As much as we love the consulting work we do, many of us often wear the hat of a “salesperson.” Mostly, this involves trying to answer a myriad of questions people have about the work we do with StrengthsFinder and how it might help their team or organization. This can be tricky, but sometimes, we accidentally land on something that resonates and may help.
Recently, I had a conversation with a Director of Human Resources at a mid-sized company. She reached out to learn more about our Core Process because she wondered if StrengthsFinder might be a tool to help facilitate trust and increase team engagement in their executive leadership team. She described the significant transitions the team had been through over the past few years and how there was little trust amongst the group. We talked about the importance of self-understanding, the benefits of sharing a common Strengths language as teams navigate challenges, and the absolute necessity of trust as a foundation for all healthy team interaction.
As I described our work, leveraging the Strengths of the individuals on teams to impact the culture of an organization, I could sense this was exactly what this HR director had been looking for. However, I still heard the hesitation in her voice. She asked, “What do you do when a team you’re working with is not open to the work you are doing? When they come to the engagement with their arms folded?”
How to Hatch Engagement
My Strength of Activator paired with Communication can put words, images, and analogies together very quickly. Immediately I had an incubator flash into my mind – not an incubator in a hospital NICU where tiny babies receive care, but an egg incubator, like where you might remember chicks hatching when you were in elementary school.
I remembered that an egg incubator is an apparatus in which conditions (temperature and humidity), can be controlled to create an ideal environment for a chick to hatch from its egg.
When Leadership Vision partners with an organization through any of our consulting services, we assist in creating an ideal environment for individuals and teams to grow. We seek to build rapport with our clients around a behavior-based approach to Strengths. From the way Leadership Vision consultants introduce themselves, to the way we engage the individuals and teams around Strengths prompts, our work is filled with meaning and purpose.
- We can’t make a person share, but we can provide a safe opportunity for an individual to open up a bit more with her colleagues.
- We can’t force someone into a place of deeper understanding, but we can gently hold a mirror up to someone to highlight what is right about him.
- We can’t demand that team members interact at a deep level, but we can facilitate discussion about everyday behaviors, framed through the lens of Strength.
- We CAN foster an environment which promotes self-discovery, self-empowerment, and team engagement.
An Incubator for Change
As I explained the incubator analogy to the HR Director, she sighed with relief. She told me how grateful she was to have found Leadership Vision because our approach resonated with what she felt was needed to build trust at the executive level of her team. She also appreciated our honesty when it came to dealing with individuals, who make up teams, and who shape organizational culture. She felt confident that our Core Process (201 Education, 1-1 Conversations, Learning Community) would create ideal conditions for her organization’s leadership team to grow, and ultimately become fully alive in who they are as individuals and as team members.
Reflection Questions for Your Team
Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation as this HR Director. Maybe you need to develop trust and increase the engagement of your team. Ask yourself these four questions as you consider what you might need to help your team reach the next level.
What challenges has your organization been facing?
How could increased levels of self and team understanding enhance your team’s engagement and promote trust?
How has your organization invested in engaging individuals and teams around their Strengths?
How could Leadership Vision help you create an environment of self-discovery, self-empowerment, and team engagement?