their feelings in team meetings, and when tasks are distributed. To facilitate their work I had prepared for each team member a plasticized card with their individual pattern combination on one side and the team profile on the other side.

What we bring and what we need from each other

Within the discussion, the team members automatically started to talk about what they bring into the team and what they need from the team. Since this was an exercise I had planned later on in this session, I was very happy to bring it forward and give the team enough time to discuss the “Perception of the Self” and the “Perception of the Other.” Carla told her team that for the first time she did not feel ashamed about her difficulties in organizing herself, but took comfort and asked her team mates for help. Bailey started to realize that her teammates may be offended by her dominant way and that Ava sometimes gets angry because she does ignore her directions. Ava was the one who had a lot of ideas, but she also wanted her team to contribute with new and innovative ideas. She found out that she had to give her team more time and space to create innovative ideas, since she tends to be very quick and dominant when she is Confluence driven. She also understands that her avoiding Sequence leads her to give unclear directions.

The Covenant

Ava, especially, was very pleased to see that the whole lively conversation ran in a very constructive and respectfully way. Out of their high Precision, the team decided to write the main points of their considerations and thoughts down. Out of this document they prepared a Team Covenant on a flip-chart:

Before each meeting we will remind ourselves: These are my patterns – what do I bring, what do I need.

  • What do we need to be cautious about?
  • What will we do when something goes wrong?
  • What will we say to each other?
  • How will we fix the problem?

After four hours of an intense and mind-opening workshop together, the team not had only gained a deeper insight into the learning process but also a better understanding of why some tasks had created difficulties and found strategies to cooperate in a more respectful way. They found a better understanding of themselves and of their team mates.

Learn more about Veronika’s work as a Business Coach or Career Coach.