A Patchwork of Strengths

The 4 Domains of Strengths


Being an Achiever (#5), I keep myself busy and productive inside and outside of work.  One of my external activities is serving as a Board Member with The Florida Attractions Association.  This organization has been promoting and protecting the interests of Florida's attraction industry for over 70 years.

At a board meeting earlier this year, the President of the association was soliciting volunteers to assist with the silent auction, which would take place at our mid-year annual conference.  Given my constant need for attainment (did I mention I was an Achiever?), I signed up for the challenge.    

Just as I squeezed this project onto my overflowing plate, I overheard one of my peers on the Board talking about making a quilt for a friend.  That was the inciting incident - the moment that set everything into action and would result in something beautiful ninety days later.

As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, I learned about the Four Domains of Team Strength.  Clifton Strengths clusters the 34 Talent Themes into four domains based on their power and influence.  Many important accomplishments, discoveries and innovations can only be reached by people working together leveraging their unique talents. 

Like constructing a quilt, understanding the Four Domains of Team Strength can be challenging.  Where do you start? What do you need and how do you stitch individual strengths together?  To simplify this in my workshops, I use my quilt making journey to illustrate how each domain contributes to achieving desired results.  Here are the four "domains" of quilting:   


STEP ONE - DREAM

I am blessed with the strengths trifecta of Strategic, Ideation and Futuristic.  This trio, along with five other talent themes, are members of the Strategic Thinking domain.  People with strengths in this domain continually stretch the team's thinking of what could be in the future.  As I sat at that Board Meeting and overheard my peer discuss her quilt-making, I could immediately envision the value of having a hand-made quilt on the silent auction table.  


STEP TWO - DESIGN

The quilt I envisioned was not an average one - the Competition and Maximizer in me would never hear of that.  The quilt of my dreams was a patchwork representing the attraction members of our association.  I would solicit every attraction to send us a tee-shirt from their gift shop which could be used to create our masterpiece.  My Self-Assurance guided my communication and instilled trust in others that this was a great idea.  The domain of team strength which this step best illustrates is Influencing.  The eight talent themes in the Influencing domain help teams reach a broad audience, sell ideas and take charge.


STEP THREE - STITCH 

While Thinking and Influencing are considered working, the heavy lifting for this quilting project was clearly on my peer, whose job it was to make the quilt.  She demonstrated her Connectedness talents by patch-working parts into wholes.  She had faith that the project would work and leveraged her Relator and Adaptability talents to connect and adjust with the many attractions contributing tee-shirts for the project.  The domain of strength being demonstrated to glue the multiple contributions together is Relationship Building.   There are nine talent themes in this domain which help to turn a group of individuals into an enthusiastic, committed and involved team.


STEP FOUR - SEW 

In the world of quilting, steps 1-3 are considered "patchwork".  The actual quilt is created by sewing the stitched design onto padding and a backing resulting in the final product.  The domain represented here is Executing.  People with dominant Executing talents make things happen and get the work done.  Of the nine talent themes within this domain, my peer has Arranger and Responsibility in her Top 5.  Arrangers literally like to figure out how to put pieces together (like patchwork).  They are organized which keeps them on schedule, but they are also flexible when changes need to be considered.  Her Responsibility drove her to finish this project on time, likely consuming more time and resources than she bargained for.              

In the end, we collected over 80 tee-shirts which resulted in TWO one-of-a-kind quilts which were auctioned off and raised considerable money towards funding college scholarships for future generations of attraction workers.  

The best partnerships happen when you join forces with someone whose strengths complement yours and focus on a single goal.  You accomplish together what you could never do on your own.  

Dan Donovan
Dan is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and a Sr. Director of Park Sales at Universal Orlando Resort.  His purpose is to improve the well-being of others by connecting their talents to the clients and customers they serve.  Visit my blog series at www.thestrengthszone.com  

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