Recently, I recapped the 10 most frequently asked questions about how we are using strengths from the StrengthsFinder assessment. One of the questions requires a bit more of an in depth answer. The question was:
What do you Teach in your Introductory Education day (Strengths 201)?
We begin every engagement with a StrengthsFinder education day we call StrengthsFinder 201. At Leadership Vision Consulting, we believe in the uniqueness of people. We believe each person has strength and will flourish within a strong team.
Part of building a strong team involves making sure everyone knows what that means. We start by focusing on building a strengths-based organizational culture from day one with StrengthsFinder education. This is accomplished by helping teams understand how to capitalize on the unique strengths of the people who lead them.
STRENGTHSFINDER EDUCATION OVERVIEW
We ask all participants to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment. It only takes about 30 minutes for each person to complete. Then, results are collected so we can make custom packets for each participant.
During the experience, we provide:
- An interactive teaching of the primary principles of a strengths-based approach.
- A brief explanation of each of the 34 themes of strength.
- Applied results and application toward self awareness, team development and leadership.
The biggest outcome during our StrengthsFinder education day, is to ensure everyone is on the same page before diving deeper. Creating a sustainable strengths-based environment is more difficult if your team doesn’t understand the basic tenets of the strengths philosophy.
We also use this as an opportunity to introduce 60 second strength conversations, which are brief discussions about one of your themes with a partner. Giving space to hear the strengths of others, described in their own language, is incredibly eye opening. This is the beginning of learning how to communicate your strengths using behavior-based examples.
Participants are then able to begin understanding how they can create strengths-based partnerships within the team. This can also be applied to personal potential and “right fit” leadership opportunities.
WHAT WE TEACH
To meet the above objectives, we teach the basic strengths philosophy – that it is based in positive psychology, and measures your areas of greatest potential. We also discuss key terms such as:
- Talent– spontaneous, repetitive, natural, recurring patterns of thought, feeling, behavior, and motivation.
- Theme– a grouping of common talents.
- Strength– when a theme is generatively applied.
- Fit– when you are in a role that appreciates your strengths, and allows them to thrive.
We discuss how our approach is meant to be descriptive, not prescriptive. We use strengths as a way to describe behavior, not box people into a concrete set of rules.
Next we go through our custom theme print activity. This allows each participant an opportunity to connect behaviors to themes, and to begin to see how different themes may be working together.
Finally, it is important to spend time going over each of the 34 theme definitions. We have found this to be helpful in providing all participants with a “deeper than the book” understanding of their own themes, and the themes of their colleagues. Again, we use behavior-based examples of how these themes looks and sound.
Below is a sample schedule for a team of approximately 15 people:
- 9:00 a.m. – LVC Introductions and Overview
- 9:30 a.m. – StrengthsFinder(SF) 201 Part I: Philosophy & definitions of terms
- 10:15 a.m. – Break
- 10:30 a.m. – SF 201 Part II: ThemePrint exercise
- 11:15 a.m. – Theme Print packets
- 12:00 p.m. – Lunch
- 1:00 p.m. – SF 201 Part III: 34 Themes & 60 second conversations
- 2:15 p.m. – Break
- 2:30 p.m. – SF 201 Part III: 34 Themes & 60 second conversations
- 3:00 p.m. – Application / Takeaways
- 3:30 p.m. – Adjourn
YOUR STRENGTHS EDUCATION DAY
If you are also a strengths practitioner, how have you structured your introductory strengths education day? If you are new to StrengthsFinder and curious to learn more, email us or leave a comment to below.