Exploration without a destination?

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Exploration without a destination?



Why is it important to look at the behavioural diversity of a team or a group?

There are several answers. The first is simply because diversity is a strong indicator to the performance of a team working together. The higher the levels of diversity – and this includes factors such as age, gender, background, intelligence as well as behaviour – the more effective the team will be.

But this doesn’t always come naturally. We tend to pull like-minded people to us. Once a team gets to a certain size it can create its own gravitational pull.  It is easy to work in an echo-chamber where our views aren’t challenged and the ‘outside’ world is kept away.

Is this the case in terms of the SDF? Is there a bias towards certain Belbin Team Role behaviours?

On first inspection, certain Belbin Team Roles do stand out, but before we dive into the detail it is important to note that each Team Role had at least some representation. We had only asked for your Top Belbin Team Roles – yet we all know that we have about 3 or 4 we can play well.


We expected to see, and do see, a high number of names in the Resource Investigator (RI) segment.  RI behaviour embraces opportunity, networking and negotiation, and does so with energy and enthusiasm. Combined with Team Worker (TW), the Team Role that cares about individuals, listens and shows empathy, indicates an overall relationship focused culture; one that is based upon communication and inclusion.

What perhaps is surprising is the level of Plant (PL) behaviour – unorthodox, free-thinking, creative – which normally thrives in an environment where there is a lack of structure; a lack of conformity. Is this what we normally associate with Higher Education?

Asking Meredith Belbin for his thoughts, he observed:

“The high combined RI/PL score suggests to me there exists a real core of people ready to open up the issue of an ‘organisational model’ which may be in need of a radical attack.”

Considering the amount of OD job titles within the normal HR and L&D mix, this may ring true?

The high level of Specialist (SP) is to be expected – people attend conferences to add to their existing knowledge, to find out all they can about a particular subject. Beware the speakers and workshops without references, these will be required!

Meredith also commented about roles that weren’t so abundant:

“I see a warning sign in the low Co-ordinator score: there is always a danger that HR will ‘do its own thing’ without regard to the company’s primary objectives.”

In other words, the SDF has a thirst for knowledge, passion, enthusiasm for change and the problem-solving ability to come up with a myriad of potential solutions. But does it have it’s eye on the overall objective, the bigger picture?

Answers on a postcard please to team@belbin.com.

We ran a Belbin Group Report based on all the available data as not all of you were able to come over to the Team Role Circle, and we did limit the contribution each of you had. This is a fairer reflection.

Interestingly the group average for Co-ordinator (CO) was higher than first thought, although there are only 3 strong examples of the CO behaviour in the group. The Completer Finisher and Implementer Team Role behaviours are low – and so are mine. I’d best check this once more and apologise for not getting this to you earlier. I just got too distracted…


Jo Keeler – Belbin


01223 264975


P.S. If you attended the Belbin Workshop, I promised slides, and references. Please see attached. Slides for SDF 2019