What do you do when a team is just not working? We see it happen all the time: people are thrown together because their expertise is needed on a project, and even though everyone knows what to do, they just can’t seem to get it done together. Meetings go nowhere, and everyone leaves frustrated. Or meetings go everywhere but where they’re supposed to go, and everyone realizes afterward that they made no headway.
Let’s say your company wants to build a website that can figure out what a customer needs before they need it, (who wouldn’t want that?!) and you can’t outsource any of it. But that’s ok! Because your company already happens to have a web designer, a copywriter, a programmer, a marketing expert, and a psychic. You put them all on a team together and explain what you want. You give them a budget and a timeline and tell them to make it happen. Six months later, the only thing they’ve done is decide on a name for the website, and two people are no longer speaking to each other.
You’ve made the mistake everyone makes when they have a great idea: you’ve forgotten to factor in how complicated people are! People are more than the sum of their knowledge or skills. You may have a contributor who knows every step that needs to be taken to complete a project, but they don’t want to seem too pushy by making suggestions. Or they get talked over. You may have an idea person who sees opportunities others don’t, but another person is intent on sticking with a plan that may not be working anymore. Someone wants something done yesterday, even if it’s wrong. Someone else wants another month to think about things.
Sometimes the person who has the most knowledge or the most applicable knowledge is not the ideal person to lead the team. Let’s take the example above: the most critical component of the idea is the ability to predict a customer’s needs, so it would make sense to make the psychic the team leader, right? Except, no. Because of his psychic abilities, he is often influenced by everyone’s opinions, and that makes him a terrible decision maker. Plus, he doesn’t want to lead!
Being a team leader is a little bit of a balancing act. The best ones can be assertive without being too forceful, willing to speak up but also willing to listen, able to delegate but also prepared to contribute. How do you determine who that person is? By using behavioral cues:
Note: Team leader roles give people who don’t usually want to manage the opportunity to build some experience in the leadership arena. They also give people who may want a chance to step out of the background opportunities to prove themselves. Naturally cautious people can be comfortable leading teams for projects with lower stakes, fewer people, or where relationships are highly functional and well established. More ambitious people tend to be willing to tackle bigger projects with larger groups and higher stakes.
To work on a team together, everyone needs to communicate. The highest performing teams are the ones where everyone communicates the same way, right? Wrong! (Sorry, that was a trick question). The highest performing teams are the ones where everyone communicates effectively. You could have a group of extroverts who are all about brainstorming, but they let conversations get away from them at meetings. You could have a team of introverts who keep putting off meeting altogether. You could have a mix, with three people doing all the talking and three people never saying a word.
A high-performing team is the one that gives everyone a voice, even if it means sharing ideas in different ways and in different venues. If everyone in the group loves to talk and can’t get enough of meetings, make sure there are limits to the number and length of the meetings. Set an agenda and stick to it so the meetings are productive.
If everyone in the group are introverts, they should never have meetings at all. Just kidding. Some meetings really are necessary, but planning is critical. Give plenty of warning and provide a clear agenda in advance. Tell people what they will be expected to share, and encourage follow-up emails. Sometimes more reserved communicators keep things to themselves because they don’t want to interrupt anyone.
When you have a mix of communication styles, make sure everyone gets (and takes advantage of) chances to both talk and listen. Be prepared to curtail conversations that run too long. Watch out for people being talked over. Touch base outside of a group meeting with people who didn’t do much speaking. Some people communicate best one on one or in writing.
Disagreements will arise in a team. Some are a normal part of working within a group: everyone’s points of view and stakes are different. Some are a little more complicated, maybe caused by one person who just likes to argue or always needs to win no matter the cost. The team leader should be prepared to arbitrate contentious matters and help the team move forward. If every meeting or team interaction leads to a fight, more intervention would be needed by leadership outside of the team arena.
Sometimes too much agreement is as ineffective as too much conflict. Watch for team members who are overly willing to acquiesce to others or take on more than their fair share of work. Which leads us to…
There are some behavioral characteristics that lead to people taking on too much work and some that lead to delegating too much work.
Big-picture people may want to leave details to those who are more meticulous. Meticulous workers may not want to leave tasks to people who aren’t. A match made in heaven, right? Sometimes, but not always. Even people who don’t love details can be careful when necessary. And people who LOVE taking care of details to ensure precise results can overextend themselves (and still make mistakes). They can each deprive each other of important team experiences: chances to innovate, to learn, and to overcome personal challenges.
Team members who want to be very helpful might agree to do work that is outside of their abilities or areas of expertise (or time availability). And individuals who want to be in charge may push project components on others that they should be doing personally.
If everyone is bringing different skills to the table, there will need to be times when some contribute more than others. But the rest of the time, work should be distributed as evenly as possible.
Timelines are tricky things. Ideally, every important project should be completed yesterday — or sooner. (Does that psychic have a time-traveling friend?) Someone’s preferred pace is another behavioral trait that can impact team effectiveness. You have your speed demons and your slow-and-steady people, and they must work together to make sure a project moves forward without skidding out of control.
To find that balance of urgency and patience in team performance:
Harnessing the power of behavioral cues can be a game-changer when it comes to improving team effectiveness. By paying attention to nonverbal signals, communication patterns, and individual preferences, teams can identify the best ways to work together and achieve goals. And you don’t even need to be a psychic to do it!
If you want more help keying into your team members behavioral characteristics, contact the Omnia Group to try our quick and powerful behavioral assessment. Contact us today, and get your team on track.
Redefining Leadership: Embracing the Power of Servant Leadership in the Modern Workplace
Addressing Conflict to Build Team Unity
5 Revolutionary Personalities in Today's Workplace: A Look at the Founding Fathers' Personality Types
Ready, Set, Grow! 5 Steps for Cultivating Talent in your Organization
What do tacos and margaritas have in common with the perfect work team, you might ask. It’s a fair question. And I have the answer, backed by some pretty sound logic. *
Tacos and margaritas are both made up of different components that come together to create a cohesive and enjoyable experience, just like an effective, productive work team! See what I did there? Tacos and margaritas are also delicious, which isn’t an adjective I would use for a work team. Though it’s pretty darn satisfying when a team works well together.
Tacos, which I will happily eat any day of the week, are made up of a variety of ingredients, such as tortillas (hard, soft, corn, flour – depending on your preference and gluten tolerance), meat and/or veggies, cheese (yes, please!) and other toppings, which all work together to create a distinctive and yummy meal. Likewise, a cohesive work team is made of individuals with different skills, strengths, challenges, and personality types that come together to achieve a shared goal.
The Omnia Assessment is a great way to assess the variety of ingredients on your team. Do you have some clear leaders and supportive followers, some social extroverts as well as some quiet introverts? What about those who focus on the details and those who prefer the big picture? Each unique person brings a different and important flavor to the team. And of course, you need to know who’s who and what’s what so you can put together the perfect taco and the perfect team! Is anyone else getting hungry?
Margaritas also require different ingredients, like tequila, lime juice, and a sweetener. Of course, if you’re anything like me, you might want something with a twist. Spicy watermelon margarita anyone? Whichever ingredients you choose, the elements must be balanced correctly to create a drink that is refreshing and pleasant. In the same way, a perfect work team needs to balance different roles and responsibilities to achieve optimal productivity, synergy, and success. Never send a bougie ginger-raspberry margarita to do the job of a good old-fashioned classic marg!
Hopefully, you’re now asking yourself what strategies and ingredients you can use to create a perfect work team. But really, you’re probably craving tacos and margaritas, and wondering if it’s 5 o’clock yet. Tell you what. I’ll give you the strategies AND great recipes for the easiest, tastiest margaritas and tacos.
You can’t have a great team if you don’t hire great people. This is foundational, like tortillas and taco shells. Make sure you have a rigorous and thorough hiring process. This process should involve data-gathering tools like skills tests, behavioral interviews, an Omnia personality assessment, reference checks, a cognitive assessment, and background checks. The more you know, the better your chances of hiring the best person for the job and team.
Setting clear goals and expectations is essential for building the perfect work team. Because nothing creates conflict faster than people who don’t know who is doing what. Every team member should understand their roles, responsibilities, and what is expected of them not only in their own jobs but also when they are working on a team project or task. This will avoid confusion and misunderstandings while supporting accountability, teamwork, and productivity.
Communication is crucial both at work and at home. Team members should be encouraged to communicate openly and effectively. Effective communication starts by having your team understand each other’s personality types, preferences, and communication styles. When each member of the team understands how others on the team process and communicate information it automatically contributes to a healthy work environment, enhances collaborative problem-solving skills, and promotes innovation. Team members should be encouraged to work together to achieve their goals.
Continuous learning opportunities keep the perfect team sharp and engaged. Team members should be encouraged to develop their skills and knowledge continuously. A stagnant workforce will descend into apathy and disengagement. Keep the opportunities for learning flowing!
Recognizing and rewarding performance is a key motivator for people. Team members should be recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments, which will drive them to perform better.
Fostering a positive work environment will keep your teams engaged. Who wants to work in a negative environment? That’s like a life without tacos and margaritas… boring and sad. Team members should be encouraged to work with one another in a way that supports mutual respect, trust, and understanding.
People want to know how they are doing, how they are measuring up to expectations, and what they can do better. A-players always want to do better, while feedback can help develop your B and C players. Leaders should be providing regular feedback to individual team members and the team as a whole while supporting an environment that encourages the team to provide feedback to each other. This circles right back to communication, mutual respect, and trust. It all goes together like (you guessed it) tacos and margaritas.
Team leaders should always exhibit the right behavior, work ethic, and attitude. Leaders set the tone for the team and the organization. No one will respect or follow a leader who doesn’t practice what they preach. It’s that simple.
With the right strategies you can build the perfect work team, and with the right ingredients, you can assemble a tasty taco and a scrumptious margarita.
Okay, so here is the easiest, tastiest margarita ever from Jill Conner Browne’s The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love. I have given this recipe to many people over the years. One former co-worker makes it a staple of his pool tiki bar in the summers (you’re welcome, Bob).
Ingredients and instructions (they are that easy): 12 oz tequila, 12 oz of 7-Up (not Sprite), 1 can of frozen limeade which is, you guessed it, 12 oz, and one Corona beer. I use the limeade can to measure out the tequila and 7-Up. Mix together with ice in a pitcher – do not blend! This is a very sweet marg. I’ve not tried it, but I do wonder if a bit of jalapeño juice might cut the sweetness. Experiment at your own risk.
Basic beef tacos, though you can use the protein of your choice. And trust me, you’ll need food if you’re drinking those margaritas – drink responsibly.
Ingredients: 1 lb ground beef; 1 tbsp olive oil; 1 small onion, chopped; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 1 tbsp chili powder; 1 tsp ground cumin; ½ tsp smoked paprika; ½ tsp salt; ¼ tsp black pepper; ¼ cup enchilada sauce; ¼ cup of beef broth or water, 1 small can (4oz) of green chili peppers; 8-10 hard taco shells or soft flour tortillas; toppings of your choice (shredded cheese, lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream, guacamole, etc.)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened.
Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up, until browned and cooked through.
Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper, and stir to combine.
Add the enchilada sauce, green chili peppers, and beef broth (or water) and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
While the sauce is simmering, heat the taco shells according to the package instructions.
To assemble the tacos, fill each taco shell with a spoonful of the beef mixture, and top with your desired toppings. Enjoy!
*It might be hard to believe, but (sadly) no margaritas were consumed during the writing of this blog.
One doesn’t often think of conflict and unity in the same breath. Workplace conflict is something most of us dread, especially when our days are stressful enough. But conflict, workplace and otherwise, is inevitable when interacting with other human beings. The good news is that conflict doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can be the catalyst for taking team dynamics to the next level. Of course, it should be addressed correctly to see positive results.
Team synergy and positive dynamics are the goals for every office and work team, but debates, differences of opinion, misunderstandings, and communication breakdowns create tension at work and erode cohesiveness. Over time, this can have a negative impact on productivity as well as the engagement of team members. Leaders who address conflict directly, rather than sweep it under the rug, are taking an important and significant step toward creating an environment where employees thrive and produce.
Let’s start by talking about the four sources of conflict at work:
Interpersonal conflict results from basic differences in opinions, values, or even personal work styles. Examples are disagreements over project direction, personality clashes, and misunderstandings resulting from different communication styles. One person is factual and direct while another is more effusive and diplomatic. One person prefers email while another prefers video chat with the camera on. Or what about that coworker who sends an email and calls you three seconds later to see if you got AND read it?
With interpersonal conflict, it’s best to encourage open communication and active listening. Focus on the issue, not the person. And finally, find a mutually acceptable solution. Like, wait thirty minutes before calling about that email.
Intrapersonal conflict happens when an individual has conflict within themselves stemming from competing priorities or goals. This can happen when people are struggling with time management and are feeling overwhelmed or when they are experiencing self-doubt. For example, managing two important priorities with unclear milestones or evaluating the best use of emojis in office communications.
For intrapersonal conflict, it’s best to encourage self-reflection and self-care as well as meet with the individual often to provide feedback and support (open communication). Help them set achievement goals. An Omnia behavioral assessment and self-awareness report is an objective way for an employee to evaluate their traits and tendencies in order to put their actions and thoughts into better perspective for professional and personal growth.
Organizational conflict happens between different departments or teams of people who have competing or just different goals or priorities. For example, there could be disagreements over budget and resource allocation or project priorities.
Here we need to encourage collaboration, focus on common goals and the big picture, practice active listening (this is a staple for resolving conflict), encourage open communication (yep, that again), and make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
Cultural conflict stems from differences in values, beliefs, and behaviors. For example, some cultures speak more directly and assertively while others prefer the use of indirect language. Some cultures have different views on appropriate dress. Some cultures have different ways of making decisions (group consensus versus hierarchical for example). Also, things like the observance of different holidays can create cultural conflict.
The best way to address cultural conflict is to foster an inclusive workplace culture, practice cultural sensitivity, provide cultural awareness/cultural diversity training, and — the one you’ve seen in all four types of conflict (it’s that important and powerful) — encourage open communication.
Since listening, really listening, is critical for resolving conflict, here are a few tips:
You’ll be able to address conflict best if you know which style to use for any given situation. You don’t want to add fuel to the fire by using the wrong method.
Collaborating is working together to find a mutually acceptable solution. It is most effective when the issue is complex and both parties have significant concerns that are important to them. Collaborating requires a high degree of cooperation. It can be time-consuming and both parties need to trust one another, but it often leads to strong long-term solutions that benefit both sides. For example, you have two departments disagreeing about a new CRM system to implement.
This style may not work well with extreme time pressure or when one party is more powerful than the other.
Tips to facilitate: Encourage active listening, create a safe and inclusive environment, and foster creativity and innovation.
Competing is forcing a solution through power and authority. This is effective in a crisis or emergency when quick action is needed or when the stakes are high and the consequences of not taking fast, decisive action are significant. Competing requires taking a firm, authoritative stance to defend one’s own or the company’s interests and objectives without compromise or collaboration. Here’s an example of an appropriate use of competing: Your network has been hacked and sensitive information has been compromised. But when competing is used in an inappropriate way, it can damage relationships and increase tension. This is because this style is often seen as having a clear winner and loser.
Tips to facilitate: Clearly communicate the reasons for the decision, be firm but not aggressive, and use this style sparingly.
Compromising is finding a middle ground through negotiation. It is most effective when there are two parties who have equal power and both have important interests and goals. An example of this is when one person wants to focus on perfecting a project’s design while the other wants to prioritize finishing the project on time.
Tips to facilitate: Encourage open dialogue (yes, communication), brainstorm possible solutions together, and negotiate with an open mind.
Something extra: The Omnia Assessment highlights an individual’s personal preferences, e.g., taking risks vs. avoiding risks, being social vs. reserved, and looking at the big picture vs. the details. This provides great insight into an individual’s negotiation style. On the Omnia Assessment, a high degree of assertiveness and resilience are key drivers for individuals who negotiate regularly as part of their job.
Accommodating is giving in to the other party’s demands. This is effective when the issue is minor or when maintaining the relationship with the other party is more important than the outcome. For example, Sally, a salesperson, requests a brochure by the end of the day for a tradeshow tomorrow. The person responsible for creating those, Harry, can’t get it done without staying late. He’s not keen to do it, but understanding how important the tradeshow is, he gives in to Sally’s demands, stays late, and finishes the brochure (but also makes her promise to respect his time in the future and stick to the required 3-day lead time).
Tips to facilitate: Identify the underlying interests and find areas of agreement. Use this style selectively.
Avoiding is ignoring or postponing the resolution. This is most effective when the issue is minor and nothing will be impacted. For example, team members disagree about whether to brew dark or medium roast coffee first thing in the morning.
Tips to facilitate: Stay neutral, monitor the situation, and — you guessed it — keep communication open.
So, there you have it, the four types of conflict and five ways to effectively resolve any type. But wait, there’s more! If you know the personality type of each member of your team, you can anticipate how they are likely to react. For example, who will hold their frustrations in and who will aggressively fight for their way? This gives you the insight you need to be sure all sides are heard.
Understanding personality styles is every leader’s secret weapon for improving overall communication and collaboration, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings, and increasing team cohesion and trust. United we stand!
To succeed in the modern workplace, employee behavioral assessments can play a crucial role and enhance human resource strategies. Today, with a greater emphasis on teamwork and collaboration in work environments, as well as an increasing need for employees who align closely with major job responsibilities to decrease burnout, behavioral assessments are an important tool for organizations seeking to build a successful, engaged, and productive workforce.
Let’s explore the benefits of using personality assessments in the modern workplace and discuss why they have become an increasingly popular tool for employers.
One of the most significant advantages of using behavioral assessments in the workplace is the ability to gain insight into an individual's personality traits and behavioral tendencies. By understanding an employee's personality, employers can gain a deeper understanding of how they work, what motivates them, and how they are likely to react to different situations.
Omnia’s behavioral assessment is based on the theories of Carl Jung and William Marston. The Omnia Assessment is an ideal tool for helping employers understand their people and for individuals to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as their natural communication and decision-making styles.
The Omnia Assessment has been independently validated on 3 separate occasions, the most recent in 2022/2023, resulting in data companies can rely on to complement their HR selection and development strategies.
The Omnia personality assessment measures an individual’s traits in 4 essential areas — assertiveness, sociability, pace, and need for structure. The Omnia Assessment is quick, easy, and accurate, providing leaders with valuable insights for employee selection, development, retention, engagement, and motivation, as well as giving employees insights for self-awareness and personal growth. It’s the perfect way to bridge communication gaps, assign project roles and build team cohesiveness.
One of the key uses of a personality assessment is hiring. Behavioral assessments provide a glimpse into an individual's natural strengths in comparison to specific job roles. For example, an individual with a high level of assertiveness and strong attention to detail is likely well-suited to a project management role, while an individual with a high level of assertiveness and sociability is often a great fit for sales.
It is important to note, however, that behavioral assessments are not crystal balls. While they can be valuable tools, they should always be used in conjunction with other sources of information, such as interviews, references, and work samples. It is also important to ensure that assessments are interpreted by qualified professionals who are trained in the use of these tools.
At Omnia, we offer customized and computer-generated reporting options, thorough training to new client users, and unlimited access to our customer success team who are all fully certified in the interpretation of the Omnia Assessment.
Behavioral assessments can also be used to help identify potential candidates for leadership positions or succession planning. Personality tests can help identify specific traits that are most often associated with effective leadership, such as assertiveness, independence, and resilience. By assessing an individual's scores on these traits, personality assessments can help identify people who have the potential to be successful leaders.
By understanding an individual's personality traits, employers can get an early glimpse into incoming employees’ potential for leadership and their natural leadership style, communication style, and decision-making style to determine whether they are likely to be effective in any of the leadership roles available throughout the organization. This can be particularly valuable in fast-paced, dynamic workplaces where strong management, rapid decision-making, and comfort with risk are essential to success.
The Omnia behavioral assessment is also effective for team building, as it helps individuals understand how they can work together more effectively and leverage their unique strengths and preferences. By understanding each team member's natural tendencies and work style, managers can develop strategies to build a more cohesive, productive team.
For example, cautious analytics want advance notice of what will be discussed in meetings, even brainstorming meetings. They like having time to organize their thoughts and ideas and can feel “put on the spot” otherwise. As a result, they might not participate fully if they are not given a heads-up, which can be frustrating for them, the manager, and the more social members of the team.
A behavioral assessment can also be used to identify potential areas of conflict within a team. An example of this is when two team members have significantly different work styles which can lead to communication gaps, misunderstandings, and conflict. By identifying these potential areas of conflict early on, managers can work with team members to develop strategies to improve communication and collaboration.
In addition, when team members are aware of how they naturally communicate and process information in comparison to others on the team, it creates an awareness and appreciation for those differences.
Another benefit of the Omnia behavioral assessment is its ability to identify potential areas for employee development. The assessment provides managers and supervisors with a clear understanding of an individual's traits, preferences, strengths, and weaknesses, which can then be used to develop personalized training and development plans and provide opportunities for each team member to use their strengths to their fullest potential.
For example, if an employee has a tendency to be overly critical of themselves and their colleagues, the Omnia behavioral assessment might reveal a high level of perfectionism (tall column 8). Armed with this knowledge, employers can work with the employee to develop a plan of action for mitigating this tendency and improving relationships with others, as well as assign tasks that align well to that tendency. Perfectionism can be a positive trait in many roles, like financial positions, support roles, and customer service.
Personality assessments can be a powerful tool for leaders seeking to motivate their employees and keep them actively engaged at work. Knowing what makes employees tick arms leaders with the baseline data they need to develop strategies and implement programs that will inspire their employees, ultimately leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
For example, individuals who score high in assertiveness (a tall column 1 on the Omnia Assessment) are naturally motivated by competitive incentives, a sense of personal challenge, and opportunities to take charge, while individuals who score low in assertiveness (tall column 2) are motivated by team-based incentives or incentives that do not require taking risks.
Leaders can use this information to develop targeted strategies to motivate each team member. For example, a leader may offer challenging assignments or opportunities to take charge to a team member who scores high in assertiveness while offering recognition and social events to a team member who scores high in sociability.
A manager might provide more solitary, detailed assignments to a team member who scores low in sociability and high in structure while providing opportunities for collaboration to an employee who scores high in sociability. By tailoring tasks and assignments to each team member's natural tendencies, leaders can create a more engaged workforce.
In addition to providing targeted strategies for motivation, personality assessments can also be used to create a more positive workplace culture. By understanding the unique strengths and contributions of each team member, leaders can foster a sense of appreciation and respect for diversity within their team. They can use the information to create a more welcoming environment that supports different working styles and perspectives.
Behavioral assessments have become an important tool for businesses seeking to enhance their human resource strategies. Let’s end with a list of 10 benefits of using personality assessment data.
Approach any group of sales leaders and this debate is likely to come up in their sales strategy conversation: Which is the better sales-type — Hunter or Farmer? And can a person be both? Most often, there are true distinctions and objectives for each role. And there are nuances in terms of the personality traits that are similar and different between them. Both personalities have definite strengths, and just like anything else, they both also come with some challenges. Many people feel that the Hunter is the most lucrative sales persona, but is that truly the case? In reality, both are valuable for different reasons. The key is determining which sales type you need for the various functions of your business so you can keep them inspired and successful.
Hunters are ambitious, challenge-driven go-getters. They are competitors who strive to beat their own (and everyone else’s) record because of their innate need to achieve. At the risk of sounding like Captain Kirk, Hunters like to boldly go where no one has gone before (emphasis on boldly.) Taking a prospect who has never even heard of your company — or, better yet, one who is not at all interested in doing business with you — and transforming them into a client is exhilarating to them.
In terms of the Omnia assessment, Hunters often have extremely tall columns 1-3-5-7 – assertive, social, fast-paced, decisive, and independent. This means they are focused on the win and proactive enough to make it happen. Hunters are outgoing communicators who enjoy initiating contact with new leads, adaptable multitaskers who want to secure deals quickly, and self-directed decision-makers who focus on closing sales.
Farmers are also goal focused and enjoy taking on new challenges, but rather than seeking out new sales, they are often most effective at working with existing customers to retain and grow their business with your organization. Farmers want to see your customers succeed, which will help your company succeed too. They proactively investigate and inquire about your customers’ needs and readily recommend the specific product or service that can thoroughly meet those needs. Farmers often position themselves as subject matter experts who provide informative, consultative guidance to your customers. Clients may view them as knowledgeable, trusted points of contact for your organization.
Omnia assessment graphs for Farmers often show a moderately tall column 1, equal columns 3 and 4 or a tall column 4, tall column 5, and a moderately tall column 7 or equal columns 7 and 8 — goal-oriented, professionally personable, adaptable, and self-directed within the parameters of the position. Farmers are ambitious yet willing to work with others to reach desired objectives. They are more concise in their speaking style, time-sensitive for responding to customers’ requests, and they make decisions using company protocols and industry best practices to guide them.
At first glance, it might appear that the Hunter is the most valuable personality for many sales positions because they can forge new paths and seemingly make sales materialize out of thin air. It’s true that Hunters make a huge direct impact on a company’s bottom line. The new clients that Hunters bring in equal more revenue coming into your organization. Hunters can show impressive dollar signs on a sales leaderboard, making it easy to visualize exactly how they help grow the company.
Farmers also make strong positive contributions to an organization, even if those contributions aren’t as splashy or easy to quantify. Farmers have the tenacity to ensure that your customers stay loyal to your brand rather than seeing if the grass is greener with your competitors. They have the initiative to seek out areas where they can grow accounts as well as determine how to make your company’s products and services such an integral part of a customer’s business that they wouldn’t dream of leaving. It’s hard to fully quantify the impact that customers who stop doing business with your organization would have, but the effects are felt significantly, which shows just how vital Farmers are.
First, we need to reframe the question. Rather than asking Hunter OR Farmer, let’s look at sales from the perspective of Hunter AND Farmer. Working together, Hunters and Farmers can have great synergy, with one sales type bringing in their strengths to mitigate the other’s weaknesses and vice versa.
Hunters are invigorated by drawing in new customers, and they are inspired by closing deals. However, they aren’t often interested in managing the account after the close; they have already targeted their sights on the next prospect. Conversely, Farmers typically don’t want to turn a cold call into a buying customer, but they can ensure a current customer stays with your company by adding value and managing the account after the customer has e-signed on the virtual dotted line.
Both Hunters and Farmers bring value to an organization, but they require different management approaches, incentives, and job functions to reach optimal capacity. A client recently asked The Omnia Group to assess their sales team to determine who were Hunters and who were Farmers, understanding that each group is uniquely motivated and needs different things from the job and management to thrive.
Hunters work best in a sales position that allows them to shine and prove themselves through their individual successes. They want to be out in front, meeting with prospects, and having the chance to reach ambitious targets. Earning commissions based on their performance is motivating to Hunters, as is participating in sales contests and earning public accolades and awards. They want to work in a rapidly paced environment and favor handling multiple sales at once; they need a quick sales cycle so they can experience a frequent sense of achievement. Hunters also need ample freedom to determine how to handle each situation as it arises. They do not like feeling confined by strict processes that leave no room for interpretation.
Farmers often have similar needs and wants, though in a more tempered way. They enjoy working toward enterprising objectives and proving themselves, but they understand how managing client accounts can move them toward those objectives. Rather than straight commissions, they may want to earn bonuses or a combination of salary and commissions. Farmers can be inspired by opportunities to continually increase their expertise so they can offer insightful recommendations to customers. They also appreciate recognition for their contributions. Like Hunters, Farmers enjoy working in a bustling atmosphere where they can feel ongoing progress and work on several tasks at once. They can also work autonomously, though they are most confident when they have some structure around their role.
Whether you’re looking to hire Hunters or Farmers or identify them on your existing team, Omnia is here to help. It begins with assessing the key sales personality traits. Omnia’s personality assessment is quick, easy, and accurate. Our selection reports allow you to compare candidates against a Hunter and Farmer profile to make sure you’re hiring for the right job fit. Our sales style reports are ideal for identifying the Hunter and Farmer traits on your current sales team. You can fine-tune your coaching and development strategies specific to each individual and your company objectives.
Using the Omnia Assessment will unlock the answers you need to find, select, and manage great salespeople of all types. Contact us to get started.
Co-authored by Alaina Sims and Keather Snyder.
Trying to build a cohesive team can feel like a puzzle sometimes. You have the pieces – a goal, the time frame, the people, and maybe even the idea of a plan. But how do you, as a leader, put them all together to create the whole picture: a group that works effectively together to achieve objectives?
According to Bruce Tuckman’s initial model of group development, teams become cohesive in four stages:
This is the ideal progress of a small group, leading to the successful achievement of a goal, but it doesn’t happen on its own. Without strong leadership, a team could get stuck in the early phases and never make it to Performing. There can be imbalances, inefficiencies, setbacks, and derailments. You, the leader, are vital to facilitating your small group through the phases – without taking over – and helping them become a cohesive, self-sufficient team.
Steps to helping your team succeed:
In the earliest phases of team development, you need people to understand their purpose and mission. What are they doing here and what do you expect from them? While the plan might not be specific in the beginning, the goal needs to be. Make sure you are clear from the start about expectations, timelines, and what’s at stake – the benefits of success to the individual/team.
Your team is going to need your time and resources the most in the beginning stages. They need to know you’ll be there, you’ll follow through on your promises, and their concerns are a priority to you. Not following through here not only hampers trust, but it models untrustworthiness. What they see is what you’ll get.
Being clear, listening, and responding with specific information is key during all phases of team building. Say it out loud, and back it up in writing. Make sure they understand what you’re saying. Make sure you understand what they’re saying. You’re busy, for sure, but being available to hear people’s questions and concerns is critical. Most problems are caused by a lack of communication.
Effective collaboration doesn’t really start until the Norming and Performing stages. Individual group members are focused on themselves in the beginning – making sure they’re treated fairly, not being expected to do more than others, or not being relegated to the background. Each team member needs to understand the importance of all the roles, not just their own. Your own role at this point is to help everyone shine, to help build trust among the team members.
Once people are collaborating (Norming and Performing), you need to step back. Consider yourself a resource to the team. Each member should now be able to solve problems and work through conflicts and challenges on their own. Be available to offer information but avoid stepping in to fix things. Encourage self-sufficiency.
It’s important to have a plan when undertaking any new project, team initiative or goal; otherwise, you’re just going to be spinning your wheels. The plans need to be flexible, though. Resources, guidelines, liabilities, and abilities are going to change as the team starts performing. Everyone will need to accept that adjustments are going to be needed. Knowing what is critical to complete as you go along will help your team regroup when plans change. Make a priority checklist, and follow up on it.
The larger the team or the longer term the goal, the more likely it is for some people to take on too much and others to fade into the background. You might have team members who notice when someone else has dropped the ball and pick it up. Some of that is great, especially if it’s reciprocated. If it happens too often, though, and it’s always the same one or two people picking up the ball, resentment can build, and performance can stall.
There needs to be accountability both for individual and team accomplishments. At meetings, confirm the promised steps were taken. If not, find out why not. Keep an ear out for discussions that need to be held one on one with the team member. Calling someone out in public is not the same as accountability. Get an agreement to make up the lost time or missing part. Accountability helps everyone.
No one leader is going to be comfortable with each of these stages. If you’re the type of person who excels at building consensus and creating team harmony, you might not love dealing with accountability and conflict. If you’re great at seeing the big picture, you might not always consider all the necessary details to get started. If you are a detailed planner, letting go so the team can perform independently might make you nervous. You’re human; some things are going to be harder than others. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t need a team – you’d need clones!
Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses can help you move through these team building steps. Just because something isn’t easy for you, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Omnia can help! We have Leadership Reports designed specifically for helping you leverage your strengths and minimize challenge areas for you personally. We can help you understand the specific needs of each of your team members, with the (professional development reports? Or is there a better option?) If you want to take a deeper dive into how your team can excel in the long run, we offer Team Development Reports. These reports analyze the behavioral traits of each team member and compare how they communicate and work together as well as how you, as a leader, can leverage strengths and mitigate difficulties.
When you put all these pieces together, you will build a successfully performing team. You can do it, and your Omnia Client Success team is on hand to help!