When preparing your team or organization to thrive in the world of Strengths, a foundational understanding of the 34 Themes of Strength is critical. Too often, we run into people who want to short-circuit the process, but over and over again, we’re finding it essential, to begin with a baseline of education.
We began working with a client this fall who had come to us having recently worked with another Strengths consulting group. They were reluctant to begin with one of our Educational Sessions, and so we sought to honor this hesitation with 1:1 conversations and a Learning Community for the Leadership Team. Later in the year, we were introduced to the Management Team and together they participated in a Vision Trekk engagement. In preparation for our time with them this Fall, we believed it was critical to provide them with a Leadership Vision education around the 34 Themes of Strength and built it into the Capstone series curriculum.
Participants expressed excitement and appreciation for having the opportunity to understand the uniqueness of their Strengths and the Strengths of their colleagues better. There were several occasions when someone revealed that until this opportunity they had not resonated with one or more of their Strengths. Hearing how we talked about the unique talents and capacities of each of the Strengths helped many members of the group to see themselves more fully.
In our conversations following our time with this client, we summarized why we believe an education around the 34 Themes of Strengths is critical to building a Strengths-based organization:
A lack of foundational knowledge of Strengths is often the downfall of corporate consultants. It is very common for a consultant to deliver great content in an inspiring and inclusive way, but the application of that material is insufficient. What the great increase in engagement and productivity Leadership Vision clients find among their employees is in no small part correlated to the foundational knowledge we provide. This allows each additional service we provide to be fully integrated by a team founded on an understanding of Strengths.
Understanding the Behavioral Talents
Once you’ve established a baseline understanding of the 34 Themes of Strengths, you can begin to have conversations about the unique talents that individuals within your organization are leveraging within their Strengths capacities. These conversations can be transformative for an organization because individuals start sharing aspects of their personal narrative, which we know is critical when aspiring to understand yourself and others. Making space to understand the unique dimensions of an individual will benefit in the areas of communication, collaboration, conflict, and change. Team members can begin to intentionality practice what they’ve learned about themselves and their colleagues.
Often, in the days and weeks after an Education session around the 34 Themes of Strength, team members will have generative conversations with those they’re frequently in conflict with. A lot of times it sounds like this, “I’ve often felt frustrated in meetings with you and now understand that your Activator wanted to run with every idea my Ideation threw out. Now that I understand how you show up in your Activator let’s create some new lines of communication so our Strengths give life to each other!”
Critical in Establishing Common Language
At Leadership Vision, we know that establishing a common language of any kind will serve a team well. The language we leverage and seek to equip organizations with is the language of Strengths. Just like with any language, to speak requires you to understand it fully, which takes time and commitment. You can’t half-attempt to learn a new language and expect to be fluent. We can’t only teach you about your top-five Strengths without teaching you their greater context. It would be as if we taught you half of your first language and expected you to survive within your cultural context.
Through a comprehensive education of the 34 Themes of Strength, you will begin to establish fluency in the language of Strengths. This will equip you and your organization to have depersonalized conversation about how you or someone else is being perceived.
Bringing to Life the 34 Themes of Strength
In order to provide a foundation for team development, continued growth in Understanding the Talents expressed in each of the Themes of Strength, and to establish a common language from which to move forward as a team, we believe a Strengths-based team or culture should start with an education around each of the 34 Themes of Strength.
Perhaps your team has done work with the Strengths before without education around the Themes outside your Top 5. How can you educate yourselves on those Themes? Furthermore, how can we help?