My introduction to Strengths
In early 2012, I received the New York Times best-selling book, StrengthsFinder® 2.0 and completed my online strengths assessment. At this point I had no idea what it would open me up to and how it would lead me to a passion for strengths. Learning about my Top 5 Strengths was eye opening. Whilst over the years I’ve completed many other self-awareness tests, I connected with the language and intent of a strengths-based approach and the work of Don Clifton. Understanding my Strengths provided me a different focus, moving from trying to be good at many things to focusing on my strengths to be my best. I also understood more deeply what made me unique and why some things energised me more than others.
My Top 5 Strengths are Relator ® , Futuristic ® , Individualization ® , Communication ® and Responsibility ®.
Being me – Claiming my Strengths
Through reading my reports and perusing all of the valuable information about Strengths, I was able to understand how my talents and strengths show up in all areas of life – as husband, father, friend and as a coach.
A key part of the strengths process is Name It – Claim It – Aim It.
Name It – Complete the CliftonStrengths online assessment and identify your dominant themes.
Claim It – Embrace how your talents and strengths are you. How they have helped and hindered you in the past and currently.
Aim It – Identify ways to consciously apply your strengths to achieve your goals, overcome challenges and be your best self.
In claiming my strengths, I’ve also understood and embraced my weaknesses (when you over play your dominant strengths or your lesser strengths) and the impact not just on me but those I interact with.
When I was little my grandfather would say I could speak under water with a mouth full of marbles. Early on in my career I can recall a number of meetings where I just wanted to speak up and, in hindsight, didn’t add a lot of value to the discussion. These days there are times when I feel my words want to come out my mouth before I have the order sorted. I also love to talk through my ideas, have conversations and feel at home presenting to large groups and facilitating workshops. Finding out that Communication ® was in my top strengths wasn’t a surprise and in some ways was a validation of so many interactions and situations over the years. This is the power of claiming all of my Communication ® strength.
I’ve additionally been able to more deeply understand some of my dormant strengths (themes that are towards the bottom for me). For example Empathy ® and Context ®, these don’t come as easy to me, and to apply them takes more conscious and focused effort.
Aiming my Strengths – personally and in business
I’ve been most successful as a leader and a parent when I’ve had a strengths based approach – where team members’ strengths have been identified and roles shaped so they can use these talents as often as possible, and when my kids also have the opportunity to learn and develop their natural talents and passions. Finding out my Strengths has helped me in the way I parent and knowing my children’s Strengths has helped me understand them more deeply and guide them to be at their best.
With my wife, Tammy, also unlocking her strengths, it has been a such a powerful framework for the health of our relationship. We have integrated the language of strengths into daily lives, which has helped us understand each other more deeply and communicate more effectively. The way we approach so many areas of lives including our finances, holidays, tasks around the home and of course, parenting. We don’t try to make each other wrong, we appreciate the perspective of each other and truly value it.
I also have a greater awareness of how I show up in times of stress. I now understand how my strengths can get in my way in these times, such as my Responsibility ® strengths wanting to take on more than I can handle!
My Strengths statement
Another way knowing my strengths has helped me is the ability to articulate how I serve the clients I partner with. Through utilising the personalised descriptions of my Top 5 Strengths I’ve been able to develop my Strengths Statement.
“I build authentic relationships with business leaders and help them see their possible future of an inspired culture. With a tailored approach to meet client’s specific needs I help them communicate their vision and hold them accountable through a foundation of responsibility.”
Overall, knowing my Strengths has helped me better understand the way I show up without even thinking, to get into a state of flow and have greater confidence. It has shown me how to approach my work for my success and to better understand people around me – family, friends and clients.
Since becoming Gallup certified Strengths coach in 2015, I’ve helped over 2,000 people understand and apply their Strengths. I’ve loved hearing the stories and impact this has made in people’s lives – from the way they work, their relationships at home and feeling more themselves. I’m inspired and driven to help leaders create culture’s where people get to work using their strengths and be their best versions of themselves.
Also check out my article on why we should stop trying to fix people.
I’m also a fan of the Team Management Profile (TMP), a work-preference team based tool I’ve been accredited in since 2007. I love how TMP focuses on people’s preferences and again help’s people understand themselves and each other in a positive and deep way. You can read about the TMP here.