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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Positivity -- Optimism that Fuels Emotional Influence -- Theme Thursday Season 4

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




Those especially talented in the Positivity theme have contagious enthusiasm.  They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.  This Relationship Building theme brings an emotional influence and the ability to set the tone of the room, team, or space.

The Most Important Question: My Meeting With Don Clifton

By Cathy DeWeese


CliftonStrengths coaching and performance stem from a revolutionary question Don Clifton asked: “What would happen if we studied what is right with people instead of focusing on what is wrong with them?” For many coaches, this question sets the tone for the Positive Psychology movement. For Don, it wasn’t just a campaign slogan; asking this was actually a practice. 

About 18 years ago, I transitioned from the role of Gallup manager to Gallup workplace consultant. In this role, I am a Strengths coach and am on our Selection team. We use research-based predictive analytics to help organizations identify individuals with the talent to be top performers in a role. We then give advice to hiring managers and organizational leaders to help them make the best hiring decisions. 

A few months into my new position, I was asked to work on a project with Don. He was selecting interns to work with him during the summer. He needed someone to interview the candidates, analyze their data, and then give feedback to him about the candidates’ talents, strengths, opportunities and, ultimately, who was the best talent fit for the internship.

Can I just tell you how nervous I was? Working on a project with Don Clifton! Before that, I had already worked at Gallup about 10 years. But I had never worked with Don on anything. Here I was, some young, dumb kid, having to give feedback to the man who invented our selection science. These responsibilities elicited one response from me: “Gulp!” No, make that “Double gulp!”

I interviewed the candidates and took copious notes on each one. Based on the analytical research, I ended up with four candidates to present to Don. The day for our meeting approached. My nervousness increased. 

To prepare, I wrote everything I could think of on each person. I read and reread my information. I studied my notes. I asked other Gallup consultants what to expect in my meeting. I heard things like, “Oh, you’ll be fine!” and “You’re going to learn so much from him. He is an excellent teacher.” I also heard things like, “You’d better be prepared!” and “He’s going to ask you tough questions.” It was because of these latter kinds of comments that I walked into my meeting with about four pages of notes per candidate. Looking back, I can see that was a tad bit too much. Just a tad! At the time, though, I was worried I didn’t know enough. 

I can still remember the conference room and the round table. I walked in and sat down. Folder for each candidate? Check. Notes and information in order? Check. Two pens in case I needed one extra? Check. Check. Nervous, anxious, wanting to make a good impression? Check! Check! And check! I was as ready as I was ever going to be. 

Don walked in, smiled slightly and sat down across from me. I don’t remember much small talk. I do remember him saying something like, “What do you have for me on these internship candidates?”

I asked him who he would like to start reviewing first. He told me: The one who has the most talent. 

So I opened my folder, got out my notes, and began to talk about the person who scored the highest on the assessment. I started to talk about his motivations, what he wanted in his career and why he applied to work at Gallup. After I said only a few things, Don interrupted me. He asked me, “What does he do well?” I stopped for a moment and thought. Then I continued to talk about his work style and how he likes to be busy, is president of his fraternity, and likes to work hard and get good grades. 

Don interrupted me a second time. “What does he do well?” he asked again. I stopped talking and reconsidered his question. I looked into his blue eyes. He was staring intensely back at me. “Uh-oh,” I thought. “I am blowing this.” I considered the question and began again. I started talking about how the intern was nice to speak with on the phone, and he liked working on teams in his classes at school. Don interrupted me a third time. He picked up the pile of papers I was reading from and turned them upside down on the table. He looked me square in the eye and asked, “What does he do well?”

I sat there, a bit dazed. Yep, I just blew this big time. I had failed to give Don the answer he wanted the first two times -- would the third time be the charm? Then he smiled again. Can a smile be simultaneously encouraging and demanding? This one was. So I thought about my candidate. I thought about all the information I had gathered on him. I thought about everything he had told me. Then I thought about what he did well. 

I don’t mean to say that all of a sudden the clouds parted, the sun shone in and I suddenly waxed poetic about the candidates. I am pretty sure I stammered along. I am pretty sure I made an impression that day, and probably not the one I wanted to. But something did shift in my thinking. It is so important to consider what a person does well. Not good or above average, but well. What do they do with excellence?

As I continued my feedback session with Don, I looked at this person through that lens. He was a successful president and student. He leads others well and he studies well. I thought about his strong ability to keep himself on task and present until he completes his projects and work for the day. He focuses on goals well. I thought about his ability to stay up late to tutor his friends, to go out of his way to help others and how he brought little tokens of thanks to people who have helped him. He builds relationships well and can be relied on. These are some of the things we talked about in answer to the question, “What does he do well?” 

We proceeded to review all four candidates and I never again looked at my notes. I saw their names and remembered their stories, but instead of giving Don a copious amount of information about each candidate, I just answered that single question: “What does this person do well?” When you look for it, you see it!

That question is at the heart of Gallup’s Strengths science and Selection science. It resonates with me. It is something I try to be mindful of in my coaching and analytics work. What does a person do well? How can they do that as much as possible? How can they use what they do well to help mitigate what they struggle with? 

What if every manager and leader looked at each employee and asked, “What do they do well?” and then put that person in a role that best suited their unique contributions? What if they coached and mentored that person to do more of what they do well? What if they created teams full of people with complementary talents? How would that transform organizations?

This very transformation is where our obligation lies as CliftonStrengths coaches. Remember, Don’s reaction to a simple meeting was to begin with the most talented candidate. A focus on what is strong isn’t just nice and engaging, it’s efficient. There is too much untapped potential in our world for us to spend our time fixing problems and filling gaps. The power of talent is too promising for us not to focus our energy on learning more about it, making the most of it and putting it to immediate use. 

When you’re asking people what they do well, that very question brings both an energy and an urgency. You’re expecting greatness, not just completion. You’re accelerating the time it takes to reach full potential, because you’re investing in areas that are already full of talent. 

What if every parent looked at their child and asked, “What do they do well?” and tried to develop that as much as possible? How many children would go into the world knowing their talents and strengths and feeling secure in what they have to offer?
What if every teacher looked at each student and asked, “What do they do well?” and then individualized to that student? How would learning and educational outcomes improve? 

What if every significant other looked at their loved one and asked, “What do they do well?” instead of dwelling on that person’s shortcomings or failings? How would that question serve as the antidote to the poisonous thoughts that can take hold of and kill a relationship? 

What if you looked in the mirror and asked yourself, “What do I do well?” and then went out and did just that?

That my friends, is the power of a question. One question. The power to transform. Ask it today.




Cathy DeWeese is a Senior Workplace Consultant at Gallup in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Cathy has been with Gallup since 1990. Cathy is an expert in Gallup’s strengths-based development science and coaching practice. She serves as an expert coach, providing highly individualized coaching sessions that help clients maximize their potential by using their talents to achieve measurable business outcomes. Cathy serves as a trusted adviser to client hiring managers, maintaining strong relationships with them by providing support and guidance as they make selection decisions using talent-based principles.

Cathy's Top 5 strengths are Individualization, Arranger, Maximizer, Input and Relator.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"It's Not Just My Job, It's My Life" -- Driving Employee Engagement (Q10) -- Gallup Called to Coach: Mike McDonald (S6E41)

On this special edition of Called to Coach, we will spend time investigating the experiential, emotional and empirical aspects of each element of Gallup's Q12 engagement instrument and learning how it increases the power of our coaching as a primary driver of success. This series will be hosted by Dr. Mike McDonald, Senior Workplace Consultant at Gallup, who started at Gallup in 1990 as a manager/team leader and has had a variety of roles but has always led a team. One of his primary concerns for managers is one that he’s experienced himself: How many well-intentioned team leaders are there who are working really hard but don’t have any coaching or context about engagement and how do they lead to engagement through their strengths?








In this session, Mike talks about Q10 -- "I have a best friend at work." Below is a summary of the conversation. Full audio and video are posted above.


Resources:
This question generates a lot of friction -- and that's the beauty of it. Jane Miller, our COO at Gallup, says, "Conflict creates clarity" -- and I'd say even that "Chaos creates clarity." Those moments are super hard, but provides a lot of clarity. Use this question to your advantage. 

This is a powerful, thought-provoking question that not only provides clarity but also discovery. So we confirm some things but find some things we haven't seen before. 

There is so much psychologically and relationally that we need from our workplaces as represented by Q10. The motivational request behind this item is, "Help me build mutual trust." If people at work have your back, with unconditional trust, think about the freedom you have to deliver world-class performance. If you don't have that, there's a hesitation and a withholding of effort.

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Team "Pulse Check": Quality -- Driving Employee Engagement (Q09) -- Gallup Called to Coach: Mike McDonald (S6E40)

On this special edition of Called to Coach, we will spend time investigating the experiential, emotional and empirical aspects of each element of Gallup's Q12 engagement instrument and learning how it increases the power of our coaching as a primary driver of success. This series will be hosted by Dr. Mike McDonald, Senior Workplace Consultant at Gallup, who started at Gallup in 1990 as a manager/team leader and has had a variety of roles but has always led a team. One of his primary concerns for managers is one that he’s experienced himself: How many well-intentioned team leaders are there who are working really hard but don’t have any coaching or context about engagement and how do they lead to engagement through their strengths?





In this session, Mike talks about Q09 -- "My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work." Below is a summary of the conversation. Full audio and video are posted above.

Resources:
Moving past Q06 brings us into unexplored territory for a lot of organizations. The experiential is important in thinking about this item and affects the quality of our coaching.

Qs06-12 are important for coaches in that they can bring added value to an organization. Q09 is not necessarily intuitive, and coaches need to step in and help organizations see its importance to engagement. 

It's important that the question uses a "we" and not an "I" -- it can be a "pulse check" on how the team feels about each other. If they don't trust each other, the work is going to be subpar.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Maximizer -- Excellence As a Measure and Pursuit-- Theme Thursday Season 4

On this Theme Thursday Season Four webcast, Jim Collison, Gallup's Director of Talent Sourcing, and Maika Leibbrandt, Senior Workplace Consultant, talk about Maximizer






People exceptionally talented in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb. Maximizers see talents and strengths in others, usually before anyone else does. Strengths — whether their own or someone else’s — fascinate them. Maximizers love to help others become excited about their potential. They have the capacity to see what people do best and which jobs they will be good at. They can see how people’s talents match the tasks that must be completed. Excellence, not average, is their measure and pursuit. They have a quality orientation that leads them to focus on areas of strength for themselves and others and to manage around weakness.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Learner -- A Desire to Learn and Improve -- Theme Thursday Season 4

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






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.”

The Fight for Talent: Two Secrets Great Leaders Know

By Joanna Wiesinger


My husband recently introduced me to Wriston’s Law of Capital. He mentioned it in passing as we were leisurely sipping our morning coffee. The powerful concept behind the law would not let me enjoy the rest of the day until I connected it with one thing that’s often on my mind: talents. The law states:

"Capital will always go where it’s welcome and stay where it’s well-treated.”


Economists have used this law to predict the prosperity of companies -- and even countries -- based on how well they welcomed investment capital. But I happen to agree with Forbes’ Rich Karlgaard’s assertion that capital is more than just money; it’s also people and ideas.

For me, as a Strengths Coach, this law explains why some leaders attract people, while others seem to outright repel them. It can be reduced to two keys: welcoming others’ talents and then treating those talents well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Mastery Monday: Productive Aiming -- Input (2018)

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min.

In the 1986 movie “Short Circuit,” a military robot, Johnny Five, is struck by lightning and as a result is given consciousness. In one memorable scene, Johnny Five is wheeling frantically around his new surroundings examining everything he encounters, all the while crying out, “Input! I need input!” Those with the talent theme of Input among their Signature Themes can resonate with that sentiment -- they need input! There is a natural inquisitiveness to Input, a desire to know more, to ask questions, to find out the what, when, where, how and, especially, why. Their need to know more can be limited to a particular subject area -- but often that is not the case; they want to know more about everything they encounter. Input collects -- sometimes things, but often ideas or experiences. Those with Input are archivers -- storers, sorters and organizers of information. There is a utilitarian nature to Input; ideas and even objects are saved because they may be useful, either now or in the future. Input wants to know more -- and wants you to know more too, often offering an article, a website, a book or a movie that you might find helpful, useful or entertaining. “Tell me more” is the mantra of Input.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Having a Social Heart and a Commercial Mind: Q12 and Strengths in a Not-for-Profit -- Gallup Called to Coach: Emma Cocilovo (S6E39)

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Emma Cocilovo, Head of People and Development at St George Community Housing (SGCH) in Sydney, Australia, about her extensive experience with Q12 and CliftonStrengths in for-profit, government, and not-for-profit settings, and how she uses these tools in her current not-for-profit organization. SGCH provides housing for more than 8,900 people in 4,700 properties across the Sydney metropolitan area. SGCH's mission is to develop and manage sustainable, safe and affordable homes and to work in partnership to create vibrant, inclusive communities. 



Below is a summary of the conversation. Full audio and video are posted above. 

Host Jim Collison: Anne Lingafelter is our host today. She works as a Learning Consultant at Gallup, out of our Sydney, Australia, office. Anne, welcome to Called to Coach. 

Guest host Anne Lingafelter: Thanks, Jim, it’s great to be here. I was saying how much I’m enjoying your Q12 Called to Coach blogs -- that’s a big “thumbs up” from me. I am very proud of the Australia coaches who have come on this show -- I think we have put on some masterful shows. Today is absolutely no different.

Emma Cocilovo is a certified Strengths Coach and has been working with Q12 and engagement for well over a decade. She’s done that in corporate environments and government environments, and now for a not-for-profit. I have seen gem after gem after gem in my show notes that Emma has incorporated over the past decade-plus. Emma, welcome to Called to Coach. Really happy that you’re here.

Emma Cocilovo: Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m really excited to be a part of it, and I genuinely love talking about this material.

AL: The not-for-profit that you’re working for is a community housing organization in Sydney and that you’re developing and managing sustainable, safe and affordable homes, and working in partnership to create a vibrant and inclusive community. Obviously the not-for-profit space has some unique challenges, and I’m sure we’ll be able to address those.

But I want to go back to the beginning and talk about how you first came across the Q12 instrument.

EC: Absolutely. So I was first exposed to the Q12 early in my career, when I was working as part of a large financial services organization, and we rolled that out as our annual employee engagement instrument. And I instantly connected and related to it -- it was simple and easy to grasp, but yet short and succinct. It was something that could be a pro forma for leadership and team membership.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A New Look at Your CliftonStrengths 34 -- Gallup Called to Coach: Tiffany Saulnier (S6E38)

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Tiffany Saulnier about the new CliftonStrengths  34 report that will be available in October, along with other changes to Gallup's CliftonStrengths offerings. Tiffany explained how the new "all 34" report will help coaches add depth to their coaching, and what they can expect as Gallup continues to revise and update its CliftonStrengths offerings over the months and years to come. Tiffany is the CliftonStrengths Brand Manager at Gallup.



Below is a summary of the conversation. Full audio and video are posted above. 


Host Jim Collison: Tiffany Saulnier is my guest today. Welcome to Called to Coach!

Tiffany Saulnier: Thank you, Jim!

JC: Lots of folks are excited about our all 34 report that’s coming out. Tiffany, the reason we had you here today was to give folks a lot of information about this. I think this is the first time we’ve gone external with this.

TS: Jim, you’re absolutely right. This is the first time we’re sharing the new 34 report publicly. So we are super excited to share this, and I’m here on behalf of a large team of people who have come together to create this brand-new CliftonStrengths 34 report. So I’m going to share some slides and demo the report.

So your main question will be, “When can I get this report?” Those of you who came to the CliftonStrengths Summit this summer may have seen a “sneak peek” at the report. And we’ve been saying “fall 2018” but now we have a specific date. This new report will go live across all of our Gallup platforms on October 24.