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Things to do
while you’re waiting for luck:
Develop your Strengths
Thomas S. Krieshok
University of Kansas
tkrieshok@ku.edu
Why Strengths
• Social Work’s Strengths Perspective
• Psychology’s Positive Psychology
What is Positive Psychology?
Positive psychology is the scientific
and practical pursuit of optimal
human functioning…
and it augments psychology’s
longstanding focus on weakness and
problems.
Positive Psychology on Happiness
Not: Unhappiness <=======> Happiness
Rather: Happiness as a skill,
NOT a unidimensional trait
The path of MOST resistance
“you can be anything you want to be, if you
just try hard enough”
OR
“you cannot be anything you want to be—
but you can be a lot more of who you
already are”
What’s coming?
• Strengths Theory
• Clues to Your Strengths
• Examining Your Strengths
• Nurturing Strengths
• What about weaknesses?
Gallup’s Model of Strengths
What would happen…if we studied what is RIGHT
with people?
Which would help you be more successful in life --
knowing your weaknesses and attempting to improve
your weaknesses, or knowing what your strengths are
and attempting to build on your strengths?”
Don Clifton
Enjoying What You Do…
What was the best day you’ve had at
work/school in the last 3 months.
What were you doing?
Why did you enjoy it so much?
Enjoying What You Do…
On a typical day in this role, what
proportion (%) of time is spent doing
things you like to do?
Enjoying What You Do…
Gallup’s Q-12 Employee Engagement Measurement
#3: At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do
best every day?
Of the 1,000 people who strongly disagree with that
statement…
– not one was emotionally engaged on the job
– Dread going to work
– Have more negative than positive interactions with
their colleagues
– Treat customers poorly
– Achieve less on a daily basis
Talent
• A naturally recurring pattern of thought,
feeling, or behavior that can be productively
applied.
• Talents exist naturally within us
Talents are…
• 1. Behavior patterns that make you effective.
• 2. Thought patterns that make you efficient.
• 3. Beliefs that empower you to succeed.
• 4. Attitudes that sustain your efforts toward
achievement and excellence.
• 5. Motivations that propel you to take action and
maintain the energy needed to achieve.
Strength
• The ability to consistently provide near-perfect
performance in a given activity.
• A strength enables and equips you to do certain
things very well.
• Strengths grow from our natural talents, so while
they can be developed, they cannot be acquired.
Skill
• The ability to perform specific steps of an
activity. Skills are acquired.
Knowledge
• Facts and lessons learned in life (school, work)
Strengths
StrengthsFinder Talent Themes
• Achiever
• Activator
• Adaptability
• Analytical
• Arranger
• Belief
• Command
• Communication
• Competition
• Connectedness
• Consistency
• Context
• Deliberative
• Developer
• Discipline
• Empathy
• Focus
• Futuristic
• Harmony
• Includer
• Ideation
• Individualization
• Input
• Intellection
• Learner
• Maximizer
• Positivity
• Relator
• Responsibility
• Restorative
• Self-Assurance
• Significance
• Strategic
• Woo
Identifying Your Talents…
On the list of 34 Talent Themes…
Put a star by your Top 5 and put a question
mark by 5 others that
you think might be in your Top 10.
Grouping by highestTalent
Theme
• Find any others in the room with your same highestTalentTheme.
• IF there is more than one of you, talk with each other about what is
is like to have lived your life from that strength.
• If you are the only one with your topTalentTheme, find others who
are also the only one with their talent theme and answer the same
question.
Traces of Evidence of Talents
• Without even thinking, I automatically…
• Passion or yearning. Ever since I can remember…
• Rapid learning: Effortless. I just get it.
• I’ve felt happiest when…
• Exceptional performance
• Compliments
A friend knows the song in my heart and sings
it to me when my memory fails. Donna Roberts
Take a moment to answer the
questions on the next slide.
Partner up with someone near you and
discuss your answers.
Examining/Sharing Your
Strengths
• Which of your Signature Themes describe you best?
• Which of your Signature Themes do you use most
frequently?
• Were you surprised by anything in the report? If so,
what?
• Which of your Signature Themes do you anticipate using
most in your work?
Examining/Sharing Your
Strengths
• What is the one strength that is most evident when you
are working with a passion (or in Flow)?
• What behaviors are in line with that strength?
• How can you better use that strength in your daily work?
Exercise in Strengths
List one thing you did yesterday in
– Your career
– Your personal relationships
– Your hobbies
...that is in line with one of your strengths
4 Domains of Leadership Strengths
• Executing
• Influencing
• Relationship Building
• Strategic Thinking
• Ideally you have one team member from each
domain
Executing
• know how to make things happen
• will work tirelessly to get things done
• the ability to “catch” an idea and make it a
reality.
Influencing
• help their team reach a broader audience
• always selling the team’s ideas inside and
outside the organization
• Will take charge, speak up, and make sure
your group is heard
Relationship Building
• the essential glue that holds a team together
• create groups and organizations that are much
greater than the sum of their parts
Strategic Thinking
• keep us all focused on what could be
• constantly absorbing and analyzing
information to help the team make better
decisions
• continually stretch our thinking for the future
4 Domains
Executing
 Achiever
 Arranger
 Belief
 Consistency
 Deliberative
 Discipline
 Focus
 Responsibility
 Restorative
Influencing
 Activator
 Command
 Communication
 Competition
 Maximizer
 Self-Assurance
 Significance
 Woo
4 Domains
Relationship Building
 Adaptability
 Developer
 Connectedness
 Empathy
 Harmony
 Includer
 Individualization
 Positivity
 Relator
StrategicThinking
• Analytical
• Context
• Futuristic
• Ideation
• Input
• Intellection
• Learner
• Strategic
Seeing your Strengths
• Create a visual representation of your top 3 Strengths.
• Explain your picture to someone else.
– Tell a story about your strengths.
– How do you see yourself leading with one or two of your
strengths?
From Talents to
Strengths…
• Investment has 3 parts…
– Knowledge
– Skill
– Practice
• Must invest in your talents to develop
strengths
Talent x Investment = Strength
From Talents to
Strengths…
Choose one of your talents and brainstorm how you
might invest in that talent this year.
EXPLAIN your ideas with someone in the group.
Talent x Investment = Strength
Finding and Developing
Strengths
Undiscovered
Developed
meeting people
Discovered
Developed
meeting people
Undiscovered
Undeveloped
graphic arts
Discovered
Undeveloped
graphic arts
Difficulties in Affirming Strengths
1. I take my talents for granted
2. My talents sometimes threaten others
3. Mismatch between my dominant talents
and the expectations of the roles I am in
4. Fear of becoming proud and arrogant
5. I don't see how my talents will help me achieve my goals
Managing Weaknesses…
• Types of Weaknesses:
–Deficiencies – Something you don’t
have much of or don’t do well
–Over-Reliance - Too much of a “good
thing” when you over-rely on one particular
strength
Buckingham and Clifton, 2001
Managing Weaknesses…
• Tips to Manage Weaknesses:
–Deficiencies…
• Make Small Improvements
• Create Supports
• Talent > Weakness
• Find Others with
Complimentary Talents
–Over-Reliance…
• Practice Flexibility
Buckingham and Clifton, 2001
Theme Dynamics:
Working at the Intersection of 2 Strengths
• Being the best where X intersects Y
XX Y
You
Using Talents as a
Graduate Student
– Which of your talents do you think will be most crucial to
success as a graduate student?
– Pick one of your talents that you feel you’re not using to its
full potential – what can you do to better use it in your
studies?
– Are there talents you have that might not get used in your
work unless you make a conscious effort to use them?
Imagination is more
important than knowledge.
--Albert Einstein

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Strengths

  • 1. Things to do while you’re waiting for luck: Develop your Strengths Thomas S. Krieshok University of Kansas tkrieshok@ku.edu
  • 2. Why Strengths • Social Work’s Strengths Perspective • Psychology’s Positive Psychology
  • 3. What is Positive Psychology? Positive psychology is the scientific and practical pursuit of optimal human functioning… and it augments psychology’s longstanding focus on weakness and problems.
  • 4. Positive Psychology on Happiness Not: Unhappiness <=======> Happiness Rather: Happiness as a skill, NOT a unidimensional trait
  • 5. The path of MOST resistance “you can be anything you want to be, if you just try hard enough” OR “you cannot be anything you want to be— but you can be a lot more of who you already are”
  • 6. What’s coming? • Strengths Theory • Clues to Your Strengths • Examining Your Strengths • Nurturing Strengths • What about weaknesses?
  • 7. Gallup’s Model of Strengths What would happen…if we studied what is RIGHT with people? Which would help you be more successful in life -- knowing your weaknesses and attempting to improve your weaknesses, or knowing what your strengths are and attempting to build on your strengths?” Don Clifton
  • 8. Enjoying What You Do… What was the best day you’ve had at work/school in the last 3 months. What were you doing? Why did you enjoy it so much?
  • 9. Enjoying What You Do… On a typical day in this role, what proportion (%) of time is spent doing things you like to do?
  • 11. Gallup’s Q-12 Employee Engagement Measurement #3: At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? Of the 1,000 people who strongly disagree with that statement… – not one was emotionally engaged on the job – Dread going to work – Have more negative than positive interactions with their colleagues – Treat customers poorly – Achieve less on a daily basis
  • 12. Talent • A naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. • Talents exist naturally within us
  • 13. Talents are… • 1. Behavior patterns that make you effective. • 2. Thought patterns that make you efficient. • 3. Beliefs that empower you to succeed. • 4. Attitudes that sustain your efforts toward achievement and excellence. • 5. Motivations that propel you to take action and maintain the energy needed to achieve.
  • 14. Strength • The ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance in a given activity. • A strength enables and equips you to do certain things very well. • Strengths grow from our natural talents, so while they can be developed, they cannot be acquired.
  • 15. Skill • The ability to perform specific steps of an activity. Skills are acquired.
  • 16. Knowledge • Facts and lessons learned in life (school, work)
  • 18. StrengthsFinder Talent Themes • Achiever • Activator • Adaptability • Analytical • Arranger • Belief • Command • Communication • Competition • Connectedness • Consistency • Context • Deliberative • Developer • Discipline • Empathy • Focus • Futuristic • Harmony • Includer • Ideation • Individualization • Input • Intellection • Learner • Maximizer • Positivity • Relator • Responsibility • Restorative • Self-Assurance • Significance • Strategic • Woo
  • 19. Identifying Your Talents… On the list of 34 Talent Themes… Put a star by your Top 5 and put a question mark by 5 others that you think might be in your Top 10.
  • 20. Grouping by highestTalent Theme • Find any others in the room with your same highestTalentTheme. • IF there is more than one of you, talk with each other about what is is like to have lived your life from that strength. • If you are the only one with your topTalentTheme, find others who are also the only one with their talent theme and answer the same question.
  • 21. Traces of Evidence of Talents • Without even thinking, I automatically… • Passion or yearning. Ever since I can remember… • Rapid learning: Effortless. I just get it. • I’ve felt happiest when… • Exceptional performance • Compliments
  • 22. A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails. Donna Roberts Take a moment to answer the questions on the next slide. Partner up with someone near you and discuss your answers.
  • 23. Examining/Sharing Your Strengths • Which of your Signature Themes describe you best? • Which of your Signature Themes do you use most frequently? • Were you surprised by anything in the report? If so, what? • Which of your Signature Themes do you anticipate using most in your work?
  • 24. Examining/Sharing Your Strengths • What is the one strength that is most evident when you are working with a passion (or in Flow)? • What behaviors are in line with that strength? • How can you better use that strength in your daily work?
  • 25. Exercise in Strengths List one thing you did yesterday in – Your career – Your personal relationships – Your hobbies ...that is in line with one of your strengths
  • 26. 4 Domains of Leadership Strengths • Executing • Influencing • Relationship Building • Strategic Thinking • Ideally you have one team member from each domain
  • 27. Executing • know how to make things happen • will work tirelessly to get things done • the ability to “catch” an idea and make it a reality.
  • 28. Influencing • help their team reach a broader audience • always selling the team’s ideas inside and outside the organization • Will take charge, speak up, and make sure your group is heard
  • 29. Relationship Building • the essential glue that holds a team together • create groups and organizations that are much greater than the sum of their parts
  • 30. Strategic Thinking • keep us all focused on what could be • constantly absorbing and analyzing information to help the team make better decisions • continually stretch our thinking for the future
  • 31. 4 Domains Executing  Achiever  Arranger  Belief  Consistency  Deliberative  Discipline  Focus  Responsibility  Restorative Influencing  Activator  Command  Communication  Competition  Maximizer  Self-Assurance  Significance  Woo
  • 32. 4 Domains Relationship Building  Adaptability  Developer  Connectedness  Empathy  Harmony  Includer  Individualization  Positivity  Relator StrategicThinking • Analytical • Context • Futuristic • Ideation • Input • Intellection • Learner • Strategic
  • 33. Seeing your Strengths • Create a visual representation of your top 3 Strengths. • Explain your picture to someone else. – Tell a story about your strengths. – How do you see yourself leading with one or two of your strengths?
  • 34. From Talents to Strengths… • Investment has 3 parts… – Knowledge – Skill – Practice • Must invest in your talents to develop strengths Talent x Investment = Strength
  • 35. From Talents to Strengths… Choose one of your talents and brainstorm how you might invest in that talent this year. EXPLAIN your ideas with someone in the group. Talent x Investment = Strength
  • 36. Finding and Developing Strengths Undiscovered Developed meeting people Discovered Developed meeting people Undiscovered Undeveloped graphic arts Discovered Undeveloped graphic arts
  • 37. Difficulties in Affirming Strengths 1. I take my talents for granted 2. My talents sometimes threaten others 3. Mismatch between my dominant talents and the expectations of the roles I am in 4. Fear of becoming proud and arrogant 5. I don't see how my talents will help me achieve my goals
  • 38. Managing Weaknesses… • Types of Weaknesses: –Deficiencies – Something you don’t have much of or don’t do well –Over-Reliance - Too much of a “good thing” when you over-rely on one particular strength Buckingham and Clifton, 2001
  • 39. Managing Weaknesses… • Tips to Manage Weaknesses: –Deficiencies… • Make Small Improvements • Create Supports • Talent > Weakness • Find Others with Complimentary Talents –Over-Reliance… • Practice Flexibility Buckingham and Clifton, 2001
  • 40. Theme Dynamics: Working at the Intersection of 2 Strengths • Being the best where X intersects Y XX Y You
  • 41. Using Talents as a Graduate Student – Which of your talents do you think will be most crucial to success as a graduate student? – Pick one of your talents that you feel you’re not using to its full potential – what can you do to better use it in your studies? – Are there talents you have that might not get used in your work unless you make a conscious effort to use them?
  • 42. Imagination is more important than knowledge. --Albert Einstein