For the past 14 years I have been privileged to work with the Clifton Strengthsfinder personality test. In the first few years we worked with the tool hardly anyone had heard of the it and we did a lot of selling that the instrument was legitimate and that it could help. 14 years later I can tell you that it does work, and will work to help you or your organization have strong people, strong teams and a strong culture. Why? Let me give you some reasons. 1. Strengthsfinder raises your self-awareness The more you know what makes you tick as a person the more chance you have for success in life. Have you ever been around people who have no idea how they are impacting other people? Those people typically do not seem to be racing ahead in life. I admit, when I was in high school and parts of college I was pretty clueless about how I impacted other people with my personality. The Strengthsfinder test helped me understand what I was good at, and how it could be leveraged in a generative way in my life. This is something I have seen happen with 1,000's of people over the past 14 years. When someone asks you what you are good at, you have an answer that is not generic and is actually true. 2. Strengthsfinder can raise your team awareness and engagement levels If you understand who you are, and you do this in concert with your co-workers or teammates you also can begin to understand how your team can work together. Sure it is important to raise your own self-awareness, but equally important is to be able to understand how the people around you use their strengths and talents. Strengthsfinder done in a group setting is a fantastic way to find this information out. What can this lead to? People immediately begin asking questions about who should do what based on strengths in the team setting. You know what happens when this happens? You can start asking the people with talent in an area to work in areas that they are wired to be super productive in. You can also stop asking people who are not good at something to apply their talents in an area that they too can be more productive. This is not easy, but it can be...Read more
When I started working with the StrengthsFinder assessment tool in 2001, I had the extreme privilege of studying and learning about the tool from one of the people who was there with Donald Clifton at the beginning, Dr. Chip Anderson. Chip Anderson was a professor at UCLA and Azusa Pacific and one of the leading researchers and practitioners of the StrengthsFinder tool. I heard him present about 4 or 5 times and each time I watched closely and tried to pick up everything I could from someone who would often get Donald Clifton on the phone while he was presenting. Chip was a lot of things, but ultimately he was a strengths evangelist. He was someone who was extremely passionate about not having anyone end up in a bad job fit because they did not know their own strengths. So, any group that would have him he would take through strengths and did it in a way that I have not seen exactly replicated. Chip always talked about where the whole theory of strengths came from, positive psychology and the like. But where Chip was an absolute master was the fact that when he went through all 34 strengths with a group. During this activity which is common to anyone who leads groups through their strengths, Chip would make everyone pair up and ask leading questions about how they used each of their strengths. One person would talk, the other would listen. This activity served a few purposes:Read more
- It helped people know more about their own strengths, and it helped those who were in their group understand how the people they were attending the seminar with were wired.
- It forced people to interact with their strengths in a way that made the learning become experiential and in a way that was in a partner setting, not a large group setting.
Why do so many people end up in poor job fits? Over the past decade I have had the honor of working with dozens of organizations and individuals around the topics of maximizing productivity, increased self-awareness and more. One thing that consistently happens whenever I visit any type of organization is that there are always employees are more engaged than others, and some that are actively disengaged. What do I mean by actively disengaged? These are folks that are in such bad job fits that they can't stand their job and bring down the morale of the entire team. One consultant I worked with years ago referred to these team members as organizational terrorists. Yikes! After working with so many groups over time a few things stand out to me about these folks.Read more
- They are likely in very bad fits for their unique talents.
- They may have a lot going on in their personal lives.
- They are stuck.
- They will not leave without help.
- Hire the right people in the first place
- Change the role to fit that persons unique talents
The first time I took the StrengthsFinder instrument was my first year in graduate school, in the Fall of 2000. It was part of a battery of assessments we were going through to help all of us understand more how we were wired, and how we might put our graduate degrees to work at some point during or after school. I never had much experience at all with personality tests, temperament indexes, emotional measures, etc. So, the whole process felt a bit like being a lab rat with scientists poking me and watching my every move. We took this test, and that test, and tests that asked you if you heard voices. It was quite the process. After each test we would have a group interpretation of our results, or a one on one session with a licensed counselor who would walk us through how we tested. As I started the process of self-discovery and increased self-awareness the immediate question asked was: "Ok, how does all this information translate into helping me answer the question, "What should I do with my life?" Really specifically, "What job would best fit my personality traits?" Fast forward 12 years later: After having worked with dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals around their strengths and personality results, there is something I have realized: Everyone is asking the same question! Everywhere I go people inevitably ask me, "So, you have seen my strengthsfinder results, so, what job should I do so I can apply my strengths to the larger part of my day? This usually indicates to me that these people may not be completely engaged in their current role, and a lot of their day is spent doing tasks that are not in their exact sweet spot and they are trying to improve this situation. I am generalizing a bit, but this happens often. Why? Because many people would not say a majority of their day they get to do what they do best. What does this mean? This means that we have a lot of people in the workforce who are not highly engaged. Back to the beginning When I first started taking people through their strengthsfinder results, the temptation for me was to try and make the results into a formula and say A + B strengths = C job, or life change. That was easy,...Read more
This picture brings back such great memories for me. I was an assistant coach at Saint Catherine University and this was some of our team from 2007 or so. What a fun bunch of ladies to coach and steer towards improvement as a team. Our head coach, Nicole, was a big factor in turning around a program that was going nowhere, and it was fun to be a part of that building process. Along the way we took our team through the StrengthsFinder personality tool as a way to help players understand more of who they were and how they were wired. We also learned how to better motivate each player, based on who they were, and who they were not. A player high in the theme of Competition? Great. Put them up against another player in a competitive drill and let them shine. Before a match? Make sure that high Competition player knows how they can personally 'win' during the match. The flip-side is also very true, another player low in the theme of Competition? They might be offended if you put them up against another player and tell them to 'beat' that other player. Knowing how players are wired helps coaches know how to push their buttons and manage them in a positive way. Everyone will appreciate this. Coaches, and players. What we learned in volleyball has applied to so many of my clients over the past decade. Whether it be in athletics, corporate, or non-profit teams, organizations and teams benefit from everyone having a high level of self-awareness based on their unique giftedness. Is it not about time that we started to focus on what is right about people and less about what is wrong with them? There are so many reasons why I think StrengthsFinder training and team building can help any team, but here are my top five. 1. Everyone gets along better when everyone knows their own strengths and the strengths of their teammates. 2. All teams have a better chance of success if their members can increase their engagement or buy-in. StrengthsFinder training can help people be more self-aware and engaged. 3. Managers and Leaders who know their team's strengths are more likely to position people in areas where they can be most successful. They have a distinct advantage over those managers and leaders who do not. 4. If team members are positioned in...Read more