Q&A with Director of Global MBA Programs Amanda Cahal
The Daniels College of Business uses the Insights Discovery System as a tool for improving business communication and emotional intelligence. Insights has now added a much-anticipated part two that focuses on helping individuals understand how they can better function within teams and organizations. Amanda Cahal, director of Global Programs for Daniels’ Executive and Professional MBA Programs, answers a few questions about the value of this new tool here.
Q: Before we get into Insights Discovery System’s offering of teams and organizations, can you share a brief summary of the Insights Discovery System and its history at the Daniels College of Business?
A: Sure. Daniels has been using the Insights Discovery System for about 15 years now. It’s a powerful tool that builds self-awareness and helps you: understand how you communicate; recognize what motivates you; discover your strengths and weaknesses; and understand how you make decisions. It’s rooted in the theories of psychologist Carl Jung and was developed specifically for the workplace. Today, it’s used in organizations around the world.
Q: What is the newer part two of Insights Discovery related to teams and organizations and why is it important?
A: The second part is important because it focuses on the how—how are we harnessing the strengths of everyone on the team? How might we build trust as a team? How do we make our best decisions? What does problem-solving look and feel like for us? How do we navigate stress and change as a team? Particularly given the year we’ve all just been through, I can think of no better time to be purposeful about how we evolve our teams for an ever-changing world.
Q: What makes this tool for teams and organizations better than other similar kinds of assessment tools?
A: Personality assessments only work if you put them into action. What I like about the Insights tool is that it has a simple and sticky framework. It’s easy to put into practice and use and it has a high validity rate. It’s almost like someone has been following you around—the profile you get from completing the tool feels real and right. Plus, it’s based on your preferences and not on your skills or what you can or can’t do. The tool appreciates that we’re not the same all the time and that we respond to our environment.
Q: Is there really a true need for an assessment based on teams and organizations?
A: I absolutely believe there’s a need for these kinds of assessments. Something I’ve learned over the years is that many people tend to think their social skills—their people skills—are pretty good but I’ve seen many instances of the opposite. I believe people often over-estimate those skills and it’s important to recognize that there’s work for all of us on that front.
Q: Talk a little more about teams. What exactly are teams—what’s the crux of good teams?
A: I like what author and speaker Simon Sinek said about teams. He suggests that a team is not a group of people who work together, but instead, a team is a group of people who trust one another. We know that an organizational chart does not make a team. A team is instead a complex web of relationships and when you’re part of a team, you’re in that web of relationships trying to achieve goals and solve problems along the way. We know that collaborative teams come up with better solutions to problems than the best idea from an individual—but the key word here is collaborative. And that’s where Insights comes in.
Another important part of this tool revolves around diversity. We don’t always tap into the true diversity of our teams—we don’t always realize that others are looking at problems in a completely different way than how we’re looking at problems. We sometimes think we’re normal and everyone else is a little off. The Insights tool for teams and organizations is powerful because it helps us appreciate diversity and others’ points of view. It gives people a more nuanced view of themselves and other team members all at the same time.
Amanda Cahal is also a faculty member in Daniels’ Executive Education. She is certified in Insights and will teach a course called Building Teams and Organizations Using Insights Discovery on Oct. 21, 2021 and April 21, 2022.