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GroupM used Belbin to win new business by unlocking the team’s behavioural diversity and improving collaboration.

GroupM Introduction

Employees: 28,000
Industry: Media & Advertising
Location: Malaysia

GroupM is the world’s largest advertising media company. It offers advertising media selection services including: media planning and buying; branded content; digital media; consumer research and internet marketing.


  • Help the Exco team in Malaysia understand how to leverage strengths to competitive advantage
  • Apply Team Role learning in a live setting


  • More effective, strengths-based collaboration within the Exco team
  • Won a pitch for business with a large and influential client
  • Won an internal APAC award celebrating group values and praised as a role model for regional Excos.


The CEO of Group M Malaysia asked Aspire Consulting to run a team development programme for the Executive Committee. The purpose of this programme was for the CEO and Exco team to understand each other’s work styles and to learn how best to leverage on their strengths in an increasingly competitive marketplace.


Each member of the team completed the Belbin SPI and asked others to complete the Observer Assessment, to produce the Belbin Individual report including Observer Assessments.

The team underwent a workshop to introduce the nine Team Roles, and to look at the Team Role distribution within their team, with a view to improving their effectiveness.



The Exco team discovered that eight of the nine Team Roles were represented. The Shaper role was predominant (5 of the 14 team members had this as a strong role) and the role of Completer Finisher (CF) was found to be absent.

After their workshop, GroupM made the decision to recruit someone to fill the CF gap and Aspire facilitated a further session for the team to help them integrate the new person and use their CF qualities to best effect.

Shortly afterwards, GroupM was invited to pitch for business with a large and influential client, so it was decided to apply the Team Role learning in this context.

Aspire facilitated the team in mapping out the entire process of a typical client pitch. What was generally done before, during and after the pitch? Every task and activity was noted in detail. When the team had outlined the entire process, they analysed the tasks critically and debated the following points:

  • Which of these tasks is essential?
  • Which of these tasks adds real value to the client?
  • What are the ‘pain points’ for the client in choosing a new media agency?
  • How can we minimise the client’s pain?

The team refined the pitch process by eliminating those tasks deemed not to be adding value. They also added elements which they felt would help to secure and retain the business by minimising the client’s pain or annoyance factors.

Once the team had outlined a more customer-focused pitch process, Aspire asked them to analyse their own previous performance in the tasks they had detailed. They discussed:

  • Which of these types of tasks do we generally do well?
  • Which of these tasks do we not do so well and what was the result of our failure?
  • Which Belbin Team Role would be most suited to each task?
  • Who in the team should take on which task?

The team was able to identify the tasks and activities which drew on their natural strengths and those which did not, and therefore needed to be addressed with great care.

They also identified the best person to lead each task using their Belbin Team Role knowledge.

In particular, they considered how to make use of their newly-recruited Completer Finisher colleague, to ensure everything was completed on time and to the highest standard.

“The Belbin profiling and coaching sessions helped us unlock our individual strengths and discover how we complemented each other as a team. As a result we not only won our new business pitch, but also an award for team values”. 


Group M’s pitch won them a new client – and the Malaysian Exco team went on to win an internal APAC award celebrating the group values.

The team won the award for ‘Power of One’, which has as its definition: “We use our combined strength to benefit our clients. Our ability to leverage the collective knowledge of individuals in our group is our competitive advantage. We get great things done when we act as one.”

A congratulatory email sent to the team by the APAC CEO read as follows: “To my mind, this is our most important value as a group and for an Exco to win it is really something special that I have been striving for over the years… You are my role model for a collaborative, co‐operative, opinionated, innovative, ‘can do’, open, fun Exco in the region.”


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