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<BRGail Utter, Wells Fargo Advisors
5 Stages of Strong Teams
(Based on Bruce Tuckman’s Model)
1. Forming- Trust is crucial in the beginning stage of teamwork. Facilitating your team to know each other, especially each others authentic strengths is paramount. Invite your team to share “Peak Experiences” when they felt happy, in the flow, and living at their best.

2. Storming- Team members inevitably experience conflict. It’s natural for people to jockey position of authority, ideas, and roles. Leaders will begin to emerge within the team and compassion is important to help the team feel safe and embrace diversity.

How do your team members deal with conflict?

3. Norming- Rules, norms and patterns are established that are acceptable and unacceptable for successful teams. Stability is gained when individuals and teams have clarity, focus, and accountability.

4. Performing- High performing teams hold each other accountable and rely less on one leader. There is a high sense of mission and passion. Leaders and teams at this stage empower hope and optimism to reach higher goals faster with more efficiency.

5. Transforming- Every team will encounter a crisis point to end, continue the same performance, or transform to the next higher level. Strengths team coaching is a great way to renew your teams aspirations for passion, performance, and profits.

Originally published on Gallup’s Strengths Coaches’ Playbook.

Cruising-With-Strengths

 

Rachael served as the operations manager for a family-owned bottled water company with over 80 employees. In her day job, she was responsible for a wide range of areas from personnel to procurement, as well as serving on the senior management team. At home, she was a busy mom of two and volunteered as president of a local parent group.

In our first strengths coaching session she admitted, “I’m overwhelmed and feel like I’m on a sinking ship.”

Rather than tell Rachael how to handle her stress with my Command strength, I gently asked her with my Individualization strength, “How could you grow stronger and work smarter with your top five strengths?”

For the next 30 minutes we had fun exploring her Signature Themes, and their potential:

  • Responsibility
  • Consistency
  • Relator
  • Discipline
  • Developer

Then Rachael had an “aha” moment — she recognized that she was overusing, or what I call speeding (80 to 120 mph) with, her Responsibility theme and underusing, or coasting (5 to 40 mph) with, her Relator theme. She was taking on too much psychological ownership at work and home, and emotionally, she was in moderate stages of burnout. She had been isolating herself from friends and couldn’t figure out how to relate authentically in a male-dominated workforce, even though her heart yearned to.

Using her Responsibility theme, she set a goal to hire an assistant who she could delegate more of the daily grind activities to. She also set a goal to practice saying “no” more assertively in her personal and professional life. Then Rachael revved up her Relator theme by making consistent time for girls’ night out, which she had been neglecting and desperately needed. She also nurtured her wellbeing by exercising and tasked herself with reading books on assertiveness and stress-coping skills.

Rachael was discovering that her Relator theme could be used as a tool to dive more deeply in her relationship with herself, not just with others.

After several coaching sessions, Rachael had renewed energy, perspective, and confidence. She created an employee-of-the-week bulletin board, an employee directory, and held a company picnic to help build genuine relationships. She became the strengths champion in team meetings, asking, “How have you used your strengths successfully this week?”

Company morale, the senior management team, and her family benefited from Rachael’s strengths-based coaching, because now she was cruising at 70 mph. With her strengths, it was full steam ahead for Rachael, as she continues to grow stronger and work smarter.

Here are three questions for you to ponder in coaching your clients:

  • Which talent themes can help you ask better questions to explore strengths?
  • When can you help clients turn their strengths inward and outward for success?
  • How could you better help clients understand over- and underusing strengths?

How do you take a 20 ton, 12 foot block of ice and transform it into an elaborate award winning work of art?

Just ask, Singapore Captain Ng See Yian who was gracious to allow me to interview him and learn how his five person team creates their magical snow sculptor called Love, Balance and Community.

Brent-OBannon-StrengthsFinder-Coaching-Blog-Transforming-Talent-2My wife and I got a blast of insight about transforming talent as we watched the 14 countries participating in the 23rd Annual International Snow Sculptor Championship in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Sculptor Rob Neyland said, “Snow is a living medium. It starts as water from the sky, and we just grasp it briefly, and then it’s water again. It’s a lot like life in that respect.”

Talent is a divine given genetic predisposition to think, feel, and act.

Just like snow sculpting teams only have 65 hours to work their magic before being evaluated on their performance we only have a short life time to maximize our talents.

Here are three tips to transform talent.

1. Start with a story.

Team Singapore used their mascot as a model for transforming their block of ice.

The story behind their mascot is that the head of a lion and the body of a fish surrounded by dolphins signifies how the world can communicate courageously, attaining peace by living in love and balance.

Donald Clifton, the father of strengths psychology created the Clifton Strengthsfinder assessment measuring 34 talent themes. Over 8 million people in 22 languages have taken this test and now Gallup strengths evangelist want to up the ante to a billion takers.

Clifton also had a vision of winning the Nobel Peace Prize uniting the world with a positive language of talents and strengths.

What would the world, your family, your church, your work look like if everyone started with the story of strengths?

To coach your clients to transform their talents into strengths, ask them to “describe a story when they were at their best.”

By starting with a personal story they have a model for talent and success.

Transforming-Talent

 

2. Strengthen with tools.

The Snow Sculpture Championship is not allowed to use power tools and can only use hand tools such as chisels, saws, and vegetable peelers. Each sculptor on the team transforms the ice through their skills and precision from years of practice.

Talent is also transformed into strength when we gain knowledge and create a strength based mindset. Honing a positive growth mindset instead of a negative fixed mindset allows character to develop and fuels our talents.

As the book, Outliers describes, true genius is achieved with at least 10,000 hours of repetitive practice.

Coaching, mentoring, masterminding, reading, training, are a few tools used for transforming talents into strengths in everyday life.

3. Succeed with a team.

It’s true “All of us is smarter and stronger than one of us.”

To transform talents to an elaborate work of artful strengths takes the interdependence of strengths from an entire team. Each person has their role and genius that turns a block of ice into love, balance, and community.

No one person has all the strengths needed to create a masterful work of art. It truly takes not only the power of two but the genius of five team members to transform a block of ice into am inspiring award winning masterpiece.

How could your teams capitalize on each others strengths better for success?

Remember to transform talent into strength like the Singapore team transformed ice into a beautiful snow sculpture and then the world will see more love, balance and community.

What is StandOut? TMBC created an assessment that pin points your lead and secondary strength roles and combined role that is your comparative advantage to StandOut at work.

This strengths based assessment is different from the VIA or StrengthsFinder 2.0 in that it measures what we do at work versus who we are at work.

How do you stand out

The 9 strength roles measured by StandOut are:

1. Advisor
2. Connector
3. Creator
4. Equalizer
5. Influencer
6. Pioneer
7. Provider
8. Stimulator
9. Teacher

Not only does the StandOut report give you the definition of each strength role, how you are most powerful, phrases to describe yourself, how to make an immediate impact, how to take your performance to the next level but what to watch out for with your strength roles.

The report will describe your ideal career, how to win as a leader, how to win as a manager, how to win in sales, and how to win in client service.

By the way I’d love to show you how to build your leadership brand, write a better resume or about page on your web site, promote yourself in a big interview or discover a new niche from your comparative advantage revealed in your StandOut report.

For an example view Brent’s StandOut Report.

If you’re eager for strengths application with your VIA, StrengthsFinder 2.0, and StandOut results to grow stronger, work smarter, and live richer in your life and work then download your application for the 2013 – January 14th 7 Week Virtual Strengths Mastermind. Only 7 seats left!

P.S. Defining Moment Opportunity

Can you feel and see yourself as a passionate strengths advocate?
Do you aspire to connect with cutting edge strengths experts?
Will you mobilize your strengths serving the world?

If that’s you then you’ll love to join my brand new Strengths Ambassador Inner Circle and sign up for my FREE kick-off call interviewing Curt Lievsfeld, Sr. Gallup Consultant, co-author of Living Your Strengths on January 7th 9-10:30 AM (CST).

This is a live call and will NOT be recorded.

If you enjoyed the blog today please share your comments and forward to your world.

Our top 5 signature strengths are like a SAIL that create momentum in life and business.

S: Success

A: Authentic

I: Invigorating

L: Love

S: Success

Ask yourself what successes have you had in your past or present life–any prizes or awards that you have been given are indicators of strengths? Maybe you won the science project in 7th grade, which could point to an analytical or ideation strength. What about winning homecoming queen or voted most popular in school? These could indicate WOO (winning others over).

But a history of success is not the only marker of success.

A: Authentic

What comes naturally to you, or, what is your authentic gut reaction?

One of my golfing buddies loves to drive the golf cart. I’m amazed by how easily he finds shortcuts around the golf course. He has a strategic strength. That strength helps in his golf game as well as running his home health care business.

I: Invigorating

When utilizing your strength, you will feel energized. If you are good at something but still feel drained doing it then it’s not a true strength. One CEO I coach says, “If people lined up at my door all day long to help them fix their problems, I would be in heaven.” But people with the maximizer strength would likely hate that job. Maximizers get an emotional charge making something already good into something great.

Determine what activities drain you and what activities make you feel invigorated.

L: Love

If you look forward to an activity or want to learn more about an activity then it is likely a strength. Tennis, coaching, and speaking are three activities I love. I get excited when I’m scheduled to do these activities. I’m constantly reading, watching, and learning how to do these activities even better. These three activities allow me to use my top 5 signature strengths–focus on the ball, my coaching clients priorities goals and priorities, and the topic in my keynote.

Individualization is the ability to come up with a unique strategy with my tennis opponent, my coaching client, and speaking audience, whether its made up of corporate clients, business owners, church group, or youth campers. My achiever and competition strengths help me work hard to achieve goals and win as well as help my clients to win in life and business. My command strength enables me to to take charge on the court, help my coaching clients face conflicts, and be charismatic when speaking to a large audience.

A great tool besides the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment to discover your character strengths is the free online assessment at www.viasurvey.org. Or you can list your top 5 activities that answer the SAIL concept.

You can feel it. You can see it. You know when momentum shifts in the middle of a football game, when your business starts to jive, or when your marriage feels alive.

How do you create winning momentum in everyday life?

1. Momentum starts with writing goals.

Goals are dreams in black and white but they are merely wishes if not written down. They will fade and you will forget them if you don’t record them. Notice how when you want an important item at the grocery store, you don’t leave it to chance or memory–you write it down.

On this year’s grocery list for life, what do you want to be? What do you want to have? What do you want to do?

2. Momentum increases by reviewing goals.

Charles Coonradt says in his book, The Game of Work, “Written goals that are reviewed regularly become reality.” If you’re like me, you’ve got your grocery list in your hand and look at it constantly while you’re walking up and down the grocery aisle. When it comes to the grocery store of life, my habit is to have an hour of power first thing in the morning. I read and listen to my success script, strength affirmations, review my business plan, and my 90 day goals.During the day when I feel stuck or lost and losing momentum, I pull out my “grocery list” and review my goals. The more you review your goals, the greater momentum you produce.

3. Momentum produces massive action.

When a jet increases enough speed and momentum, it takes off into the wild blue yonder. It is in flight to it’s destination. When you’re at the grocery store and you find the item on your list, you pick it up, put into the cart, and buy it. That’s massive action. You cross a line through it. Done! What about your goal to double your income, take a dream vacation, or hire a life coach? Creating winning momentum requires writing your goals, reviewing your goals daily, and then taking massive action on your goals. It’s that simple.

So why don’t we do it?

Most of us lose focus. We need someone who reminds us of our goals and holds us accountable to take massive action.

That’s what I love to do for you…