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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Five Lessons From a Strengths Network Startup

by Becky Hammond and Erin Passons

My Connectedness says it was meant to be. Her Strategic put the pieces together immediately. It was an instant colleague-ship turned friendship. Leveraging our complementary strengths (and the shared accountability of a colleague with some skin in the game), we launched a meaningful network of strengths professionals right here in San Diego. How cool is that?

When we started Strengths Network San Diego (SNSD) in May 2014, we sought input from those who came before us -- talented people organizers, like Tessa Dodge of Strengths Network South Pacific and Brandon Miller of the Sacramento StrengthsFinder MeetUp. And now, looking back on our first year, we have learned a thing or two (or five-5, as it were) along the way. So for all of our fellow StrengthsFinder enthusiasts out there in the world, here are a few nuggets gleaned from our experience in building a local Strengths Network.

1. Complementary strengths are key: As we sipped tea in the cool breeze of a California fall and kicked ideas around, we realized that we both felt compelled to start a group that would bring regional strengths professionals together on a regular basis to collaborate and share experiences. Yet neither of us had actually made it happen. She has influence and connections. I have motivation and execution. Only the combination of our collective strengths -- not either one alone -- ignited the spark to take true action. I am happy to say that we are living examples of practicing what we preach. Phew. Understand what you bring to the table, and share it with a partner who brings something else.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hosting a Strengths Meetup in Your Community -- Gallup Called to Coach: Brandon Miller and Darren Virassammy -- S3E8

On a recent episode of Called to Coach, we hosted Brandon Miller and Darren Virassammy of the strengths consulting company 34 Strong, Inc.

Brandon and Darren each learned the power of the Clifton StrengthsFinder via different paths. Brandon discovered his strengths while working for a strengths-based organization, while Darren came to know his during a transition in his career. Although they discovered their strengths through different means, their paths intersected, leading them to found 34 Strong. 

One of the most effective ways for the strengths movement to gain traction in your community is to organize strengths Meetup groups. Brandon and Darren have been hosting many of these in the Sacramento, CA area, and these gatherings have been a great opportunity for them to talk to others about strengths in a conversational manner. They’ve hosted so many of these events that they’ve created a strengths Meetup ebook, so you can learn how to successfully host one in your community.

A challenge that Brandon and Darren occasionally come across is the organizational leaders who “don’t know what they don’t know.” Many assume that instituting a strengths-based culture requires only a one-off coaching session. So it’s important that these leaders become fully aware of the time and energy it takes — from both themselves and their employees — to begin implementing strengths within their organization.

To learn more about Brandon and Darren and how they use strengths to help people live happier, more productive lives, watch the full video above.

Visit Gallup Strengths Center to browse our selection of products and learning opportunities for strengths-based development.

Continue the coaching conversation on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a great way to network with others who share your passion for strengths.

Brandon Miller is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, as well as the CEO and Co-Founder of 34 Strong, Inc. As an accomplished StrengthsFinder enthusiast, Miller first employed his StrengthsFinder expertise while in an executive professional position, leading hundreds of individuals and groups through the Clifton StrengthsFinder over the course of ten years. 

Brandon’s top five strengths: Maximizer | Achiever | Activator | Strategic | Arranger.

Darren Virassammy holds a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration on strategic management from the U.C. Davis Graduate School of Management. He also holds bachelors’ degrees in economics and political science from U.C. Davis. He has extensive experience in project management, business strategy, operations and systems design and implementation.

Darren’s top five strengths: Achiever | Arranger | Relator | Learner | Responsibility.

Register for future webcasts.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Singapore Edition -- Using Strengths for Social Responsibility -- Gallup Called to Coach: Bhavani Prakash

A recap of Called to Coach: Singapore Edition with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Bhavani Prakash.

Bhavani Prakash started her working career in the finance industry, enjoying a lucrative salary and much deserved recognition. But she always felt there was something missing. In 2008, she received a figurative wake-up call to become an advocate for social responsibility, by raising awareness about the detriments of environmental irresponsibility.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Best Teachers Have Something in Common: What I learned About Strengths From Being Myself

by Rosanne Liesveld

It’s easy to think that the best in any given role all get there the same way. A strengths-based approach is different. While a strengths-based approach rings true regardless of job or industry, my experience as a teacher taught me what it truly means to soar with your strengths. 

It feels like I always had visions of being a teacher and what that “looked like.” Of course, my mental image of what I was hoping to become as a teacher came from many different places. As a student, my best teachers were always models I wanted to imitate. My mother was a teacher, so in some ways, my life was spent emulating her example. And, of course, there were the teachers from movies or books who enticed me to envision myself as one of them.

The truth is, when I finally did become a teacher, I realized that as hard as I tried, I could not really be completely like those models I admired, great as they were. Looking back on my time as a teacher, I now realize I taught a lot based on what came most naturally to me, rather than basing my teaching style on what I imagined “great teachers” would do. I naturally knew the adjustments needed for the uniqueness of each student. After some trial and error, I became more comfortable in my own skin, but I always felt like I had never quite reached the apex of success, simply because I didn’t “look” like other teachers I had known.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Belief -- Motivation Guided by Values -- Theme Thursday Season 1

On a recent Theme Thursday live webcast, we discussed the Belief theme with Gallup Inside Sales Professional Kelli Winkler (Ideation, Strategic, Relator, Command and Belief) and Gallup Education Senior Researcher Tim Hodges (Maximizer, Relator, Belief, Woo and Positivity).

People with strong Belief talents have enduring principles by which they live. These values vary from one person to another, but those with powerful Belief talents have deeply held ideals and a strong sense of purpose in their lives. These core values affect their behavior in many ways. Their sense of mission gives their lives meaning and direction; in their view, success is more than money and prestige.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Strengths Collaboration With a Major University -- Gallup Called to Coach: Shane Lopez -- S3E7

On a recent episode of Called to Coach, we hosted Gallup Senior Scientist Shane Lopez, Ph.D.

Dr. Lopez began by talking about the unique partnership between Gallup and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which will host one of the first strengths centers on a college campus. The university will dedicate this space to helping develop students’ strengths from the day they arrive on campus until the day they start their first jobs.

Friday, May 1, 2015

[Adaptability] Providing Calm in the Storm

On a recent Theme Thursday live webcast, we discussed the Adaptability theme with Gallup Contract Services Administrator Scott Wright. Scott’s top five strengths are Arranger, Responsibility, Adaptability, Harmony and Communication.

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