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Friday, December 30, 2016

Best of 2016: A Year in Review

With 2017 fastly approaching, we wanted to give everyone the chance to look back on the tremendous successes we have had in 2016. We can welcome in the new year knowing that our authors have given us some ground-breaking insights into strengths, coaching and hope to inspire us throughout the year. 

We want to take a moment to thank not only our readers, you are who make our journey a success, but also to our writers, coaches and to everyone that has helped make this year such a brimming triumph. 

Gallup has some amazing things in store for 2017. Be sure to checkout the blog for a schedule of our webcast events. The new season of Theme Thursday is kicking back off in January, and we have some incredible guests lined up for this season's Called to Coach. Also be sure to check out the information regarding our second annual CliftonStrengths Summit in July. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Impact of Strengths and Coaching in Schools

By Tim Hodges, Ph.D.

“In Grow Strong schools we focus on what is strong and not what is wrong. This requires a change of mindset for most teachers because as educators we are thinking in the deficit model in which we look at what a student does not have and try to make up the difference through interventions. In Grow Strong schools, we seek to change the conversation from what students are lacking to what students already have.” 

These thoughts, shared by Rachel Edoho-Eket at the inaugural CliftonStrengths Summit in July 2016, wonderfully frame up the potential for impact of strengths and coaching in schools. Edoho-Eket, an assistant principal in Howard County, Maryland, has firsthand experience in a school and in a district that is committed to building on the strengths of the entire school community. Edoho-Eket’s school, and many others like it around the country, have a core belief that we should focus on what is strong rather than only paying attention to what is wrong. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

How to Unlock Students’ Entrepreneurial Potential

by Becky McCarville

From high school to college, student of all ages are hyper-aware that they need a good job after graduating from college. With student debt at an all-time high in 2016 and employment prospects lower than expected, the job outlook for new grads doesn’t paint a rosy picture.

Due to these factors, economic and otherwise, fewer young people are starting their own businesses.

How can students -- and the world -- dig out of this economic quagmire? Job creation relies on new business startups and scaling up existing businesses -- identifying and unlocking students’ entrepreneurial potential is the key.

Across the nation and worldwide, entrepreneurial classes and programs are buzzing, and many are turning to Gallup’s Entrepreneurship Profile 10 (EP10) assessment to jumpstart the discussion around entrepreneurial talent. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

[Recap] From Startup to Success: How to Build a Business Based on Strengths -- Gallup Called to Coach: Brandon Miller -- S4E36

On a recent Called to Coach: CliftonStrengths Summit 2016 Edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Brandon Miller. These webcasts will highlight some of the best and most popular sessions from the CliftonStrengths Summit.

Brandon Miller is the CEO of 34 Strong, a company focused on Strengths-Based Organizational Development. He led the “From Startup to Success” breakout session at the 2016 CliftonStrengths Summit. Brandon says when he started his business his biggest questions were around growth and defining what the business had to offer to the market. He recommends the books Learn Startup, Leaders Eat Last, Destination Unstoppable, and Profit First as great starting points for anyone considering starting their own business.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Coaching With Insight: When Telling Works

By Jacque Merritt

I have a coaching confession: When CliftonStrengths was first released back at the end of the ’90s, I spent more years than I can count using it to “tell” people who they are. It was how we rolled back then, and there was a certain magic to the tool that made my insights deadly accurate. My clients would often say, “Wow, that’s really spooky! How did you know that about me?” Or, “You know me better than my spouse!” And the classic, “If this tool can tell you this much about me, I want to do it with my entire team so you can sit down and tell me about them!” 

With the more recent focus on powerful questions, inquiry versus advocacy and neuroscientific research on using questions as a means to spark transformational change, the magic of the “tell” has been relegated to the role of the ugly stepsister. While I fully agree with leaning toward asking versus telling in coaching, I’d like us also to appreciate the power of the information our clients have already provided through the instrument itself. With such valuable and valid information at our fingertips in the form of a CliftonStrengths profile, it is a shame to shy away from moments when us choosing to tell instead of inquire may lead our clients to great discoveries.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

[Recap] Finding the Right Talent With CliftonStrengths -- Gallup Called to Coach: Annadurai Vinayagam -- S4E34

On a recent Called to Coach: India Edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Annadurai Vinayagam.

Annadurai is a finance professional with 33 years of experience. He currently handles talent mobility from India to the Middle East, as well as coaching and mentoring for Sodexo. When he became head of HR in 2003 his mentor gave him the book “First, Break All the Rules” and “Now, Discover Your Strengths”. He took the StrengthsFinder assessment in 2005. He coached hundreds of people before becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, but he still had lots of questions which were answered in his Gallup coaching course. In his course, he gained more confidence in his coaching abilities and learned deeper insights into strengths and the raw vs. mature.

Monday, December 12, 2016

[Recap] Embedding Engagement, High-Performance and a Strengths-Based Culture Into Your Organization -- Gallup Called to Coach: Stephanie Carman -- S4E34

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Stephanie Carman.
Stephanie Carman, Head of People and Performance at Karrikins Group, was a part of the very first group that went through Gallup’s strengths coaching course in Australia in 2014. Stephanie has embedded strengths and engagement as a performance strategy in her company during a large time of growth. The mission of Karrikins Group is to create positive change within the community. They are a consulting firm, predominately around social responsibility. They teach kids about social issues and how to address social changes in their communities. CliftonStrengths and Gallup’s engagement tools have become a common language at their company and pivotal to their culture.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Don’t Be a Man-Ager, Be a Coach

By Benjamin Erikson-Farr

Managers hold the engagement and well-being of their team members in their hands. Bad managers are toxic. Not only do they undermine the positive culture and performance of an organization, but they also negatively affect the engagement and personal well-being of the individuals who report to them. 

Gallup research shows that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement, so organizational efforts to increase engagement are wasted on employees with bad managers. Worse still, low engagement is linked to higher levels of stress. This stress extends beyond the walls of the office, affecting employees on the drive into and home from the office during their commute. According to medical research, stress exacerbates many health conditions. Scientists believe many of these negative health conditions actually accelerate the aging process. In sum, a bad manager can literally be a man-ager. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

That’s a Wrap! -- Theme Thursday Season 2

On this Theme Thursday Season Two webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Advanced Learning and Development Consultant celebrate all of our accomplishments for Season 2.

Thank you for joining us on our wrap party for Theme Thursday Season 2 today. With season 2 we started out with a new concept and idea. We delved deep into the love and intricacy of the theme, and we made you think very specifically about Theme Dynamics for all 34 themes. We talked a little bit more on how to invest in these themes. You are never done. There is so much more growth to happen within your own themes. Real strengths-based development opens up doors. It gives you the ability to talk about what those themes are in your sleep. Be willing to take a risk. Think about the insights available as you are coaching, or even working through these on your own. It is a perfect way to create great questions. Make time every week to connect with somebody consistent who can help you delve deeper into your themes. Everybody needs a coach. They need someone with a connection and confidence to help you really dig in. If you need a coach, or if you are interested in coaching we would be happy to connect you to one at Gallup Exchange.

Monday, December 5, 2016

[Recap] Business Consulting Using Strengths -- Gallup Called to Coach: Aseem Hanspal -- S4E33

On a recent Called to Coach: India Edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach,
Aseem Hanspal.

Aseem is a co-founder and principal consultant at SKOPE Business Consulting. He says becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach changed the course of his business. During consulting engagements, he used to look for areas of improvement in a company. He would focus on a weaker area and try to build on it. Now, his approach is strengths-based, he finds what people and companies are doing good and builds on that.

Friday, December 2, 2016

To Innovate, Think Like an Entrepreneur

by Becky McCarville

The backbone of the economy rests on the creation of new businesses, and yet, not enough of them are starting or surviving. But a model of innovation and entrepreneurialism isn’t limited to just startups. Existing companies are scrambling to find new growth platforms. How can existing companies increase profits and find new customers?

Entrepreneurial talents are playing an increasing role in these existing and well-established firms to find new avenues of growth. Identifying the inherent talents of a company’s employees -- and maximizing those who possess entrepreneurial qualities -- can help businesses push past the status quo.

Companies need to invest in the natural talents of their people to create new ideas, find new customers and discover new energy to grow. They also need to develop the qualities of resourcefulness, teamwork, creativity, relationship-building and resilience.

To develop these entrepreneurial talents and generate ideas, Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches, startups and existing businesses are using Gallup’s Entrepreneurial Profile 10 (EP10)  assessment to help entrepreneurs build, grow and succeed in their ventures. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

[Recap] EP10 Becomes the "Builder Profile 10" -- Gallup Called to Coach: Todd Johnson -- S4E32

On a recent
EP10 Quarterly Update, we spoke with Gallup Global Channel Leader, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation, Todd Johnson.  

The EP10 will be renamed and rebranded to the Builder Profile 10 (BP10) in mid-December this year. Gallup decided to issue a name change largely due to how society views the concept of entrepreneurship. A lot of people now associate the word entrepreneur with someone creating a start-up on the coast in the technology field. While Gallup cherishes and celebrates that type of entrepreneurship, starting a company is only one manifestation of what EP10 is about. The talents in EP10 are really about building, whether building new companies or new services and products within existing companies. Gallup heard from enterprise clients who need innovators and intrepreneurs, they need all types of people with the talent to build. The word builder includes a broader range of people with these talents. Gallup plans to create a new brand and image around the word builders.

Monday, November 28, 2016

[Recap] Creating a Strengths-Based University Campus -- Gallup Called to Coach: Ken Barr Jr. -- S4E31

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Ken Barr, Jr.

As director of Student Strengths Development at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Ken was responsible for leading all facets of the creation, development, assessment, and operations of this talent development/student success program. For a coach thinking about getting strengths started on a campus, Ken says they first need to define what the end goal is, the overall mission, and how it ties into the mission of the university.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Leaders, Know Thyself

By Simon Cooper

In Alfred Lord Tennyson's great poem great poem Oenone, the goddess of wisdom offers Paris the gift of "self-knowledge" as one of three qualities that will give him "sovereign power." Paris turns the offer down. I think that is a mistake. The most effective leaders embrace self-knowledge as fundamental to a successful career. 

When I think back on my early career, I, like many others, did not really know what my talents were and how they might best be deployed. There was no CliftonStrengths to tell me, but I was fortunate in that, before I began my hospitality career, I had captained numerous sports teams, as well as some lovely sailing yachts. That gave me no special edge, but it did give me confidence that I could lead small groups of people in a common direction. I had self-confidence, but I totally lacked self-knowledge.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Self-Assurance -- The Ability to Bravely Lead the Way -- Theme Thursday Season 2

On this Theme Thursday Season Two webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Advanced Learning and Development Consultant discussed the theme of Self-Assurance.

People exceptionally talented in the Self-Assurance theme feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right. Self-Assurance can be less about confidence, and more about courage. It is not always that they know that their opinions are true, but it is that they naturally include themselves as part of the solution. They bring an ability to bravely lead the way. They bring something within themselves that is going to solve any issues they may come across. It is not influencing by pushing the group from behind. It is more going in front and realizing the group is attracted to following you. People with strong Self-Assurance can lead the way. Because they deeply trust their own instincts, they can forge ahead confidently, even on risky paths. They instill confidence in others and show initiative in the midst of turbulence and uncertainty. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Part 2: A Roadmap for Implementing Strengths in Higher Education

By Vanessa Camilleri

A few weeks ago we explored the importance of establishing a purpose for your strengths initiative. We also recommended building a strengths team to help you champion your cause around campus. 

This week, let’s dig into how to put your ideas into action, measure their success and communicate effectively to continue building momentum and engagement with your strengths initiative.

Taking Action

So, what will this strengths initiative look like in action? Once your team is established and knows its own mix of strengths, you can start to plan “how” you will implement strengths on campus. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

[Recap] Creating a Strengths-Based State of Rhode Island -- Gallup Called to Coach: Mike Ritz and Kevin Cooper -- S4E30

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Strengths Expeditor at Leadership Rhode Island, Mike Ritz and Kevin Cooper.

Mike Ritz and Kevin Cooper work for Leadership Rhode Island, a community leadership development organization founded in 1981. The mission of Leadership Rhode Island is to provide leaders and emerging leaders with knowledge and access to resources which will enable them to positively affect their communities. Mike and Kevin are currently working on the “Make RI Strong” initiative, which is about making Rhode Island (RI) a strengths-based state. Leadership Rhode Island has known for decades that the state of RI suffers from a negative psyche and they are hoping strengths can be an answer to that. They also know, according to Gallup’s State of the U.S. Workplace Report, that RI has one of the least engaged workforces in the country.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

WOO -- The Social Catalysts -- Theme Thursday Season 2

On this Theme Thursday Season Two webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Advanced Learning and Development Consultant discussed the theme of WOO.

People exceptionally talented in the WOO theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with someone. WOO is a social initiative. It is a quickness of making that connection. It is the ability to quickly discover the right chemistry needed to connect with another person, and the quest for that chemistry. Those with the WOO theme can quickly read people and their posture. They can have a whole conversation that is tailored to you. WOO is about hospitality, charisma and magnetism. People with WOO are drawn to other people. It can be the same with reverse magnetism, people are drawn to those with WOO. 

People with strong WOO talents bring energy to social situations. They can connect with others and act as catalysts in helping people connect with one another. They have an exceptional ability to draw others out of their shells. They build rapport with purpose. They can pay attention to the necessity of building rapport, and realize that is how you get others to a better place. We should position our people with WOO in that moment where they can start the initial conversation. They are little beacons of hospitality. If you can spread them throughout an event or room, they are going to act as not just fire starters, but low radiators of warmth. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Strengths Based Development in Practice

By Tim Hodges

Early in my Gallup career, I had the incredible privilege of serving as Don Clifton’s research assistant. While I had done little to earn this role, it will undoubtedly rank as one of my life’s real highlights. Don was a world-class mentor who always treated me as a respected colleague and even as a peer despite my lack of the experience and academic credentials that the role deserved — let alone me being more than 50 years his junior. 

Don and I worked closely together for nearly three years. Among the many wonderful benefits this partnership provided was an opportunity to serve as a coauthor of a book chapter that ended up being one of Don’s last published writings. In fact, the official release of Positive Psychology in Practice was published after his passing and was ultimately dedicated to Don in honor of his life’s work: “We dedicate this volume to the memory of Donald O. Clifton, PhD, 1924-2003. ‘The father of strengths-based psychology and the grandfather of positive psychology.” 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Exploring the "WHY" to Waken the Highest You

By Jessica Dawson

Personal Mission Matters: Exploring the “WHY” to Waken the Highest You

I grew up in New Jersey, and my dad was a successful investment banker. I still remember the numerous Bring Your Daughters to work days and the exciting train ride into New York City. I was so amazed by the big city, the hustle and bustle, and the image of being a sophisticated finance professional. I thought it was glamorous, and I wanted to have one of these high-powered jobs. I did all I could to attain this position. I worked hard, stayed focused and ultimately landed what I thought was my dream job: a financial services role in the heart of New York City. 

And you know what? I hated it. 

My professional life made me feel drained and lost. Longing for deeper meaning in my work, I thought, “How could I have gotten this so wrong?” 

In Soar With Your Strengths, Don Clifton illustrates the importance of having a personal mission. As someone who has lived through the discord of a lack of alignment to my mission, I know the power of this notion firsthand. It’s something vital to the way I now coach, but I didn’t always understand its power.

Being so unhappy at work, I needed to reassess my “why.” Instead of my “why” being rooted in attaining a powerful position, I needed to shift my “why” to be rooted in a purpose-filled mission.

“Lacking a mission, people are likely to have only materialistic goals.”

Personal missions are not often promoted in society; however, as coaches there is an opportunity for us to help change this. Gallup studies show that top performers are driven by an understanding that the personal work they do can benefit humankind. Without this driver, people focus on the materials of this world, and they often feel unfulfilled. I know exactly how that feels. 

 “Strengths develop best in the framework of mission.” 

It was time to discover more about myself. 

Not knowing where to actually start in finding my “why,” I tried several activities that sounded interesting: I helped to run a political campaign, volunteered to help at-risk youth prepare for college and got certified to teach cardio kickboxing. I thought that trying all of these new initiatives would ultimately lead me to understanding my mission.  But that mission was still unclear.

One of the five clues to talent that I listen for within myself and those whom I coach is “yearning.” A yearning is often triggered when you see something and think to yourself, “I would like to try that.” Our bodies possess such wisdom and will often drop clues to talent. We will be drawn toward one activity over another for different reasons, and in these situations, the “why” is a crucial component. When the “why” of a yearning is rooted in ego, glitz/glamour, image, power, money or societal norms, they are typically “misyearnings.” Clifton points out in the book: “Misyearning – is one that can derail us from our strengths path.” That is what happened to me when I sought that high-powered job in the city -- and my strengths were suffocated without the breath of mission to fuel them.

“Mission gives purpose to life. It adds meaning to what one does.”

Just doing kickboxing and volunteer work wasn’t enough for me to gain the clarity I needed.  In addition to getting out and trying new avenues, I also heavily researched different career paths. 

Volunteering and gaining certifications expanded the breadth of my experiences, but I still felt that I hadn’t uncovered my mission. Knowing I needed a connection to my soul, I continued on the search for more meaning in my role. 

“Mission statements can grow out of a strong sense of responsibility or a strong sense of rage.” 

I wouldn’t say my mission came from rage, but I certainly felt frustrated with my professional life, and I believed I had the responsibility to do more, to be more. 

Through all of my self-induced exploration to find my “why,” it was ironic that the catalyst for uncovering my mission was something that I had no control over. 

In 2008 the parent company of the financial institution that I worked for was on the verge of bankruptcy. In the aftermath of the bankruptcy, I remember seeing just how broken my company truly was. The unprecedented events caused uncertainty throughout the world. There was a hiring freeze internally and broadly across the industry -- no other companies were hiring. Employees who had survived what seemed to be endless layoffs felt lucky to have a job. I remember thinking I should have felt lucky too. Instead, I felt a deep sense of frustration that settled as I realized I was in the wrong job. The unsettling feeling was heightened as I watched and listened to colleagues complain of feeling as though they were in the wrong jobs too. 

With a deep understanding of myself and a desire to live out my mission when my frustrations arose, I was now in a position to redirect the frustration and begin to act on my mission. My biggest frustration is when people aspire to careers without exploring the “why”. 

Now I knew what would drive me forward -- I had discovered my “why”: I wanted to do something to help myself and to help others. I coach because I hate the idea of anyone complacently staying in a role, or going through life without truly knowing their unique value. I turned my frustration into action by becoming a coach and living out my mission every day.  

My mission is to develop people, teams and organizations by capitalizing on talent. I do this through coaching, facilitating courses and consulting with organizational leaders. This type of work allows me to maximize my talents. I feel most alive when doing this, and most importantly I get to help people help themselves.

 “When strengths are driven by mission, a circle is created. Strengths feed mission.”

Through frustration, anger, vulnerability and introspection, I learned what feeds me and what drains me. It took work, openness and courage to discover and understand my yearnings and strengths. But by doing that work, I also discovered my mission, and today as a coach, I am able to help others achieve the same. 

Register for future webcasts.

Jessica Dawson is a Learning and Development Consultant based in Gallup’s Chicago office. She translates Gallup’s research, management science and best practices into practical, compelling and powerful programs that produce organizational change for Gallup’s clients. Jessica delivers in-depth coaching on the results of strengths and engagement assessments for individuals and teams. She also works to assess the state of clients’ business problems, organizational cultures, leadership dispositions and objectives for change programs.

Jessica's top 5 strengths are: Futuristic | Relator | Activator | Developer | Individualization

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Strategic -- What Does Strategic Really Mean? -- Theme Thursday Season 2

On this Theme Thursday Season Two webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Advanced Learning and Development Consultant discussed the theme of Strategic.

What does Strategic really mean? The word Strategic is such an admirable adjective, but we are rarely on the same page with how it is used. People exceptionally talented in the Strategic theme create an alternative way to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant pattern and issues. It is almost a supernatural ability to be able to jump into the puzzle and see the patterns. It is not a skill you can learn, it is a distinct way of thinking. When we talk about Strategic we are not talking about how to create a map, how to be thoughtful about the future or how to go from A to B. We are talking about a natural, unteachable, way of thinking.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

[Recap] Defining Job Roles Around CliftonStrengths Leads to Success -- Gallup Called to Coach: Omar Luqmaan-Harris -- S4E29

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Omar Luqmaan-Harris.

Omar was introduced to strengths in 2002 when he was 25 years old and just starting at his first corporate job. He immediately grasped the idea that we need to develop people in a positive way, but he didn’t do much with his CliftonStrengths for the next three years. Luckily, Omar eventually moved to a new team with a manager who focused on strengths, and that’s when he began to succeed. His new manager redefined his role around his strengths and what he was good at. Omar has been paying it forward with his strengths coaching ever since!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Self-Assurance -- Leading the Way -- Theme Thursday Season 1

People with strong Self-Assurance talents can lead the way. Because they deeply trust their own instincts, they can forge ahead confidently, even on risky paths. They can instill confidence in others and show initiative in the midst of turbulence and uncertainty.

Please regi
ster for our Self-Assurance Webcast on Thursday, November 3,
 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Download the Companion Guide for our Self-Assurance webcast here to follow along with the show!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Part 1: A Roadmap for Implementing Strengths in Higher Education

By Vanessa Camilleri

Successful strengths initiatives exist on hundreds of campuses across the United States and internationally. These initiatives vary in purpose, approach, size and tactics for measuring success. 

Many strengths initiatives in higher education exist as grassroots programs, showing up in small groups on campus. Others are more widely embraced as an existing campus-wide priority that strongly influences campus culture. Regardless of whether the initiative is a bottom-up effort or a top-down mandate, strengths initiatives in higher education must start with a mindset that EVERY student has potential, talents and strengths. Gallup recommends that leaders of strengths initiatives on campus remember some foundational best practices to kick start their initiatives to success.

Defining Your Purpose

Higher education institutions have many reasons for launching strengths initiatives. Sometimes they are a reaction to a problem such as low student engagement or retention rates. Sometimes they are a proactive attempt to develop leadership competencies in students or to enhance career readiness skills. Many strengths initiatives are aimed at improving student outcomes such as well-being, persistence or graduation rates. Others are designed to improve staff/faculty performance and engagement.

Schools that are considering launching a strengths initiative first must be clear about its purpose. A best practice is to commit to a comprehensive, well-structured strengths-development process in which both adults and students on campus are involved.

When considering implementing a strengths initiative, it is crucial that leaders can answer these questions:

  • Why are you launching a strengths initiative?
  • What outcomes are you trying to impact?
  • How will you know if it is working?
  • How will you implement?

When defining your purpose for bringing strengths to campus, consider how the strengths initiative will integrate with existing campus priorities. Rather than presenting the strengths initiative as separate, new and different from current initiatives, think about how a focus on strengths can move the campus toward outcomes that you already are trying to achieve and are held accountable for. To do that, look at foundational documents such as the strategic plan, the mission or vision, or a goal planning document. Figure out how strengths can thrive within an existing framework -- one that is known by all and has familiar language that people on campus can relate to.

Defining your purpose will lay the foundation for your entire strengths initiative because thinking ahead about what you want to accomplish will set you up for success. Further, this approach will help you to gain buy-in for your initiative on campus and to refine your message and market it accordingly.

Gathering Your Team

In addition to defining the “why” around your strengths initiative, consider “who” will be involved. Develop a strengths team with strong advocates to help your initiative increase in visibility throughout campus. To gain momentum for your initiative, build partnerships with different stakeholders across your campus community. Reach out to academic departments, as well as residential life, athletics, fraternities and sororities, career services, advising, and student activities. Also consider reaching out to faculty, alumnae, parents, students, human resources and your office of institutional research. Set clear expectations around purpose and commitment to the team and then invite members to join. The first step for the team is to take CliftonStrengths and to start building a strengths-based team. It will be important for this team to regularly talk about their own strengths and celebrate one another’s strengths as a good model of how to apply strengths in teams.

Additional strengths team responsibilities may include:
  • programming and implementation
  • coaching, workshops and training
  • communications and marketing
  • research and assessment
Once you have established the purpose of your strengths initiative and built a team to help you implement your programming, you are ready to take action. In next week’s blog, we’ll explore how to take action, measure the impact of your initiative and communicate effectively to drive your engagement with strengths across campus.

Interested in creating an engaged and thriving campus? Check out Gallup's StrengthsQuest solutions.

Register for future webcasts.

Vanessa Camilleri, Gallup Learning and Design Consultant, is an experienced educator who supports higher education and K-12 leaders in their pursuit of positive organizational change through curriculum design, coaching, classroom instruction and strategic consulting. As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, she is passionate about developing strengths implementation plans for diverse educational settings.

Follow her on twitter @vacamilleri

Vanessa's top 5 strengths are: Learner, Achiever, Responsiblity, Relator and Intellection

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

[Recap] People, Process, Technology: Elements of a Successful Dispersed Team -- Gallup Called to Coach: Deon Rademeyer -- S4E28

On a recent Called to Coach: Australia Edition we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Deon Rademeyer. Deon’s coaching focus is on using a strengths-based approach to improve team collaboration and development. 

Deon has worked in the field of technology and project management for most of his career. A few years back he left his corporate life to focus on his passion for people and coaching with CliftonStrengths, primarily working with groups and teams. After attending the 2016 CliftonStrengths Summit, Deon’s strengths coaching took on a new shape. He realized lots of people were coaching teams, and he was asked if there was more of a niche where he saw a need. When he reflected on his time coaching teams, he realized dispersed teams could really use strengths to be more successful. He was so pleased with the CliftonStrengths Summit that he booked and paid for the 2017 Summit as soon as the invite came out!

Deon knows how important understanding people is in order to achieve better processes. With teams, Deon uses Gallup’s Q12 as the baseline, then introduces CliftonStrengths. This helps him understand how people on the team operate, and knowing the “how” of performance helps teams answer the question of “who” to use for processes.

Interested in leading a session at the 2017 CliftonStrengths Summit? Apply here before November 15, 2016. Interested in attending? Register now to get the early bird pricing!

o hear more about how Deon uses strengths to improve teams, please watch the video or listen to the audio above.

Gallup Strengths Center to browse our myriad 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 a passion for strengths!

Register for future webcasts.

Deon spent 25 Years in Banking, Finance and Technology in both South Africa and Australia, mainly in the field of Project Management. He became a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach in 2014. He currently runs a consulting company called Team Diagnostics, which focuses on helping large, complex project teams setup for success using Gallup’s Q12 and CliftonStrengths. He has a keen interest in using Strengths to improve cross-border team collaboration between teams based in Australia and India.

Deon’s top five strengths: Responsibility | Connectedness | Relator | Maximizer | Developer

Friday, October 21, 2016

[Recap] How CliftonStrengths Can Help With Deathbed Regrets -- Called to Coach: Doug Wilks -- S4E27

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Doug Wilks. 

Here is how Doug got started with CliftonStrengths in his own words: As a dominant Input and Maximizer, I read StrengthsFinder 2.0 years ago. I immediately began applying Tom Rath's insights in my own professional and personal life. To say it was a personal Rosetta Stone is an understatement. I began incorporating strengths-based training and development in various leadership roles for sales representatives, managers and sales teams at work. Strengths-focused coaching never failed to produce improved results. I’ll never forget the response from a tenured sales representative years ago after my first "official" internal half-day workshop. She said, “That’s the first time in my life I feel like anyone’s ever gotten me…” Definitely fuel to my coaching fire!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Significance -- A Comfort in the Spotlight -- Theme Thursday Season 2

On this Theme Thursday Season Two webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Advanced Learning and Development Consultant discussed the theme of Significance.

People exceptionally talented in the Significance theme want to be very important in others’ eyes. They are independent and want to be recognized. Significance is not a common theme; thus it is often misunderstood. At one point, the Significance theme was called desire, desire to have a positive effect on people. The genius of people with strong Significance begins and ends with the difference that they are determined to make. They want the world to be a better place because they are in it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Is Your Team Ready for the Team Strengths Grid?

By Tiffany Saulnier

The Team Strengths Grid, a snapshot of a team’s collective strengths in a single place, is a powerful tool to explore individual and collective talents to achieve team success. But oftentimes, the Team Strengths Grid is introduced before a team has the opportunity to fully absorb the tool’s value.

When you introduce the Team Strengths Grid at the right time, you spark meaningful conversations. Using the grid helps you discuss the collective talents of a group in a way that honors individuals. It also enables you to break down communication barriers by prompting productive, open dialogue about behaviors and tendencies, team dynamics, partnerships, and team bonds. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

WOO -- Not Afraid to Start Conversations With Strangers -- Theme Thursday Season 1

People with strong Woo talents bring energy to social situations. They can connect with others and act as catalysts in helping people connect with one another. They have an exceptional ability to draw others out of their shell. Woo is an acronym for Winning Others Over. People who have high Woo are not afraid to start conversations with strangers. They typically have a large network of friends and acquaintances, as they thrive on getting to know as many people as possible. About 13% of individuals who have completed the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment have Woo as one of their top five strengths.

Please regi
ster for our WOO Webcast on Thursday, October 20,
 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Download the Companion Guide for our WOO webcast here to follow along with the show!

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