In doing some work on a proposal for a client today, I was reminded again of different frameworks – different ways of becoing self-aware, of categorising and making sense of the world. One method I came into contact with a number of years ago, but have not used much in recent times, was the Belbin Team Roles. Based on the work of Dr Meredith Belbin (click here for official site), this theory suggests that in any team there are nine distinct functions that must be fulfilled. Different people are better at these functions, and it is helpful to know your own style and function within a team setting.
A great summary and analysis is available here and another one here. You can even do an online test here (although if you can’t work the results out for yourself, then you will need to pay 25 pounds for them to do it for you).
The nine types are simply:

1. Plant (PL) — Advancing new ideas and strategies with special attention to major issues and looking for possible breaks in approach to the problem that the group is confronting.
2. Resource Investigator (RI) — Exploring and reporting on ideas, developments and resources outside the group, creating external contacts that may be useful to the team and conducting negotiations.
3. Co-ordinator (CO) — Controlling and managing the way in which the team moves forward towards the group objectives by making the best use of team resources; recognising where the team’s strengths and weaknesses lie and ensuring the best use is made of each member’s potential.
4. Shaper (SH) — Shaping the way in which the team effort is applied, directing attention generally to the setting of objectives and priorities and seeking to impose some shape or pattern on group discussion and on the outcome of group activities.
5. Monitor Evaluator (ME) — Analysing problems, evaluating ideas and suggestions so that the team is better placed to take balanced decisions.
6. Team Worker (TW) — Supporting members in their strengths; eg. Building on suggestions, underpinning members in their shortcomings, improving communications between members and fostering team spirit generally.
7. Implementer (IMP) — Turning concepts and ideas into practical working procedures; carrying out agreed plans systematically and efficiently.
8. Completer Finisher (CF) — Ensuring the team is protected as far as possible from mistakes of both commission and omission; actively searching for aspects of work that need a more than usual degree of attention; and maintaining a sense of urgency within the team.
9. Specialist (SP) — Feeding technical information into the group. Translating from general into technical terms. Contributing a professional viewpoint on the subject under discussion.

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