The 4 Steps You Need to Sophisticate Your Strengths

The 4 Steps You Need to Sophisticate Your Strengths

We’ve all been there - we think we’re in our element, performing our best, and then someone tells us otherwise. Turns out what we felt were thoughtful questions came off as stubborness, or our excitement about what could make the project better made everyone else feel criticized. All too often, we don’t realize how we come across until others hold up a mirror to us. This can be especially true of our Strengths, those things we’re just naturally good at and may not pay much attention to. It’s important when it comes to feedback that we look ourselves in that mirror and ask, “Are my Strengths showing up in a sophisticated way?” Exploring our sophistication begins with understanding the impact our Strengths have on others. Are you willing to look? As StrengthsFinder defines them, our Strengths are neutral. They’re simply building blocks, and it’s up to us to choose whether we apply them productively (sophisticated), or not (unsophisticated). Allow me to share an example from my own life: I talk too much. During a recent conversation with a Trybmate, I found myself (yet again) in a long-winded description. As usual, my side of the dialogue was filled with adjectives, big words and extraneous information. And (as usual) my colleague was appropriately brief in their responses, no doubt used to my verbosity. But the thing is, I knew I was being wordy AND I was making an active, earnest attempt to curb it. As a matter of fact, here was my inner dialogue during our chat: “Jamie, why are you using so many words?” “You know you could’ve said that...
[Lucrative Lookback] How to Kill Death By Meeting With StrengthsFinder Methodology

[Lucrative Lookback] How to Kill Death By Meeting With StrengthsFinder Methodology

Our meetings Suck! “We meet about meetings to plan meetings.” “Here’s another wasted hour!” Sound familiar? In this week’s Lucrative Lookback, we’ll show you how to use the StrengthsFinder tool to optimize your meeting time and get results while you’re at it! Why are meetings a perpetual problem? There are a ton of books on the subject, communication courses, college classes, seminars, etc. Google the word “meeting” and you’ll get millions, yes MILLIONS, of hits. Yet, our meetings suck! Grrrrr!!! A Strengths-Based Culture offers opportunity for success. Consider your team’s strengths. Is the team balanced with Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, Executing, and Influencing strengths? Does it need to be balanced? Reference the following table from Gallup: **********************Word of caution here! *************************** Strengths is a POSITIVE tool meant for use in a manner of sophistication and abundance. The objective is to allow people to flourish by doing what they do best. Combinations of various talents and sophistication of an individual’s understanding of the tool all play into application. Unsophisticated use shows up as labeling and stereotyping = NOT the correct use of the tool. The domain or specific talents that an individual displays don’t directly relate to the tasks that person does best or wants to do. Knowing this info does provide the opportunity to have a safe discussion with the individual about applying their talents to specific tasks. ***********Now that we’ve established this critical point, let’s continue!************** Now consider the case of a meeting to brainstorm new product design. Meeting objective: Brainstorm new product ideas Strategic thinkers can’t wait for this meeting and are ready to talk and discuss...
[Lucrative Lookback] How to Leverage Your Team’s Strengths in the Workplace

[Lucrative Lookback] How to Leverage Your Team’s Strengths in the Workplace

We all have those little things we don’t enjoy doing. They’re usually the things we stuff to the bottom of our to-do list. For some, it’s expense reports, for others it’s making a powerpoint to show to the boss. Think about whatever those pesky little tasks are for you; I bet you can come up with a handful. In this Lucrative Lookback, we’ll see how leveraging the strengths of your teammates can help you eliminate some of those pesky little tasks. In fact, what would life be like if you could eliminate at least half of them from your life? Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it?! It’s possible to make this a reality when you learn to leverage your team’s Strengths! Let’s see it in action. Boss: “I’ve had it with this “bleeping” car! “ Me: “What? What’s wrong?” Boss: “I’m supposed to pick up our two most valuable clients and it’s making loud grinding noises and won’t accelerate!” Me: “OK. Are you alright? Do I need to come get you?” Boss: “I’m pissed! This damn thing won’t go over 20 mph, the engine is revved but won’t shift into upper gears, and when I come to a complete stop the engine dies. Now I’m coasting to every stop light in hopes of not actually having to stop!” The company car was several years old and based on the description from my boss, Christine, I figured the transmission was shot. Long story short, the mechanic said the repairs were more than the car was worth. So, Christine says, “This car is a piece of shit! You can squash it flat...
Lucrative Lookback: How to Kill Death By Meeting Using StrengthsFinder Methodology

Lucrative Lookback: How to Kill Death By Meeting Using StrengthsFinder Methodology

Are meetings about meetings killing you softly? Everyone is talking over each other, or repeating the same thing, or refusing to listen…perhaps all of the above. Well, what if there was a tool that could possibly give you insight into how to run a meeting efficiently AND ensure everyone feels heard and well utilized? In this Lucrative Lookback, we’ll pull one of our all time favorite tools out of our toolbox, StrengthsFinder! Our meetings suck! “We meet about meetings to plan meetings.” “Here’s another wasted hour!” Sound familiar? But… why are meetings a perpetual problem? There are a ton of books on the subject, communication courses, college classes, seminars, etc. Google the word “meeting” and you’ll get millions, yes MILLIONS, of hits. Yet, our meetings suck! Grrrrr!!! A strengths-based culture offers opportunity for success. Consider your team’s strengths. Is the team balanced with Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, Executing, and Influencing strengths? Does it need to be balanced? Reference the following table from Gallup: **********************Word of caution here! *************************** Strengths is a POSITIVE tool meant for use in a manner of sophistication and abundance. The objective is to allow people to flourish by doing what they do best. Combinations of various talents and sophistication of an individual’s understanding of the tool all play into application. Unsophisticated use shows up as labeling and stereotyping = NOT the correct use of the tool. The domain or specific talents that an individual displays don’t directly relate to the tasks that person does best or wants to do. Knowing this info does provide the opportunity to have a safe discussion with the individual about...
Does a Strengths approach actually make a positive difference?

Does a Strengths approach actually make a positive difference?

“You just want to plug us in like machines. You want us walking around with cords hanging out of our ass like we’re not even real people!” Marshall, was an inspector on the shop floor and had been working more years than I’d been alive. I was a new manager with no prior management experience and they damn sure didn’t teach me how to deal with this situation in school.  I’ve often reflected back to that interaction with Marshall. I did NOT want to plug him in. I DID see him as a person. The only tools I had however, seemed to push more and more towards robots versus real people.  That was frustrating to me and my team. Over the years I randomly grasped for resources to help.  As many of us do, I picked up books including The Goal, Good to Great, The One Minute Manager, The Toyota Way, etc. These are all great and I got good information from each. I even enjoyed reading most of them. That said, something was still missing. Enter strengths. Most of my teams had talented, passionate people that wanted to be successful. What I see now and not so much then, is that each person contributes in their own unique way. The trick is identifying those contributions and harnessing that talent for what it is and where it resides. In other words, if my strength is being analytical and I get opportunities to leverage that talent, I’ll show up stronger, happier, and more productive.  If you ask me to do something with incomplete data and no facts, I’m going to...
How to Work With Difficult Personalities That Make You Cringe

How to Work With Difficult Personalities That Make You Cringe

Think about this… To date, we don’t have computers as sophisticated as the human brain. Each of your coworkers has potentially more computational power than any of the computers at your company! Perhaps you’re thinking, “Not my coworkers! Some of them just have difficult personalities. They could never be as sophisticated as a door knob, much less a computer!” Now, consider this quote by Albert Einstein:  “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” People have unique talents that act as their filter for how they think, act, and feel. If everyone had exactly the same talents and thought exactly the same way, life would be pretty boring and new ideas would be rare at best. There’s power in diversity and seeing it as an opportunity versus a barrier. Perhaps those slow, useless, dim coworkers aren’t so slow, useless or dim after all.  Often the problem is simple understanding. Instead of leveraging the distinct talents of individuals, our tendency is often to judge based on our own unique filter of talents. Tomorrow, when you sit at or log in to your staff meeting, project call, production meeting, etc.  consider how your team is showing up:  Who is competitive?  Who is impatient?  Who is deliberative in their thought process?  Who is best at communicating their points?  Who keeps the team focused?  Who includes everyone in the conversation?  Who commands the room when they speak? You might find you’re sitting with a team of rock stars full of untapped potential.  ______________________________________________________________________________________Ready...