Stories of our impact

We’ve got chemistry

Our Business Chemistry sessions transform how businesses and charities are run

Having different personalities in a team is a good thing. Diversity, in all its forms, brings new ideas and challenge to group-think. But what happens when those personalities clash? The tension does not only affect productivity, it can be stressful for team members too.

We’ve been delivering Business Chemistry workshops to teach our teams and clients how to effectively build relationships, particularly with those who have a different style. We’re particularly fond of how they’re helping our One Million Futures partners, as well as teams at a not-for-profit that develops antimalarial medicines and students from a high school in West Yorkshire, England.

A clash of personalities

At its most basic, Business Chemistry helps teams of people understand themselves and each other in a working environment. We designed the tool to allow people to self-assess their behavioural preferences. It then identifies four primary work styles – Pioneer, Integrator, Driver and Guardian – to show team members what actions they could take for better collaboration and to increase the trust needed to deliver success. Think fewer potential personality clashes and tension, and increased trust and productivity.

In FY18, our Business Chemistry team led by Jessica Dooley delivered Business Chemistry sessions to over 1,500 people across 100 organisations including financial services, transport and logistics, consumer goods, education and the public sector. Among those organisations was Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), a partnership backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which researches and develops antimalarial drugs.

We ran an interactive session to help them understand how the different areas of the business – from teams of researchers and scientists, sales and marketing to partners working on the ground in regions of Africa – could work together more effectively. Cue honest conversations about working styles in different teams, and how they could make the most of the diverse working styles across the business to implement the MMV business plan as one cohesive unit, and align around their future growth strategy.

“This was an amazing experience to get students to think outside the box and realise that people learn and interpret in different ways.”

Christine Webster, Director of Post-16 Education

We don’t need no education?

The behaviour styles that the tool brings to light are helpful in many contexts, not just in the business landscape. Better understanding of how people generate ideas, make decisions and solve problems can be used across areas such as in education. For example, we invited 50 students from our One Million Future partner school – Tong Leadership Academy – to see how we could help them prepare for future employment by using Business Chemistry.

Working in groups at our offices, we helped the students think consciously about their own working styles and how these can be flexed in different situations at school or to prepare for entering the world of work.

Harkiran Dhillon, a student who took part in the session said “we do presentations in class and knowing how people act and understand has really helped me in the way I create presentations and speak to the audience. I was also able to use this in my personal statement to show the skills I had gained.”

Why run Business Chemistry for the students?

Christine Webster, Director of Post-16 Education stated “This was an amazing experience to get students to think outside the box and realise that people learn and interpret in different ways. This was especially timely as they look to make their next steps, preparing for university applications, knowing how to present themselves in the best light, and understanding how to respond in a way the other party ‘liked’ could benefit them in the longer term. Out of this cohort we have had more pupils than normal securing part-time employment and getting through interviews and socialising with a wider range of people and maybe the impact of the day is seen here too”.

In 2018 so far, the team have run over 70 Business Chemistry sessions, double that of FY17 and in the coming financial year we’re pursuing opportunities to work with University project teams, teaching a wider range of Academy leadership teams, other One Million Futures partners as well as our continued work with private and UK listed companies.

For more lessons and stories, check out business chemistry at Deloitte and have a look at 'Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships', which draws upon extensive research and thousands of interactions with our clients.


Will Black

HR, Talent and Restructuring Public Relations Manager

+44 (0)20 7007 8242

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