How important is fairness to you?  Do you try to live your life by the Golden Rule?  Do other people think that you’re predictable in the things that you do?

A person with the strength of Consistency® believes in fairness. You treat others equally. You understand that all people deserve respect, and everyone should play by the same rules. Entrepreneurs steeped in Consistency are strong at leveling the playing field and ensuring no one person is treated better, or worse, than another.

National Football League referee Edward G. Hochuli is a commendable example.   Though now retired, Hochuli was a referee from 1990 to 2018.  In a poll conducted by ESPN in 2008, Hochuli tied fellow referee Mike Carey for “best referee” votes (eight each) among NFL head coaches. After the retirements of Gerald Austin and Larry Nemmers following the 2007 season, Hochuli became the NFL’s longest-tenured referee for the next decade. Before his football officiating career started, Hochuli played college ball at University of Texas at El Paso for four seasons. He has refereed many playoff games and two Super Bowl events, and he was voted best referee by the NFL head coaches. Hochuli’s belief in rules runs deep. Not only was he an NFL referee, but an attorney at Jones, Skelton & Hochuli.

Hochuli specializes in civil litigation in the areas of Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Liability, Complex Litigation, Insurance Coverage and Fraud, Legal Malpractice and Professional Liability.  There are similarities between the football field and courtroom, “They don’t see themselves as traffic cops or walking rulebooks. They’re keepers of the integrity of the game.” says Jerry Markbreit also a long time NFL referee.

Those with Consistency ensure that everyone on the field follows a clear set of guidelines. In addition to following rules, as a person with Consistency, you are especially adept at recognizing other people’s strengths, celebrating them, and helping build self- esteem and self-confidence. You thrive on integrity, building team spirit and rallying a group or team to move in the same direction.

In a large family, a patriarch like Hochuli may not have a special, unique relationship with each individual because of his group-focused mindset. He may focus instead on making sure all the kids in the nest are fed and clothed the same.

That said, Hochuli’s love of officiating may have rubbed off on his son, who seems to be following his father’s career path. Shawn Hochuli served as the head referee between the Arizona Rattlers and the Jacksonville Sharks at the Arena Bowl XXIV a day after his father refereed a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots.

So how do you earn money from Consistency? Ed Hochuli’s net worth is estimated around $6 million. If he can do it, you can too. After retiring as an NFL referee, he is now monetizing his Consistency as a consultant in the booth as a rules analyst for CBS.

Here’s how: Take time to think through the rules closest to your heart. These rules might be based upon values you consider “non-negotiable.” The greater your clarity about these rules, the clearer your path to turning Consistency into cash.

Say you are an artist—photographer, videographer, painter, craftsman, and so on, and you want to turn this passion into a successful online business. If one of your rules is to create sales copy that over-sells or over-promises (a typical practice in online marketing), then marketing your art may take on its own unique flavor. Maybe your website is a form of art and expresses your product in a way that uses little or no sales copy at all. How many websites have you seen lately that eliminate sales copy, over-sized “Buy Now” buttons, and gaudy graphics and still manage to get their message across? This counter intuitive approach alone may be enough to garner a critical mass of online attention.

Perhaps your role in the art community works to level the playing field for other artists, and in doing so positions you as “the” expert at your craft. A somewhat contrarian approach to turning Consistency into income is to promote yourself by promoting others. Cultivate a reputation for recognizing those who really deserve credit, and then be a mouthpiece for giving that credit. Ensure that respect is always given to those who truly perform well or have a new take on using old mediums. In a way, you can be the conscience of the group or community you participate in.

Do you have the CliftonStrengths theme of Consistency or know someone who might? What does it look like to you? Please share your comments below.

Not sure how you could monetize Consistency?  Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call. Let’s talk strengths.

Do you know anyone who is deeply rooted in their beliefs? A person who has given their life to a cause?  Maybe advocating for the homeless, working for a better environment or like one of my non-profit clients, their mission is to stop poverty? In this blog let’s discuss how to monetize the strength of Belief®.    

Financial guru Dave Ramsey teaches what he calls the Baby Steps to getting out of debt and building wealth. If you want to blaze through the Baby Steps, says Ramsey, there’s nothing like an extra job—and the extra cash it brings in—to turbo-charge your gazelle intensity. And while extra income is great for eliminating debt, it’s also super handy for building an emergency fund, paying off the mortgage, or beefing up your college fund or retirement nest egg.

Ramsey’s superpower is Belief and you can hear it in his voice. “For your own good, for the good of your family and your future, grow a backbone. When something is wrong, stand up and say it is wrong, and don’t back down.” ― Dave Ramsey, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness.

After going through bankruptcy in 1988, Dave has a $125 million plus annual revenue and his Lampo Group, Inc., company oversees six divisions that focus on financial education. He has built a brand from his 6 New York Times bestsellers, The Dave Ramsey Show, and his team of 700 employees.

Dave states, “We learned early on that if we help enough people, the money will come.”

In my coaching experience, people with Belief need careers to be in line with their core values. Put a person with Belief into a work environment that doesn’t correspond with their fundamental ideology, for example, and you have a disaster waiting to happen.

When it comes to earning a little extra cash, Belief can come in handy. Many of Ramsey’s followers have paid down their debt by teaching, selling food, tending pets— really any job that cares for others.

Teaching is a good place to start. You might be surprised to learn how much people will pay you to teach them about something you love doing. All you have to do is get the word out. A follower of Ramsey, Tunde, teaches concealed handgun classes in Houston. Josh offers cello lessons. Rebecca tutors special-needs students at $120 a week. As for working in the food industry, Caitlin makes custom cakes and now earns up to six thousand dollars selling cakes each month. Mattie just started a meal preparation business and landed a 10-meal order that netted $75 for three hours of work.

People with Belief can leverage their talent by writing down a life purpose statement. A purpose statement helps you navigate the world and stay on course. It also helps colleagues and employees understand their leader’s belief system.

It’s important to realize that people with Belief are not typically motivated by money or prestige, but by making a difference in the world. You are moved by the core values that steer your life, whether that core value is helping others get out of debt, speaking about global warming, or working with breast cancer survivors.

When it comes to earning more cash, here’s a little trick I’ve learned: Surround yourself with reminders of your personal mission. Say you are a speaker and want to double your speaking income this year. It’s likely this financial goal all by itself won’t drive you to seek out more speaking gigs. So, what will?

Your personal mission. Often, that personal mission is expressed within your keynote or speech. When the going gets tough, these reminders will help you focus on your reason for being and the valuable contribution you can make.

One of my coaching clients, Lindsey, confessed that selling was not her forte. She had several sales jobs in college and with each position the stress of selling slowly ate away at her. Then she opened a dance studio, a job she loved, and immediately the stress of selling evaporated. She was so passionate about dancing and teaching others to dance that telling people about her business didn’t come off as selling, but something honest and genuine. The difference between selling a service and talking about something you love makes a world of difference.  Lindsey believed in her business and that belief shined through in every conversation. Her belief led to buy-in. Or, more accurately, because she honestly believed in her service, the notion of buy-in never came up.

Here’s another idea for turning Belief into income: Don’t be afraid to give voice to your values. This will help others know who you are and how they can relate to you. In fact, I’d encourage you to actively seek out new clients, projects, and roles that fit your values. Think about marketing your talents exclusively to organizations that define their purpose by the contribution they make to the community.

How can you use your Belief strength to you find your voice?  Once you find that voice how will you use that voice to actively seek out new clients, projects, and roles that fit your values? Please share your comments below.

Not sure where you are and need some conversation around that.  Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call. Let’s talk about strengths.

Do you love managing all the variables, aligning and realigning the parts until it all comes together?  Is finding the simplest, most efficient way to get things done something you strive for?  Do you keep many things in your head at once? Are you flexible and willing to shelve well-laid plans in favor of some brand-new configuration that has just occurred to you? Can you not imagine behaving in any other way? If you answered yes to these questions, then you are an Arranger®.

In whatever you are doing, you are an example of effective flexibility. Whether you are changing plans last minute because something you think is better popped up or considering the right combination of people and resources to accomplish a new project. From the routine to the intricate, you are always flexible enough to find the perfect configuration.

Guidebook author and travel TV host Rick Steves is an Arranger. An Arranger is like the conductor of a symphony; you manage and organize all of the people, resources, and other variables in a project. You are flexible and make great multi-taskers. Steves, for instance, is America’s most respected authority on European travel. He took his first trip to Europe in 1969, and in 1976 he started his business, Rick Steves’ Europe, which has grown from a one-man operation to a company with a staff of 100 full-time, well-traveled employees at his headquarters in Washington State. In 2011, his business was worth nearly $50 million in revenue.

Arrangers can look at a complex situation like travel, a complex problem, or a complex team and arrange it into the perfect configuration. They like to go big. Steves, for instance, has produced more than 50 guidebooks on European travel, as well as America’s most popular travel series on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, a weekly syndicated column, and a successful European tour program.

For entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers, attorneys, technology specialists, and other solopreneurs, going big could be as simple as setting big financial goals or doubling or tripling previous goals. Why not? If you are an Arranger, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Arrangers need a clear vision, and there’s nothing better than an income goal expressed as a single number. Don’t waffle. Choose a number and get to work.

Arrangers can sometimes struggle with communicating why you have chosen a particular goal, process, or configuration of people. If this is the case, partner with someone who can help communicate ideas and explain decisions.  In addition to clear goals, Arrangers thrive with deadlines and need them to stay on track. Deadlines assure details will not overwhelm you. That said, Arrangers are not fans of routine—you like the excitement of complex projects, so you often overlook or just skip activities that bore you.

Unlike Achievers, who simply outwork the competition, Arranger’s special talent is keeping all of the balls in the air. Arrangers are happiest when part of a team. You offer a natural sense of organization that can keep a group or project moving toward its goal. You love change and often play an integral role when massive change is in the works.

So how do you turn a talent for juggling tasks into income? First, develop a strategy for getting things done. Say you want to attract one new large client this quarter. List a dozen ways to locate, contact, and make your pitch to potential customers, then narrow your strategy to just one or two approaches. Here’s the hard part: Once you have the strategy, stick to the strategy. Rather than changing strategies, challenge yourself to find ways to make even the most successful strategy better. If the strategy doesn’t work, and you get pushback from colleagues or fellow entrepreneurs, encouraging you to try another approach, communicate that your natural flexibility doesn’t mean your priorities and strategy are constantly changing. Your priorities remain the same, but you are simply looking for better ways to implement them.

For some Arrangers, selling is awkward because the process is often not logical. In fact, that first conversation with a new coaching prospect can be downright emotional, and there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to put emotions into a nice straight line and expecting all the fuzzy sensations to stay in place.

What big, clear goal will you set?  How will you develop a strategy to scale your business? What people, systems, and connections will you need to monetize your Arranger?

Let’s have a conversation about how to monetize your Arranger. Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call. Let’s talk about strengths.

Do you have a constant need for achievement? Do you feel as if every day starts at zero? At the end of every day, if you don’t achieve something tangible, you likely feel unfulfilled?  And by “every day” you mean every single day — workdays, weekends, vacations.  If you answered yes to these questions, then you are an Achiever®.

Achievers like you are driven by the thrill of achievement. When you wake up in the morning, and typically early risers, you start at zero and try to accrue as many points throughout the day as you can. You have an inherent restlessness that pushes you to complete anything you put your hands on.

Mark Cuban is an American businessman and investor with a net worth in 2019 of 4.1 billion. He is the owner of the National Basketball Association (NBA)’s Dallas Mavericks, co-owner of 2929 Entertainment and chairman of AXS TV. He is also one of the main “shark” investors on the ABC reality television series, Shark Tank.  Mark Cuban is a good example of an Achiever. Now before you start telling me you can’t be a Mark Cuban, let’s look at what he has done and how.  Then you can use some of that information to create your action plan to live richer your way.

Nowadays, On Shark Tank, Cuban meets countless aspiring entrepreneurs who think they have the next great idea. Most don’t. So what separates the good entrepreneurs from the bad? According to Cuban, it’s hard work — that and being better than everyone else in your industry.

Cuban puts it another way. “Busting your ass. It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and out learn everyone when it comes to your business. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once, and everyone will describe you as an overnight success.”

Cuban’s Achiever strength allows him to outwork his competition, and in many ways, this simple, natural talent is enough to create and sustain one business after another.

Shortly after college, Cuban lived in a three-bedroom apartment with five other guys, slept on the floor, and ate cheap chicken dinners as he worked on launching a hardware and software integration company called MicroSolutions. “It allowed me to stay focused on turning MicroSolutions into a $30 million business,” said Cuban.

If you’re an Achiever, you like to be busy. You like to have projects. Every day is about climbing a mountain and getting to the next great peak. The key then is to use your stamina in ways that produce tangible financial gains.

As for Cuban, what’s the key to success? Applying his Achiever to learning.

“I was relentless in learning new tech as it came out. If it had anything to do with the PC or networking industry, I was on top of it. I bought the manuals. I read every book and magazine. Then I got involved with industry conferences and put myself out there.”

Not surprisingly, Achievers love certifications. You love to know that you have finished something or achieved something, and as soon as you finish one thing, you are on to the next. You love new initiatives, new projects. Achievers want to finish what they start. You are fueled by success.

Creating Your Own Action plan!

o    Find a job that honors your desire to work hard and encourages you to do so.  One where you measure your own productivity.  This is the place that you will feel alive and thrive in your Achiever strength.

o    Take advantage of your self-motivation by setting challenging goals. Every time you finish a project, set a more ambitious goal for the next project.

o    Even if your boss doesn’t focus on metrics, get clear on timelines and goals so that you can measure and celebrate your progress toward success.

o    Since you enjoy completion, break the milestones and activities into smaller steps so that you can relish the feeling of accomplishment more often.

o    Use your energy as efficiently as possible. To do this, partner with someone with strong Discipline or Focus talents.

o    Partner up with other hard workers. Create accountability agreements that feed your desire to push yourself. Share your goals with them so they can help you get more done.

o    Give yourself “credit” in your personal tally system for using your Achiever talent with friends and family. That will keep you from over-indexing on the workaholic scale.

o    When it comes to financial outcomes, limit your commitments to tasks aligned with your highest priorities. For example, focus on one outcome at a time: Profitability, gaining new customers, or disrupting an existing market.

How effectively are you monetizing your Achiever strength?  Are you ready to brainstorm on how you could monetize your Achiever strength?  Are you ready to design your action plan ?  Let’s have a conversation in the comment section below.

Not sure where your money making possibilities are and need some conversation around that.  Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call. Let’s talk strengths.

Do you sometimes feel like you’re wasting your potential? And do you also feel unsure about how you can even reach your full potential, even financially? If you do, you’re like a lot of us who want to live our best life.

Here’s the secret to living your best life – there is no secret.

What you do need is a willingness to be open to a new level of self-awareness and apply your unique talents. Use them every day in your relationships at work and everywhere else.  Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

There is a great deal of training on strengths right now and how to integrate your top 5 into your personal and professional life.  However let’s look at them a different way; let’s look at how to aim and turn your natural talents into strengths to grow your money potential.

It is possible to aim your strengths and get paid well for them? I’ve done it and over the last 10+ years I’ve helped other entrepreneurs and coaches double and even triple their income.  I thrive on coaching people just like you to grow stronger, work smarter, and live richer with your strengths.  You too can use your strengths to do the work that you love and get paid well for it.

I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters of Behavioral Science. During this time I married my college sweetheart, and now it’s been 35 adventurous years. We launched two adult children and have our 1st grandchild. In 1993, I started a private counseling practice which multiplied to 5 office locations, 13 counselors and more clients than I could handle.  However, I was ready for a significant career breakthrough.

I was studying positive psychology, and a business coach introduced me to StrengthsFinder®. Just reading my customized report ignited a transformation in my personal development, my career, and my purpose. Over the next several years I built a niche as a strengths based coaching business.

Are you ready to learn how you can use these unique talents to make a difference in your life? Taking the Gallup CliftonStrengths® was my first step and yours too. (If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to take the CliftonStrengths® assessment. You can pop over to my website and purchase your assessment code at  https://www.brentobannon.com/cliftonstrengths).

Over the next few months let’s take an in-depth look at each of the 34 strengths and discuss how you can put them to work for you.  If you’re an entrepreneur – discover how can you use them to take your business to the next level.  As a coach – how can you help your clients refine their talents to live their best life and fulfill their money potential? or a company employee – how can you use your strengths in your daily job to show yourself as an exceptional employee and raise your pay grade? I invite you to come on this strengths journey with me on monetizing all 34 strengths.  Let’s focus on how you can use those talents to live richer.  By diving into each of the 34 themes, you will gain greater self-awareness so you can be more confident as you move forward with an eye toward how you can naturally do your best every day and monetize your unique set of talents.

As I said, there is a lot of conversation around strengths today but not a enough conversation around monetizing those strengths.  Join me in this blog series have on how to make money and monetize all 34 talent themes.  And here’s the big takeaway. The fastest and easiest way to monetize your strengths is by leveraging who you are.

Are you ready to live richer?  Sign Up for the Monetize Your Strengths blog series at https://pages.convertkit.com/47fb6f9d84/1ef2534410

How are you currently monetizing your strengths?  Let’s have a conversation in the comments section below.

 

Have you ever been tasked to do a job and not given the tools you needed to do the job properly?  Have you ever been the manager that had to assign an employee to do a job where you couldn’t provide the tools they needed?

The second question that the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey asks is – “I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.”  There are very few things more frustrating than wanting to do the best job you can, but you don’t have the right equipment to do so.  As valuable as hardware and software are to have the physical tools, systems, and processes necessary to do the work often the human component can get overlooked as long as there is someone in the seat to do a job.

In their book, First Break All the Rules: What the Greatest Managers Do Differently, 1999 Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, sought to answer the following questions:

  • “What lies at the heart of this great workplace?”
  • “Which elements will attract only talented employees and keep them, and which elements are appealing to every employee, the best, and the rest?”

They were looking for answers to recruit, retain, and develop the best employees. To help them find the answers they went to the Gallup Organization’s research into the workplace.  The authors believed that today it is no longer enough to look at the monetary profit and loss of a company; companies develop their real value from its human capital.

As important as recruiting, retaining, and developing the best talent is to an organization they often stop after this initial hire.  When an organization stops at this point after hiring the employee and develops the wrong talent, it can be detrimental and costly to organizations not to mention what it does to the engagement level of the employee.

Carol was hired to be the database administrator for the learning management system at her company over ten years ago.  Working with data was where she shined.  The analysis of data and using it to tell a story was something she loved to do.  When it was decided that a new learning management system was needed they didn’t purchase a third party system, they had someone in house build the system instead of paying the price of a third party system.

About a year after creating the system the designer took a job on the other side of the country. The decision was made to keep him on a maintenance contract to take of any coding issues or updates that the system needed.  Shortly after the designers left, the system was moved to another department under a new leadership team.  The new leadership team decided they did not want to pay for the maintenance contract with the designer.

The lack of a maintenance contract caused problems with the system when the operating system and security upgrades caused issues with the code that was already written.  To add to the issue, the manager that she was assigned to work with did not think work on the system was a good use of resources.

Without a coder for the system to keep up with IT changes and a non-supportive manager who wanted her doing everything except what she was hired to do; her job that she one time loved had turned into a job she didn’t know how to do and didn’t want to do.  And no one noticed or did they just not care?

There are four stages of engagement that everyone goes through on their way to achieve total engagement in their workplace.  Every question on the Gallup Q12 also represents a point within the four stages of hierarchy—from primary needs and individual contributions to the desire to make improvements and apply new ideas. The second question that the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey– “I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work” right falls into the primary stage.   If no one is paying attention to the primary needs of their employees and emotional impact this is having on someone’s workplace environment, how can it be expected that problems will be uncovered and corrected when they arise?  How can companies expect engaged, productive employees when the company is not meeting the primary of the employee?

Getting your employees what they need to do their work is vital in demonstrating to employees that they are important and their work is valued. By showing that the company is supporting them in what they are asked to do creates a connection between the company and the employee. This connection is what creates an engaged employee.  The importance of keeping your employees emotionally engaged in your organization should be a constant on a company’s horizon.  Great managers keep this awareness by helping employees see how their requests for materials and equipment connect to important outcomes.

Where do you think the answer lies?  Is it the employee’s responsibility to make sure their primary needs at work are met?  How can an employer keep the conversation open with current workers to make their needs are met?  Please share your experiences or thoughts below .

“Relationships help us to define who we are and what we can become. Most of us can trace our successes to pivotal relationships.”—Donald Clifton

Growing stronger, working smarter, and living richer requires a team.

Imagine dog sledding in Canada for the very first time. You’re holding onto the back of your sled as you whip around steep curves at lightning speed. Up ahead is a sharp turn and you notice your sled is teetering on the edge of the mountain. You are riding the thin line between falling off the mountain and creating momentum behind your dogs.

Before we set off, Jereme took the time to teach my wife and I all about his team.

Lead Dogs—Jereme led us to meet the first two dogs on the team. “These are my lead dogs,” he explained. “Lead dogs are not necessarily the smartest, and they’re not necessarily the fastest, but they’re the best listeners, and they follow commands well.” He emphasized that it was important to know your lead dogs, so you can communicate with them frequently. After all, they are the leaders of their team. The other dogs respect them and follow them because of their leadership strength.

Point Dogs—Jereme pointed to the next two dogs. “These are the point dogs, the dogs that see possibilities but don’t have quite the experience they need, but they have the skills and the talent, and are in line behind the lead dogs. They help steer the direction of the team towards the lead dogs.” Basically, point dogs have the abilities, but they don’t have the respect of the team just yet. Eventually, as Jereme told us, the point dogs will succeed the lead dogs.

Swing Dogs—“It’s very interesting,” Jereme said about the next two dogs. “You take an old dog and a young dog, pair them together, and you have swing dogs.” The older dogs have been around the mountains for many years, trekked endless trails, and accrued their share of bumps and bruises along the way. Of course, they have lost a bit of their zest, their energy, their pep. But then you pair this older dog with a younger dog who has loads of enthusiasm, energy, and ability but lacks experience and wisdom, and they influence and bring out the best in each other so that the team accomplishes its goal.

Wheel Dogs—“These are the biggest dogs,” Jereme said. The wheel dogs are drama-free. Easily the strongest dogs on the team, they love to pull, they love to work, and they love to do their job. All they want to do, is please you.

Then, Jereme took us to the sled. “This is where the driver stands.” The driver, we learned, is like the CEO of the sled team. She drives the operation from the back of the sled.

Given the explanations, I couldn’t help but think about the four domains of leadership: Executing, Strategic Thinking, Influencing, and Relationship Building, each domain corresponding to the four types of dogs.

The Executing domain of leadership includes the talent themes of: Achiever®, Arranger®, Belief®, Consistency®, Deliberative®, Discipline®, Focus®, Responsibility®, and Restorative.

The Strategic Thinking domain of leadership includes the talent themes of: Analytical®, Context®, Futuristic®, Ideation®, Input®, Intellection®, Learner®, and Strategic®.

The Influencing domain of leadership includes the talent themes of: Activator®, Command®, Communication®, Competition®, Maximizer®, Self-Assurance®, Significance®, and Woo®.

The Relationship Building domain of leadership includes the talent themes of: Adaptability®, Connectedness®, Developer®, Empathy®, Harmony®, Includer®, Individualization®, Positivity®, and Relator®.

Another way of looking at the four domains of leadership is that they are also the four demands of life and business.

To achieve a high school degree, you have to attend school and follow through with projects. Ideas in business have to be executed in order to build a product. Massive action produces massive results.

Thinking smarter and making wiser decisions catapults the likelihood of success. This is what strategic thinking is all about.

To get a date, motivate your children, and sell your ideas internally and externally requires an element of influencing. Influencing requires an element of increasing hope and optimism.

The most successful individuals and profitable business have social and emotional intelligence. This requires trust, compassion, and the ability to form long term rewarding relationships.

Though all of the 34 talent themes are grouped into one of the four domains, all talent themes can be used to meet the demands of life and business. The big question is how will you leverage your dominant talent themes to execute, think strategically, influence, and build relationships? What relationships and interdependent complimentary partnerships will you create for your team?

Do you work with anyone who is always asking questions when you present them with any situation?  They look at what you present them and ask questions like “Why?” “How did you get that information?” “Can you verify that data?”   If you know this person, they may have the strength of Analytical®.

GALLUP® breaks the 34 themes down into four domains to describe how people and teams use their talents to work with information, make things happen, influence others and build relationships.    According to GALLUP®’s website when a theme is in the Strategic Thinking domain that lets you know that theme answer the question “How do you absorb, think about and analyze information and situations?” If you possess a theme in the Strategic Thinking domain that theme may help you make better decisions and create better outcomes.  GALLUP® places the Analytical® theme in the domain of Strategic Thinking.

Is the Analytical® theme one of your top talents? Are you someone who searches for reasons and causes? Do you look at the big picture that others might miss and think about all of the issues that could affect a situation?

Using your Analytical® theme look for jobs where you are paid to analyze data, find patterns, or organize ideas. For example, you might excel at research, database management, editing, or risk management.

Sandy Evans has been my accountant for over 25 years.  Whenever I ask her about retirement, she says that she would have to be working to retire and she doesn’t consider what she does work.  One day I asked her, “What is it about being an accountant that you love so much you don’t consider it work?”  Even without knowing her strengths, from her description of what she loved about the job, I suspected Analytical® had to be in her top five.

Sandy said she always wanted to do something with numbers and data.  She developed a love of data because “data always tells you the truth.”  These thoughts  are the true Analytical® style of “prove it.” Being the numbers and data person sometimes made her feel a bit alone.  It was not the cool thing to want to be a part of, but it was where her heart was.

After college, she went to work for a small CPA firm, and that was an eye-opening experience for her.  By watching the people that worked there, she discovered that she helped them by using her Analytical® talent.  She could use her love of numbers and data to assess, analyze and assist her clients with managing risk in their business.  Her skepticism about what people said was going on in their company made her dig into their data, and research what was happening, not just what the business owner thought was going on.  Sandy’s ability to ask questions, to understand how the patterns in the data fit together and affect one another, gave her small business owners the confidence to move forward in their decisions in their business.  With this ability to present the data about their business to the owners, she has become a trusted advisor for them.  Her Analytical® talent no longer makes her feel alone but a valued part of each business.

When the owner of the small CPA firm decided it was time for him to retire, the first person he thought of to purchase the firm was Sandy.  He saw how the refinement of her Anlytical® strength allowed her to take her love of data and analysis not just to give the clients the basics of accounting but to build a relationship with each one of them.

Sandy jumped at the chance to be one of the small business owners that she has spent all these years refining her Analytical® strength to help.

Like Sandy, knowing your strength well will allow you the freedom that Sandy found to move and work in your strength. The crucial use of the strength of Analytical® is the quality of problem-solving, the precision of questions, and the excellence of decision-making.

Do you have the StrengthsFinder® theme of Analytical®? If you do, what ideas do you have to make money with your Analytical® strength and how will you implement them?   Please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts’.

Want to talk, schedule your @sk Brent Anything 30 minute free call.

Gallup’s employee engagement work is based on more than 30 years of in-depth behavioral economic research involving more than 17 million employees. Using this rigorous research, Gallup has identified 12 core elements — the Q12 – these core elements link powerfully to key business outcomes. These 12 questions emerged as those that best predict world class employee engagement and work group performance.

The first question that Gallup asks in their Q12 survey I know what is expected of me at work addresses one’s ability to understand their place within an organization’s team. Do you know how your role is defined? Are you aware of your responsibilities on any given day?

Everyone’s initial reaction is – of course I know what is expected of me at work, I do it every day. It does seem like a pretty simple and straightforward question but is it?

Do you understand your place within the organization? If someone from the outside asked you how you fit into the organization could you answer this question with clarity? What was I hired to do? How do I know what is expected of me in my work? Who decides what is expected of me? When you start to unpack that question, it is not as simple as it appears.

My favorite story that illustrates this is a conversation that is said to have taken place between John F. Kennedy and a janitor at NASA. The story goes like this. President John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA.

“Well, Mr. President,” the janitor responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

The janitor got it. He understood the vision, his part in it, and he had a purpose.

Your manager probably thinks that the answer to you is as apparent as it was to the janitor at NASA. If management is not clear in their communication about the goals and objectives in your job expectations how are you supposed to have that same clarity about where you fit in the organization? As obvious as it should be, ongoing communication is the key. In addition to the communication of expectations to the entire team, there is also the need for personal discussion with each team member. Employees who don’t know what their manager expects of them can’t be engaged or successful in the workplace.

In addition to knowing what is expected of us at work, we also need another piece of information from management. We need to know what success looks like to the organization. I may have one idea of what the outcomes of my work should be but do they line up with the organization’s views of success? This information needs to be a part of the conversation but is often overlooked in a rush to get the task done. When the job is done and is not what was required it can be time-consuming to do the task again when clear communication on the what and the successful outcome could have saved all that time.

When you are in that position what do you do? Wing it and hope it works out? Fall into analysis paralysis and not make any progress? The simple answer is to ask for clarification from the person who made the assignment. But it takes courageous communication to keep clarifying expectations.

How can you as a manager create an environment where employees input and ideas are valued? How can you as an employee create an environment where your manager values your input and ideas? It takes some work on both sides to make sure everyone can answer the question “Do you know what is expected of you?” with confidence — always remembering that you both want to create a culture of trust.

Gallup’s Q12 survey includes 12 questions to measure engagement that link to important business outcomes, such as improved productivity, profitability and customer ratings. This survey provides a company with a clear picture of their work environment and how successful each manager is in meeting employee needs.

Gallup’s analysis of the link between achievement, accountability, and accessibility and employee engagement, showed that managers who are successful in fulfilling employees’ needs on each of the three elements would have employees that are more likely to be engaged:

• Among employees who strongly agree with the statement, “My manager helps me set work priorities,” 38% are engaged. Among employees who disagree, only 4% are engaged.
• Among employees who strongly agree with the statement, “My manager holds me accountable for my performance,” 28% are engaged. Among employees who disagree, only 6% are engaged.
• Among employees who strongly agree that “I feel I can approach my manager with any type of question,” 31% are engaged. Among employees who disagree, only 2% are engaged.

When employees are engaged, they will perform at a higher level and bring passion and interest to their job, which often leads to innovation in the workplace. If an employee is engaged in the workplace, they will feel they have a real stake in the organization. Open communication and collaboration between engaged employees and management can lead to a culture of trust and growth.

Who are you in this discussion? Manager, seasoned employee or new employee that needs to know what is expected of you at work?

Want to learn how to use the Q12 and boost engagement? Then apply for my Strengths Champion Certified Coach masterclass at www.strengthschampion.com.

Just knowing your strengths isn’t enough; you must make your strengths a part of your daily habits. The best way I know is to improve your self-talk. Here’s what you do: Find a quiet place, clear your mind, and take a deep breath. On a piece of paper, write, “I feel strong when…” Finish the sentence with what immediately comes to mind. Here are a few examples from my own life:

I feel strong when speaking to big crowds. I feel strong when serving during a tennis match. I feel strong when I’m sitting with someone and talking one-on-one, from the heart.

When I did this exercise, I wrote volumes. Then, I began to apply my realizations to specific areas of my life.

To better understand your strengths, complete the sentences:

I feel strong at work when…

I feel strong in my marriage when…

I feel strong in my parenting when…

I feel strong on my team when…

I feel strong spiritually when…

Who is the best judge of your strengths? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not your boss. It’s not your spouse. It’s not your kids. It’s not your parents. It’s you. While it’s true that other people have valuable insights on your strengths, they don’t know what’s in your mind or your heart; therefore, they aren’t privy to all your strength signals.

I am a long-time tennis player. I started playing when I was thirteen years old, after finding out that I had a natural talent for the sport. I was quick, I had fat hands, and I was focused enough to keep my eye on the ball. Plus, I liked the independence and freedom I felt while playing tennis. Over the years, I have developed my tennis talent, knowledge, and skills.

As a result, I became a skillful tennis player at an early age. Within two years of aiming to leap from the bottom rung of the tennis ladder, I won the Texas state doubles championship. That was the first experience in my life where I felt like a winner. It was a momentous success, but it was also the product of hard work and quite a few losses. In the summertime, I spent nine hours a day hitting balls on a ball machine while my friends were swimming and having a good time in the pool next to the tennis courts. I was there by myself, but I was determined, and I felt strong. So, I set a goal for myself that tennis would pay my way through college. And it did. Tennis has been an incredible gift of pleasure and exercise for thirty-four years of my life. Today, I’m on a tennis team and I still compete in tournaments.

The point of this story is that I feel strong when I’m playing tennis.

You probably have something in your life like that. It could be music, art, technology—something that makes you feel strong. Identifying what makes you feel strong is vital to your success.

Turn the best of your life into the most of your life. That’s what discovering your strengths is all about. Instead of trying to whittle down your weak spots, strengths-based living is about focusing on your talents and designing your life accordingly. Structure your relationships with your kids, your spouse, your friends, and your extended family around your strengths. Plan your free time around enjoying your strengths, too. Discovering your strengths is the most exciting, meaningful, purposeful thing that any of us can do.

Please share below at least 1 of your answers to, “I feel strong when…” I’d love to hear about your strengths.