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Retreat, Team Building and MBTI

I spent a couple more days longer for my trip to Beijing this time round. It was because the R&D center was going to have a 3days/2nights (Mon-Wed) retreat at a "secret" location.

Good thing was that the team agreed to work over the weekend before the retreat in exchange for a Thursday/Friday off-days after the retreat. Part of the plan was to wrap up the sprint, do the demo, sprint retrospective and in addition - 3rd quarter planning and MBTI before we head off for the retreat.

A week before the trip, I met up with a good friend; Dr Doug to seek his advise on MBTI. MBTI according to Wikipedia is "The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an introspective self-report questionnaire claiming to indicate psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions."

I wanted to know if he has any materials or free assessment toolkit for me to get the team to do the MBTI assessment and how can I conduct a MBTI session ? As usual, this generous gentleman, obliged and shared with me his thoughts and pointed to me the resources that I could use. I got my team to do the test and I am so excited to get the results. I was very CURIOUS !!!

Team working on their exercise - broken into teams based on their dichotomy types

I got the results and found my team is a balanced group except for the last dichotomy - 17 Judging and 3 Perceiving. I had anticipated that there will be more 'J's because we are an engineering team but the gap surprised me. We did exercises where I grouped them based on their natural preference for a particular dichotomy and where possible, I had a group with mixed types in a particular dichotomy. As I explained each dichotomy, I highlighted instances from the exercise that they did - either verbal or written that reflected their natural preference for a particular dichotomy. The best exercise to me was when one of the team with high "Feeling" dichotomy was tasked to "sack" me from the team. Their rep can't even look me in the eye to say I am no longer needed in the team. Hilarious. Btw - The team MBTI is ESTJ.

Then off we are for the time building - a secret location that is 2.5 hrs away from our office. In full cloak of secrecy, we finally arrived at WuZhen, a Mountain Village under the Oldest Great Wall. It is fabulous place with a very nice view and it was packed with local tourists even on the weekdays. Part of the activity after lunch upon arrival was a breakout of each group led by my VP's direct reports. It was by contrast, a stark difference between each manager's style. One of my colleague who went to look at all 3 sessions summarized with this, "one is like a technical session, one is like a review session and your is relax and fun." Of course it is relax and fun because my team enjoyed a cup of Starbucks coffee and play cards !!! We spoke nothing about work !! It was awesome to be different. I bet the team enjoyed that and we got to do this because we had spent our weekend sorting the things we wanted to do so now it just pure FUN.

Playing cards and drinking Starbucks was the agenda for my team breakout session.

We had lots of activities but Day 2 was tiring, I did 20k steps and we scaled the Great Wall. While my retreat team did not win any prizes, we were happy to play the games and I managed to talk to engineers from other teams on topics not only about work (although they tried to get more inside scoop about other managers and my boss). I can see the team members bonding among themselves and with the bigger R&D center family. We went back to office with spirit high.

I hope the energy continues and the friendship forged deepens further. We are on a path to make the R&D center a jewel in Oracle APAC crown and an indispensable team in Oracle's pursuit in growing its business APAC. There are many opportunities, challenges, uncertainty and anxiety as we move ahead but I believe with the right attitude the team will emerge victorious.

Onwards and Upwards !!!!!

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