Gallup CliftonStrengths Summit :: Top 4 Takeaways that You Can Use Too

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It has been two weeks since 1,493 leaders, coaches, consultants, and educators converged on the always surprisingly chic town of Omaha, Nebraska—to celebrate, connect, and grow at the CliftonStrengths Summit 2018.

In these two weeks, my work has been fueled and my mind has been sparked to take action by the energy of connection I built, the heart of unity I experienced and the tangible tools I carried away.

Then today, it occurred to me that many of these very things are not unique to me. Rather, they can be used by YOU —

  • by a manager who wants to fire up her team,
  • by a spouse who wants to get to the heart of their conflict,
  • by a facilitator or coach who is always looking for more engaging tools to serve his clients.

The CliftonStrengths Summit 2018 is for us all — even beyond the 1,493!

{Side note to clear up any confusion about the name…the assessment known for years as the StrengthsFinder is now called CliftonStrengths. So if you know StrengthsFinder, you know CliftonStrengths.}

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Gallup CliftonStrengths Summit 2018 Summary

The theme for the Summit 2018 was :: Empower People. Disrupt the Workplace. Change the World.

From Opening Keynote Johnny C. Taylor of SHRM to the closing comments by Jim Clifton of Gallup — and 4 rockstar women leaders in between {Denny Marie Post of Red Robin, Donna Lewandowski of Stryker, Jodi Roeski of P.F. Chang’s, and the fabulous Kristen O’Shea} — each story told of the transformation of workplaces, minds and lives by understanding and leveraging Strengths instead of fixating on weakness.

Their stories tell the tale — the Strengths perspective is working. That is certain.

It is not about our national or local leaders. It’s about you and me. If you don’t do it, I swear to God no one else will. — Jim Clifton

“Disruption” is a relatively new and quite popular business buzz word these days. The idea is this: we are at the beginning of a new era. The old ways are stalling out and new ways need to work their way in. The only way to bring in the new is to disrupt the old.

It is not easy. It is most likely not pretty. And it is not without pain. But it is necessary and it is powerful.

By personality, I am not a disrupter, but I am inspired by those who do and who are, and I’m willing to follow as they lead the way.

As I step forward, eyes open and heart tuned, there are 4 key takeaways from the Gallup CliftonStrengths StrengthsFinder Summit 2018 that I know you can use, too.

Four Takeaways that You Can Use Too

1 :: Make Them Feel

So this one is hardly fair. I mean, Zac Lohrisch totally cheated and used the Always Like a Girl video to make his point. He barely had to speak after he introduced his point and showed the video.

I’ve seen the video before and was moved. But this time, I saw the relevance to my work, to my clients, to my community, to the people I have the privilege to impact and help.

There is no movement, there is no change without emotion. Even in the most analytical business environments, there is no transformation or connection to the Strengths perspective if there is no feeling connected to it.

This is something I know. I believe it. The power of story and the influence of emotional templates are truths I hold closely.

But this time, and this is something Zac taught me, I realized that I have been holding emotion to a narrow scope — that of tears and heart triggers and throat gulps. I have been leaving a whole realm of emotional influence on the table instead of picking it up and using it.

"Make them feel." -- Zach Lohrisch

It is not just a heart swell that that creates movement. It is frustration and overwhelm and anger and excitement and contentment, too.

So, above all, I need to create environments, workshops, coaching experiences, courses and writing that stir up emotion, that connect people to their strengths in visceral, heated ways.

That is the the energy that it takes to make the Strengths perspective real and make it stick.

2 :: Fight for Gender Diversity

As a woman in business and in life, I am a part of the club that has privately hid behind inadvertent, self-limiting constructs while I publicly move boldly forward.

While Red Robin is not a place we have frequented much over the past half-decade of our plant-based life style, CEO, Denny Marie Post, earned her spotlight in my world by speaking right to the heart of the women and men in that room as the workforce journeys toward great gender diversity.

Of the 39 reasons that companies should care about gender diversity, these top my list:

  • Greater financial performance
  • Greater corporate sustainability
  • More likely to be seen as ethical
  • Better innovation

Yet, perhaps even greater than these, the Summit 2018 reminded me how important and powerful the Strengths perspective and StrengthsFinder language is in the world, to support the rights and value and strengths of women who have been widely unrepresented.

Post said it herself of her own Strengths journey, “It was like looking at myself in the mirror and finally loving what I saw.”

The StrengthsFinder CliftonStrengths give us all a language to not only communicate value but to feel it, embrace it and live it.

"It was like looking at myself in the mirror and finally loving what I saw." - Denny Marie Post

Later, in conversations with a new friend, Maika Kusunoki of Saitama, Japan, we chatted about the power that the Strengths language might hold for the women of Japan. To give them both an assurance of their unique, strong giftedness and a voice to speak that with honor and resolve.

That world connection is really what gets me inspired. {Thus the name Isogo…if you haven’t heard the story, ask me! I’d love to share}.

3 :: Think Bigger, Align Your Work with the Life You Want

My goal heading into the summit was all about the people. I hadn’t even looked at the titles of the breakout sessions before the night before. It was very unlike me to be so “unprepared.”

Instead, my lens was set to strengthening my existing relationships and planting the seeds of new ones. It was a thrilling, energizing, authentic success. And I wish I could list them all and the futures I see in them all.

Among the many impactful moments of connection, my mind was stretched and inspired by business and life conversations with my colleagues and friends Lisa Cummings and Murray Guest. If you don’t know them or follow them or love them like I do, you must change that.

They are both doing the life-changing work of drawing leaders and team members toward their Strengths and the Strengths of their colleagues so those teams and those businesses can become stronger, more productive, more profitable, more engaged.

As biz conversations turned to life conversations {because shouldn’t they be one in the same?}, we answered these three questions:

  • What do you want to experience?
  • How do you want to learn or grow?
  • What is your contribution to the world?

As we shared our responses with one another, the thread of big, fulfilled lives were woven.

Think Bigger, Align Your Work with the Life You Want - Becky Hammond

Answer these three questions and pair your answers with a willingness to dream big, work hard, take big risks, and share it with people you love, and you get to live the life of your dreams–every day.

4 :: Add This to Your Next Workshop or Team Meeting

And now for the nitty gritty. Of the six breakout sessions I attended, I am leaving with several “do this now” activities and ideas for the courses I create, the coaching I do, and the workshops I facilitate.

In no particular order, here they are:

Reciprocity Grid :: Kelli Jo McNemar brought home some practical ways to encourage and foster truly strengths-based leadership in leader-focused Strengths experiences. What a reminder about how important it is for leaders to understand the way their Strengths allow them to uniquely build trust, inspire hope, foster compassion, and create stability.

{The grid and activity look something like a table with Hope | Trust | Stability | Compassion down the left and Strengths along the top, asking leaders to reflect on how they use each strength to build each aspect of reciprocity.}

Add This to Your Next Workshop or Team Meeting with StrengthsFinder

Helium Tent Pole + a Zoom story :: Murray Guest wowed his packed out crowd with his comfortable delivery of two experiential team activities that get the group up and moving, using their minds, engaging their emotions. He also reminded us all of the importance and value of debrief, which he says should last just as long as the activity itself takes.

{Tent Pole — instruct 8-24 people to bring a horizontal tent pole from eye level to ground level, using only the top edges of their two index fingers. Zoom Story — allow a team of 12-24 people to work together to put 24 seemingly unconnected images into a comprehensive story.}

Improv Based Questions :: Micki Dietrich and Megan Klein-Hewett of the Omaha Public Library passed on several new question based activities to energize a room and engage the Strengths based conversation. Sometimes it’s the simplest of suggestions that make all the difference.

{Question based activities include — A twist on “Would you rather” for a business crowd, Find 3 Things In Common with the person next to you.}

And certainly I will now be found saying “In a moment but not yet…” as I introduce all my activities. Powerful starting line for crowd control.

As the Summit 2018 came to a close, I said goodbye to old and new friends. In the hours and days that followed, I found myself not only inspired and equipped but also encouraged.

strengths finder gallup summit

Encouraged to keep going. To keep helping people. To keep connecting people to their Strengths and to the life-changing stories they can create as they feel and live the power of their unique and brilliant Strengths.

Thanks for the opportunity for connection and growth Gallup CliftonStrengths Summit 2018 {and the hundreds of people it took to successfully pull off the event}. See you next year!

If you’re interested in seeing all/any of the breakout sessions on video, Gallup is making them all available to purchase through August 31. Click here to explore.

 


CONNECT

The Strengths-perspective can impact your marriage, your parenting, and your work!

If you’re into it or you’re just not so sure about it all, reach out, and let’s connect about it. You can catch me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, all at @isogostrong, by this handy contact form, or in our Energy Up Frustration Down facebook group.

Enjoy your day, and {be strong}!

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