Working in tech you are never too far away from an Analytical personality type. In my 17 years in the tech industry I would say around 60% of my teams at any one time have been analytical. And at the risk of favouritism, I would say they are my favourite type to work with.
I find them to be the most consistent and simple to work with bunch (spoken like a true Driver) and found over the years that I could learn a lot from them about my own style which in turn made me a better leader.
Some years ago, I was running an in-house software development and IT team within a marketing agency. The agency was very reward focussed and had a constant programme of staff rewards and activities such as pancake races, cheese rolling, pets in the offices days and so on. It was a ‘work hard play harder’ kind of vibe.
At the time I had a very unmotivated development team. They had huge goals, very difficult integrations between greenfield and legacy code and tight deadlines. The business continued to run their comprehensive rewards programme (which really was incredible and very creative) but saw the tech team not getting involved in the pie eating contests or the dressing up games as meaning they were uninterested or uncommitted - a lack of buy in to the business.
At the same time, the analyticals in my team were making calculations of how much each of these events were costing and then replaying those numbers back to me when I had to say no, for budget reasons, to a training course or software license the team needed to improve their performance or make their lives easier.
It dawned on me after a while that what we had here was a huge clash of cultures. The agency was mainly made up of Amiable and Expressive personalities who saw an afternoon down the pub with their work mates as a real treat. But to most of my analytical techno-geeks it was utter torture and time wasted, that they knew (for their own professional pride) they would be making up until midnight so they didn’t fall behind on their projects. So, I called it with my team, stating the facts. I reminded them, first off, that they had choice. You can just work in a software business that’s not in a marketing agency. It’s never going to stop being a marketing agency and so if you want to stay, do so knowingly and as your own choice. It took a while but we eventually ended up with a team that understood, valued and loved this.
I also gave permission to not feel guilty about not attending these activities. We eventually came to a mutual understanding as a business that it was a norm for a large proportion of the tech team to not get involved all the time (sometimes they did and loved it but it was their choice). They showed their commitment in different ways and that was OK.
We then took the reward scheme for the tech team inhouse, re-allocating a proportion of the larger business budget. Firstly, we gave everyone an input on how they wanted to be rewarded and came up with a quarterly rotation of events that worked for the majority of the team. For a period of time I was no stranger to a laser quest hall or video game marathon and pizza was a menu staple! We competed rather than played, challenged each other and worked it outside of hours so that we didn’t get behind on projects. We booked things far in advance so our analytical members could think about it, plan their trip and come up with a winning strategy. Everyone got a chance to be involved in planning and we surveyed everyone for input. Most of all, it was not compulsory – we invited people in, rather than mandated.
We then supported these team rewards with individual ad-hoc approaches such as giving someone an extended time to work out the solution to a problem themselves, or use of resources for personal projects, time in the day to be mentored on a personal project by a more senior person or opportunities to show off their technical achievements to the wider team.
Our team retention grew from strength to strength and the relationships within the team developed, creating a rewarding and supportive environment within which people could thrive and develop themselves whilst delivering on what the business needed.
Rewarding your team is vital, but it is key to reward them in a way that is motivating to them and resonates with their values and aspirations.