SDI in learning and development: what it means and how to use it

I have found SDI (Strengths Deployment Inventory) to be a really valuable tool in leadership development, despite my being a skeptical curmudgeon about most of these workplace psychometric tools.

What convinced me was partly personal – I felt it offered valuable insight into my own self (not a pretty sight) – but also because of the impact I’ve seen it have within the training room. I’ve used it mainly for leadership development, so that’s my main experience, and I’ve seen many people (not everyone) find it really useful in not only raising self-awareness, but more importantly giving them a roadmap for strengths development that remains true to their authentic self.

In the podcast Simon Gallon talks through the basic theory and its wider application within L&D, in particular in teambuilding and leadership development activities.

It’s another long one, but it’s good stuff.

Here’s a link to the visual SDI material, including an index so you can see when we talk about each part of the theory in case you need to revisit parts of the podcast.


Simon Gallon

Simon Gallon is the Managing Director of PSP UK (Personal Strengths Publishing) and a member of PSP Inc.’s Board of Directors and is an expert in the application of all SDI (Strengths Deployment Inventory) related products and services … read more about Simon here.

TT Shorts: The Family Game: a fun way to split into groups and create energy

It’s been a while since we did a short episode and I’ve had this one in the can for a while, so I thought I’d edit it up and put it out.

In this episode, I welcome back Seema Sarawgi who talks about a simple way to split larger groups into smaller sub-groups for activities. There are lots of ways to do this that are more interesting than saying “1, 2, 3” that can be fun and energising, can break down barriers and can lead into content or fit with teambuilding themes.

Here are the feeds to the podcast:

 Seema Sarawgi

Seema Sarawgi is a Learning and Development professional with around 8 years of experience of working with both public and private sectors in India and the UKread more about Seema here.


How to write your own stories and use storytelling for teambuilding

Stories are the oldest and best way of passing on information in an engaging and memorable way.

They are a key tool in learning, and a nice break from PowerPoint and flip charts, and they can be used to make things easier to remember, to raise a particular issue for discussion, to challenge the way people think, and to make learning easier to transfer back to the workplace.

We don’t need to rely solely on real things that have happened either – although real life stories are really good – we can write our own stories too. Sometimes this might be because we don’t know a relevant true story, but often there is value in an obviously fictional account – think how much we call on famous fictional situations as real-life metaphors now: everything from Shakespeare and Star Wars to Monty Python. Fictional stories can be used to illustrate ideas in a meaningful way that everyone understands.

In this podcast I talk to Samantha Mathis about her use of stories and how to write your own stories for training courses and other learning events. She also talks about using storytelling as a powerful teambuilding activity, allowing teams to raise and discuss issues in a fun and engaging way.



Sam Mathis

Samantha Mathis is Regional Head of Learning & Development for the Americas region for the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. She has more than 15 years experience in leadership and learning and organizational development to realize improvement and change … read more about Sam here.

TT Shorts: The Paper Tower: a quick and simple teambuilding tool

In this short extra episode of the Trainer Tools podcast series, I talk to Seema Sarawgi about a simple but effective technique she uses in teambuilding events.

The Paper Tower is very simple to prepare for and run, and can be used as a quick way to get people talking and moving about, or to develop deeper learning around teamwork, planning, communication and leadership in the context of the organisation.

Here are the feeds to the podcast:

 Seema Sarawgi

Seema Sarawgi is a Learning and Development professional with around 8 years of experience of working with both public and private sectors in India and the UKread more about Seema here.


Practical approach to fun and effective teambuilding events

Many managers are keen to create great teams, and there’s no better way to do this than ask someone from the training department to come along and deliver a teambuilding day!

This is true of internal and external training providers equally, and although a teambuilding session can be truly effective and a lot of fun, it can also be an enjoyable waste of time, or even a total disaster.

In this episode of the Trainer Tools podcast, I talk to Paul Tizzard, author of The Teambuilding Pocketbook, about his approach to teambuilding events and how to make sure they are valuable, effective and fun.

(Click here for more information on Belbin’s Biscuits – discussed at length during this podcast.

This is a Trainer Tools Essential Podcast


Paul Tizzard

Paul Tizzard has been a professional trainer since 1996 and independent since 2001. He is a trained presenter, coach and facilitator. Since becoming independent, he has been fortunate to work in many different countries with an eclectic range of industries and companies. … read more about Paul here.

TT Shorts: The Magic Lamp – a tool for teambuilding events

I thought it’d be a bit of fun to chuck in the odd short podcast at random intervals (this might stretch the definition of “fun” to breaking point) in a new sub-series of casts called TT Shorts.

This is the first one, from our old friend Jon Kersey, and it’s a quick and easy technique you can use during teambuilding events.

I found it quite inspiring, and it’s made me think of combining this with storytelling in a slightly different way than Jon describes – that may be the content of a future cast (once I’ve tried it out and seen it work!)

Here are the feeds to the podcast:

Jon Kersey

Jon Kersey has over 15 years experience in the training and personal development world, significant experience of the retail (The Burton Group, Comet and River Island), financial (HSBC) and public sectors, and international experience having trained in organisations in South America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe … read more about Jon here.

%d bloggers like this: