Harmony: Masters of Kumbaya
|Angelica Cole found her strengths zone within our Legal Affairs Department.|
The reason I am so passionate about StrengthsFinder is the clarity it has brought to my professional career late in life. I was first introduced to the movement in 2013 and was immediately hooked. As a leader of a large contingent of talented entry-level professionals, I started using the strengths assessment whenever I hosted growth and development discussions with interested team members. While the talent themes do not tell you what job you should apply for, they do inform you of your potential for excellence based on your natural abilities. I would instruct upwardly mobile team members to make sure that the internal positions they were aiming towards had the capacity to allow them to play to their talents so they will be fulfilled, happy and successful.
One of the first sessions I hosted was with a long-term team member who was a Vacation Planner at one of Universal Orlando's on-site hotels. She helped hotel guests plan their experience at our theme parks and sold ticket products based on the guest needs.
When I met with this team member, she told me that while she loved the job, she was wanting to align her schedule with her husband. Being a new mom, she wanted to spend quality time with her family on the weekends.
Through our discussions, I identified that she had worked in the Legal profession when she lived in Brazil. That was an area of continued interest for her and there was an Administrative Assistant position posted internally in our Legal Department.
Like everyone I coach, I encouraged this team member to include her Top 5 StrengthsFinder talent themes on her resume. She agreed, but was reluctant to include one - her #1 - that one being Harmony.
Not understanding it's true power, this team member decided that Harmony did not have the clout or power that her other talent themes carried. This is actually a pretty common reaction. There are a few other talent themes that are also misunderstood (WOO being another one). Harmony appears in the Top 5 list of 19% of all StrengthsFinder assessments and is #7 in rank of frequency.
I explained that collaboration is important within every organization. One action that feeds people with the talent of Harmony is efficient, forward progress - and who doesn't want that! Harmonizers are able to push projects forward through their instinctive ability to understand the needs, abilities and opinions of the people around them. They find the best way for people to work together and move forward by identifying and leveraging consensus and areas of agreement.
In a song, harmony is achieved by mixing different notes together. People with the Harmony talent thrive in a room filled with differing opinions and they strengthen their talent by guiding people through conflict. By reducing friction, they enhance collaboration.
So, this team member included Harmony as a talent on her resume. After the interview, she spoke with me and told me that the hiring manager honed in on this talent and was looking for a person who could enhance collaboration between that department and other areas of our company.
She got the job. Not only that, she optimized her other Signature Talent Themes, namely Learner, Relator, Individualization and Positivity, and advanced in her career. She is now a Paralegal within our Legal Department.
If you have Harmony as a Signature Talent Theme or work with someone who does, here are some ways to "harmonize" at work;
*When there are differing opinions, ask everyone in the room to share their thoughts. By increasing the number of voices in the conversation, people with the Harmony talent are likely to find areas where people can agree and find common ground.
*Consider taking courses in negotiation, conflict resolution and communication (verbal and non-verbal). The skills and knowledge you gain will be useful in helping this natural talent become a strength.
*At times, people with Harmony may "keep the peace" by remaining silent when there is friction. They should be encouraged to trust their natural talent and share their feelings which could lead to a win-win for the team member and the group.
For a quick video on Harmony, just click on the link below.
Dan is currently serving 20 years to life as the Sr. Director of Destination Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort. He prefers white-water rapids over data lakes and lists Ideation, Futuristic and Positivity amongst his signature talents. Find him on Twitter @dpddonovan