Strengths Coaching Blog

Friday, December 8, 2017

CliftonStrengths: More Than a Learning Intervention, A Movement - Called to Coach S5E35

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Abhishek Joshi.





Guest: Abhishek Joshi — "Employee Turned Entrepreneur”

  • 14 years of experience in OD, talent management and learning and development functions
  • Formerly L&D at IndiaMART / Max Life Insurance Company Ltd
  • Currently, the co-founder and practice head of Inpingoo - an experiential learning, behavioral science, and technology company that delivers learning and development.
  • Bridging the gap so that technology doesn’t hamper learning but instead develops/supports it

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Restorative: Bringing Things Back to Life - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Restorative with guest Mike Hafner





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You love to solve problems. Whereas some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, you can be energized by it. You enjoy the challenge of analyzing the symptoms, identifying what is wrong and finding the solution. You may prefer practical problems or conceptual ones or personal ones. You may seek out specific kinds of problems that you have met many times before and that you are confident you can fix. Or you may feel the greatest push when faced with complex and unfamiliar problems. Your exact preferences are determined by your other themes and experiences. But what is certain is that you enjoy bringing things back to life. It is a wonderful feeling to identify the undermining factor(s), eradicate them and restore something to its true glory. Intuitively, you know that without your intervention, this thing — this machine, this technique, this person, this company — might have ceased to function. You fixed it, resuscitated it, rekindled its vitality. Phrasing it the way you might, you saved it.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Strengths-Based Development: Identifying Areas of Improvement

By Maika Leibbrant

Manage your areas of non-talent, so they don’t become weaknesses. 

Focus on your greatest talent to develop near-perfect performance. 

The concept of a strengths-based development approach is catchy. It’s provocative. It’s fun to talk about and makes for excellent classroom or team-building fodder. But do you practice it? 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Using Strengths in Hennepin County, Minnesota - Called to Coach S5E36

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Steve Sweere.







Tell us about your background and the job that you do

  • I am the internal communications guy for the county
  • My Top 5 are Intellection, Strategic, Ideation, Input, Learner
  • They are all in thinking themes, so I was skeptical when I took the assessment; then I dug deeper and learned to love it
  • Started with Hennepin about 5 years ago
  • Was a professional actor for 20 years mostly in regional theater
  • When my daughter was born, I looked for more of a day job and happened to come across Hennepin county
  • They were looking to improve things, change things up, improve their internal communications
  • I came in with a little bit different way of thinking
  • Top 5 seemed like a single facet of who I was as a person, that’s why I was initially skeptical
  • Then I found out Individualization and Empathy were 6 & 7 when I took my training and got my 34 theme sequence
  • Even when I was an actor, the way I went about things was that a lot was up here in my head first before it found its way into my body, I was known to do a lot of research for a role
  • Empathy illuminates everything else for me as long as I do the research first
  • And that’s a lot of what I do here when it comes to communication; I research what it is we really need to say, then I look to my heart to figure out how to say it
  • I’m a fan of humor, of conversational conversation; a lot gets lost in formality; say it like its one person talking to another person
  • I’ve also introduced a lot of video to the county; doesn’t have to be super high-end quality; people care more about the content and message

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Strategic: Seeing Patterns Where Others See Complexity - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Strategic with guest Tess Starman





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The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? OK, well what if this happened?” This recurring question helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles. 

Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You discard the paths that lead nowhere. You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance. You discard the paths that lead into a fog of confusion. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path — your strategy. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. This is your Strategic theme at work: “What if?” Select. Strike.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Finding Your Purpose, Finding Your “Fit”

By Jake Herway


Your fit with anything — a person, a neighborhood, a pair of jeans — is what makes that thing yours. Fit is what makes it worth having. Your fit to a job is no different. Is it the right fit?
The right job fit is as important as the right skill match. Harvard research has shown fit to be even more important to performance than skill in certain industries*.  Berkley researchers identified a bad job fit as one of the primary drivers of employee burnout*.  Gallup has found that one of the top reasons people leave a job is to find a better fit, where they have the chance to do what they do best*.  

Many people talk about finding their passion. Some lucky ones find it early in life, but for many of us, while we are interested in some things and not interested in others, we don’t have a clear passion. So what do we do? How do we find the right fit if we haven’t found our passion? 

The answer: purpose + strengths.

Here is some advice for job seekers looking for the right fit.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Don’t Stop Questioning: How Using Theme Dynamics Enhances My Coaching

By Cindy Grady


Albert Einstein said, "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, I’ve taken this advice and learned that asking yourself the hard questions — the ones that can truly unleash your talents in seemingly magical ways — is sometimes more difficult than coaching others. That’s why everyone needs a coach. I’ve also found that through careful examination of your choices, and asking yourself the hard questions, you can begin to unlock the power of your talents and turn them into strengths. And once you’ve done that, you’ll be well on your way to recognizing the powerful questions you can ask others to help them along their strengths journey.

As I’ve coached people who have recently gone through the Accelerated Strengths Coaching Training, I’ve heard comments like, “I think coaching others will be easier than looking at my own talents and seeing how I can use them effectively,” and “I can help others come up with strategies to use their talents, but when I look at my own, I draw a blank.” While that can be challenging, I’ve found that the best answers come from asking simple, direct questions. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Positivity: Opening Pathways of Possibilities - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Positivity with guest Kassie Jorgenson





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You are generous with praise, quick to smile and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. Some call you lighthearted. Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be. But either way, people want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious. Lacking your energy and optimism, some find their world drab with repetition or, worse, heavy with pressure. 

You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit. You inject drama into every project. You celebrate every achievement. You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down. Your Positivity won’t allow it. Somehow you can’t quite escape your conviction that it is good to be alive, that work can be fun and that no matter what the setbacks, one must never lose one’s sense of humor.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Look Back at the 2017 CliftonStrengths Summit: Gaining a Global Perspective

By Bruce Young


Many of today’s workplaces find themselves operating in a global village, where the need for cross-cultural collaboration is becoming more critical. As coaches, we have the unique opportunity to guide our clients through the transition of becoming a global workplace using the tools CliftonStrengths gives us. 

We often refer to CliftonStrengths as a universal language. Despite growing up in South Africa, working for nearly 20 years in London and visiting clients all over the world, I knew that to increase my effectiveness as a coach and consultant I needed to further invest in my understanding of strengths on a global perspective. And so I decided to attend, and present at, the 2017 CliftonStrengths Summit.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Leadership Rhode Island Update - Called to Coach S5E34

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches, 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 currently work 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 starting to see that strengths are the answer to that. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Learner: The Journey from Ignorance to Competence - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Learner with guest Derrick Jack





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You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered — this is the process that entices you. 

Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences — yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Guide to More Hopeful Strengths Coaching

By Tim Simon


Alexander Pope wrote, “Hope springs eternal within the human breast.” 

While there are many definitions of hope, I believe Dr. Shane Lopez defined it best: “Hope is the belief that the future will be better than the present, along with the belief that you have the power to 
make it so.”

Hope is an internal human desire. It helps us move forward and look to the future with greater confidence. Hope is not some esoteric or philosophical concept — it is real and measurable. Consider the following:

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Strategic

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min



Strategic is one of the biggest buzz-words in business today. Leaders and managers want their teams to be “strategic;” employees are urged to think “strategically” instead of “tactically” – to “play chess” instead of “playing checkers;” and nearly every list of competencies that one encounters in a performance review has a “strategic thinking” category that employees are supposed to master if they have even the slightest hope of being promoted. The word is so overused and over-defined that it has lost almost all its meaning. Yet in the taxonomy of Clifton StrengthsFinder themes of talent, Strategic has a very specific definition – and what’s more, Strategic is the fifth most commonly identified theme among the over 12 million individuals who have taken the Clifton Stengthsfinder.

In a nutshell, people strong in the Strategic theme spot relevant patterns in any given scenario, and can quickly create alternate and multiple ways to proceed. Where most see only complexity, they see patterns and alternatives.  Strategic is about considering all the options, selecting the best one, and then moving down that path – often before anyone else does. It’s a specific way of seeing the world.

In this installment of “Compare and Contrast,” I look at the similarities and differences between Strategic and Arranger, Adaptability, and Connectedness.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Award-Winning Employee Program Using Strengths - Called to Coach S5E33

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with guest Fiona Glendinning.






Fiona Glendinning is the Chief Experience Officer at MinterEllison, an international law firm headquartered in Australia. Fiona designed and implemented an employee program called Empower within MinterEllison that uses strengths to help employees deliver a better client experience and to generate organizational cultural change. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Intellection: Understanding of Pragmatic Thinking- Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Intellection with guest Cheryl Pace. 





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You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the “muscles” of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions. This need for mental activity may be focused; for example, you may be trying to solve a problem or develop an idea or understand another person’s feelings. The exact focus will depend on your other strengths. On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus. The theme of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think. 

You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. You are introspective. In a sense, you are your own best companion, as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound. This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that your mind conceives. Or this introspection may tend toward more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later. Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Coaching Updates With Dean Jones - Called to Coach S5E32

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with the Principal Architect of Gallup's Global Learning Strategy, Dean Jones.






In this Called to Coach, Jim Collison and Dean Jones discuss the recent changes to Gallup's website and how it effects the coaching community. 

Registration is now open for the 2018 CliftonStrengths SummitRegister before December 7, 2017, to get early bird pricing.

Visit 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!




Dean Jones is the principal architect of Gallup's global client learning strategy. Dean consults with clients on strategic solutions to address key business issues, including organizational development, performance management, learning and development, productivity and workforce effectiveness. He oversees the direction of Gallup's client learning offerings, the development of the organization's learning consultants, and the growth of Gallup's learning business worldwide, including its public course offerings and learning products.

Dean Jones's top five strengths are Activator, Focus, Woo, Strategic and Relator.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Positivity

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min



“Wow that sounds like fun! Count me in!” said someone high in Positivity – a lot. Positivity brings uplifting emotional stimulation to just about any group, team, or situation. If it’s not fun, let’s make it fun. Positivity sees the bright side, celebrates the win, rallies the troops. Individuals with Positivity in their Top Five are quick to smile, laugh, give praise. The glass is always half full. It isn’t that people strong in the Positivity theme are unrealistic about the negativity and problems that exist in their lives and in the world. It’s that they see attitude is a choice, and they choose to have a positive attitude in the face of adversity. They understand at a deep level the quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln:  “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Individuals with Positivity in their Top Five choose to be happy, choose to see the upside, choose to find the silver lining. That makes them attractive to others, and their positive outlook forms the foundation of all their relationships.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I look at the similarities and differences between Positivity and Woo, Adaptability, and Harmony.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Strengths and Values: A Testimony to the Importance of Talking Values with the Ones You Love

By Austin Suellentrop


Family walking through a meadowSophomore year in high school. Fifteen years old. The homecoming dance is coming up and my friends are starting to make plans. Who do I ask? 

The bright smile, welcoming attitude and positive energy she exudes is contagious — of course I’m going to ask that girl

I walk up to her locker without a single word of what I am going to say planned out; I’ll figure that out when I get there. You see, no matter how much I practiced, I never really knew what would come out of my mouth and yet, somehow, things usually seemed to work out.

Fast-forward 18 years. Married, three kids, several career changes and a lot of laughs later, that girl and I are still the same kids we were in the high school hallway at heart. We have spent many evenings telling stories about that sophomore homecoming dance. In fact, telling stories is one of our favorite things to do. She remains steadfast that we went as “friends;” I hold true to the thought that it was our first real date, even if we did have a third friend drive us around all night.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Input: The Art of Adding Information to Your Archives - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Input with Gallup's Mike McDonald. 





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You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information — words, facts, books and quotations — or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories, but rather to add more information to your archives. 

If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Why are they worth storing? At the time of storing, it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day, some of it will prove valuable

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Make It Personal: Leveraging “Fit” to Create a Culture of Ownership

By Jake Herway


Man holding lightbulbIn a world that requires agile innovation, organizations are desperate to create cultures of ownership, shared responsibility and proactive initiative. Of all the steps we take as managers to be sure people will perform well in a job, the one with the furthest reaching impact is the most commonly overlooked: finding an employee’s personal connection, or personal fit, to the work. 

Ownership comes when it’s mine. “Mine” comes when it’s personal. 

Organizational design, structure and strategy are critical considerations that can help or hinder a person’s ability to take ownership. But even with these structural pieces in place, each employee has to personally engage for their work to come alive and make a difference in the organization. Without personal connection to the work, the reality of an engaged corporate culture never materializes. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Developing Behavioral Competency Programs With Strengths - Called to Coach S5E31

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Amit Gangal.







Amit Gangal started his career over 22 years ago in distributed control systems moving to FMCG and then managing projects and transformation programs in IT service management, delivery, consulting, and learning and development. He has worked with organizations like Hewlett-Packard, CSC, JL Morison and Infosys. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Learner

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min



Woman Studying“Oh, you mean there’s a class I can take on that? … I always loved school! … There’s a webinar series I want to sign up for! … I’ve just started a new job, and there are several books my new manager recommended and I can’t wait to read them!”  These are all statements that would tend to resonate with individuals who have Learner in their Top Five. Learners, quite simply, love to learn. Often times it is the process of learning itself that excites and energizes Learner talents. I once had a colleague with Learner sitting at number one in his Top Five, and every year he would take a class on something that had absolutely nothing to do with his employment. One year he took classes on installing all kinds of flooring. Another year he took flying lessons. Another year he learned French.  The utility of what he was going to learn wasn’t the driving factor; it was his level of interest in the subject. Learners follow the things that interest them, and they are always interested in learning something new. If a subject area is of deep interest to them or particularly relevant to their jobs, those high in Learner may very well seek mastery in that area – the idea of being a subject matter expert is quite appealing to those with strong Learner talents.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I look at the differences and similarities between Learner and Achiever, Ideation, and Focus.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ideation: A New Perspective on Familiar Challenges - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Ideation with guest Maureen Electa Monte. 





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You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges. 

You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle. You love all these ideas because they are profound, because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary and because they are bizarre. For all these reasons, you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days, this is enough.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Using CliftonStrengths for Positive Student Mentoring - Called to Coach S5E30

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with TeamMates Mentoring Program leaders, Allyson Horne and Tess Starman.






Please describe TeamMates
  • Teammates is a school-based mentoring program
  • Started back in about 1991 with a group of about 20 mentors willing to give an hour a week in the school district
  • They were screened and trained
  • Now have close to 8,000 across Nebraska and Iowa, expanding into Wyoming, South Dakota and Kansas
  • We’re not just school-based, we’re strengths-based
  • Focused on the good; do a lot of strengths spotting
  • Grades 3-12
  • Mentors and mentees stayed matched over the years

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Intellection

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Several years ago while watching Late Night with David Letterman, Dave turned to his band leader Paul Shaffer and said – with self-deprecating humor, “You know, Paul, there’s no off position on the genius switch.” I always laugh when I remember that image, but it’s the phrase that I think best fits Intellection. Always thinking, always pondering, always the internal hum of the turbines of the mind. Satchel Paige is said to have mused, “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” Intellection cannot relate to that quote, because there is no time that is not thinking time. For those high in Intellection, thinking is synonymous with doing. Individuals who have Intellection in their Top Five are introspective and need time for musing and reflection. “Let me think about it and get back to you” are words those high in Intellection utter on a regular basis. Descartes famous phrase “I think, therefore I am” succinctly sums up the point of view of Intellection.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the differences and similarities between Intellection— a thinking theme – and Learner, Input, and Analytical – three other thinking themes.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Powerful Partnership through Acceptance: A Deep Dive into 1 of the 8 Elements of Collaboration

By Tonya Fredstrom and Adam Hickman


If you’ve read Gallup’s Power of 2, you know the eight elements of creating powerful partnerships: Complementary Strengths, Common Mission, Fairness, Trust, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Communicating and Unselfishness. Beginning a partnership with purposeful attention to complementary strengths is a good starting point, but how do you continue to grow a “Power of 2” that yields greater results than either partner could achieve alone? What we’ve learned may be helpful as you work with your clients to become more intentional about forming, developing and maximizing partnerships. 

Partnerships are quickly and easily formed with people most like yourself. However in our case, Adam was new to Gallup whereas I had been with Gallup several years, so we didn’t know if we were like each other or not when our manager first asked us to partner on a project. As we worked together, we got a clearer picture of how we were alike — and how we were different. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Input

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Some of the most meaningful moments I’ve had in the last three years came while I had the extreme privilege of co-leading Strengths Coaching courses with Gallup’s Strengths Guru, the late Curt Liesveld.  I always learned so much from Curt – about Strengths, about coaching, and about life. One of the many things I learned from Curt was the value of comparing and contrasting. Curt would often say that one of the best ways of gaining clarity on themes was to do what your English teacher asked you to do in essays:  “compare and contrast.”  Just as this process helped students better understand what were often times complex concepts, it can also help coaches better understand the intricacies of different themes. 

Any theme, when paired with another, takes on the power and edge of its partner.  So the beauty in understanding how two themes work together lies in the opportunity it provides as coaches.  We can help people understand they are not either one theme or another, but the combination and of several themes altogether.  

 If you’re ready to take your understanding of individual themes to the next level, this activity of compare and contrast will help you better coach around the themes of talent  This installment compares and contrasts Input with Learner, Analytical, and Includer.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Strengths Circle of Competence: A Powerful Concept for Reaching Success

By Carlos Martinez



Puzzle pieces and upward graphCompetence is defined as the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. As an individual and a leader, I always strive to display competence by leveraging my own strengths to maximize the strengths of others. I am privileged to have the opportunity to do this each day while directing a manufacturing site that employs individuals with a wide range of educational backgrounds, from high school graduates to those with doctoral degrees. It is my mission to help individuals achieve success by understanding their strengths and aligning them to a role with an aim for performance excellence. 

When individuals understand that leveraging their strengths leads to efficient and successful achievement of their goals — competency — they can more clearly identify the areas that may lead to the opposite result. We can visualize such practical knowledge as a circle. Everything inside the circle is a strength, and everything outside the circle is not. This is our strengths circle of competence.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Futuristic: Creating a Vivid Picture of the Future - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Futuristic with guest Travis Guse. 





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“Wouldn’t it be great if ...” You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow. While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests — a better product, a better team, a better life or a better world — it will always be inspirational to you. 

You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future, and they energize you. They can energize others too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future. They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits. You can paint it for them. Practice. Choose your words carefully. Make the picture as vivid as possible. People will want to latch on to the hope you bring.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Strengths: A Way to Help People Find Their Voice - Called to Coach - S5E28

On a recent Called to Coach Australia Edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Kate Cawthorn.







Kate Cawthorn is the Co-Founder & Managing Director of Speakers Institute. As a regular speaker at events, Kate has travelled across Australia and internationally, and has helped over one thousand people discover their CliftonStrengths. 

When you think back to your Accelerated Strengths Coaching course and when you were coming to terms with your top 5, can you talk about that?
Being in a room with an amazing group of people and hearing about their businesses and what they were doing with coaching and strengths, Kate felt envious of their strengths. Strengths like Focus, Discipline and Strategic that helped her classmates put a well-structured coaching business together. She felt she had all the mushy ones. 

“It was a blind spot for me to see a value in my strengths. Before the coaching space, I hadn’t been able to see the value.”

Monday, October 2, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Ideation

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Woman PaintingThose with strong Ideation talents are fascinated by ideas. A new idea makes their day, and often times the ideas come like popcorn. I had a colleague high in Ideation who said she would often vow to stay quiet during team meetings, but at around the 20-minute mark found herself clutching the edge of the table in order to keep all the ideas from bursting forth. I see three aspects to Ideation: Creativity, Complexity, and Connectivity. Ideation can be very creative, and the creativity can take two forms. One is a blue sky, blank canvas approach. Some with Ideation high are at their best creating something out of nothing. The other form of creativity is reacting to and improving/changing that which already exists – looking at something and thinking, “What if we did this, or changed this? What would it look like if we turned it around this way?” Ideation loves complexity, often just for the sheer sake of the intricacy of it all. One individual with Ideation in his Top Five is fascinated with Medieval European history – not because he has Context, but because that era of history is so complex and variated. Ideation also loves to make the complex simple and find the common thread. The connectivity of Ideation comes from the ability to see and find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena or ideas. Finding the connection is a particular thrill for those high in Ideation.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the similarities and differences between Ideation and Intellection, Futuristic, and Input.  All of these themes are thinking themes, so there are many similarities among them. But the differences, while often subtle, are important.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Celebrating You for Combating Strengths Skepticism

By Tim Simon


Strengths and Weakness wheelIn 2016, the CEO of a well-known assessment company wrote a review of the CliftonStrengths assessment in a prestigious business magazine. I think three statements pretty much sum up the review: 

1.   Strengths-based coaching weakens individuals.
2.   We would be better off if society ended its fascination with strengths.
3.   If an organization’s focus is to make people productive and effective, then they should work on mitigating people’s weaknesses.

I can respect those who disagree with the science and functionality of the CliftonStrengths assessment, although there is ample evidence that the CliftonStrengths assessment is valid, reliable and practical. Gallup’s 2015 meta-analysis of individuals who received strengths-based development confirms the practical and measurable results of the assessment. More than 17 million individuals have taken the CliftonStrengths assessment, and the number of individuals and organizations using the tool continues to grow each day. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Context: Looking to the Past to Discover a Powerful Future - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Context with guest Marty Monte. 





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You look back. You look back because that is where the answers lie. You look back to understand the present. From your vantage point, the present is unstable, a confusing clamor of competing voices. It is only by casting your mind back to an earlier time, a time when the plans were being drawn up, that the present regains its stability. The earlier time was a simpler time. It was a time of blueprints. As you look back, you begin to see these blueprints emerge. You realize what the initial intentions were. These blueprints or intentions have since become so embellished that they are almost unrecognizable, but now this Context theme reveals them again. 

This understanding brings you confidence. No longer disoriented, you make better decisions because you sense the underlying structure. You become a better partner because you understand how your colleagues came to be who they are. And counterintuitively, you become wiser about the future because you saw its seeds being sown in the past. Faced with new people and new situations, it will take you a little time to orient yourself, but you must give yourself this time. You must discipline yourself to ask the questions and allow the blueprints to emerge because no matter what the situation, if you haven’t seen the blueprints, you will have less confidence in your decisions

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Futuristic

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Man looking at a future city“What’s next? … Here’s where we should be in ten years. … Future generations will thank us. … We need to do some long-range planning. … Here’s my vision of what we could become.” These are all statements that individuals high in Futuristic have likely said or thought at one time or another.  Futuristic sees tomorrow in vivid detail, anticipates or imagines what could be, and inspires others with that vision. Futuristic is not content with the status quo, but rather is inspired but what the organization, relationship, the situation can become. Those with Futuristic in their Top Five often spend so much time thinking about and envisioning the future that today can seem like the past.  Futuristic challenges an organization or team to think beyond quarterly results and create a plan that will bring long term success. Forecasts and projections energize those with strong Futuristic talents, and their approach to problem solving is far less concerned with how we got here than with where we are going.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast I examine the similarities and differences between Futuristic and Strategic, Consistency, and Positivity.

Friday, September 22, 2017

BP10 Quarterly Update - Called to Coach S5E29

On a recent BP10 Quarterly Update, we spoke with Gallup Global Channel Leader, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation, Todd Johnson.




The BP10 just passed 100,000 completes. It’s not 17 million like the CliftonStrengths assessment, but we’re on our way! About 60,000 of the 100,000 completes are students, with over 20 countries participating. We’re going to start running frequencies on the BP10 completes, we’ll be looking at prevalence. What is the number one builder talent? What is the most rare? Stay tuned for more data on that.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Builder Talent in Action: Will This Disruptor Solve America’s Job Problems?

By Jessica Buono

Have you ever heard of a job factory?

You will soon. 


Jason Walker will change the world. He can’t help but take ideas and transform them into something valuable. He continuously seeks out and discovers novel solutions and new paths that anticipate the needs of communities, businesses and customers. 

Jason pushes beyond boundaries in ways that others would never imagine, and he’s good at it.

You see, Jason is a Disruptor. And job factories and corporate venture factories are his latest disruptions.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Analytical: The Insistence that Theories be Sound - Theme Thursday Season 3

On this Theme Thursday Season Three webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Analytical with Gallup's Benjamin Erikson-Farr. 





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Your Analytical theme challenges other people: “Prove it. Show me why what you are claiming is true.” In the face of this kind of questioning, some will find that their brilliant theories wither and die. For you, this is precisely the point. You do not necessarily want to destroy other people’s ideas, but you do insist that their theories be sound. You see yourself as objective and dispassionate. You like data because they are value free. They have no agenda. Armed with these data, you search for patterns and connections. 

You want to understand how certain patterns affect one another. How do they combine? What is their outcome? Does this outcome fit with the theory being offered or the situation being confronted? These are your questions. You peel the layers back until, gradually, the root cause or causes are revealed. Others see you as logical and rigorous. Over time, they will come to you in order to expose someone’s “wishful thinking” or “clumsy thinking” to your refining mind. It is hoped that your analysis is never delivered too harshly. Otherwise, others may avoid you when that “wishful thinking” is their own.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Coaching Q&A With Dean Jones - Called to Coach S5E27

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup's Talent Development Architect, Dean Jones.






Dean Jones is the principal architect of Gallup's global client learning strategy. Dean consults with clients on strategic solutions to address key business issues, including organizational development, performance management, learning and development, productivity and workforce effectiveness.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Context

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Woman looking back in a rearview mirror. Where have we been? What has worked before? What hasn’t? How did we get here? Are there prior best practices we can implement? These are all questions individuals high in Context are likely to ask. Context focuses on understanding the past in order to make sense of the present, and to chart a course forward. Those with strong Context talents are very likely to enjoy history, look to the “blueprints,” and become wiser about the future because they understand the past.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I examine the differences and similarities between Context and Analytical, Connectedness, and Restorative.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Positive Psychology in Practice: Each Moment Matters

By Tim Simon


In 2004, Gallup published the book How Full Is Your Bucket? The book was a collaboration between Don Clifton and his grandson, Tom Rath.

In the book, Don and Tom discuss the importance of everyday interactions and how increasing the positive interactions can make a big difference in a person’s life, stressing that, “Positive emotions are essential daily requirements for survival.” Essential daily requirements. It almost sounds like a slogan for a daily vitamin. But this statement is grounded in years of solid research, beginning with Don’s work at the University of Nebraska in the 1950s and continuing today with hundreds of scientists around the globe.    

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize recipient and Gallup Senior Scientist Emeritus, suggests that each day, we experience approximately 20,000 moments. A “moment” is defined as a few seconds when our brains record an experience. The moments that stay with us are either positive or negative -- usually not neutral. While we cannot take time to analyze each moment of our life, we could consciously begin to practice the art of increasing the number of positive interactions each day. Think about how just one positive interaction can turn your day around. Think about how these daily interactions can change your life and those you connect with.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Analytical

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min


Analytical Magnifying Glass
Analytical is what I call a “questioning” theme – people high in Analytical tend to ask a lot of questions. The questions they ask are most likely of the “prove it to me” variety:  “Where did you get that information? What does the data say? Have you done your homework? What are your sources? What is the evidence to back it up? How do you know this will work?” Analytical focuses on the facts, figures, data, and evidence to come to conclusions and find patterns. Before acting, individuals with Analytical in their Top Five will weigh the evidence, study the data, and make an informed decision – then take action. Sound thinking is the hallmark of Analytical, and objectivity is the goal.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I will explore the similarities and differences between Analytical and Strategic, Learner, and Focus.

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