Yesterday, I was blessed to be among my Strengths Strategy™ community for our bimonthly learning session. As members of our community were sharing their experiences, insights, and ideas about building new business, I had an "aha moment". My friend and fellow coach, Dr. Dave White, messaged me to share what he noticed. He said, "Your Futuristic, Maximizer, and Arranger are awesome today! I thought for sure you had Activator (as a top strength) too!" He cited my top 3 strengths and how he saw them showing up in my contributions. From our group conversation, I had identified a need and proposed a solution for sharing resources among our community. I then created an online resource library for this purpose.
What Dave helped me see was how I tapped into my Activator-like strengths and their contributions to decisively take action. I say Activator-like, because Activator is my #34 strength (out of 34 based on Gallup's Strengths Finder 2.0 Assessment). I have difficulty accessing this strength and its contributions. It is not one of my innate talents. However, the conditions were present to allow me to bring forth the strengths I do have, and their contributions. In this environment where there was trust, no judgment, space to explore ideas, and a spirit of interdependence, my strategic-thinking (Futuristic), influencing (Maximizer), and executing (Arranger) strengths came alive and were ready to contribute. I was then able to purposefully bring Activator-like contributions to this situation and my community.
Was I focused here on developing my "weakness"? No. On the contrary, I was present, curious, and energized by playing in my strengths. My strengths allowed me to see what the situation needed, what I and my peers needed, and to create and deliver a solution to meet our needs through my strengths.
In doing so, my strengths combined to move me to action in service to myself and the community. I was operating from interdependence, as Strengths Strategy™ defines this place of strategic collaboration, where I serve us, so we can serve others. It is where each of us operates from when we are at our best.
Strengths Strategy's Strategic Interdependence Model™ illustrates the critical role the needs of strengths plays in how we show up in life. In this situation, my Futuristic needed room to be imaginative, permission to ask "what if", and to associate with and listen to others who are excited about the unseen possibilities of the future. My Maximizer needed to re-define success based on the current circumstances, working with others who are strong, and was driven to create excellence, and efficiency. My Arranger needed a fresh challenge, the ability to be flexible, rearrange, and shift in response to current circumstances, a project to coordinate or things to move around, to be trusted, and pragmatic, calm, rational, logical conversation. With these conditions present, each of these strengths had what it needed to bring forth its contribution, resulting in a solution that served us all.
What did I learn from this situation? I learned more about how I come at taking action and making decisions. My way is different than those who are executers and have Activator as a top strength. So, for those of you who have a strength at or near the bottom of your strengths ranking, it is not that you are incapable of bringing that strength's contribution. Rather, you do so by tapping into the strengths you do have. Ones that are more accessible to you. It was exciting to see this, almost in slow-motion, play out. I saw how effective I can be when the needs of my strengths are met, creating the conditions for me to bring what I do best. It felt natural.
Now, consider that my primary strengths domain is Relationship-Building. Individualization is at #4, Relator #5, Developer #7, and Positivity #8. These guys lead the way! I get things done through and in collaboration with people. Frequently this happens in combination with my Maximizer and Arranger, and my strategic-thinking strengths resulting in this Activator-like contribution. My Maximizer tends to take the lead, in combination with my relationship-building strengths, to move me to take purposeful action.
The Secret Sauce
The secret sauce to your special flavor of brilliance is how your strengths combine to serve you and others. This can be difficult to measure, predict, or get your hands around. Gallup's vast research suggests you have a 1 in 33 million chance of finding someone with the same top 5 strengths as you in the same order. This statistically reflects your uniqueness. When you layer the complexity of how your strengths combine on top of this, you can see even more dramatically how distinct you truly are.
I hope this story gives you a greater appreciation of how unique you are. Your strengths ranking informs your strengths lens and how you see the world. How your strengths combine further accentuates your uniqueness.
Perhaps you see the world through task, or you may see the world through relationship. Neither one is better, they are simply different perspectives which bring with them unique needs, and contributions. This difference is a gift. It invites you to invite others who are differently strong to bring their unique gifts to broaden your perspective and enhance your contribution. Through this strategic collaboration, you demonstrate confident vulnerability. If the combination of your strengths is your secret sauce, confident vulnerability is the special ingredient to bringing forth your unique contributions.
What if you better understood your strengths and how to effectively use them to improve your performance, energy, and relationships? What would be different for you? Your relationship with yourself? Your relationship with others?
Be Bold. Be You. Breakthrough.℠
©2016 Brian Kelly Leadership Coaching.
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