Episode 95 – Richard Sterry | Strengths Champion & Cascade Creator
In this episode I speak with Richard Sterry, a major contributor to the Strengths coaching community with a mission to empower others to make a lasting difference. We discuss how to use your Strengths to shape and run your business, his incredible Cascade tool and the benefits of finding your Strengths twin!
Richard Sterry is a trustworthy contributor to the global strengths movement by equipping coaches with practical resources to make a lasting difference in people’s lives. He is the founder of Releasing Strengths which is a Gallup Licensed Partner where he is the person behind the popular Cascade strengths reports and the Strengths Twins initiative. Thousands of coaches in over 60 countries benefit from his tools and resources.
To read more about Richard...
Richard lives in the UK and spent most of his early career in IT management. Focusing more on the people, he became a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach in 2015. He is now a major contributor to the Strengths Coaching Community.
His top 5 themes are Individualization, Learner, Relator, Maximizer and Harmony.
This episode is also a must-listen for those with Harmony in their top Strengths – Richard riffs on his definition of Harmony and how to really utilise this Strength to its full advantage.
Key episode highlights include:
- When business is quiet, don’t discount the value of building relationships.
- Feed your strengths so that they energise you and fill up your cup – especially when going through a big change in your life.
- If you’re working solely in your own business, there’s no way you can do everything. Work out what you’re good at and what you want to do, and let somebody else do the rest.
- When someone is deflated and burnt out, there’s no point going in on an emotional high and expecting people to be with you. It’s about sharing their pain, sharing the feelings of how tough it really is. And just help them little step by little step of finding ways forward.
- How can you get those moments for deep thinking? How can you build that into your day or your week?
- Inspired energy is about being true to yourself and fueling that fire within, so then you can make a positive and practical difference to other people.
To connect further with Richard and the awesome tools and resources he provides, you can find him at Releasing Strengths (where you can find all about Cascade) and Strengths Twins, and connect with him further over on LinkedIn and Facebook.
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Murray Guest 04:45
Richard, I am super, super excited to be catching up with you. We were just talking before I started recording, trying to work out when we last saw each other. Obviously it was in Omaha, in Nebraska, at the Clifton Strengths summit or the Gallup At Work Summit, so that must have been 2019?
Richard Sterry 05:06
Yeah I think it’s either 2019 or 2018 it was something like that, but that was certainly my first experience of Omaha, and all the things happening over there, and it was great to meet so many coaches and obviously great to meet you as well. And it’s great to sort of hear how every coach is doing something wonderful in their own sphere of where they work.
Murray Guest 05:28
Yeah, and it’s so good to be catching up because you, I see, as a bit of a lens into the coaching community through obviously the fantastic products that we’re going to talk about, we have to talk about Cascade, that you provide coaches. Tell me, first off, how’s life and business been for you the last 12 months?
Richard Sterry 05:48
It’s been interesting, there was steady growth until a lockdown happens. And then when we hit lockdown, which is what March 2020, for me everything just completely stopped. So when I say everything I’m talking I was receiving no emails, there were no hits on my website, no sales were coming in, and I thought I had a serious technical problem so I just obviously checked all those aspects – that was working. I thought, okay if everything’s gonna stop, what can I do, and this was March, I could only think as far ahead as August, I didn’t know what could go beyond that so I thought okay that’s a timeframe I can work on. If I was going to receive no money during that time, what could I do. I’ve got relator at number three. So I thought, Okay, let’s just build relationships with people, let’s just have one on one conversations, and just see where we go. So I opened up my calendar, said, Here I am, if you want to chat, let’s have a chat. And it was amazing the people who just said, Hey, can I talk to you. I’m using your products, not quite sure how to get the best out of it. Can we have a chat. Can you show me? Or, I haven’t used your product for a long time, can you help me just get back into it? And it was just brilliant having those conversations, or sometimes it was conversations where we were talking about anything and everything. But the point being, I was focusing on building those relationships. As things have started to ease and as we’ve been going through the pandemic, those relationships have been absolutely key. And from that, more business has been coming in. And so we’re now getting to a stage where actually it’s growing faster now than it was before the pandemic.
Murray Guest 07:33
Yeah and can I just say, you and I have Relator and Individualization, both in our top five. I’ve often joked if I was going to get one tattooed on my body, it would be Relator, like, when you talk about that strategy to me, it just sounds very similar to my journey back in March, I had a lot of work just canceled, you know, at the turn of a dime as they say, and then it was, who are my clients, who do I have relationships with, let’s have those conversations, how can I support them through this, you know, here’s this word ‘unprecedented time’ and yeah I had one of the best years last year through serving clients online.
Richard Sterry 08:15
And I think what’s interesting is a lot of people say you got to put money first and you got to put commercial things first, and building relationships doesn’t necessarily fit into that mold, whereas actually if you play to your strengths, play to what you’ve got, it can make such a powerful difference.
Murray Guest 08:32
Yeah, and so in England, you were in lockdown for quite some time weren’t you?
Richard Sterry 08:38
We have been, and we still are, and we’re in what, July 2021 at the moment, and we’re just about to come out of lockdown in a couple of weeks. And yeah, it’s been a very very long time and it’s been very difficult. But I think what’s interesting is, yes there was massive change to go into lockdown, and you go through the change cycle and things, but what I’m really sensing and listening to sort of coaches and listening to people around me, I’m really sensing that there is a massive change, just going back to normal. And people are underestimating this. And just as an example, I was in the optician’s the other day, get my eyes tested, and it was probably the first time I’ve been in a shop where there’s been lots, lots of people, and this was for what 15 months. And so it was a bit of a new experience, but what really challenged me was I was obviously talking a one to one conversation with the person who was dealing with me just in front of me, but there was a couple of other conversations going on in the room at the same time, I really had to focus on the conversation I was having and not be bombarded by the other conversation. Because over 15 months, I’ve not been in a situation where I was in a room where there’s more than one conversation going on. We just take those sorts of things for granted.
Murray Guest 09:55
Yeah and that’s such a good insight around when we as a society, as a community, have changed our way of living significantly of these past 15 months, whether it’s through you know those interactions or the conversations going on in the background, online presence, and all of that, all of that. It’s such an interesting perspective, I hadn’t thought of that, obviously in Australia we’ve had some different situations to other countries. We have been in lockdown recently, again, what I’m noticing too is the fatigue, where, when lockdown first started, it was a bit of a novelty, I get to work from home and generally people thought it was good, but then when it carried on or it’s come back around, it’s like, I know what it’s like, I don’t want to do it. And then the emotional impact and the mental well being impact on people, is that what you’re seeing a bit in coaches and clients as well?
Richard Sterry 10:54
Yes, I’m certainly seeing a lot of that but I think whenever you change your season, or change what you’re doing, you really need to sort of go back to your strengths, what is it that feeds your strengths, what is it that your strengths, needs to energize yourself, and certainly for me with Relator, it says one on one conversations, so I make sure that I have lots of one on one Zoom conversations now each week, just to sort of feed that side of things, and look at your other themes, look at what feeds those. I’ve got Learner, I love sort of exploring new things. I love delving into something different. And so what is it that I can do to which will feed that. And I think if you can keep feeding your themes, that helps to keep you energized, and when you move into a new season, I find this when somebody is, say moving from a working environment to entering retirement or changing a lifestyle, having a lifestyle change. Look at your themes, look at how you can feed them in the new situation, and then find ways how you can keep yourself motivated and keep your energy levels up in that new environment.
Murray Guest 12:02
I’m totally on board with you there Richard, and I was just talking to a client today about strategies to fill their cup, and strengths being the lens to help them do that so which strengths can help them do that, because I agree with you 100%, how we get to use our themes at work, outside of work, as just humans, you know, we get to them be at our best and we start to fill that cup as well. So let me just go back a bit for some of our listeners here, 1000s of coaches in over 60 countries are using your tools and resources. I’m one of those coaches, I find it extremely beneficial to serve my clients, whether it’s in workshops or one on one, so thank you. Thank you, from me, Tell me, how did this come about that you have this Gallup licensed partnership to provide Cascade out to coaches, where did this gestate from?
Richard Sterry 13:06
Hmm, good question. So way back in 2015 I did my Gallup certification course and became a certified Gallup strengths coach, and I realized immediately that there’s a lot of wealth of information which Gallup have, and certainly with Individualization, as you know when you’re doing a coaching session for one to one, or a team session, you want to personalize it for each environment, and I was forever swapping and changing, copying and pasting, all those sort of things to get the right information to the right people in the right way. And I just, Maximizer’s in my number four. So, there had to be a better way of doing it. So I just put together a simple spreadsheet just to help myself. And just so I could do it myself and sort of make it easier in that situation. And then when I was talking to some fellow coaches in the UK, London office at Gallup, and they said, Hey can we have a copy of that, can we have that? So I was like okay well let’s see how I can package it up. And to my amazement I sort of built a website around it and that sort of thing and then somebody bought it, and I thought wow that’s, that’s nice. I’m actually sort of making something from my hobby type thing. And then got involved with Gallup and their licensing program, went through quite a lengthy process with them, became a Gallup licensed partner. And it was the first digital products which Gallup were licensing, and it was the first product outside the US as well, to be a licensed partner on that.
Murray Guest 14:40
Well done on pioneering. Well done.
Richard Sterry 14:42
Well exactly it’s just going back to what I was saying, I love new things, I love pushing the boundaries and that sort of thing. And so that’s an area I didn’t feel comfortable in it, but I felt sort of confident in it, that I’m happy to sort of enter into new ground and things on that. So, went into that new area, became a Gallup licensed partner. That was back in 2017/2018, and things have just really exploded from there. And as you’ve just mentioned, we’ve got 1000s of coaches across sixty different countries all benefiting from the rich resources, which are in the Cascade product.
Murray Guest 15:19
Yeah, I loved the first edition that I signed up for. I can’t remember, I’ve been two and a half years, and I was one of those people that as a coach and as a facilitator I had other people, you know people in our community like Charlotte and Deonte say, Murray just go and get Cascade, you need to do it. Just go and get it. I’m like ah okay, and then it just made my life easier and it’s a real strengths based approach if we think about here you are, bringing your strengths, and I used to call myself a bit of a guru in Excel, I bow down to you, I love your Excel, what you’ve put together in Cascade because it is, you know, you’re showing your strengths and your skills to bring that and put that together. Can you give us some insight around where Cascade is now around what’s available, what’s it doing for people, and what are some things that you’ve heard.
Richard Sterry 16:19
Well certainly over the years it’s grown and grown massively. And I think now we’ve got 15 different styles of reports, and over 20 different worksheets, so it’s got a huge number of different resources for different things. And I’ve focused on really two areas. One is to automate it and make it as simple as possible, and that’s the Maximizer coming into it, and just trying to try to make it really easy and really straightforward. And so it can do lots of fancy things but in a very simple, easy way. And the other aspect is pulling in resources from fellow coaches. So you mentioned Charlotte Blair just a moment ago. She’s a guru in change management. And so one of my worksheets is all about managing change and how people can, can, can use their strengths in managing change. And so that was an early partnership with Charlotte to put that worksheet together, drawing on her expertise, using the vehicle of the Cascade product, and then just pulling that together so that then that was a resource available for other coaches. And then more recently in the last 12 months, I’ve been working with other coaches. Some coaches who’ve written books and Laura Everest is one person in Dubai, definitely worth getting on your podcast list.
Murray Guest 17:35
I’ll check her out, thank you.
Richard Sterry 17:37
She’s got an incredible story about recovering from major disasters and so on. In a nutshell, she was out running and basically got hit by a car, and really had a huge medical and mindset battle to overcome. And she used her strengths to help her with that. So from that we’ve put together a mindset resilience worksheet to really help other people who’ve been really hurt in a big situation. How can you then recognize that with your strengths, and then use your strengths to get through that situation.
Murray Guest 18:12
I was using that worksheet last week with one of my coachees, and I didn’t know that background so thank you and I’ll definitely, you know get Laura on the podcast, but I didn’t know the background about that worksheet, but like you said with Laura’s unfortunate experience it was helpful for her but with what I’m seeing in my clients right now with their own challenges with well being and resilience, that worksheet works for anyone, that was so good to use.
Richard Sterry 18:46
That’s really good to hear I don’t often get sort of snippets of feedback like that so that’s always, always good. And really what I’m doing, I’m just listening to the community. And as I mentioned before I’m regularly talking to people, I’m picking up sort of what’s happening. I’ve got Harmony in my top five as well. And so that is very very sensitive to areas of friction, that’s very, very aware of sort of the troubles or the areas of conflict of what’s going on in the world. And so that’s where we’re gaining the ideas and thoughts on, okay, what can I do to help support coaches in that space, so well being is one of them.
Murray Guest 19:26
Can I just say Richard, a lot of people, sorry to jump in here, but a lot of people that I’ve worked with over the years have this perspective about Harmony being a negative. I loved how you just shared it. Can you tell us how you see it as a real strength in what you bring and what you do.
Richard Sterry 19:44
Yeah sure, that’s a great point there because when I first got Harmony on there, I thought, Really? Can I have another one, I don’t want that one. I really saw the negative of it, and I recognized in myself that I was shying away from any form of conflicts on that. And there was a piece in the Gallup description which I think says ‘avoids conflicts’, and I always interpret that as a negative, as in just sort of avoiding any form of conflict, but actually listening to the Gallup Theme Thursday’s in the way they describe it, it’s much more about avoiding unnecessary conflict. And so if there are two paths, as long as they get to the same destination, and one avoids conflict, we’ll take that one. Conversely, looking at the longer term, then it might be necessary to have some tough conversations, to get to the calm on the other side. So therefore you are then dispelling and distilling the, the conflict that’s happening at the moment, so you can reduce that right down.
Murray Guest 20:24
So that Harmony shows up in a way that if you need to have that conversation, have it in a way that is going to be harmonious to get to the result without people having magnified emotional responses or something like that.
Richard Sterry 21:11
Absolutely, yes. And certainly when I was working in project management years ago, I was forever helping to manage expectations. For the end user who’s receiving whatever is going to be delivered, just making sure they’re aware that yes it can do this but just be aware it’s not going to be able to do that quite how you did it before, and being proactive in those senses, they are then aware of it so when the product or project is delivered, then they’re ready for it. It hasn’t suddenly hit them with shock, “Oh, why can’t it do this?!” They already know about that. And doing that proactiveness I found is such a good investment at the beginning.
Murray Guest 21:53
Yeah, yeah. And I love, you know, the way that Harmony will bring that to the fore early on, to stop the, as you said, the scope not meeting the expectations in some way.
Richard Sterry 22:08
Yes, and I find Harmony is a really practical theme because it’s looking at the practical implication or application of something. Is it really going to work, and is it going to work in that environment. And I’ve heard that very often Harmony and Strategic are usually at opposite, opposite ends of the spectrum for somebody’s 34 themes. And so my strategic thinking is right down the bottom, number 33, which is interesting. So, so proves right in that sense. But what I’m sensing is Harmony will find a way forward that is very practical and will fit in with the environment, Strategic will probably find the most efficient way forward.
Murray Guest 22:48
Yeah. Okay, gotcha. Yep. What is your number 34?
Richard Sterry 22:52
Murray Guest 22:55
That doesn’t surprise you?
Richard Sterry 22:58
It does surprise me a little bit because I find Harmony, actually, is really good at going with the flow.
Murray Guest 23:03
Richard Sterry 23:05
But when I’ve got, I’ve got Focus near the top as well but when I’m in the zone that I’m in, this is what I’m aiming to do, I do struggle when there’s sudden change in that sense and so I then have to draw on Harmony, draw my Belief, draw on Maximizer, draw on other themes that will help me pull through that. So when our Adaptability is really low, and there’s a sudden change of course, it might take me a bit of time just to sort of recover from it. But once I’ve recovered, then I’m good to go again.
Murray Guest 23:36
Yeah gotcha, gotcha. Now, with the development of your business and providing the solutions to coaches, I assume you didn’t start out with that intent when you started your business and now I’m assuming this is the majority part of your business or are you still providing coaching for clients as well.
Richard Sterry 23:58
It is the majority part of my business, I’m doing a little bit of coaching, little bit of mentoring things at the moment, which I really enjoyed doing on a small scale, but certainly Cascade is the the dominant factor at the moment, and I was just talking to somebody yesterday in fact and they were saying sort of how was it setting up your business and things. And it was almost by accident because normally you set up a business, you have a product and then off you go, whereas I had a product, I then had to build a business around the product. And so then work out okay, what do I need to do in legal terms, practical terms and all the financials and everything else like that. And so, just got on and did that when it happened. So as the product has sort of exploded on a global scale, that I’ve had to scale up my business to be able to accommodate all the ramifications that that brings.
Murray Guest 24:47
Yeah, gotcha, gotcha. If there was a lesson out of, you know, the development of your business that you would love, or if there’s a couple to share with people what would they be?
Richard Sterry 24:59
I would say if you’re working on your own, and it’s your own business, no way can you do everything. Work out what you’re good at and what you want to do, but there are some areas where, just let somebody else do it. It’s just going to be so much easier. My newsletters used to take me three days to put together, I hated doing it, and I really struggled with that. Communication again is fairly low for me in that sense. And so what I do now, is that I just do a rough draft of what I want to say, and the content in there. I then hand it over to somebody else, they add all the sparkle to it, they just check it all for everything else, and then pass it back again. I can then publish it. And that sort of partnership and recognizing that, it’s worth doing that and it’s worth paying someone to do that as well.
Murray Guest 25:47
And that’s a strengths based approach to running your business isn’t it.
Richard Sterry 25:51
Hmm, yes. And also, it’s not just strengths-based, it takes away the stress as well. The stress of trying to do something which is not your natural talent. Why bother? This isn’t whether this is Maximizer coming out, just focus on what you’re good at, and focus on what you can do.
Murray Guest 26:09
I totally agree with you and I think with people starting out sometimes, it’s this, this mindset of it’s my business, I’ve got to do everything but if we shift that there’s someone out there that loves to do the bits that don’t energize you. You just got to find those people and partner with them. I’m with you on email newsletters mine’s a similar process as well. Shout out to Belinda thank you for your help. So you, as I said, have this lens into coaches from around the world. What are you hearing from coaches at the moment about either the state of coaching or the state of, you know, what they’re hearing from their clients, like what can you tell us that you’re hearing at the moment?
Richard Sterry 26:52
I think one of the things I’m hearing is huge levels of burnout. People are just exhausted and we touched on this very briefly earlier on. And it’s how do you deal with that. And when someone is completely deflated and has no energy for anything, and maybe very little energy for even for any personal development, how do you actually motivate them into saying, This is what you need to do. And so you’ve really got to start small and come right down to their level. There’s no point sort of going in on an emotional high and expecting people to be with you. It’s come right alongside somebody, share the pain, share the feelings of how tough it really is. And then just help them little step by little step of finding ways forward.
Murray Guest 27:46
Yeah the conversations I’ve had in the last two weeks I can remember quite a number with leaders around how they are consciously bringing that empathy to their leadership, because it’s so needed right now.
Richard Sterry 28:01
Yep, absolutely important and we’ve got a situation in the UK where people are starting to return back to work. And there’s some businesses I’m hearing about where they think, Oh yeah we’ll just go back to the office as if we never left. Just like on a Monday morning after a weekend. That’s not gonna happen now, it’s not gonna work. And there are some companies, I’ve heard, literally they just said, Well we’ll come back, we’re not going to get to the office, we’re going to go and sit in a coffee shop all day, and we’re just going to chat, and we’re not going to talk about work. And that’s a sort of thing that’s needed just because everybody’s got a backstory of what they’ve been doing in the past 15 months. And some people have been through some tragic situations with loss of family and friends, or other situations and things that have been going on. Other people have had real sort of financial issues and other aspects. And it’s just taking time to listen to that.
Murray Guest 28:59
Yeah and I think maybe this is something, again, our Individualization coming out, but I totally agree with you around that, that time needed, that focus needed to understand and appreciate the individual situations of each person. I know some people love working from home, others absolutely detested it, and then you’ve got everything in between that, and then you’ve got some people that had a great time, some that had the worst time, and everything in between that, but it’s about knowing that about your team and giving them the chance to talk through that, discuss that, and make them and help them feel okay about where we’re going now.
Richard Sterry 29:40
I think that that’s key what you’ve just said there – help them feel okay about where we’re going. And, in other words, whatever you’re feeling, that’s okay. Everything is acceptable on that, yes it’s okay on that. And something else I’m sort of picking up is where people are having a lot of zooms or team meetings or meetings on teams, and there’s a certain formality about them and what you don’t get is when you’re in the office, and you’ve got those little moments with people, when you’re in the kitchen making a cup of coffee or something, or just sort of passing in the corridor, where you can have that little snippet of conversation, just to clear the air about perhaps a small misunderstanding or something like that…that’s not happening at the moment. So these things are building up, and they can manifest in different ways.
Murray Guest 30:31
Yeah I was going to say there’s a Simon Sinek quote that I love that I heard a few years ago which is, “teams develop before the meeting starts”. And I hear you because it’s where this formality that’s coming into the online team meetings, whatever platform people use, where it’s, okay now let’s get down to it, let’s work, work, work, focus on projects, KPIs, goals, tasks, whatever it is, and the human element has been lost and you got to bring that, so bringing the human element back into our online meeting but also, as you said, people have been missing that and craving that. And those, and that’s why I love the quote because it’s about how we connect as people even before the meeting starts.
Richard Sterry 31:15
Yep. And a team really is made up of people, and it needs to meet that human need. And we talked about Harmony being the lubricant, the sort of oil of the wheels and things within the team, and very, very sensitive to the friction and things that all conflict that might be going on within the team. And it’s just dealing with all those issues, dealing with those things first, before you can actually then start dealing with the project for the team or the purpose of the team and taking it forward. So I like that where you’re saying the team develops first before the meeting as it were, yes.
Murray Guest 31:50
Yeah, yeah. Well, the other part that, and I’m sure our listeners that are Strengths focused like we are, it’s that question of how can your Strengths help you move forward right now? How can you lean into your strengths right now to help you assimilate or, you know, integrate back into the workplace?
Richard Sterry 32:12
Hmm, I think, as we were saying earlier, is going through that season of change, looking at okay we’re going from a home working environment to an office working environment. What’s going to be different, how we going to use our Strengths in an appropriate way that is going to be productive and effective in that different environment.
Murray Guest 32:33
Richard Sterry 32:35
It’s not easy, but it’s just looking at that. And I think also just not just how we’re going to deal with the change process. But again, how are we going to keep ourselves motivated in that. We may well have really relished in those moments of solitude for deep thinking at home which you can do quite regularly there, providing you haven’t got too many young children running around the place and things. But then in the office which is quite busy, there’s a lot of noise going on, how can you get those moments for deep thinking? How can you build that into your day or your week?
Murray Guest 33:09
And I think that in itself is such a great opportunity for a conversation, as a team, around, Well what am I aware of now through this situation we’ve been in, of my needs, and how do we all consider the needs, the Strengths and the ways that we can all help each other show up the best they can.
Richard Sterry 33:34
And certainly within Cascade there’s one of the Strengths Advantage Worksheets, is called The Rhythm of Motivation, and it’s all about looking at what your themes need on a daily basis or a weekly basis or a monthly basis, and setting up and finding out a rhythm that is going to work for you so that you can keep yourself energized on those different levels.
Murray Guest 33:56
Yeah, I, to be honest I haven’t used that one yet, I had a good look at it the other day and I straightaway was thinking about myself and I think with any of the tools, it’s great to understand what it means for yourself, so I was thinking about that for how, you know, my own Strengths, my own themes need that, that frequency. You know, Relator is such an easy one there for that, and obviously my Communication falls into there as well about how often I get to talk and connect with people as well. So, Richard, what’s the future look like for you and Cascade?
Richard Sterry 34:34
Good question. I’m not somebody who plans hugely into the future. Because I’m really listening to the community, hearing what’s going on, but my mission statement is to really help build the Strengths movement, and really help empower coaches to give more to make a real difference to others. So whatever comes along, however it’s going to be, that’s the way I want to go. Quite what that’s gonna look like, well we’ll see, we’ll see what happens. But just sort of taking it step by step as it comes, again my Strategic thinking is way down the bottom. So I don’t plan these things sort of massively in the future. But it’s great to be sort of sensitive to what the needs are, and respond to those appropriately as and when, on that basis.
Murray Guest 35:25
Yeah, great, great. I also share with my clients the Strengths Twins initiative. And for those of you that are my clients listening, Richard’s the guy behind that as well, which is fantastic and I’ve had a few clients come back to me in teams and say, Oh I found my twin, they live in South America and we’re chatting, or we’re emailing, so I think that’s, that’s awesome and I love it when they hear that and how they’re getting to know someone that’s got the same top five as them. What’s it been like for you, what have you seen that’s been happening with that whole system?
Richard Sterry 36:01
Well that’s interesting. Let me just go right back to how it started, which is what 2017 I think it started. And people were trying to find their Strengths twin, and then somebody published on a public Facebook group, a whole lot of people with their Strengths of their top five, and their email addresses, and my Harmony just shrieked, because it’s public environment, it’s people’s email addresses, and for me that just didn’t seem right at all. My Maximizer kicked in, there’s got to be a better way. So a couple of hours of working on sort of an Excel process and things. Yep, we can do this, popped up a page on my website, and then Strengths Twins was launched. And it’s just really been incredible what’s been going on with that. We’ve got, I think we’re not far off matching 1000 people. And this is 1000 people who share the same top five and we’ve got a few groups that share the same top five in the same order as well. So all I do is that we’ve got it on our website, strengthstwins.com as well. And you can just pop in your top five. And then if we find a match we’ll then let you know that we found somebody. If we don’t find a match, we’ll send you a lovely email saying you’re exceptionally unique. You win either way.
Murray Guest 37:23
Yeah, you haven’t found your twin, have you?
Richard Sterry 37:26
I have a while ago, I wasn’t expecting it at all and it was interesting that the person who is my twin, she’s actually in New Zealand, and she hesitated a long time for contacting me because she knew what my top five were, which obviously fitted in with her top five. But with Individualization in there she wanted to be unique and she wanted to be special on that. But what was interesting, we had a conversation, and you know when you speak to somebody and they just know exactly how you think and how you feel. Yeah, instantly, and it was a first conversation we had, we both knew immediately how each other felt, and our thinking processes were exactly the same. We spoke about some of these sort of social struggles that we have and things, again, exactly the same. Our approaches were slightly different to them and so that was a good learning aspect from that. And I think what I’m getting and what I’m sensing from people who’ve connected with their twins – Strengths twins – is how they can use their combination of themes in a slightly different way. So it’s connecting with someone who’s very very similar to yourself, they may have used the same tools, but they may have used them slightly differently, and it’s that learning experience, and how you can use what you’ve got, maybe slightly better.
Murray Guest 37:58
Yeah. Gotcha. Yeah, and I, I think what you’re hinting at there again is why this is such a powerful tool because again it’s not pigeon holing it’s not putting people in boxes, it’s this framework to create an opportunity for depth of understanding of self and others. And how our top themes combine and work off each other and integrate and show up. I want to find my Strengths twin now Richard.
Richard Sterry 39:17
Well we’ll keep looking, I assume you’ve registered for it.
Murray Guest 39:20
Yes I registered many years ago, I might have to re register, no I should still be in it just can you check on the database?
Richard Sterry 39:27
Well once you’re in you’re in, unless you’ve asked to come out of it, but we do, we run the process every week, usually on a Friday, just so it’s something for the weekend for those people who’ve then found their twins on that, but with matching pairs of twins, oh every week, easily, and as we’re not far off 1000, so when we get to 1000 people matched up that we may want to do some analysis on on the sort of which themes are most dominant and things like that.
Murray Guest 39:54
Yeah, I love that. So, a couple more questions just to wrap us up, and I’ll be checking out that I’ve got my, my twin out there somewhere. A couple more questions. So first one is if there’s an insight that your Strengths has given you beyond the business side of things, for you as a person, what would that be?
Richard Sterry 40:24
I would say, with my Individualization I’m very aware that everyone is different. What Strengths has really done for me, it’s shown how people are different. And it’s given that language behind it. Now I understand that language. I can then appreciate it, not just in myself, but in other people as well, and start to, when you’re talking to somebody you can start to recognize fairly quickly which domains they’re generally coming from or which Strengths are sort of fairly dominant that sort of can come across, and then you can start to work to that, and then reflect back to the person in a language that will be, not acceptable, but that will resonate better with them.
Murray Guest 41:09
Yeah gotcha. No, I agree, and as I’ve said to many teams, it’s not a business tool it’s a human tool, it’s a human understanding. So, and I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, the amount of times people have said to me, can I get my partner to go and do this, I’m like yes you can, yes of course.
Richard Sterry 41:28
Exactly. And something else that it brings out, it brings out sort of, for example, someone with Maximizer would focus on quality and making sure somebody has done really well. Someone with Achiever will just want to get something done. And if you know somebody who’s got that theme for Achiever, okay, they just want to get it done. Don’t worry too much about the quality just be grateful that it’s going to get done on that and so you can adjust your thought process and your sort of behaviors according to what they do have, and then respect them for what they have as well.
Murray Guest 41:58
Yeah, yeah, totally agree Richard, yeah, fantastic. It’s been so good to chat, really appreciate your insights and again, a big thank you and you made me think about the movie Robots, which is a kid’s movie which we’ve watched many times, and in there Rodney Copper Bottom actually says ‘see a need, fill a need’. And I feel like that’s exactly what you’ve done for the coaching community you could see this opportunity or this, this need that the coaching community had to support them with a really user friendly and valuable tool, and you’ve done that, and thank you for everything it’s done for the community. And I know that it’s created opportunities for business efficiency, like you said earlier, it’s filling this space to make it easier for everyone else so a big thank you.
Richard Sterry 42:53
Well thank you Murray, I really do appreciate connecting with you again today, and talking about all things Strengths and Cascade and all those other things, and I just love the opportunity to be able to give back to the community. It’s such a wonderful community to be involved in. It’s great to have people like yourselves in here as well.
Murray Guest 43:13
Yeah thanks Richard. I agree, it’s a community of people that are very, I’d say collaborative and inspiring and want to see the success for everyone. So, and a global community at that, that’s for sure. So tell me please, Richard, what is your definition of inspired energy?
Richard Sterry 43:35
I think really it’s about being true to yourself and fueling that fire within. So then you can make a positive and practical difference to other people.
Murray Guest 43:45
Oh I love that. I really love that and I love how you frame that up. You’re going to get me pondering around what that looks like for me every day. I love that definition, thank you for sharing.
Richard Sterry 44:01
It is fueling your own fire, don’t fuel somebody else’s fire, fuel what burns within, what really energizes and motivates you, that’s the bit to focus on.
Murray Guest 44:11
Yeah, definitely. And there’s such a great link there to Strengths of course from what we’ve talked about today. For anyone listening, if you’ve got something valuable out of this conversation which I’m sure you did, so much value talking to Richard and catching up, he’s such a wonderful coach and business person, please share it on social media tag Richard and myself, also reach out to Richard if you want to know more about Cascade if you’re not already using it. I’ll make sure the links are in the show notes, so check those out. And if you’ve done your Strengths and you want to find your Strengths twin, go to Strengthstwins.com, very easily put in your details there and wishing you all the best of luck to find that person from around the world for you as well. Richard, all the best for the second half of 2021. We’re coming out of the sheds, you’re hitting the field, all the best in the second half, and I look forward to chatting again soon.
Richard Sterry 45:07
Thank you Murray, thank you.