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Showing posts from October, 2018

Significance: Impact

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This blog series has been a great way for me to better understand and respect the nuances of each of the Clifton Strengthsfinder 34 talent Themes.  I have gotten pretty good at "talent spotting" - guessing some of the Top 5 Signature Themes of individuals prior to them sharing their results with me.

If you attempt to become a "Soothsayer of Strengths", you might start by guessing Achiever, Responsibility, Learner, Relator & Strategic.  These are the most common Top 5 Signature Talent Themes globally.  Of course, there are 34 Talent Themes, and the chance that two people have the same strengths in the same order is only 1 in 33 million.

Your Top 5 Talent Themes are not horoscopes or fortune tales.  They describe the way you think, feel and behave in order to get things done.  To become a "soothsayer", you would need to be around people long enough to identify the consistent behaviors they demonstrate to achieve excellence in their work.

My mom passed …

Intellection: Think Tank

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When I was in college, I took a writing class which required a 500 word essay to be completed every week.  Like all good students, I'd wait until Sunday afternoon to start this paper - which was always due on Mondays.  Early in the semester, I found a special spot in the campus library where my thoughts seemed to flow magically.  Like a superstitious guy with a lucky team jersey on game day, I'd migrate to that same spot every Sunday afternoon and wait for my thoughts to flow.

For me, it is that first paragraph which opens the literary floodgates.  Sometimes the concepts and stories form quickly while other times it can take quite a while.  Selecting and focusing on a unique StrengthsFinder Talent Theme for this blog each week accelerates the creative process - like starting the 4th Quarter with a 20 point lead.

Nowadays, my library cubicle "think tank" has been replaced by a literal tank - a lap pool.  The process is simple; select a Talent Theme that I have not ye…

Analytical: Finding Your Flow

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The Strengths Movement can trace it's roots back to the University of Nebraska.  There, as a Professor of Psychology, Don Clifton first started wondering what the world might look like if we started thinking what was right with people versus what is wrong with them.  Today, the University has a thriving Strengths Institute which operates in partnership with Gallup and the Clifton Foundation and continues research into positive psychology and the value of development through strengths based sciences. 

On occasion, the Strengths Institute awards prizes based upon work that advances the science and practice of positive psychology.  One such winner was a researcher named Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, PhD, who wrote a book called Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

"Flow" is defined as "a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the …

Deliberative: Listen & Learn

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I recently participated in a workshop teaching the practice of leading with an outward mindset.  At its core, The Outward Mindset teaches us to see others as people who matter, taking into account their needs, challenges, and objectives and focusing on collective results.

During the session, we were introduced to a "Pyramid of Influence".  This has also been called "The Leadership Pyramid" and even "The Parenting Pyramid".  The base of the pyramid is a mindset change where you are constantly seeing people as people and considering their needs, challenges and objectives.  It then progresses to building relationships, listening and learning, teaching and communicating - and then correcting behaviors as desired.

The secret of the pyramid is that it prompts us to look for solutions to a problem at a deeper level than the one level that the problem seems to be at. The answer to a problem at one level of the pyramid lies at the level below.

Many leaders - includ…

Maximizer: You 2.0

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In my 33 years of post-college professional life, I have taken many workshops and classes aimed at developing professional talents.  Some of the most memorable include Franklin Covey, Miller Heiman, The Leadership Challenge and most recently The Outward Mindset.   So what? I left these classes, like most people, feeling inspired.  I was confident I would put the practices to great use.  I had my notes and in some cases, a certificate of completion.  The Achiever (#5) in me checked the box.     After returning to the real world beyond the confines of the training environment, I'd place the books in a case, tack the certificates to the wall, and then move on with my day-to-day work responsibilities - and worse - my day-to-day work habits.  The material that so inspired me within the classroom would soon be ignored and in many cases forgotten.  Sound familiar?   Then, all of that changed.   A few years ago, I was introduced to StrengthsFinder and most recently have become a self-pro…