What you Can do with StrengthsFinder in 60 – 90 Minutes

Recently we were asked if we could give some tips to help a small team lead their own 60 – 90 minute strengths event. Typically we spend almost an hour just on introductions (it’s amazing how much you can learn about a person’s strengths with a well crafted introduction question). To condense it down to 90 minutes, is a bit tricky.

That said, below is a simple template of one of the ways we do a very high level flyover of StrengthsFinder in 60 – 90 Minutes. It’s more of a guided conversation with an activity, but it can be used as a primer on StrengthsFinder.

I want to stress that this is a very high level overview, and not intended to provide a deep understanding of the complexities of StrengthsFinder. For that, you’d need much more time, and someone to guide your training.

Desired Outcomes

This template is designed to help participants;

  • Gain a little more self awareness.
  • Know a little more about the strengths of others.
  • Begin to think about using those to build a strengths based organizational culture.

Preparation

Before you begin, create a grid with the names of each member of your team and their strengths. It is tremendously helpful to use as a cheat sheet. If you join our email list, you’ll get a sample grid template emailed to you.

Additionally, make some sort of name tag that is easily visible when you’re talking in a one on one conversation.

Schedule Overview

  • 10 Minute Introductions
  • 10 Minute Strengths Overview
  • 20 Minutes of 30 second Conversations
  • 30 Minutes – Paper Tower Activity
  • 10+ Minutes Debrief

10 Minute Introductions

By way of introductions, ask each participant say their name, and one thing that stood out to them after reading their theme descriptions.

  • This could be something positive, negative, or something they want to learn more about.

Another ice breaker is to ask participants one new thing they realized about themselves after taking StrengthsFinder, and what they want the group to know about them as a result.

10 Minute Strengths Overview

Give a brief overview of what StrengthsFinder is. This will take some additional prep work, but here is a short explanation to get you started. There’s also great info at the beginning of StrengthsFinder 2.0. Bottom line, StrengthsFinder is about capitalizing on the things you’re already good at.

20 Minutes of 30 second Conversations

This is where each participants will get to teach each other about their strengths. Ideally this is done after a time of education around the 34 themes.

  • Ask each participant to spend 1 minute reviewing one of their strengths – It should be the one they understand the best.
  • Pair up and have each person talk for 30 seconds about that strength while their partner just listens and takes notes. They should describe the strength in their own words and how they relate to it.
  • Switch talkers after 30 seconds.
  • After both people have shared, ask the group for one or two examples of what they learned about the other person. For example,
I talked with Brian, and realized his Ideation theme is why he’s so good at brainstorming.
  • Ask participants to spend another minute reviewing a new strength, find a new partner and begin the 30 second conversations again.
  • Repeat this process as many times as time allows.

30 Minutes – Paper Tower Activity

The goal is to build a large, free standing paper tower, using nothing but printer paper and tape. Grab a ream of printer paper from the supply closet, or use any discarded full sheets of paper from the recycling bin. A group of 20 will easily use a couple hundred sheets of paper. Also, provide a roll of masking tape for each group. It usually takes a few minutes to give directions and gather materials, so plan accordingly.

  • Divide the group into teams of 4-6.
  • The group has 5 minutes to “design” their structures, but cannot touch the paper or tape during this time.
  • They then have 10 minutes to build the structure.
  • The debrief can last as long as you want, typically about 5 – 10 minutes.

Why This Activity?

There are several activities that we use when doing an experiential activity with a group. These are designed to illustrate and highlight the behaviors inherent in the strengths. The paper tower is nice because it scales easily to accommodate almost any group size; can be done inside or out; it’s quick and it provides enough activity to see some talent behaviors.

Sample Debrief Questions

  • Did you see any strengths at work in your teammates? Name them with specific examples.
  • Which of your themes felt “on” during the activity.
  • Were you holding back during the activity? Why?
  • What behaviors in your teammates can you connect back to a specific strength?

What’s Next?

With whatever time you have remaining, talk about what’s next. StrengthsFinder activities like this can be great to pique curiosity in strengths, but rarely will it have a lasting impact. Strengths based work needs an environment to thrive, not just an event. As a team, talk about what you can do to build any insights gained.

If you’d like more information about using StrengthsFinder with your team, don’t hesitate to contact us.