Total SDI @twitter


How do you get time for training in one of the fastest moving environments around? And, how do you gain people’s attention when your company is literally processing the world in real-time?

Simple: You promise a common language that speeds communication, improves collaboration, and gets better business results. And that’s what’s happening @Twitter.


Twitter chose the SDI because it gives people a powerful common language. And it’s not just because “Blue” is only four characters. Although “a person who is deeply concerned about the welfare of others and wants to help them” does take up more than half a tweet. “Blue” saves space.

The colors (shorthand for Motivational Value System types in the SDI) make it easy for people to quickly recognize what’s driving others. The colors, and deep meaning behind them, also help to dispel the incorrect interpersonal judgement that get in the way in fast-moving environments.


Teams form and reform quickly at Twitter. The SDI improves members’ awareness of each other’s motives and core personalities. This is knowledge is power – and it drives more effective collaboration because members are able to understand what’s driving each other. It works across the many cultures represented in Twitter’s offices. The common language gets to the core of human motivation, and makes it easier to appreciate other differences.
Teams who work through the SDI training together immediately become more engaged. They are excited by what they learn from each other. They are more committed to each other. And they take it out of the training room, because it is simple and easy to remember.


Teamwork and collaboration are so essential at Twitter that improved collaboration virtually guarantees better results. Generally, these results are that projects move faster, quality improves, and that people want to continue working together. But the SDI also helps solve two critical problems on teams: 1.) conflict and 2.) misaligned goals.
The conflict part of the SDI takes the common language to another level. It gives people simple and memorable terms to talk about how conflict is triggered and how it can be prevented. It also helps them recognise more quickly when conflict starts and suggests how people can start to solve it. Teams who manage conflict quickly have much more time to devote to productive opposition, which creates synergy and innovation.
Misaligned goals often relate to people’s views of situations. The SDI explains how people’s motives and personalities act as filters that cause them to see things differently. Many misalignments can be traced back not just to assumptions, but to the filters act before assumptions are made. While everyone does not need to have the same motive to work together, it does help if they all have the same goal. Then members are free to express their own motives as they collaborate to achieve it.
Every sentence in this case study contains less than 140 characters. Feel free to re-tweet. #TotalSDI #Twitter