What’s at stake here?
We already covered much of what is at stake. In business, the profit, professional satisfaction, and income is at stake. In non-profits, effective use of limited resources to improve quality of life is at stake. In families, where people are criticized instead of encouraged, we weaken the social fabric.
Proper application, in all of these arenas, allows us to enhance the social benefit. For example, in the non-profit world, where resources are often limited, not trying to be everything to everybody (not playing to their strengths) but rather narrowing the focus and playing to people’s strengths will allow them to make a bigger impact in peoples lives.
In schools, the potential for human development is impeded by an outdated educational system that teaches to a test-which is not everyone’s measure of ability. We’re all different, fundamentally we are created differently, which is at least one of the lessons of CliftonStrengths© . Yet the curriculum all teaches us the same things in the same manner. Also in families, which are the building blocks of society, how often do parents measure success by how much their children are like them and the degree to which they meet their expectations, without really being recognized for who we were and nurtured to develop in that way? It’s harder work to do that, it’s harder to develop people in an individualized way, but that’s really what’s needed, and CliftonStrengths© is a powerful agent in that regard if we can just learn how to properly harness the philosophy and tools.
Helping people to live to their highest and best use is what we are after. When people are forced into situations where they’re not able to do that, then they are not the best version of themselves. They are living below their potential.
We live better lives to the degree we are positioned to deliver the highest value. This is all we have to give to the world. What percentage of people are living this way? All relationships are based on this exchange of value, and our individual and societal success comes from whether or not we are operating from the best version of our authentic selves. There is no better way to live.
It isn’t any coincidence that when you feel like you’ve done your best work, the people you did it for also feel the positive effects? It’s enlivening for us and people around us. CliftonStrengths© shows us that this way of living is not random. It is within our reach.
The way we think of this approach to life is Individual-Environment Fit (IEF). It’s at the core of Talent2Strength and the foundation upon which all our tools and concepts rest. Each of us, as individuals, have a design—a set of qualities that enable us to produce positive outcomes. Each of us exist in an ever-shifting environment of relationships, circumstances, opportunities, limitations. To the degree the individual is properly matched to his or her environment is what we refer to as alignment. To the degree that individual and the environment are out of sync is what we call contrast. Our primary aim at T2S is alignment.
To achieve great alignment:
What Does a Strength Based Life Look Like?
To what degree are you personally living a strength based life? I’ve done a lot of work to move closer towards it, I’m not where I want to be but with each adjustment I become happier. The turning point when I started to truly experience the benefits of CliftonStrengths© is not when I learned about my themes, but when I took tangible action to shape my environment to better fit my themes. I started eliminating the things that created contrast for me (i.e. balancing my check book, maintaining my lawn, etc.) and outsourced them to people who were much more competent. My book keeper does a much better job managing my money than I would ever do. I don’t cut my own lawn; I would miss big gaps of grass. With both of these examples, I would suffer just at the prospect of doing them, procrastinate until it reached a danger point of bouncing checks or having a jungle in my backyard, be miserable while doing them and end up with poor results. As much as possible, I eliminate the things that create contrast for me. I want you to be able to do it too, and I want you to be able to do it for your clients because life is just better that way.
This is the way I see it is it: If there is a way to measure the quality of life then I believe whoever experiences the most of their life thriving (on the right side of the Alignment Meter) wins. So, to whatever degree possible, we should strive away from contrast and toward greater alignment. I want you to think about, what would happen if there was a way for you to gradually strengthen your life? And then I want you to begin taking action to do it.
This is what Don Clifton was working on, and we’re picking up the torch and running with it. We need to catch up to where he was and then take the information further. We need to answer the question: how can we help others to live stronger lives? That’s the work we’re in whether as a full time coach and facilitator, or whether it’s just a piece of what you do as a manager, parent, partner or friend.
The Tool Without the Philosophy Isn’t Enough
The tool we’ve chosen to use is the CliftonStrengths© assessment. On it’s own it is not enough. I would be shocked if more than 1% of the people that have taken the CSF got any kind of training to go with it. They get the code, maybe they get the book and then that’s it. That’s how most people that I’ve talked to experienced the CSF. Most people take the assessment, they look at the results, and then they file it away thinking, “That’s interesting but I don’t know what to do with it.”
This is why we say taking the CSF is not enough to make an impact in someone’s life. The Top 5 report doesn’t tell people how to live a strengths-based life. It doesn’t offer methods. We know that everything must work in concert here: the tool, the philosophy, and the methods.
The Talent2Strengh methods help to provide the how.
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