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Marks and Spencer's story

“This workshop was a valuable and expertly handled exercise in helping a widely based group to recognise each others’ differences and how to leverage these for the greater good of the Team. All the takeaways were extremely positive.”

Kim Phillips – Head of General Merchandise Packaging

Enhanced Team Working and Team Building


M&S needs no introduction! It is one of the best known brands in the UK. A key reason for this is the consistent public image M&S has presented across all its product ranges.

  • Retail Communication ensures the M&S name remains in front of the public in the best possible light.
  • Packaging and presentation are essential to this to build and retain public trust.


M&S has a very wide product range from food and clothing to underwear, cosmetics and accessories. All of these have to convey the same instantly recognisable brand image to the consumer. The buying departments which source these products operate separately, so the Head of Packaging has a difficult task to co-ordinate the overall look. Ensuring there is a coherent M&S identity requires close co-operation and understanding between “competing” departments.

The Head of Retail Communications has to re-enforce this message to achieve a unified public identity with M&S quality, value, style etc. The business needs to speak with one voice across a variety of continually changing merchandise.

Specific issues to address

Leveraging diverse talent across several departments and deconstructing silos, harmonising different working styles and viewpoints: Raising team ethos.

How we worked with M&S:

M&S has used Myers Briggs (Step 1) as a diagnostic in many areas of the business. To make best use of the this information, LeaderShape facilitated separate workshops for 17 members of the Packaging team and 12 members of the Retail Communications team to identify common traits and highlight differences. We then looked to see how skills and attitudes could be harnessed into enhanced teamworking.

The LeaderShape facilitators devised four exercises to demonstrate how opposite types can react differently to similar information and situations (the four MBTI dichotomies - E/I, S/N etc.)  We started with a brief overview of MBTI and explored the personalities behind individual types. We looked at how these play out in Team issues including problem solving and decision making.2/3rds of these sessions were devoted to interactive dialogue. 
Individual customised sheets showed decision making preferences and encouraged discussions with colleagues about the differences. 
Valuable group learning emerged (see below), which the Heads of Teams were keen to build into future meetings.

What managers said they learned

  • How to approach people to gain better responses.
  • Made me more aware of my team.
  • Became more aware of colleagues’ strengths.
  • Adapted my style of work to get the best out of others.
  • Tolerance and understanding.
  • Seeing team differences and how we can work well together.
  • Understanding more about myself.
  • I am not always right!
  • A mixed team is a better team.


Evaluation at both workshops reported an average score on all aspects of almost 90%. We measured the Importance to individuals, Enjoyability of exercises, Communication and Value as a business takeaway.
“We learned that our Team overall has its own “type” and way of doing things. However within this group there are individuals who may do things differently. For them and for others to understand how they all need to flex to optimise Team performance was a major plus. We came away refreshed, energised and challenged from a most enjoyable and well run workshop.”

Sally Haskayne – Head of Retail Communications




Do you understand the difference between these disciplines?  Answer our questionnaire and with your score you get a free report explaining all!