Win win, Belbin, PDCA and youth work boundaries

In conversation
In conversation

On the second day the group came back together to return to Covey’s habits. Over the previous weeks the participants have explored the first three habits.

Covey’s fourth habit – win win

Covey said that there are six paradigms for human interaction which make up the fourth habit (win win). These are based on ‘games theory’. The six paradigms are…

  • Win/Win: A principle that constantly seeks for mutual benefit in all interactions.
  • Win/Lose: In youth work this is an authoritarian approach where I must get my way no matter what the cost to you.
  • Lose/Win: In a youth work context this is the kind of leader who seek strength from popularity, they are so desperate to “be friends” with the young people that they set no standards; have no vision; make no demands.
  • Lose/Lose: Often comes about when 2 Win/Lose people interact and they become so obsessed with the other person “losing” that they don’t care if they lose as well.
  • Win: Many people have this principle. They don’t care if the other people win or lose, they are not out for revenge or victory as long as they get what they want, they leave it to others to get what they want as well.
  • No Deal: This situation is what Covey calls an even higher expression of Win/Win. It basically means that if we can’t find a Win/Win there is no deal. It’s a very liberating and open principle. explaining the paradigms Steve asked the group to form two lines facing each other and gave each person two cards and a sheet to record their results. One card was marked with a C for cooperate and D for defect.

He gave them a scenario that they were a team of eco-terrorists who had been caught by the police. Before their arrest the conspirators made a solemn promise to each other that whatever happened they would not betray one another.

The police held the partners in separate cells and gave them a severe questioning. Each partner had to decide whether to keep faith and cooperate with their partner (play the C card) or defect from their agreement (play the D card). Depending on the combinations of C and D cards being played the police give out prison sentences. The participants did this in their partner pairs ten times and then ‘speed dated’ other members of the group ten times. Each person kept a score of their years in prison.

Covey proposes that as people get to know each other and build relationships they work out that their best strategy as a partnership is always to cooperate and create win win situations. This means that we expected to see less time spent in prison working in a steady partnership than with someone you don’t have a relationship with.

The trainers form the plan
The trainers form the plan

Belbin assessment

Before lunch Buzz asked the group to answer a series of questions about how they respond to different situations within a group. The questions were used to assess them against the Belbin team roles and give them an indication of which they are strongest in. Within the Belbin theory there are nine different kinds of roles, each having things they contribute and also ‘allowable weaknesses’.

The roles are and their characteristics are…

  • Plant
    Contribution: creative, imaginative, free-thinking. Generates ideas and solves difficult problems.
    Allowable weaknesses: Ignores incidentals. Too preoccupied to communicate effectively.
  • Resource Investigator
    Contribution: outgoing, enthusiastic, communicative. Explores opportunities and develops contacts.
    Allowable weaknesses: Over-optimistic. Loses interest once initial enthusiasm has passed.
Considering your team role
Considering your team role
  • Co-ordinator
    Contribution: Mature, confident, identifies talent. Clarifies goals. Delegates effectively.
    Allowable weaknesses: Can be seen as manipulative. Offloads own share of the work.
  • Shaper
    Contribution: Challenging, dynamic, thrives on pressure. Has the drive and courage to overcome obstacles.
    Allowable weaknesses: Prone to provocation. Offends people’s feelings.
  • Monitor Evaluator
    Contribution: Sober, strategic and discerning. Sees all options and judges accurately.
    Allowable weaknesses: Lacks drive and ability to inspire others. Can be overly critical.
  • Teamworker
    Contribution: Co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. Listens and averts friction.
    Allowable weaknesses: Indecisive in crunch situations. Avoids confrontation.
  • Implementer
    Contribution: Practical, reliable, efficient. Turns ideas into actions and organises the work that needs to be done.
    Allowable weaknesses: Somewhat inflexible. Slow to respond to new possibilities.
  • Completer Finisher
    Contribution: Painstaking, conscientious, anxious. Searches out errors. Polihes and perfects.
    Allowable weakness: Inclined to worry unduly. Reluctant to delgate.
  • Specialist
    Contribution: Single-minded, self starting and dedicated. Provides knowledge and skills in rare supply.
    Allowable weakness: Contributes only on a narrow front. Dwells on technicalities.

You can find out more about Belbin on Wikipedia here.

PDCA card game
PDCA card game

PDCA card game

The afternoon began with the participants being split into four groups of five, including different types of people based on their Belbin assessments to create the ideal team dynamic.

Four tables were set up in the centre of the room with playing cards in the middle, constituted of two packs. Each group had to divide the cards equally between themselves based on the value of them. They were not allowed to ask any questions at the beginning and did not know the total of the cards.

PDCA card game
PDCA card game

Firstly the groups were asked to attempt the task without any preparation time or discussion and nobody completed it. The second time they were given two minutes to discuss and prepare without looking at the cards and the third time they had two minutes with a pen and paper and the final time had one minute with pen and paper (plan), then they did the task in the fastest time they could (do). One minute after each attempt was given to review (check). In repeating this several times the group learnt from their previous attempts (act).

Two groups of ten were formed at the end of the process to attempt the task again in a larger group. This helped them to explore how the groups culture, methods and approach was shared when they merge. Finally Buzz explained the PDCA cycle of improvement. The cycle is a method of improvement that is linked to lean working theory. The stages are…

  • Plan – define a problem or opportunity. Analyse the situation. Study and define the problem; brainstorm for causes and corrective actions; and think creatively to determine the best approach and best possible corrective action.
  • Do – implement corrective action. Document the procedures and observations. Use data-gathering tools to collect information.
  • Check – analyse information. Monitor trends and compare obtained results against expected results from the plan.
  • Act – if the result is expected, do nothing. If the result is not expected, repeat the do, check, act cycle. Document the process and revise the plan.

Buzz shared a factsheet with the group at the end of the session which you can find here.

Debating boundaries and ethics
Debating boundaries and ethics

Boundaries and ethics

In the last session of the day the group were asked to thing about boundaries and ethics in a youth work setting. Cilia read the group a number of statements and asked them to stand on different sides of the room depending on whether they felt something was appropriate or not appropriate, something that they would do or would not.

The statements were…

  • Would you give a young person a reference?
  • If a young person is carrying a weapon, is it ok to call the police?
  • Would you support young people to run a peer led sexual health project?
  • Is it acceptable to have a relationship with a young person?

After each statement the participants debated their different points of view, giving each other an insight into their reasons.


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