People with the strength of WOO® (Winning Others Over) have a great capacity to inspire and motivate others. WOO is not just a cheerleader; rather, WOO is adept and skillful in social charm. In business WOO might be one of the easiest strengths to monetize.
Have you ever marveled at the way someone can work a crowd… with ease? Or when a problematic situation is happening, do you ever wonder how someone gets people to smile and relax? These people may have the StrengthsFinder now branded (CliftonStrengths) theme of WOO.
People with the strength of WOO are vivacious, infectious, caring, gregarious people who love to meet and greet. They have never met a stranger because strangers are just friends they have yet to meet. People with WOO love connecting with new people. I know a woman with WOO who prides herself on meeting strangers everywhere she goes. She jokes that when she travels, in the time it takes a taxi driver to drive her from the airport to her hotel, they often propose marriage at the end of the trip.
People with WOO know how to find common ground. They remember names, they are humorous, silly, and light-hearted. Never threatening, individuals with WOO have the ability to put you at ease, and they can be the life of the party.
In a serious meeting, they can break the ice, liven things up, and tear down walls with their light-hearted humor. WOO-ers enjoy the excitement of meeting and greeting someone, winning them over, and then moving on. As a result, they can come across as insincere. That makes individuals with WOO great matches for people with the Relator strength. Relators are strong at cultivating deep long-term relationships.
Simon Cooper served as president of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company from 2001 to 2010. Under his leadership, the luxury hotel company developed The Ritz-Carlton Residences and the exclusive Ritz-Carlton Reserve. The hotels were consistently recognized as the top choice in the industry; it was ranked #1 in the J.D. Power and Associates North America Hotel Guests Satisfaction Index Survey and named The Luxury Institute’s Most Prestigious Luxury Brand for multiple years. Cooper is a great believer in using his top 5 CliftonStrengths Signature Themes of Maximizer, Woo, Arranger, Activator, and Significance. He is one of the people featured in Tom Rath’s book Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow.
In her podcast, Obey Your Strengths, Kathy Kersten interviews Simon Cooper. This podcast gives an excellent insight into the mind of a leader and how he uses WOO in his leadership.
Cooper believes that you need WOO to persuade people and teams that your vision of where you want the company, or the individual should go is right. “It is partially about giving them confidence but in the process engaging with them. I really don’t like the word WOO, but it is all about explaining to people your vision and getting their buy-in because if you don’t have that buy-in for whatever the strategy you are trying to execute, it is probably not going to fail unless it is a technology strategy. If it is a people strategy and you need people to execute your vision or any kind of issue, if you don’t have buy-in, I argue it is not going to be successful.”
When Cooper came to the Ritz Carlton, the employees worked from the Ritz Carlton Credo. It was very directive in how the employees were to treat the guests. He wanted his people to live by a set of values, not a set of directives. He wanted to empower them with values that would have the outcomes that the Ritz Carlton desired, not a set of directives. They developed 12 values for them to live by. This was a massive change for the employees at Ritz Carlton. Here is where Cooper put his WOO to work as he talked about in the podcast, and he made sure that worldwide workshops were held to explain his vision and get the buy-in of his people to move the Ritz Carlton brand forward.
In his book Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow Tom Rath talks about how to lead with each theme. He points out one thing in WOO that I think Simon Cooper excels at. In the section where he talks about how to Build Trust, Rath says – “You naturally charm others. Be certain that you do it with integrity so they can trust you when it matters. Otherwise, you may have contacts and not followers.” All through his career at the Ritz Carlton Cooper made sure that his people trusted him and that everyone understood the vision and were engaged with it. Just as he explained in the podcast. People with WOO like to make contact with people and then move on to the next. You need to create long-lasting partnerships with some people. Build the engagement that Simon Cooper talks about.
In 2015 Copper decided to take his strengths into the world of solo-preneurship. From the Ritz Carlton, he went on to found Simon Cooper & Associates. He wanted to “embark on a new voyage to share his knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm.” Again, and this time as an entrepreneur, he followed the advice of Tom Rath and didn’t follow his passion. Instead, he found the best contribution to give to the world with his talents. Along the way, he has created a net worth of $50 million.
Simon Copper skillfully used his strength of WOO to change people’s lives as well as the brand of a multi-billion dollar organization and then his own company. How can you use your WOO strength to change someone’s life? Have you thought of ways to monetize this strength or improve your brand? Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about this or other strengths questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and let’s talk strengths.