Helping a leadership team to know themselves and each other


“David came up with some really astute observations and questions. He had taken the time to really understand where some of the issues were. The C-me profiles we shared between ourselves were great and have continued to be over the months. It’s had quite a practical, long-lasting impact. We keep going back to it and it’s helping us to understand each other well.”

Mel Whitney-Long, Head of Operations, Pilotlight

Pilotlight is a charity that amplifies the impact charities, business and individuals can bring to make a better world. Since 1996, it has helped over a thousand charities who tackle social disadvantage to ignite change that lasts.

During lockdown, Pilotlight had formulated a new leadership team, including a new chief executive, Ed Mayo, and two members who had only recently joined. Two other members, Mel Whitney-Long and Charlie Medcalf, had been with Pilotlight for a few years, but the opportunities for the new leadership team to bond had been scarce.

Ed decided a day together, away from operational concerns, was the answer and contacted Action Planning asking us to run it.

We were asked to run a leadership development day, looking at how the team could function really well together, with the underlying objective being for them to get to know one another better and understand themselves better as a team.

The workshop was run by David Saint – one of very few ‘live’ events he was able to deliver in 2021. He prepared in advance by interviewing each member of the team individually via video call and getting them to fill in a C-me profiling questionnaire.

C-me uses colours to represent different personality profiles and gives a graphic representation of the team. This makes it clear to see how skills and attributes are distributed and where there may be gaps. It also helps individuals to be aware of their own personality traits and those of their colleagues, leading to better understanding and collaboration.

The interviews David had carried out prior to the day provided much of the structure, prompting questions to trigger thought-provoking discussions and explore in a bit more detail how they operated going forward. David interpreted what he was hearing from their discussions, giving a valuable objective angle.

“It helped having somebody external, who can see things that you can’t when you’re in it and can make comments that, if said by somebody internal, could be taken the wrong way,” said Mel.

Following the success of the development day, the Leadership Team decided to run their own C-me workshop for the whole Pilotlight team, run by Charlie, an experienced facilitator. To help them prepare, David recorded a video explaining how C-me works. This was sent to every attendee in advance, so they would be familiar with C-me when it came to the workshop itself.

David also ran through Charlie’s agenda and facilitation plan for the day and gave his feedback and some pointers on what they might want to cover and how to do it.

“That was a really useful follow-up session,” said Mel. “That whole afternoon really helped people understand the meaning behind C-me and what it could be used for.”

Many of the points raised in David’s preparatory interviews with the leadership team are continuing to provide talking points for their monthly meetings, including those that were not covered on the day.

Consultant’s insight:
Group dynamics and the impact of different personality types can be very difficult to address ‘from within’. Having an external, objective facilitator to help surface and explore these issues in a constructive and non-judgmental way enables important conversations to take place.

C-me is a really valuable tool to have in the consultant’s toolbox. It is really straightforward – easy for the participants to complete the survey and intuitive for them to interpret the findings. People frequently comment on how frighteningly accurate it is!

The combination of this personality profiling tool and sensitive consultancy can help take team dynamics and effectiveness to a new level.

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