With so many assessments available, how do you know which one to use? In making that decision, you need to keep in mind what was used to create the assessment. Is it just this is what someone thought would be a good idea, or is it based on a solid framework?

There are a few key terms that are important to understand as you delve into the world of the Clifton StrengthsFinder.

Positive Psychology

The CliftonStrengths assessment is based on Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is an approach to psychology from the perspective of healthy, successful life functioning. What are the differences in Positive Psychology from Traditional Psychology? Traditional Psychology focuses on people’s problems and how to deal with them directly. Positive psychology offers the chance to help find the inner strengths of a person focusing more on proactive steps to use their abilities.

This focus is what Donald Clifton was talking about when he said, “What would happen if we studied what was right with people versus what’s wrong with people?

Talent (a natural way of thinking and feeling) x Investment (time spent practicing, developing, and building your knowledge base) = Strength (the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance). This is a simple formula for a profound concept. It builds beautifully on the Positive Psychology principle of helping people find their inner talents and then proactively making an investment in that talent to refine it into a strength. This formula was introduced in the bestselling book StrengthsFinder 2.0

Talent is your natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving. They’re the inherent natural abilities you can apply to your life. Once you uncover your talents, you must invest in them. This investment goes past knowing your strengths; you must practice using them and add knowledge and skills.

Neuroscience

The Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment is rooted in and based around neuroscience – “a scientific discipline studying the structure, development, function, and genetics of the brain.” Through the use of cognitive MRIs, neurologists can see the brain’s activity when subjected to certain stimuli. In short, your brain literally lights up when it’s functioning in an area of strength.

Assessment vs. Psychometric

A psychometric assessment is an “objective measurement of skills and knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits.” In a psychometric assessment, you don’t know what sorts of questions are being asked, or why. The Clifton StrengthsFinder only gives you 20 seconds to answer before moving on to get your gut reaction.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment is a psychometric assessment that measures the things you’re naturally good at doing – so good you may not understand your results because you think, “doesn’t everybody do that?

So what you may think. Why do I need to know any of this about Clifton StrengthsFinder? Our culture has, for so long, focused on developing or fixing our weaknesses. StrengthsFinder gives us an invitation to focus on what is right and strong about you. Because of this, anyone can use the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to help build strong people, strong teams, and a strong culture. It is this place of strength that significant and long-term impact can be developed. Now, as never before, we need these strong people, teams, and culture.

How are you investing in your talents? In what ways are you practicing your talents and adding to your knowledge and skills? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can incorporate Clifton Strengths Finders into your life or business? Want to know how to put your strengths into practice and add knowledge and skills? Check out my website at www.brentobannon.com for more ideas and classes that will help you on that path. Want to talk to me about this or any other issues schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call.

 

As a strength coach, people often ask me about retaking the CliftonStrengths Assessment. Though it may seem like your strengths would change over time, the answer to retaking the assessment is – no need most of the time.

No matter why someone wants to retake the CliftonStrengths assessment, Gallup’s research shows that their first completion of the assessment gives the “purest and most revealing results.” Let’s take a few minutes and look at a couple of reasons why people think they should retake the assessment.

I was in a bad mood the day I took the assessment.

In the 1990s, Donald O. Clifton developed the CliftonStrengths to measure talent potential. The assessment measures natural recurring thoughts, feelings, and behavior called talent. Through much research, Gallup has discovered that your mood when you took the assessment will have little effect on the results you receive. This doesn’t mean that your mood will have no impact whatsoever on your responses to the statements. What it does mean is that this assessment based on positive psychology and neuroscience will expertly measure your recurring patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior. By doing so, the assessment sees through the mood you are in that time to reveal your most dominant themes of talent.

One thing to keep in mind about Strengths and mood is, knowing your strengths, you can use your strengths to help your mood. If you are in a bad mood over things going on in your life, focus on your strengths and use them to help you develop a strategy to move past the place you are. Strengths are not just an assessment you take and then put it on the shelf till someone asks you your top five. Strengths are a living, breathing part of your life, or they should be.

I don’t like the strengths the assessment gave me.

Identifying where you have the greatest potential for building strength is what your assessment is assessing. Knowing this information is a starting point for you to grow in the areas that you have the greatest potential for building strengths. Building and using your strengths will make you become the best version of you, not an imitation of someone who has the strengths you think you want.

Your strengths will help you understand the unique ways that you operate and maybe even discover things about you that you did’t see. One of the ladies I work with was surprised when Strategic came up in her top five. Of all the ways she thought of and described herself strategic was not one of them. When she talked to friends and family, their response was – of course, you are strategic. Their evaluation of her took her completely by surprise.

She preferred to think of herself in the Relationship Building Talents, where most of her top five reside. After seeing this and getting feedback, her new strengths-awareness opened up new growth. When she had her yearly evaluation, her manager commented that she didn’t know what happened over the previous year, but she saw more engagement with the rest of the team and more productivity in her role, along with taking on new assignments.

For over 40 years, Gallup scientists have been studying strengths. From all this research, they have found that our strengths do not change significantly over time. The way the assessment is designed intentionally force’s you to make a quick choice preventing you from overthinking the response. If you decide to retake the assessment, you could be familiar with the questions, and since you could be trying to manipulate the outcome, this could lead to less accurate responses and skew your responses.

These are just a couple of the reasons that people give for wanting to retake the assessment. What kind of reasons do you hear people want to retake the CliftonStrengths Assessment? How do you respond? Let’s discuss in the comments below. Want to become a strengths champion for others? Visit https://brentobannon.com/courses/ and please schedule your free Ask Brent Anything call, and Let’s Talk Strengths.

If someone asked you to tell them the top 5 things they were good at, could you? Most of us would struggle with that question. If someone asks the top 5 things you were terrible at, I bet you would give a laundry list. What we do well should be evident to us, it is something we should be practicing every day, but we have been conditioned to see what we do wrong and correct that instead of what we do good and building on that.

Donald Clifton said, “Your weaknesses will never develop, while your strengths will develop infinitely.” So how do we help others to understand their value through their strengths? How do we show them how to move from raw to refined?

I wish there were a bulleted list that I could just insert here, but people and their particular set of strengths are varied. Think about your Top 5. If you were looking for someone else with the same group of Strengths in their Top 5 is about one in 275,000. If you want someone with the Top 5 themes in the same order as yours, then the odds are 33.4 million. With this much unique talent, how do we lead? We lead each one uniquely according to their strengths and not try to put them all in a category.

In our world, today, people are losing sight of their value. If people know their CliftonStrengths themes, then they know their talent DNA. These themes explain the ways they most naturally think, feel, and behave. When you help people tap these strengths naturally in their makeup, they have authentic behaviors that they can hold on to. 

If you listen intently to what someone says, you will find a wealth of knowledge in what they say and what they don’t say. You have to listen behind the words. With your focus entirely on the person talking, you can listen to the meaning of the words and then choose how to respond specifically to this person, to uniquely lead them. As Stephen Covey says in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People:” Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Once you have listened and understood the person and their strengths, help them understand. Strengths give language for someone to become aware of their strengths and have a way to talk about them. Most people know their top 5 or even their full 34, but they see them as being independent of each other. Just knowing what the CliftonStrengths assessment says are your strengths is not enough. You need to help people become fluent in this language.

As with any language, people have to understand what words mean. In the language of strengths, you need to help the person you are working with understand the definition of each of their strengths. I have run into people who can tell me their Top 5 but can’t delve into each one. Though theme identification is the beginning of the development process, it can’t stop there.  

People can’t be labeled with just one word. You need to know that if you are an Achiever® that explains the drive, you must continuously get things done. Why what makes you feel good is to achieve something tangible. In the definition on the Gallup Website for Achiever, it says, “Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you.” Understanding something like this about yourself can give a person not only insight into why they do what they do but permission to do it. Think about that for a moment. Once someone knows their strengths, they may discover things about themselves that they have never seen before, and it can open a whole new world of achievement for them. Help them find this.

Once you have discovered the language and meanings together, look at their lives. What do they do? What do they want to do? How can they take what they know about strengths and apply it to their lives? This is a most incredible and rewarding journey that you can walk with someone through.

Who do you know that needs to better understand their value? How can you use the language and meanings of strengths to grow your team? Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule your free Ask Brent Anything call, and Let’s Talk Strengths.

 

You may think of the Relator® as someone who has never met a stranger, but that’s WOO—winning others over. People with WOO believe that each stranger is a friend they have yet to meet, but Relators are selective about their relationships. They tend to be more guarded and cautious when they first meet people.

Relators may not immediately come across as relationship-oriented people because their strength lies with in-depth relationships, not shallow connections. Relators are always looking for an excuse to get together with their friends or their colleagues because genuine relationships fuel them. Relators are not interested in job title or status; they are interested in their relationship with you.

Relators are skilled at building better friendships and relationships, not only in their families and friendships but in the workplace as well. It is important for Relators to find and develop deep, trusting friendships in the workplace. The Gallup book, Well Being by Tom Rath, demonstrates how people enjoy better well-being when they have at least one good friend in the workplace. So, if you have a great relationship with your boss, your supervisor, or a colleague, count yourself blessed.

People with the Relator strength have the gift of creating loyal, trusting, sharing relationships that will never break. Guess what? My wife has this strength, too. We have been married for over thirty-six years (and have known each other for thirty-eight), and I always say that any woman who can put up with me for thirty-six years has to have some serious relationship abilities. Many of my wife’s attributes—like her loyalty—come from being a Relator.

Mervyn Davies is the former Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank and is an example of an executive monetizing his Relator strength.

Davies was the chairman of a British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London, England. This bank operates a network of more than 1,200 branches and outlets across more than 70 countries and employs around 87,000 people. In the world of business, he is known as one of the world’s most influential. Being the chairman of such a large bank, you would think he would be a stubborn, bottom-line first businessman, In fact, British newspaper The Guardian calls him “that rare breed: a banker [whom] people like.”  How did Mervyn Davies gain the reputation as this rare breed of banker?

His top 5 Strengths are Achiever, Futuristic, Positivity, Relator, and Learner. Davis knew that to be successful in leading this organization; he had to use a Strengths-based leadership approach. He needed to build a leadership team with the same diversity as Standard Charter Bank has in the networks they operate. To that end, he developed an incredibly diverse leadership team focusing on different backgrounds, personalities, and strengths. Knowing his strengths well, he wanted to surround himself with other strengths that would allow them to do things he couldn’t do well.

Once he had his team in place, Davis leaned into his Relator strength to find a way to build trust between himself and his leadership team. According to Gallup.com, “The Power and Edge of Relator: Those with Relator among their Signature Themes form deep relationships and are most productive when they are working alongside colleagues they know well. As a result, they can be great collaborators and bring encouragement to others on their team.” So he set out to form these deep relationships.

He made a point to over-communicate with his team. He would send communications to his top leaders with details about why he was making the decisions he was making. Some of his decisions were considered controversial, and he wanted them to understand where he was coming from to build their trust relationship. He also shared more than work; he shared his personal life too. When his wife developed breast cancer, he sent an email to his top 4oo executives, letting them know what was going on with him and how it would change his schedule for the next several months. His Relator strength makes him value authentic relationships, and he was an example of that.

In addition to being open about his life, he was widely known for helping others put their family first. The result of leaning into his Relator strength created a culture where the employees had an unprecedented level of trust in their CEO.

How are you using your Relator strength to build your team and organization for greater trust? How can your organization become more profitable from building deep authentic relationships?

Here are three questions for you to ponder in order to build deeper relationship with your team:

  1. Which talent themes can help you ask better questions to explore strengths?
  2. When can you help clients turn their strengths inward and outward for success?
  3. How could you better help employees understand underusing (coasting) and overusing (speeding) with their strengths?

How can you use your Relator to build a firm of endearment?  Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and Let’s Talk Strengths.

 

 

Positivity ® is one of my wife’s top strengths. Now you know why I married her—she has incredible relationship strengths. People with Positivity are generous with praise and love to smile. They are light-hearted, playful, humorous, and they’ve got bundles of passion, energy, and kindness. But don’t get me wrong—Positive people are not inherently naïve. They realize there are crises and challenges in the world but choose to focus on what is right instead of what is wrong. The strength of Positivity helps them to find the good in all situations.

People with the strength of Positivity make special events come alive. Birthdays, retirement parties, get-togethers of all sorts—Positive individuals enjoy creating events where others laugh, connect, share, and feel good about life. As a result, people are drawn to individuals with Positivity. However, individuals with Positivity should protect themselves from those who see the minefields instead of the flowers in the garden, as negative people tend to drain their energy.

It is important to remember that Positive people are not always in a “good mood.” My wife may not be feeling great for any number of reasons, but she manages to have a Positive demeanor and doesn’t bring others down. If we are dining at a restaurant and my wife isn’t enjoying the food, she will never say it because she doesn’t want to dampen anyone else’s experience. This can be a strength and a hindrance because Positive people may not open up and share their hurts, challenges, or stresses, thus internalizing tough emotions.

People with Positivity are not interested in changing negative people, as they prefer instead other Positive people. Throw a Positive person into a room full of negative people, and the positivity will wilt. Throw them into a room full of Positive people with Positive potential, and the Positive person will find the spark that will light their potential on fire.

If you’re curious how to monetize Positivity, check out my positive psychology friend, Margaret Greenberg, and read her book, Profit from the Positive: Proven Leadership Strategies to Boost Productivity and Transform Your Business. Greenberg highlights research from neuroscience that shows emotions are contagious. Mirror neurons in our brains can catch another person’s mood, just like catching a cold. Dr. Marcial Losada and Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, teach that high functioning teams need a 6:1 positivity to negativity ratio in order to flourish. As leaders, it’s crucial to manage our emotions, like a thermostat, and in doing so, regulate the emotional temperature to create a stronger, smarter, richer work environment. 

Another example of making a great living from Positivity is Barbara Fredrickson. She’s a social psychologist who researches emotions and positive psychology. She is the Kenan Distinguished Professor; Department of Psychology and Neuroscience; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Director, Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory; President, International Positive Psychology Association. Her “broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions” is foundational within Positive Psychology. This theory provides a blueprint for how pleasant emotional states, as fleeting as they are, contribute to resilience, well-being, and health.

Dr. Fredrickson is among the most highly cited scholars in psychology and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. She has two general audience books, Positivity (2009, www.PositivityRatio.com) and Love 2.0 (2013, www.PositivityResonance.com) have been translated for more than 30 foreign markets.

She was identified in 2014 as the 13th most influential psychologist alive today contributing to counseling psychology. In a partnership with UNC-Chapel Hill and Coursera, Dr. Fredrickson began teaching a free, on-line course in 2015 on Positive Psychology. The first offering enrolled more than 57,000 learners worldwide. Through this and other means, her work influences scholars and practitioners worldwide, within education, business, healthcare, the military, and beyond.

There is power in positivity. In Gallup’s Called to Coach Webcast from October 17, 2018, in the text below the window for the Webcast, it says – “If you have Positivity as a dominant theme when you’re at your best, you are a multiplier of hope.” Hope is amazingly strong. In Hebrews 11:1, the Bible tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Could you make a thriving career like Barbara Fredrickson and be a multiplier of hope to bring positivity into other lives? 

What career could your Positivity strength multiply hope in others? How could you monetize your Positivity strength as an entrepreneur? What products and services could your Positivity help others to live richer ? Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and Let’s Talk Strengths.

Individualization® refers to those who love to discover the uniqueness in others. Individualizers believe that each person has his or her own unique, special story. Instead of seeing people’s similarities, Individualizers see differences—the things that make other people special.

Individualization is my #2 strength, and it helps me observe people’s strengths as well as their struggles. I call it my Strength Spotter and Star Maker.

I remember hearing one Individualizer say that when he started hearing people’s stories, it was as if balloons were popping up over their heads like cartoon characters. The balloons told him what was going on with them, what they were thinking, what they were feeling, and what they wanted.

In a way, people with Individualization have an ability to read your mind—They are also quite skilled at reading body language. As people with Individualization get to know you and your story, they can personalize a plan or strategy to get you from point A to point Z based on your strengths and struggles.

Donald O. Clifton, had Individualization as his #3 talent. Clifton was recognized with a presidential commendation from the American Psychological Association as “the father of strengths-based psychology and the grandfather of positive psychology.”

After serving as a World War II pilot, Clifton served as a teacher and researcher in the field of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln from 1950 to 1969. While at the university, his research focused on identifying the talents of successful people. While doing this research, Clifton developed the strengths theory instead of studying what was wrong with people. Working within his theory, he identified that successful people had specific personal talents that helped them in their work. The question he wanted to answer was, “What would happen if we studied what was right with people versus what’s wrong with people?” Later in his research Clifton named Individualization as one of those talent themes.

You can see how Donald Clifton began to monetize his Individualization when he left the university, founded Selection Research Inc. (SRI) in Lincoln, Nebraska, helping private and public entities with employee selection.

Clifton’s firm SRI experienced massive growth then acquired Gallup in 1988, and Clifton became chairman.

Up to the point of being acquired by SRI, Gallup was known for its public opinion polls by George Gallup. With Clifton as the chairman, Gallup expanded beyond public opinion polls. Gallup entered the management consulting business, consulting with companies on ways to improve their businesses by not focusing on their employee’s weaknesses and trying to fix them but by honing in on their employees’ strengths.

The online assessment tool Clifton StrengthsFinder (now known as CliftonStrengths) was developed by Clifton In 1999. The assessment that we all now know and love that focuses on 34 talent themes that make up the user’s natural ways of thinking, feeling, and behavior gives us an Individualized language to use when working with people to hone in on their individual strengths.

In addition to developing the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment Donald Clifton authored several books:

Though passed away in 2003, Donald Clifton provided the framework that has inspired millions of people, helping them to find their individual strengths and become their best selves.

More than 90% of Fortune 500 companies have used CliftonStrengths to bring the power of strengths-based development to their workplace culture. (Allowing companies and their people to identify their individual strengths and refine the talent into engaging strengths.) To date, over 23 million people have taken the CliftonStrengths StrengthsFinder.

Individualization has the power to allow you to instinctively observe an individuals talent, style, motivation, thinking, and how they build relationships.

What ideas do you get from Donald Clifton on how you can monetize your Individualization strength? In what ways do you see that you can use this strength to build productive teams by leveraging the team’s individual strengths so that everyone can do what they do best?

Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and Let’s Talk Strengths.

People who are Includers® love to stretch the circle wider and are adept at being inclusive. Includers dislike thinking of people being left out and often cannot concentrate until everyone is included. Not surprisingly, Includers are incredibly accepting, non-judgmental people. Individuals with the Includer strength are able to see past a person’s flaws and accept them unconditionally.

Includers have a tendency to pick up strays. I know an Includer with six adopted pets. It’s part of his strength—he doesn’t want an animal to be left out in the cold. This applies to people, too. Includers pick up the underdog or the person who may not have a group or cause. Thus, Includers must learn to temper their compassion; there is a limit to how many pets we can have in our home and how many people we can have in our lives. 

The Gallup website tells us “People exceptionally talented in the Includer theme accept others. They show awareness of those who feel left out and make an effort to include them.

Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect these differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same. We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve.”

For the past two decades, Dr. Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, has done research regarding those who feel left out. Not whom we usually think of as left out, not the oblivious but the hidden things that make us feel left out. She dug below the surface, studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy to get to the root core of what makes us feel this way and help us find our way back. Brené Brown studies human connection.

Her path forward in doing this work was not exactly what she thought it would be. Funny how it is that way with so many things in our lives. We think it is going one way, and then it takes an entirely different route. Sometimes our strengths are so strong in us that we use them without conscious thought.

For Dr. Brown, it was not such a conscious choice. She had been studying shame and vulnerability for several years when, in 2010, she was asked to do a TEDxHouston talk on The Power of Vulnerability. It was in this talk that she showed up with her vulnerability. When she was willing to reach out with her imperfections and show other people that she was there with them, the inclusion people felt was overwhelming. “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the top five most viewed TED talks, with over 48 million views.

After the unexpected popularity of her TEDx talk, she began to move her career forward. She is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of ImperfectionDaring GreatlyRising StrongBraving the Wildernessand her latest book, Dare to Leadwhich is the culmination of a seven-year study on courage and leadership. She is a leadership consultant to the likes of Pixar, IBM, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has been featured on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday. 

Dr. Brown’s company now includes 27 employees. Her company provides training for therapists and coaches who want to be certified in Brown’s methods and licensed to use her intellectual property. In 2015, the online education portion of her business was launched. Her “Courage Works” course was immediately successful. This course alone generated $6 million in revenue and 100,000 customers in its first year. If Brene Brown can move her career forward, inspire human transformation, and monetize her strengths – how about you!

One of the ladies that works with me was part of the first Courage Works class. 

She had been reading and studying Brene Brown’s work for years. She says that by studying the work of Brene Brown, her life did a 180-degree turn. Though broken in many places, she hopes to honor those places and heal.  

She also told me that no discussion of Brene Brown would be complete without the Theodore Roosevelt quote that inspired her and inspires millions more today because of Brene Brown, making them know they are included. So here it is:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

There is great power in being an Includer. By bringing someone in who does not feel like they are worthy of belonging you help them find their power and purpose.

How are you using your Includer strength in marketing, sales, team building, and customer engagement? What ways do you see that you include the disenfranchised in your life, business, and monetize your gift like Brene Brown? How could someone with that strength assist you to build your business?

Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and Let’s Talk Strengths.

 

People with the Harmony® strength are natural peacemakers, they are adept at helping team members to understand and respect each other to get along better. Harmonious individuals are practical, especially in terms of strategic planning and executing difficult tasks.

They look for ways to promote agreement and consensus. They dislike the unproductive nature of fighting and are interested in keeping the peace in order to get more done. When it comes to theory or opinion, Harmonious individuals tend to shy away and focus on concrete ways to connect.

For that reason, a Harmonious person will likely defer to what they are really thinking. They may hold their tongue for the sake of agreement because they don’t want to rock the boat. Moreover, they believe firmly in mutual respect. People with the Harmony strength believe, when you hurt someone else, you hurt yourself.

However, many times other people try to take advantage of a person with the Harmony strength because a Harmonious person avoids confrontation and will compromise to make peace. In order for a Harmonious person to balance their strength, they must learn to stand up for themselves, especially if someone else is hurting them or the organization. For a Harmonious person to learn how to cope with conflict, I recommend various CAREfrontation techniques. 

CAREfrontation is a system I developed to deal with conflict and confrontation in a caring fashion. CAREfrontation teaches people how to connect, assert, resolve, and engage in the face of conflict. All Harmonious individuals could benefit from working smarter in their conflict resolution skills. 

Henry Kissinger served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. His family fled Nazi Germany in 1938 when Kissinger was 15 years old. He went from being a refugee to become National Security Advisor in 1969 and U.S. Secretary of State in 1973. Kissinger played a large part in the foreign policy of the United States between the years of 1969 and 1977. His accomplishments during this time include:

  • Establishing the policy of détentewith the Soviet Union
  • Opening of relations with the People’s Republic of China
  • Engaged in what became known as shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East to end the Yom Kippur War
  • Negotiated the Paris Peace Accords
  • Ending American involvement in the Vietnam War 

For his actions negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam, Kissinger received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize.

This is the top prize that anyone can win for bringing harmony to difficult situations. The Peace Prize is awarded to the person or persons who, in the preceding year, shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” These are the instructions for the prize left by Alfred Nobel’s will. It would be interesting to know how many Nobel Peace Prize winners have Harmony in their top five strengths, as peace making is what they are all about.

Just as in politics and world affairs, business needs negotiators with the harmony strength. After leaving the government, Kissinger formed Kissinger Associates, an international geopolitical consulting firm. Kissinger has written over one dozen books on diplomatic history and international relations.

On May 27, 2020, Henry Kissinger will be 97. For more than sixty-year Henry Kissinger’s name has been synonymous with harmony and negotiation. He used this refined strength to build a net worth of over $20 million.

Harmony has the power to bring rivals together, a war zone, a workplace, a homestead, no matter the setting, into a miraculous smarter, caring environment. How are you monetizing your Harmony strength? What ways do you see that you can use this strength to conduct negotiations that are beneficial for your business? Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and Let’s Talk Strengths.

   

 

People with Empathy® have “emotion thermometers.” They have an innate ability to tune into the emotional world, and their emotional thermometers can sense both pleasant and unpleasant emotions. Individuals with Empathy see the world through other people’s eyes. Their emotional intuition enables them to understand others.

People with Empathy give a voice to the emotional world. The Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, Vincent van Gogh, said that emotions are the captains of our lives, meaning that whether you like emotions or not, your life is influenced by them. Empathetic people understand Van Gogh’s famous statement and see how emotions guide the lives of others.

Empathy is an uncommon strength. Gallup says that only 18% of people who’ve completed the CliftonStrengths® assessment have Empathy in their top five. This tells us that most people don’t automatically respond with empathy.

Professor at the University of Houston, Dr. Brené Brown, believes that “Empathy fuels connection,” and “Sympathy drives disconnection.” She has a Netflix special that is intended to delve even deeper into how important empathy is in our lives. Simon Sinek, author and former Columbia University professor, believes that “Empathy is the most important instrument in a leader’s toolbox.”

If you are one of those 18%, who have the strength of empathy, you can not only authentically lead people with empathy but build a viable business on your talent.

Someone who has made a career by using empathy is Oprah Winfrey – it is her empathy and ability to connect to people who have made her successful. Oprah Winfrey came from nothing and built a media empire.

When dealing with others’ emotions, Oprah puts herself in their shoes and pauses to reflect on what she can do to be most helpful in any given situation. You can do the same thing with your clients. Listen to what your clients are telling you and figure out how you can help them in the situation they are in.

Using her power of empathy, she develops a high degree of trust, rapport, and mutual respect with her guests. She does this by asking thoughtful and probing questions that draw out implications and feelings, which in turn, fosters a deeper connection. When she builds this level of trust with people on the show, people who watch the show or read her books or come to her conferences feel this connection also. Do the same with your clients and watch what happens.

Oprah not only does this with her guests but with the people who work for her. She firmly believes that empathy is a glue for engaged teams.

Janet Lee worked as senior field producer for the Oprah Winfrey show for 20 years.  In a 2011 interview that she did with Emily Co, Janet shared some insight into what it was like to work for Oprah.

In her account, she talks about Oprah as an empathetic leader who is kind to everyone who works for her, from the janitor to executives.

Though she is a billionaire entrepreneur, Oprah makes an effort to know what is going on in the lives of her employees. This kind of care and consideration from managers boosts productivity and job satisfaction.

‘She always knew my name, she knew what was going on, and would surprise me when she would know my next assignment. I’ll be in the audio booth with her, recording some voiceovers, and she would say, ‘Oh gosh, you just came back from Dallas, and now you have to do that shoot over in New Orleans to cover the Katrina floods?’ It was just amazing — how would she even know that?”’ She would know that by using her empathy to care about what was going on with the people who worked for her. We sometimes get so focused on the outcome of the job that we forget the person who is doing the job.

Do you use your strength of empathy to build trust with your current staff? How could you like Oprah use this strength to build trust with your customers and also become that billionaire entrepreneur? Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and let’s talk strengths.

 

Individuals with the strength of Connectedness® believe things happen for a reason. They prize their sense of faith, mystery, and purpose. They value diversity, and they are web-builders because they uncover sacred connections between all things and people.

Seventy-one year old, Deepak Chopra, has built his entire brand and business around his #2 talent theme of Connectedness. Chopra has become one of the best-known, and wealthiest guru’s in alternative medicine, a licensed physician who became famous after his debut on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1993. In 1996 he co-founded the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Sometimes criticized by the medical and scientific community for what they call pseudoscience, but no one can deny the multitude of followers who resonate with Chopra’s message of synchronicity, well-being, interconnectedness.

Deepak Chopra did not start with the Chopra Center for Wellbeing as his first business. He had several careers along his path before he opened the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Chopra emigrated in 1970 to the United States, he studied medicine in India.

When he came to the United States, he completed residencies in internal medicine and endocrinology. He became chief of staff at New England Memorial Hospital (NEMH) in 1980. In 1985, he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and became involved in the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement. Shortly after that, he resigned from his position at NEMH to establish the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center. Things began to change for him in 1993 when Chopra gained a following after he was interviewed about his books on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He once again made a move and left the TM movement to become the executive director of Sharp HealthCare’s Center for Mind-Body Medicine. In 1996, he co-founded the Chopra Center for Wellbeing.

In an interview with Entrepreneur magazine several years ago, Chopra shared his 7 tips for business success and thoughts on the entrepreneurial soul.

1. Ask yourself, ‘Why do I want to be in business?’ Discovering your strengths and values, leads to self-awareness, purpose, and your contribution to society.

2. Define your vision for success. It could be fulfillment, recognition, or fortune. Chopra states ultimately for him business is about happiness and joy.

3. Think about who you want to work with and what you want to accomplish together. You can hear Connectedness from Deepak’s interview when he asks, “How will you impact the larger ecosystem of the world, and what kind of world do you really want to live in?”

4. Detach yourself from the outcome. Become process-oriented versus outcome oriented. Pursue excellence, ignore success, and seek making a greater difference.

5. Create goals and establish timelines for achieving them. Chopra has built a team that has helped him write 21 NY Times Best Sellers, more than 80 books, and sold more than 20 million books worldwide.

6. Know what it means to be disruptive and disrupt. Business success doesn’t normally come from being a copycat. It’s about being cutting edge and doing something others haven’t thought about. Chopra was one of the first to start virtual reality (VR) meditation experiences.

7. See problems as opportunities. Successful people focus on growth, change, innovation, and turn the problem to their advantage.

Chopra never intended to be an entrepreneur. He felt that mainstream medicine was not doing enough so he started writing books for his patients. He calls himself an “entrepreneur of the abstract.” He has learned to monetize his Connectedness strength building a net worth of $170 million.

Where is your career right now? How could you move forward, monetizing your connectedness strength? How could you become an entrepreneur of the abstract? Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and let’s talk strengths.