Belbin consultant and trainer, Leena Shalloe, gives us her views:

The diversity posters in many organisations celebrate various forms of diversity (age, colour, creed etc). Behaviour, however, doesn't feature among them. Ignoring behavioural diversity can mean that the organisation becomes 'cloned' and talent goes unnoticed.

As is often the case, organisations perceive one set of behaviours as highly desirable and create a culture where other types of behaviour are not respected or tolerated. The ‘other’ behaviours may either be crushed, or else those individuals displaying them may be perceived to be under‐performing or lacking in talent. Dr Belbin refers to this scenario as ‘cloning’.

Cloning can produce imbalance and unpredictability can limit effectiveness. 

For example, strategic and/or creative-minded people may be treated dismissively in a hard-driving, competitive environment, paving the way for damaging strategic decisions and stagnation. Alternatively, several culture changes resulting from changes in CEOs could produce an unpredictable environment and an unsettled workforce.

Either scenario can severely impair effectiveness.

Talent identification, seemingly high on the agenda for most ambitious organisations, can also fail if selection is based merely on qualifications and achievements (eligibility), to the exclusion of natural abilities and behaviour fit (suitability). Moreover, how often is the natural pool of talent, already present in the organisation, identified and used? 

In the current economic climate, organisations need a highly effective and loyal workforce if they are to survive.

Encouraging and using diverse behaviours effectively could not only achieve this, but also produce an organisation that can excel – even in difficult times.

Next Steps

If you would like the skills and knowledge to be able to use Belbin to embrace behavioural diversity, have a look at our training courses. The whole range of Belbin Reports can be purchased directly from us - contact us to find out more!


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