Strengths Based Teams

You work as part of a team. There are times when everything flows smoothly and you are amazed at the productivity. Other times the wheels come off, and you can’t figure out why. Leadership StrengthsFinder Matrix

Our matrix combines the unique strengths of each team member into one graph, allowing you to see at a glance where the TEAM Strengths gravitate, and where there is reduced or no emphasis. This does not mean the team cannot accomplish these tasks or function in these ways, but simply that it will not come as easily or naturally. It also suggests that future team development will benefit by filling in the present gaps.

StrengthsFinder can help you understand how you function best – the areas in which you are naturally gifted AND which energize you. Let us help you develop your own leadership and your team functioning for peak performance across all your key metrics.

Living Your Faith At Work

“Religion and Politics” are the two things we don’t talk about in public. Why? because they matter. Because our convictions are often deeper than intellect, and thus difficult to articulate at times.

What are your experiences of faith and work overlapping? Where have they been good? Where difficult or frustrating, even painful? How would you want things to be different if you were more consistent at living your faith at work?

This conversation will include:

  • Why are you engaging this topic? Are you…
  • Challenges in this endeavor
  • TALK – One good approach to this or any sensitive topic… – Tell, Ask, Listen, Know
  • Decide what aspects of your faith/ /spirituality/ will receive your attention.
  • How can any career/job become a vocation, “a calling”?

Contact me to schedule this overview presentation in your organization or for coaching to help you to deeply integrate your faith/religion/spirituality/core values into every area of your life and work.

Linchpin

Can you cast vision, chart direction, and provide energy, while also being the one keeping the wheels from falling off?

Linchpin. That’s a funny word. To my ear it sounds dark and sinister – like something from a mafia movie or a tortured legal battle. I expect to see a long black sedan pull up with impenetrable windows. The chauffeur opens the rear door and out steps a man with slicked back hair – his suit more expensive than my car. That’s not what I have in mind here.
LinchpinNo, I am imagining the term linchpin being used to describe a leadership role in an organization or project, whether secular or sacred, commercial or faith based. Whether you’re a business or ministry leader, how does the idea of a linchpin apply to you?

I’m asking these questions because someone used it to refer to my potential role in a project. That got me thinking the above, and then I decided I’d look it up and see what I could find. So, Wiki had this to say: “a fastener used to prevent a wheel or other part from sliding off the axle upon which it is riding. The word is first attested in the 14th century and derives from Middle English elements meaning “axletree pin”.” Webster online says: “1. a locking pin inserted crosswise (as through the end of an axle or shaft); 2. one that serves to hold together parts or elements that exist or function as a unit <the linchpin in the defense’s case>” Setting aside for another post the ME “axletree pin” and the immediate question – “Hmm, “linch”….”tree”…. I wonder….” I want to focus on this idea of a wheel on an axle. This is an important role. These pins keep the wheels on your wheelbarrow or dolly from coming off. Years ago they would have kept the wheels on a tractor or car attached. So, the linchpin is an essential component, without which, literally, “the wheels come off!” And yet, it is also a very humble position. The pin has no creative power. The wheel does not influence the force, speed, or direction of travel. Without it the travel won’t happen, or at least not safely. But it has to humbly stay in place while others create and manage the movement.

So what is the role of leader as linchpin? Seth Godin discusses this idea is his recent book by the same title. Linchpin bookThe idea of organizational indispensability is interesting. Is it real, or a myth. Are any of us truly indispensable? What does this say about they notion that “every is replaceable”? When we are working on boundaries and balance, we need to affirm that people can manage without us – sometimes even MUST, or they won’t continue to grow and mature. How would you reconcile these ideas? We want to believe that we are indispensable, and yet when each one moves on, the organizations (families, congregations, communities, corporations) adjust, reorient their leadership, and move forward under a “new normal.”

Is the leader the linchpin, or need those be separate roles? Can you cast vision, chart direction, and provide energy, while also being the one keeping the wheels from falling off? That sounds like a lot of responsibility for one individual. I wonder. What do you think?

Understanding your leadership culture through coaching

Bookstores have shelves filled with titles on leadership and organizational culture. Here is a sampling of popular titles on Amazon. We like to read these books, join discussion groups (which can be wonderfully helpful) and attend workshops and conferences (also great!). Unfortunately, many of us have done all these things, and then fallen short in implementing and executing the insights gained or renewed.

Coaching is a process of working one-on-one or with a group and a facilitator/coach to:

  • identify goals and tell a story of a preferred future
  • assess current strengths and growth opportunities
  • clarify the gaps between here/now and there/then
  • develop a plan to close that gap, to make the journey
  • MAKE THE JOURNEY!

That final step is the most difficult for many, though at any of these stages we can struggle. One major failure of leadership is to try and skip one of these stages all together.

Coaching also helps us understand our leadership culture in the organization – both our own style and that of the group. What is your leadership temperament? How does it fit with the followership styles of those in your organization? How does it fit in your context? Honest assessment of these issues is crucial to successful leadership of any organization.

You can begin by asking yourself some powerful and simple coaching questions:

  1. Where would you personally focus your energy and attention if you had every resource and no obstacle? – This is your dream.
  2. How do you convey this to those who follow you? – This is your message.
  3. How would your key followers answer question #1, about themselves and about you?
  4. How are you pursuing your dream and helping others do the same? – This is your mission.
  5. How many different directions are the people in your organization pulling?
  6. What is the greatest obstacle to pursuing your dream?
  7. What is the greatest strength, in you and in your team, for accomplishing your dream?

Once you begin to answer these questions, you will discover some things about the leadership culture in your organization. Is it active or passive, assertive or withdrawn? Is it unilateral or collaborative, solitary or cooperative? Who is really leading, and who is following?

Once you have some of these answers, you have some insight into what you can address to strengthen and fully integrate your leadership culture. Contact me if you want to explore this further.

Creating a coaching culture

Creating a Coaching Culture

What is a Coach: A vehicle you choose to help you get to your destination.

Coaching is about YOU. You are the expert on your own life and business, goals and dreams. You choose the destination.  The coach is an expert in helping you get where you want to go.

What is a Coaching Culture?

A coaching culture is one where everyone in the organization asks thoughtful questions.

We ask not only
“What should I do?”
and
“How should I do it?”
but first
“WHY AM I DOING THIS?”

A coaching culture helps us integrate our answers to these three questions so that our success in business is matched by satisfaction in other areas of life.

Learn to listen, ask reflective questions, and walk toward strong and creative answers. Develop these skills and build them into your team.

 Attend to receive a certificate for a free coaching session.
Use it yourself or share it with a coworker or client.

Sample Coaching Culture Conversation flyer