BEMA’s expanding education portfolio, BEMA-U, uses the Insights Discovery method to help bring new levels of awareness to leadership style. Emily Bowers, BEMA’s director of education and professional development, tailors this unique platform to a variety of programs for professionals in the baking industry. Joanie Spencer, editor, Baking & Snack, spoke with Ms. Bowers about the program and how Insights Discovery can make teams, companies and the industry stronger.
Joanie Spencer: What is Insights Discovery, and how is it used in the BEMA-U portfolio?
Emily Bowers: Insights Discovery is an evaluative tool, based on the psychology of Carl Jung, built to help people understand themselves, understand others and make the most of the relationships that affect them in the workplace. The methodology uses a simple and memorable four-color model to help people understand their style and strengths and the value they bring to the team. These are referred to as the “color energies,” and it’s the unique mix of Fiery Red, Sunshine Yellow, Earth Green and Cool Blue energies, which determine how and why people behave the way they do.
BEMA-U has adopted Insights Discovery as the foundation of our training programs. The principles of self-awareness are applicable across the globe, in every industry and at every level of an organization. BEMA-U’s course offerings are currently focused in sales effectiveness, team effectiveness, learn-to-train and leadership development. The Insights Discovery training platform provides a variety of supporting materials and learning experiences that create the building blocks for meaningful workplace transformations.
Why did you decide to build the BEMA-U platform on the Insights Discovery model?
Ms. Bowers: When your people truly understand themselves, the potential of your business goes through the roof. Think about it — people can only make the best of the strengths they’ve already got and work on facing their challenges if they really know what those are. When people can take an honest look at their personal style, they can ask vital questions, such as “What kind of leader am I now, and how can I be a better sales professional?” or “Why do I react so strongly to change?” and “Why am I always butting heads with my colleague, and what common ground is there between us?”
Considering the needs of BEMA’s membership, as well as the needs of the entire baking industry, Insights Discovery was the clear leader as our preferred training partner. The curriculum is globally recognized, multi-lingual and accompanied by the highest quality training materials, and the learning is actionable and immediate. As an accredited practitioner, I highly value the organization’s focus on creating unique and impactful learning experiences for everyone that has the opportunity to take part in any of the Insights Discovery suite of courses.
How exactly does it work?
Ms. Bowers: The Insights Discovery Research team has spent more than two decades measuring quality and refining the evaluator to ensure that the offering is the highest standard it can be across more than 30 languages globally.
The evaluator is a simple 25-question assessment that takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. From those results, a multi-chapter personal profile is created. The model then uses four colors to represent observable behavior. It’s so simple, yet completely adaptable for many training purposes.
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Can people who take one BEMA-U course built on the Insights Discovery model take another BEMA-U course? How do the Insights results translate from one workshop to another?
Ms. Bowers: Yes! The possibilities are numerous, and that’s yet another reason why this program is so beneficial. Each of the courses have a similar foundation, an introduction to the concepts and color energies. There are so many engaging and interactive ways to teach the introduction that you could participate in it several times and not feel like you are repeating. Beyond the introduction, imagine the turning of a lens. Are you focusing in on improving sales and customer service? Are you part of a leadership team looking to improve synergies? Are you a member of a local or multi-site team that could be more effective? Do you teach others on-the-job and need the tool set to make their learning more impactful? These different pathways can all be explored by the same person or group of people.
What are some aspects of Insights Discovery that people can immediately use in their day-to-day work life? How does it differ from similar “personality tests”?
Ms. Bowers: Awareness of the color energies and preferences associated with each is knowledge that can be applied immediately. Not long into workshops I hear people discussing others not in the room … wondering what their leading energies are, talking through specific situations and why they are possibly in their current situation. Part of the workshop involves looking at the team in the room. With one quick visual, participants can see a snapshot of the preferences and how balanced their team is. It’s one of those slides in the presentation that plants the seeds for rich discussion.
The color-based program is memorable, and that is the necessary first step to applying any kind of learning. If you cannot remember the concept, you won’t use it. Another benefit of the simple color-based program is relatability. Whether participating in a multi-session in-depth leadership experience or a 2-hour introductory workshop, the language is the same. A common baseline of understanding is established, which cultivates opportunities for improved communication and a shared language of understanding throughout organizations.
Is the program customizable for specific on-site workshops?
Ms. Bowers: The program can be woven into a current training program or stand alone. One of the first questions I ask when working with a company is, “What training or culture and engagement initiatives are you working on?” Aligning on-site workshops with the existing strategic goals and priorities of the company is key, and this is where the ROI for the company is elevated.
How can Insights Discovery-based courses help companies bring better value to their customers and the baking industry?
Ms. Bowers: The training solutions are designed to provide insight for your people that lead to breakthroughs for your business. Communicating with impact is a thread that runs through every part of executing a successful business strategy. By improving self-awareness and adaptability, baking companies and suppliers can provide higher levels of leadership, sales and service to their customers. The mission of BEMA is to connect, educate and provide resources for our members and the industries they serve. The courses offered through BEMA-U are bringing this mission to life in a powerful way.