4 Things to Know About Group Styles Inventory

An interview with John Van Etten, Managing Director of Human Synergistics InterConnext, GmbH

Now that organizations have moved to a remote environment, developing a successful virtual team is critical to maintain productivity. Communication, collaboration, and negotiation are all skills that help successful teams make key decisions that lead to John van Etten photoorganizational effectiveness.

I recently sat down with John Van Etten, Managing Director of Human Synergistics’ office serving Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, to discuss why his customers are finding the online version of the Group Styles InventoryTM a viable solution for assessing and improving virtual team effectiveness.

Q: What is the Group Styles Inventory or GSI?

A: Group Styles Inventory (GSI) is a team-building assessment tool, run both virtually or in-person, that allows members of teams and groups to describe how they interact and approach problems and decisions. The feedback is in real-time and shows how the team can further develop to achieve synergy and be more productive.

Q: Why would an organization perform a GSI assessment?

A: There are three main reasons why I see clients reach out to us with an interest in running a GSI assessment within a subset of their organizations.

  1. Team development. Organizations often reach out because they want to improve the performance of and/or communication within a team.
  2. Leadership development. Many organizations use the GSI with their leadership teams to bring them into alignment with corporate values and encourage them to develop further. The GSI really allows leaders to see where they may need more development as they experience the individual and team behaviors that arise during the GSI event.
  3. Culture development. By using a GSI and initially focusing on their immediate teams, leaders can focus on promoting Constructive behaviors and measure team learnings/improvements before cascading development efforts throughout the broader organization.

Q: What are the benefits organizations can expect to see from using the GSI?

A: Well, to begin, the GSI is the only Human Synergistics’ tool in which participants have the opportunity to identify and recognize the styles of the Circumplex as they are being acted out. I often hear from participants during the assessment things like “I remember when I wanted to share my idea but didn’t because it was different than everyone else’s [Dependent and Conventional styles on the Circumplex]; I can see how that prevented our team from benefitting from all options and perspectives.”

It’s also the only Human Synergistics’ tool where a facilitator is present to witness the behaviors of the Circumplex ‘play out’ and report on how the team was ultimately affected.

The GSI can be experienced online, in real-time, in a variety of settings, and even with virtual teams. So, the ability to assess and develop virtual teams and how they interact has really been key to creating a more effective work environment for remote organizations. This is especially key right now, when team members are working from home and possibly feeling disconnected and unproductive.

The ability to measure GSI results in real time allows organization to “see” improvement and development opportunities more quickly than with other culture-level initiatives. This makes team development more dynamic and is ideal for serving as a starting point for change agents.

Q: What are some outcomes you’ve seen from Organizations that have carried out a GSI?

A: Greater leadership and team alignment is a big one. Team members are more informed, in-sync, engaged, and therefore more effective in achieving goals on time and in a coordinated way.

Increased alignment among leaders with respect to values has been a predominant outcome for our clients. They report stronger emphasis on “how” the organization should be led and what kind of behavior/culture is consistent with the business values.

Improved teamwork is also high on the list, including an increase in the level and quality of communication, better time management, and greater satisfaction of individual members with their teams.


Now more than ever increasing virtual team effectiveness and productivity is key to organizational success. If you’d like to learn more about your teams ability to problem solve and work together using the Group Styles Inventory visit humansynergistics.com.


Human Synergistics is currently carrying out a new research project focusing on virtual teams and the relationship between group styles and outcomes (e.g., solution effectiveness). To collect data for this study, we are making available a limited number of credits for the digital Group Styles Inventory prototype to HS Global Change Circle Accredited Consultants. Please contact us at info@humansynergistics.com if you are a GCC member and have virtual teams interested in completing the GSI and receiving feedback. This includes face-to-face teams that are transitioning to virtual operations.

About the Author

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Susan Rubin

Susan Rubin is the Director of Marketing at Human Synergistics. She has a strong background in marketing and communications across various industries and sectors.