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.




Developers seek potential in everyone, no matter what the situation. They believe that people are born with limitless possibilities. Learn how Dr. Maria Montessori created an educational model that not only serves children yet also gives individual school owners the opportunity to monetize their strengths.

When a Developer® helps others, they feel genuinely fulfilled. I often recommend to the Developers that they make a list of people whom they have impacted. Such a list will inspire a Developer by forcing them to recognize how they have empowered others and made a difference in their lives. Next, I ask them to make a list of people they want to mentor, thus continuing to hone this strength in the future. Developers can also benefit from identifying the mentors and teachers that have invested into their lives and showing gratitude to these individuals.

At the same time, Developers run the risk of investing too much time and energy in lost causes. In some cases, there are individuals that simply will not sprout wings and fly, no matter how long a Developer works with them. An earthworm will never be a caterpillar, much less a butterfly, but Developers can’t always see this because they are so focused on the possibility. One of the things a Developer can learn is how to mentor in the moment. Mentorship needn’t last a lifetime. Developers can still make a lasting impact in the moment without over-committing. 

Developers are great additions to any team because they are so adept at recognizing the progress, achievements, and growth of other team members. People with the Developer strength help keep morale high. But Developers must take care not to focus so intently on others that they ignore their own progress. The Developer’s own personal development is crucial if they are to continue helping others flourish and succeed.

Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, and educator was best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name. At an early age, Montessori enrolled in classes at an all-boys technical school, with hopes of becoming an engineer. In enrolling in this school, she broke gender barriers and expectations of her day. She soon had a change of heart and began medical school. Her father did not approve of his daughter’s desire to be educated much less to become a doctor. Women didn’t do such things in the 19th century. Though many obstacles stood in her way, Maria earned her degree from the University of Rome in 1896. Her specialty was pediatric medicine. 

While Dr. Montessori got her opportunity to put her experience, observations, and theories into practice in Rome in 1907, she was invited to open a school for the children of working-class families in a low-income housing project. Her first school was a traditional school called Casa dei Bambini. 

Dr. Montessori observed the children becoming deeply involved in their work and their play. She began organizing their day and their classroom environment to encourage self-discipline and responsibility. Her idea was to “follow the child.” The classroom space, materials, desks, even the flow of the day all had to flow from this central tenet of Montessori. Teachers were to be guides, not stern taskmasters. Dr. Montessori’s approach was quite different from what was commonly found in elementary classrooms of the day. Yet her first Casa dei Bambini was successful, and her methods gained the attention and approval of other educators and civic leaders. Her second school opened later in 1907. 

Dr. Montessori dove into what I believe was her Developer strength by implementing her idea of “follow the child”. She observed the children’s deep involvement in their work and their play. To empower the children in their learning, she began organizing their day and their classroom environment to encourage self-discipline and responsibility. The classroom space, the materials, the desks, the flow of the day all had to come from this central principle of Montessori. She also viewed teachers differently. They were to be guides for the children, not stern taskmasters. Her approach was different from what was found in elementary classrooms of the day. Even with this significant difference from what was the norm of the day, her methods were shown to be successful, they gained the attention and approval of other educators and civic leaders. 

Today there are over 8,000 Montessori schools in the U.S. Though Dr. Montessori’s work began in the inner city with children from low-income families, her Montessori schools have become very popular in middle-class America. Search on Private School Review for Montessori schools within, say, a 10-mile radius of a zip code in most urban areas, and you will be rewarded with dozens of Montessori schools to choose from.

Each Montessori school is individually owned and operated. Not only has Dr. Montessori impacted the lives of children in the schools but also the lives of the people who own the schools. Montessori school owners can learn to be better business owners and entrepreneurs while making a profit. What a delight knowing that you are investing in the development of the world’s future leaders and at the same time making a living that is sustainable, profitable, and full of purpose.  

Who would you like to develop and mentor? How could you empower others while becoming a more savvy business owner with better revenue and profitability? 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.


Adapters live in the moment. They can pivot and be responsive. Very spontaneous, they prefer to focus on here and now rather than thinking long-term. Adapters see life as one choice at a time. People with the strength of Adaptability® tend to be very flexible so that when sudden detours happen in their work or family life, they remain centered and hold on to their sense of calm. This can be soothing and encouraging to other people who react less favorably in the face of change.

My wife, Rhonda, has Adaptability. And while many people hate cooking duty. She has become the culinary wizard in our home. She may start with a recipe gleaned from Bobby Flay or Giada on the cooking channel, then she adds her own spicy twist to the dish. Her saying is, “Everyone has to eat, why not make it special.”

Others can learn from Adapters by seeing the value in spontaneity. I’m a structured person by nature, but marrying an Adapter has helped me to appreciate living in the moment. In the spirit of Adaptability, when I gave a commencement speech at Grayson County College in Sherman, Texas, where I live, and I left a section of the speech unwritten—I opened it up so that I could share whatever was in my heart at the moment.

How could a person monetize their Adaptability® strength?

Ree Drummond, who is better known to most people as The Pioneer Woman, never intended to be a pioneer woman. But the way she has turned this major life change into a positive outcome, I would believe she has the strength of Adaptability. Anne Marie, nicknamed Ree, grew up in the oil town of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. After she graduated high school in 1987, she left Oklahoma to attend college in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 1991, having first studied journalism before switching to gerontology. She planned to attend law school in Chicago, but all that changed when she met, and on September 21, 1996, married her husband, Ladd Drummond, and her heart took her in a completely different direction.

Adaptability is the ability to live in the present, freely, and willingly able to respond to the demands and changes of the moment. When things change, people with the strength of Adaptability easily adapt and change—they are flexible. Ree needed every bit of this flexibility to go from a woman who dreamed of being a lawyer to the wife of a cattle rancher.

Drummond began blogging in May 2006. Her current blog is titled The Pioneer Woman. It was initially titled Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. The latter is now the title of a section within the site. In her blog, Ree writes about topics from her life on the ranch to raising her children. About a year after launching her blog, she posted her first recipe and a tutorial on “How to Cook a Steak.” She wanted to make sure that everyone understood her recipe, so she used her love of photography and posted 20 photos explaining the cooking process in what she calls “ridiculous detail.” Her stories about her husband, family, and country living, and her step-by-step cooking instructions and elaborate food photography, proved highly popular with readers.

In April 2008, Ree decided to have a contest in the cooking section of her blog. She asked readers to share one of their favorite recipes. In less than 24 hours, Ree had over 5000 recipes submitted. Realizing that she had developed a community that followed her blog, she wanted to find a way to make these recipes available to all of her community. Once again, she flexed her adaptability, moving from just a blog to a searchable catalog for the recipes. A little over a year later, she announced the launch of – a simple and free online community website with the tagline Favorite Recipes from Real Kitchens Everywhere!. (Perhaps Rhonda could start a blog and use her tag line “Everyone has to eat, why not make it special.”)

What has she taken this blog and turned it into in the past 14 years? Ree Drummond has turned her small blog into an empire. She has a Food Network cooking show, a series of cookbooks, The Pioneer Woman blog, The Pioneer Woman magazine, as well as her food and home goods line. Drummond also has an ice cream shop, hotel, pizza shop, and coffee line. If you want to try Drummond’s coffee, all you have to do is head down to The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Rhonda enjoys watching and learning from her. On a workation a couple of years ago, Rhonda went to her mercantile in Oklahoma. Ree has taken a simple blog into an estimated net worth of over $55 million.

Do you find yourself in a place that you never expected to be? How could you adapt and pivot your career like Ree Drummond? How could you authentically be yourself, engage others, and prosper? Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how to create your empire or other strengths questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and let’s talk strengths.


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.



Each of us has a need for significance, a desire to be seen as valuable; however, people with the signature CliftonStrengths® talent theme of Significance® have an intense desire to make a global impact. Their big dreams want to leave a legacy to millions.

It was a significant moment when I heard Tom Rath deliver a keynote at the 2017 Clifton Strengths Summit. Both Donald Clifton and Tom Rath, Clifton’s grandson, have Significance at #1 and #2, respectively. Rath has been living with a rare form of cancer since sixteen years old and is on a quest to prolong his life, slowing down the growth of tumors in his kidneys, adrenal glands, and spine. He never thought he’d live to see forty. (Today, Rath is forty-six.)

In his keynote, he gave an example of his grandfather, Don Clifton’s Significance. Don himself was in his late stages of cancer but wanted to make a lasting impact on Rath before he died. At the time, Rath struggled to see himself as a talented writer and believed it was one of his most significant weaknesses.

During this time together, Rath wrote a twenty-page letter of appreciation, eulogizing his grandfather while Don was still alive.  Through reading the letter, Don spotted a writing talent in Rath. And it was Don who communicated his vision of writing and co-authoring a book with Rath the last year of his life, what became How Full Is Your Bucket? a book about giving genuine praise, appreciation, and recognition to others, filling up their bucket. The book instantly became a New York Times and Business Week Best-Seller.

Since then Tom Rath has written seven influential bestsellers, including StrengthsFinder 2.0, the all-time best selling Amazon book, Vital FriendsStrengths Based LeadershipWellbeing, Eat Move SleepAre You Fully Charged, and his latest book, Life’s Great Question: Discover How You Contribute To The World, combined selling over five million copies. Gallup Press published these.

Rath stated in his keynote that “to uncover a talent in someone they’ve never seen in themselves is one of the most significant contributions any of us can make to the world.”

 Rath also surprised us all that day, when he said, “Don’t follow your passion. Instead, find your best contribution to give to the world with your talents.”

Gallup is widely known for the Gallup Poll that you hear about, especially around election season. Still, the majority of the firm’s business and revenue is derived from its other research and management consulting services, which include an employee engagement survey called Q12, and a talent assessment called CliftonStrengths. In the 1990s, Gallup developed a set of 12 questions it called Q12 to help businesses measure employee engagement. The Q12 employee engagement survey asks employees 12 questions about their workplace, coworkers, and management, to measure engagement and help managers and organizations improve productivity.

CliftonStrengths, formerly called StrengthsFinder, originally launched in 2001, is an online talent-assessment tool that focuses on 34 themes that make up the user’s strengths potential; Now over 22 million people have uncovered their talent around the world.

Gallup uses the tool as part of its fortune 500 consulting as well as for educational sector and universities. For K–12 education, Gallup consults and trains schools and school systems to focus on strengths and increase engagement. Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia, uses the CliftonStrengths in their GT1000 course. GT1000 is the freshman seminar and use the assessment to prepare first-year students to navigate college from a place of strength. The company administers the Gallup Student Poll in the U.S., which measures success based on hope, engagement, and well-being.

Donald Clifton used his strength of significance to influence his grandson’s life. Through this influence, Tom Rath became an author, and using his significance strength has influenced no telling how many lives.

Donald Clifton, Tom Rath, current CEO, Jim Clifton, current COO, Connie Rath have monetized this Significance strength by building Gallup’s global brand to 40 locations, 2000+ employee’s, and earning more than $190 million dollars a year.

How can you use your Significance strength to uncover someones talent? Have you thought of ways to use this strength to improve your own brand and scale your revenue? 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.


Self-Assurance® is a lot like self-confidence. Individuals with the CliftonStrength® talent theme of Self-Assurance possess a “Can do” mindset. Whereas most people spend their lives wondering if they are “good enough,” the person with the Self-Assurance strength believes in his abilities and is confident in his decisions. As a result of this inner certainty, Self-Assured people are very independent and able to be effective entrepreneurs monetizing their strength.  

They are often very influential, almost contagious; others are drawn to a Self-Assured person’s sense of security. Self-Assured individuals run the risk of becoming work-a-holics who fail to spend time on relationships and can become loners because of their hyper-independence. They work hard to reach the top of the mountain and have to work extra hard not to alienate themselves from others. 

Self-Assured people should be encouraged to set ambitious goals because their high degree of persistence often results in success. They are excellent sources of stability and inspiration for people who lack self-confidence. Like the keel of a ship, Self-Assured people drive individuals and organizations to perform better.

Does this sound like anyone you know? If not someone you know personally, maybe someone you have heard of? How about Steve Jobs?

When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple in 1976 to sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer, it was something that was unheard of. In 1977 Ken Olson, President of Digital Equipment Corporation, said: “There is no need for any individual to have a computer in their home.” Can you imagine your life now if Steve Jobs had second-guessed himself when he heard things like that? (Ken Olson was forced to resign in 1992, after the company went into considerable decline and the company was acquired in June 1998 by Compaq.)

March 1976, Wozniak completed the basic design of the Apple I computer and showed it to Jobs, who with his self-assurance demanded that they sell it; Wozniak was at first skeptical of the idea but later agreed. In April of that same year, Jobs, Wozniak, and administrative overseer Ronald Wayne founded Apple Computer Company (now called Apple Inc.) as a business partnership in Jobs’s parents’ Crist Drive home. The operation initially started in Jobs’s bedroom and later moved to the garage. Wayne stayed only a short time, leaving Jobs and Wozniak as the active primary co-founders of the company. The two decided on the name “Apple” after Jobs returned from the All One Farm commune in Oregon and told Wozniak about his time spent in the farm’s apple orchard.

Jobs ran into another obstacle later in his career when he lost Apple to another CEO. In 1983, Jobs lured John Sculley away from Pepsi-Cola to serve as Apple’s CEO, asking, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”  

Sculley’s and Jobs’s respective visions for the company significantly differed. By early 1985, the Macintosh’s failure to defeat the IBM PC became apparent, and it strengthened Sculley’s position in the company. In May 1985, Sculley—decided to reorganize Apple, and proposed a plan to the Board that would remove Jobs from the Macintosh group and put him in charge of “New Product Development.” This move would effectively render Jobs powerless within Apple. In response, Jobs then developed a plan to get rid of Sculley and take over Apple. However, Jobs was confronted after the plan was leaked, and he said that he would leave Apple. The Board declined his resignation and asked him to reconsider. Jobs then submitted a letter of resignation to the Apple Board.

Losing his company could have been the end of Steve Job’s, but with his self-assurance, he did not let that slow him down.

Job’s stated later in a Stanford University commencement that, “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Notice that self-assurance can be human and humble. Even in uncertainty self-assurance can be freed to innovate, disrupt the marketplace, and be creative.  Job’s went on to create the iphone, the ipad, and at the time of his death, Steve Jobs had a net worth of $10.2 billion.

Along with all the entrepreneurial determination of a person with the strength of self-assurance, Job’s stated during his battle with cancer, “Your time is limited; don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Do not be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Do not let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. Most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” 

Do you have the self-assurance that Steve Jobs had when he started Apple? How can you monetize your Self-Assurance strength to make sure that your vision comes to life? Let us know your plan 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.



Are there people in your life that are consistently improving upon excellence, whether its career, leadership, or world-class entrepreneurship? Who do you know that is always enhancing, upgrading, and perfecting anything in their path?

If someone has ever encouraged you to go beyond what you think is your capacity, been pushed to become beyond noteworthy, or infinitely amazing, you probably have been influenced by someone with the CliftonStrengths theme of Maximizer®.

Maximizers are motivated by excellence. They are not interested in problem-solving; they’d much rather take something good or even marginal and tweak it until it’s excellent. That’s how Maximizers earned the nickname “pearl divers.” Maximizers dive deep, find a pearl that is already developing, and polish it. Then, they mount that pearl in a beautiful setting and make it look like a million bucks.

Maximizers dislike spending time with people focused on negativity. They prefer instead to surround themselves with people focused on excellence. Thus, Maximizers are not ideally suited to being therapists because therapists typically address weaknesses. A coach, on the other hand, focuses on strengths, and is likely a better career fit for a Maximizer. They are also adept at building teams and helping people discover and polish their strengths. They make great managers, mentors, and coaches because they know how to take advantage of an organization’s assets.

Who is an example of monetizing their Maximizer?

It’s intriguing to know that author, speaker, and leadership guru John Maxwell has Maximizer as his #4 talent theme. 50 years ago he began his journey as a small church pastor who had huge dreams of equipping leaders to do remarkable things and lead significant lives. Over those 50 years he has created a net worth of $10 million. He is the founder of INJOY, Maximum Impact, The John Maxwell Team, ISS and EQUIP. EQUIP is an international leadership development organization working to help leaders, involved with leaders from more than 80 nations. Its mission is “to see effective Christian leaders fulfill the Great Commission in every nation.”

Maxwell speaks annually to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and organizations as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point and the National Football League. A New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, he was one of 25 authors named to’s 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. He’s written more than 100 books and authored several New York Times bestselling books. He was named the #1 leadership expert in the world by Inc. Magazine in 2014. The John Maxwell Team empowers coaches, trainers, and speakers, while Equip, the name for his non-profit organization, trains and mobilizes Christian leaders around the world. Would you like to hear from John Maxwell on his Maximizer strength? Check out his Becoming a Maximizer: A Minute With John Maxwell, Free Coaching Video

Maxwell thrives on taking leaders from good to great. Polishing a leader is what his 5 Levels of Leadership system are all about. He believes that every individual can increase their influence and their results by applying these 5 levels to their leadership walk.

  1. Position is the lowest level relying on rules, rights, and a title. People follow you because they have to.
  2. Permission is the next level. Through relationship, people follow you because they want to.
  3. Production is the third level and is focused on results. People follow you because of what you have done for the organization.
  4. People development is all about reproduction. People follow you because of what you have done for them. You reproduce leaders.
  5. Pinnacle is the highest level of leadership and is based on respect. People follow you because of who you are and what you represent.

Do you have the CliftonStrengths theme of Maximizer, or know someone who does? How can you monetize your Maximizer strength and apply the 5 Levels of Leadership to build a business like John Maxwell? Let us know your plan 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.