CliftonStrengths Summit Recap

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Earlier this month, I ventured to Omaha, NE (yes, Omaha) to take part in my first CliftonStrengths Summit. The Summit, unless you’re participating in pre-conference education, is a two-day event jam packed with educational sessions and networking opportunities. Last summer, I spent a week at Southwest Airlines University in Dallas, TX becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and since then I’ve been using this tool at Vandy as well as in the community with local fitness studios, churches, nonprofits, and inter/national fraternal organizations. Looking for a professional/personal/leadership development experience? Consider CliftonStrengths and I’d love to work with you to bring this experience to life for your team.

If you know your Top 5, share them with me.

If you don’t know your Top 5 and want to learn in order to help not only with self-awareness but also with performance, leave me a comment and let’s connect.

My Top 5 are Input, Achiever, Harmony, Maximizer, and Significance. Hmm…

Since all of you weren’t at the Summit and for my own meaning making purposes, I decided to put together this post of my main takeaways from the keynotes at the event. It’s so easy to go to a conference, get set on fire with ideas and passion, and then you find yourself back at your desk with the ideas and passion buried under the pile that awaits you on your desk and in your inbox. I’ve found that posting what I’ve learned helps to keep the conference at the forefront of my mind and not in the deep recesses.

The Summit brought us some powerhouse keynote speakers with my favorite being Janina Kugel who is the Chief Human Resource Officer for Siemens. She left me with three nuggets that continue to resonate:

  1. “Diversity is a societal fact. Inclusion, however, is always and active choice.”

  2. Diversity can be MANDATED. Inclusion must be CULTIVATED.

  3. Are you looking for pebbles (identical) or diamonds (unique) in your workplace? Don’t say you want diamonds and then attempt to turn people into pebbles. If anything, shake those pebbles up and turn them into diamonds. <— My words, not hers.

Mike Smith, NFL Talent Management & Interim Chief Human Resource Officer (now, I’m not a huge fan of the NFL because I think they have a great deal of HR issues that need to addressed, however I did pull a couple of items from Mr. Smith’s talk.)

  1. “Create a mission that is not for the faint of heart.” <- It should be pretty dang overwhelming. It should bring you the best kind of tired.

  2. “We have a restless dissatisfaction with our own performance.” <- We can always do better. We want to do better.

Elizabeth Bryant, Southwest Airlines University VP - I have a company crush on Southwest Airlines.

Hire me!

  1. Read SWA’s mission. It’s so good!

  2. Be fearless with others. Cue “This is Me”.

  3. “I trust you. I care about you. I know you.” — What would the workplace feel like if these statements could be genuinely uttered by leadership to the people they lead and co-workers to each other?

Andy Pierce, Stryker

  1. We growth should lead to me growth.” — YES! Grow and invest in your people. Don’t leave them behind!

Donde Plowman, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Chancellor- Elect

  1. We need “people who are willing to act and make things better”. It’s about simple actions and “what you do.”

  2. Colleges should be developing future leaders with a willingness to act.

  3. Always remind yourself that the world needs your Strengths.

Marissa Andrada, Chipotle Chief People Officer - Ugh, I love Chipotle and I was really hoping for a few free burrito/bowl coupons.

  1. Don’t be anonymous. -Let people know you. Go to your people. Be with them. Be human.

  2. Invest in inclusion.

  3. Unlock your strengths.

  4. Take it personally. - Bring your whole self to work and inject your personality into what you’re doing. Care about it because it’s where you spend the bulk of your time. Build relationships. Care.

  5. Follow Chipotle, People of Chipotle and Chipotle Hustle on Instagram.

I also attended breakout sessions that provided me with new ideas pertaining to building worthwhile workshops, how to enhance my work with teams, and tips on boosting my facilitation skills. My favorite session, “7 Attributes of a Superhero Facilitator” was hosted by Leanne Hughes, Owner/ Podcast Host, First Time Facilitator and Adam L. Mustoe, Owner, Waypoint Strategic Coaching. They were great facilitators which is perfect because they were sharing with us how to be “superhero facilitators”. Leanne is from Australia and I could listen to her voice for a long time. Just reminded me of my new F1 Drive crush, Daniel Ricciardo (swoon). They are a warm, funny, and smart duo. Loved the “packing list” to make sure that I have all the tools I need to be successful. I enjoyed digging into my Strengths and thinking about how that informs how I show up as a facilitator. Some of the tips included:

  • Never underestimate and audience’s basic needs (coffee, catering, connection, and contrast) .

  • Have a sixth sense for group dynamics.

  • Know the right questions to pitch at the right time.

  • Can segue like a boss!

  • Predict & prepare for a number of possible outcomes.

Hopefully, some of these takeaways wake up something for you as you think about how you approach your work and relationships at work. Check out the book It’s the Manager by two of the many men named Jim that seem to work at Gallup. It’s a great resource and worth the investment.

To be honest, I experienced a bit of conference anxiety and didn’t do a great deal of networking. I met a lovely handful of folks and chatted with them throughout the experience. There were times when I was bit overwhelmed by the passion for Strengths. I didn’t really need to get analyzed while riding the elevator to my room. Sigh! My people meter doesn’t last as long as it used to and that’s a topic for a whole other blog post.

Also, REPRESENTATION MATTERS! Homogeneous panels need to be a thing of the past! I have a hard time even focusing when everyone is one race and seemingly comes from the same background. You can’t tell me that you celebrate difference when this is how you show up to represent your company. Optics are important to consider and if this is all you could come up with that tells me that no one around your table is aware enough to bring that consideration up for discussion.

There are changes coming to the Summit in 2020 and I don’t know yet whether or not I will be in attendance. I’ll keep you posted. I do know that I enjoy working with others using CliftonStrengths and I hope to continue offering educational and coaching opportunities.

I’d love to hear from you and your experience with CliftonStrengths (StrengthsQuest or StrengthsFinder). How has it served you in your life?

Interested in next year’s event? Visit Gallup @ Work Summit.

Enjoy the weekend!


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Mission Statement -- Franklin Covey