The Dummy's Guide To Running A CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Workshop Like A Pro
Let’s be honest.
Running a CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) workshop is hard enough.
But running a FUN one?
That’s on a whole new level.
In this guide, we will show you exactly how to do just that.
Condensing over 10 years of CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder experience in one single chapter, StrengthsAsia has put together this ultimate guide that shows you how we think a FUN CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder workshop can look like.
Every secret ingredient, every little detail…we spared no expense so that you know just how serious we take our craft.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When I first started using StrengthsFinder back in 2009, 6 million people were already using it. Fast forward nine years later, more than 20 million people in the world are using StrengthsFinder today, and the number is growing exponentially. With that, the Gallup Organization (who owns the tool) changed the name from StrengthsFinder 2.0 to CliftonStrengths.
The CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder is majorly being adopted by people globally today. People are resonating with what they found out about themselves. But what I really love is that now, people are also telling everyone they know about it.
I am not someone that loves to jump on the bandwagon. Instead, I love getting the bandwagons rolling. And for a fact, I was the first of 20 people in the world that got certified by The Gallup Organization as a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.
It led to me starting StrengthsAsia with the aim of helping organizations in Singapore and every other country in Asia build their teams, engage their leaders, develop strengths-based leadership and impact their companies and families.
Today, StrengthsAsia is the go-to company in Singapore and the rest of Asia for strengths-based team engagements, leadership training, and workshops on anything that has to do with CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder. We have had numerous engagements in the space of teams, leadership, relationships, schools, educators, students, families, and even children.
We have run many strengths workshops for thousands of people all over Asia – Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Philippines, and Taiwan, just to name a few – and we know how to get people excited about their strengths, and acquire the capability and motivation in using their strengths every day.
In being able to do that, my team and I at StrengthsAsia have invested tremendous amounts of resources in terms of money, time, energy and learning curves! STEEP! And the more we do this, the more passionate and skillful we become about helping people realise their strengths. And we have been doing this for a long time.
Often, we find that there are so many organizations and people out there that have done their CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessments and do not know what are the next steps. They needed help in one way or another to use it for themselves, with their teams or with people they love.
And like I’ve mentioned, I love getting the bandwagon rolling.
So that’s why I am writing this guide – The Ultimate Guide to Running a Fun CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder Workshop. You can use this guide in your workshops with your organizations, leaders, teams, schools, families, and children.
Now, you do not need to spend a five-figure amount to be a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach before you can help others. This guide will help you create a fun workshop around CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder.
Running a well-conceived workshop is probably one of the best ways of helping people become more self-aware and aware of others. This is critical for people to understanding their Strengths profile. It is also critical in the adoption of strengths-based way of living, such as in relationship building, strategic thinking, influencing and executing for leaders and teams, and even in families.
This guide will give you a good head start on how to run a workshop with the results you get from your CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment.
So let’s get started.
Choose a chapter to get started now.
Table of Contents
WHY CliftonStrengths (Strengthsfinder)?
For many business owners, leaders and HR managers, using an assessment or psychometric tool is a pretty normal approach to better understanding their employees’ behavioral style, personalities and capabilities.
There are tons of tools out there in the market. There’s MBTI, DISC, Emergenetics, Enneagram, The Birkman Method, etc … The list goes on and on.
So why CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder? Do you need to do the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder since your organization has already done MBTI? Aren’t all these personality tools measuring the same thing? What’s the difference?
In this chapter, we’ll go through the different types of assessment tools available to you, including (what we believe is) the best tool out there – the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment.
Let’s get started.
The Difference Between CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder)
(And Everything Else)
Those are perfectly normal and frequently asked questions that ALWAYS come up. So if you are thinking of using CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder with your organization, family or community, you will need to know the answers to these questions.
I don’t blame people if they were to think that all the psychometric tools produce similar results. As many would say, by doing one assessment, you have done ALL the assessments!
Is this true? Well no, not really. In fact it couldn’t be further from the truth.
They are “same same” but they are definitely different.
Each psychometric tool has their own unique methodology and desired outcomes for individuals and teams.
Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C) [DISC] Test
DISC is a behavior assessment tool based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston. It focuses on four different personality traits which are Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C).
It describes what your personality traits are.
Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) describes how people perceive the world around them and make decisions based on 16 personality types.
This is based on the conceptual theory proposed by Carl Jung, who had speculated that humans experience the world using four principal psychological functions – sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. And at any one time, one of these four functions is dominant for a person.
Illustration by Emily Zirimis
CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Assessment
Then we have the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment that helps you uncover your innate natural Talent Themes.
Your Talent Themes are your natural recurring patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Essentially they are how you think, feel and behave.
The point that I am trying to make here is this:
Every tool has its unique edge.
Copyright © 2000, 2018 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. Gallup®, CliftonStrengths® and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.
The CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment niches down to how and what you should be focusing on in building your own unique STRENGTHS. It is your own unique approach to consistent recurring strengths-based behaviours.
Many assessments focus on describing WHAT you are like in various situations and environment. CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder focuses on HOW you do what you do when you are at your very best.
The ultimate goal of the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder is this: By understanding who you are innately, you can build your own unique approach to consistently positively impact all areas of your work and personal life.
WHY Focus On Strengths?
Donald O Clifton created the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment. The Gallup Organisation, one of the world’s LEADING organisations in engagement research and consulting, owns the tool.
Now, why did such a HUGE firm back this test? What did they know?
First of all, there are more than 40 years of research backing CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder. So that’s credibility. Over the last nine years, the user base of CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder has more than doubled. And that is not stopping anytime soon. The numbers are exploding.
Secondly, in the white paper by Donald O. Clifton and James K. Harter, they discovered that our talents are our greatest opportunities for success.
When our dominant Talent Themes are productively applied (For e.g. your Top 5 CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder), and refined with skills and knowledge, they become our ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance in any given activity. And these abilities are our Strengths.
In other words,
You, your employees, your leaders, your team members, your family, really just ANYBODY, are MORE likely to succeed when you intentionally and productively apply your talents (what you are naturally good in) to the things you want to accomplish.
This is HUGE.
Because it is about having the ability to consistently have high satisfaction and productivity. In other words, everything you do, you can do it with higher emotional commitment, greater impact and be happy at the same time.
People Who Use Their Strengths Are Happier Individuals
What Donald O. Clifton and James K. Harter found out was that “individuals gain more when they build on their talents rather than when they make comparable efforts to improve their areas of weaknesses”.
What this means is that if you’re looking to create a happier, more emotionally engaged and committed workplace, helping your people know their Talent Themes through the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment and knowing how to use their strengths is the way to go!
Think about it.
When your team members know their strengths and have the opportunity and ability to help each other create an environment on how they can practice and build on what they’re good at, they naturally become happier, more engaged and more able to deliver high-performance work.
On the other hand, when teams that are told to “work on their weaknesses” as most conventional bosses and team managers do, Gallup’s research showed that there is a 22% chance of active disengagement. But when they focus on developing their strengths, the chance of active disengagement is only 1%.
People Who Focus On Their Strengths Overcome Weaknesses Better
The research by the forefathers of strengths development, namely Martin Seligman and Donald O Clifton, shows that the greatest area of development for anyone of us is not in our weaknesses. It is in our strengths.
This is not to say that we ignore our weaknesses. That would be reckless, stupid and distorting the emphasis of focusing on our strengths. We never ignore our weaknesses!
But we MANAGE our weaknesses through our strengths.
Peter Drucker, another great believer of focusing on our Strengths, said that great teams and organizations focus on developing strengths, and in the process, make their weaknesses irrelevant.
Companies With Engaged
Individuals Are Better Than Others
The Gallup research showed that your people are 6X more likely to be actively engaged than others when you focus on developing strengths. They are also 3X more likely to have a higher quality of life compared to those who do not invest in strengths.
Imagine you are the boss or the CEO.
You have employees, all of whom greet you every morning when you go to work.
You step into the building one day, and the entire building is EMPTY.
There’s no one there; not your staff, not your janitors, not even your security guards.
How would you feel?
Chances are, you’d feel pretty lost. That’s how it feels like working with disengaged people. They are in your company but they are not present.
It’s no secret that the most important thing to a company’s growth is not the product or the service it provides. The most important thing, the most important resource for a company’s growth and success, is always its PEOPLE.
Gallup made this observation in their white paper on “Investing In Strengths” :
“Organisations are more than the sum of the individuals that compose them, but the most basic, and perhaps the most important, form of strengths investment lies with the individual. When more individuals within organisations have their talents identified, understood, and integrated into their lives, their organisation has greater potential [for success].”
In other words, every single person on your team NEEDS to identify their talents and discover their strengths as soon as possible.
When your team recognises the strengths of each other, they are so much more likely to work in greater alignment and unity. And you get a company where culture isn’t forced on making individuals the same but magnifying their differences and drawing that diverse tapestry of strengths together to create an undeniably strong and unstoppable team.
Your people who know their strengths is the key differentiator between you and your competitors.
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The Pub Story (And Why You Should Care About Strengths)
If you’re new to CliftonStrengths / Strengthsfinder, you might not have heard of the Pub Story before… So allow me to share it with you.
Back when these two researchers were working on the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder white paper, they chanced upon a brewery that was facing an immense decline in sales in the 1980s.
That particular brewery was facing a DECLINE in sales, and at that point in time, it was managing about 7,200 pubs.
Now for that chain of pubs, traditionally, the trick that has worked fairly well so far is to refurbish the old pubs whose sales are stagnating or are falling.
And on a logical front, it does make sense, doesn’t it? When people, or even yourself, are “bored” or “tired”, refresh the concept!
In other words, focus on those pubs that are not doing well.
But if you are quick to catch the flaw; this also meant that the pubs that were already doing well wouldn’t get their premises revamped. Don’t fix those that are doing well. Fix only those that are not doing well.
As the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Kind of makes sense here, doesn’t it?
Well, long story short: To test a theory out, the researchers managed to convince the brewery to revamp BOTH their well-performing pubs, as well as those facing declining sales.
The higher performing pubs that got revamped, got EVEN BIGGER results and growth than the pubs that were stagnating or facing a decline in sales in the first place.
When all things like location, competition, and other factors were taken into consideration, it became clear to the researchers that at the bottom of it all, it was the talents of the individuals working in the pubs that drove the pubs’ profitability. It is not just the pubs. It is the people.
And this is the secret sauce.
The more you invest in things that are already working well, the more you invest in people at their very best, the more exponential growth you will see in the improved performance!
Contrast that to the traditional business thinking:
“You have to work on your weaknesses.”
“You have to improve on where you’re lacking”.
We live in a world that is obsessed with weaknesses. We are always focused on developing our weaknesses and ignoring our strengths. And yet the research consistently shows us that it is in developing our strengths that our weaknesses can be ignored.
The secret to getting better results is to focus on developing your strengths and not just about fixing weaknesses or failures. The pub story tells us fixing weaknesses (refurbishing the non-performing pubs) will only give you incremental growth. But it is investing in strengths (refurbishing the pubs that are doing well) that will give you exponential growth.
So, putting this back in the context of what we do every day, the secret to great teams and families isn’t necessarily finding your flaws and working on them. It is important not to ignore them. It is about finding your STRENGTHS and working on them instead.
People Who Have The Opportunity To Use Their
Strengths Are Engaged Individuals
For a moment, just think about a few simple “what ifs”.
What if you had the chance to do your best at work every day?
What if you had every resource you need to do your best every day?
What if you had the opportunity to grow the way you desired?
What would make you more emotionally committed to your team and the work you do? What could happen that would allow you to do your very best work every day? What if everything you need and desire for you to be at your optimal best is present and available?
If they are present and available, it would change everything in our workplace. Employees will not just turn up for work. They will be turned up to do the work they love to do. They will be engaged employees.
Engaged employees do 2 things for organizations to help them exist: They (1) increase revenues and (2) lower costs.
Now, who wouldn’t want that?
And what’s this got to do with the CliftonStrengths / Strengthsfinder?
Knowing what your Talent Themes are lets you know how you can work, plan, relate and influence at your very best. Knowing your Talent Themes is key to knowing the secret ingredients required in bringing out the best in yourself, the people you lead and the people you work with.
In the white paper, Gallup found out that when you give people ample opportunities to approach things the way that they uniquely do best (using their strengths), business just shoots up.
They realised that when people are given the chance to explore a certain subject, task or job the way they do best, it led to greater work efficiency, workforce retention, and of course, increased profits for the business.
The learning point here is simple:
When you invest in the Strengths of your team members and give them the environment and liberty to practice using those Strengths, your company has a 44% higher success rate in customer loyalty and employee retention, and 38% higher productivity rate.
Taking The CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Test
So you’re pretty much sold on the CliftonStrengths/StrengthsFinder test.
You’re not the first. As I’ve mentioned in the first Chapter, there are over 20 million people in the world just like you.
But, what if you’re taking the test for the first time?
What do you look out for?
What resources do you have at your disposal?
In this chapter, we answer all the above – and more.
When You Are Doing The CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Assessment
One of the first things you need to do before you can actually hold a workshop using the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder is to understand the mechanics of the online assessment. This is important so that you can help your participants understand how the assessment works.
And this is where the Gallup Strengths Center comes in. The Gallup Strengths Center is the go-to website for all things regarding the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment. It is also where your participants will be taking the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment.
The CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment has a total 177 questions. You only have 20 seconds to answer each question. The idea is to not overthink but to answer them instinctively. It takes between 30 to 45 minutes to complete the assessment.
You would have to go HERE, purchase a code, create an account if you don’t already have one, or log in and go complete the assessment.
Participants would be responding to the questions based on how intensely they relate to the answers. The more they relate to the answers, the more likely they are inclined towards certain specific traits or talent themes.
For intellectual property protection reasons, we are obviously not allowed to reprint the questions here. But you could expect questions that are a little something like this:
“You treat all people the same OR
You treat all people differently”
And you will have to choose from a range of Strongly Agree to Neutral to Strongly Disagree. And my suggestion here is to answer the questions like no one else is in the room. Don’t try to be politically correct or rationalise your answers too much. You should answer right from the gut. If you feel intensely a certain way, go for it even if you feel that others may not approve.
This is an assessment that is trying to help you articulate how you innately and naturally think, feel and respond to people and things around you. So be real!
Upon completing the assessment you will get the following:
An introduction to what CliftonStrengths/StrengthsFinder is
Results for your first five of Gallup’s 34 CliftonStrengths themes
An understanding of your Top 5 CliftonStrengths and suggestions/methods for applying your Top 5 CliftonStrengths to every part of your life
You also get the following reports:
SIGNATURE THEMES REPORT
This report lists and describes your Top 5 CliftonStrengths so you can identify your dominant talents.
STRENGTHS INSIGHT REPORT
An in-depth analysis of your Top 5 CliftonStrengths. They are unique to your specific combination of CliftonStrengths, and this report describes who you are at your very best and gives you details about your strongest CliftonStrengths and what makes you unique.
ADDITIONAL TOOLS AND RESOURCES
These let you get deeper into strengths-based development with introductory videos and other supporting resources.
If your participants encounter any technical issue, you can always refer to this website for all Technical FAQs of the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment.
As we had mentioned, the Gallup Strengths Center also hosts different CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder resources, both FREE and PAID, that you can download to get started when preparing for your CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder workshop.
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We know you’re busy. If you’d like StrengthsAsia to implement everything in this guide (and more) for your team, click the button below!
3 Major Resources Of
The CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment focuses exclusively on helping people realise and discover their innate Talent Themes – the way they uniquely think, feel and behave.
It gives your team members a thorough breakdown of how they can put their Talent Themes into practice at the workplace, and eventually hone them into Strengths.
When you use the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment, you don’t just get the results of what your Top 5 or 34 Talent themes are, you are actually are getting a whole lot more. In this section, I am listing down 3 major resources available to you when you use the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment.
1. CliftonStrengths (Strengthsfinder) and the 34 Talent Themes
If you are going to be running a workshop using the CliftonStrengths / Strengthsfinder assessment, you must fully understand and get yourself acquainted with all 34 CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder Talent Themes.
You can find the description of all the 34 different Talent Themes on Gallup Strengths Center.
Another great resource to help you fully understand all 34 Talent Themes is the Gallup Theme Thursday videos. Theme Thursday is a Gallup Webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder Themes, one theme at a time. Gallup experts and a panel of guests discuss how each theme impacts them and how each theme manifests itself in life.
The focus of the videos is not only to help you understand the themes, but also to help you help others direct it towards application and performance.
You can check out the videos here.
And if you like, you can check out my video HERE. I was the first guy Gallup worked with when they rolled out Gallup’s Called To Coach in Asia.
2. The Gallup Resource Page
Another place that you can consider getting resources from is from the Gallup Resource page.
This is a free resource that you can use to read up more about Gallup’s latest happenings in the area of CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder, articles on Strengths Engagements and sometimes they even offer events that you can sign up for.
I just love their tagline: never stop learning!
3. CliftonStrengths Learning Products
Another place that you can consider obtaining more information or materials for your CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder workshop is the Clifton Learning Products.
This is not a free resource.
You can look through different CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder products and items for different purposes, and add any to your current stash of information that you feel might be helpful in your workshops.
I have gone through ALL the products and came to one simple conclusion: If you really want to buy anything on top and above of all the wonderful FREE resources out there, get the CliftonStrengths Theme Insights Cards.
The theme insight cards are powerful cheat sheets that summarize each talent theme so that you can get a quick comprehensive overview of all 34 Talent Themes.
Running A Workshop With
The CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder has been used by more than 20 million people from the ages of 15 years old onwards. It has been used by people from all walks of life – from corporations right down to the private individuals.
The audience that would be interested in workshops using the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder tool is therefore rather wide.
Since 2010, StrengthsAsia has been engaging people from all walks of life. We have been fortunate enough to work with thousands of people to help them learn about their strengths, and how to apply them at work, in families, in schools, and with their loved ones.
So here are some groups of people, your audience, that you can run workshops for based on the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder tool:
These are the people who are keen and interested to find out more about themselves even if their companies or organisations are not.
If you know who these people are, I would strongly recommend that you start with them. Eager learners make the job a whole lot easier.
Help these individuals realise and see how they think, feel and behave through their Talent Themes. Help them see how they are distinctively different from everyone else around them. Help them use their unique talents in building relationships, planning, influencing and getting things done.
The probability of finding someone with their same Top 5 Talent Themes is 1 in 33,000,000, and the probability of someone with the same 34 Talent Themes is 1 in 259,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Just stop for a moment and count the zeroes.
Knowing each others’ Talent Themes and the unique strengths that each member brings is a fundamental premise to team building, team bonding, and team engagement.
Help everyone learn about themselves and each others’ Talent Themes. Help them understand what would make them better at work every day. Help them build teams from the inside out.
Teams that truly understand their own individual and each other’s Talent Themes learn quickly how to work with people who don’t understand them. They help each other distinguish jobs that don’t fit and enable everyone to focus on how members can contribute, rather than how they cannot.
It sets teams up to help each other do what they do best, and puts them in a position to do that every single day.
No Time To Digest Everything Now?
Leaders who know their strengths will lead with their strengths, and will focus on the strengths of their team members as well.
Leaders lead. And they lead people. So it has to be about their people. So help leaders develop their leadership strengths.
According to Gallup’s research, there are 4 needs of followers that every leader must meet. If you meet them, people will follow you.
The needs of followers are Trust, Compassion, Stability, and Hope. Help these leaders learn how they can use their own unique Talent Themes to build trust, show compassion, create stability and inspire hope in their people.
Help leaders to understand that they are here to learn how to lead even better. Help leaders to learn how they can help people become bigger, better versions of themselves, instead of becoming “mini-me” versions of their leaders.
These leaders have taken the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment to learn how they can lead through their strengths, and to the strengths of their people. Help them to craft and create their own unique leadership style through their Talent Themes.
Showing them how to find their own unique Talent Themes and strengths will help them better understand and appreciate the needs of their followers, and in turn, help themselves build great teams.
Being a teacher is probably one of the hardest jobs in the world.
But when teachers know their Talent Themes and strengths, they will know how to captivate students through their own unique teaching styles. They may be teaching the same syllabus as the other teachers, but it is in their unique HOW that will set them apart from the rest.
Teachers who know their strengths focus on building the strengths of their students rather than being fixated on their weaknesses. Strengths-aware teachers are able to appreciate and understand the differences and needs of every child in their class. And I think because they are able to get through to their students better, they are likely to be more patient with the kids too.
So help teachers distinguish their unique edge that their Talent Themes give them, and help them find the teaching approach that makes them not just good, but great teachers.
These young people are very much moldable in this window period of their lives. It is perhaps one of the best times to introduce strengths to them. HELP THEM BREAKAWAY from the conventional focus on fixing weaknesses to build strengths. Teach them how to focus on their Talent Themes to build strengths instead.
Students have a longer runway for growth as compared to adults and this will give them greater enduring focus on using their Talent Themes to build strengths-based capabilities and performances.
Do also note that the assessment tools for Students are different from the adults as follows:
CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) for Students assessment (formerly StrengthsQuest)
The CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder for Student assessment is for students aged 15 to 21 years old. The assessment and report are the same as the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment for adults. The key difference is that there are additional resources and tools on the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder for Students portal which are catered to student life. It gives good examples of how each different talent theme could help a student in their studies, build relationships, focus in class, etc.
The StrengthsExplorer assessment is for students aged 10 to 14 years old. It is a simplified version of the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder assessment. Instead of the full 34 Talent Themes, there are only 10 Talent Themes. The 10 StrengthsExplorer Talent Themes are:
Achieving – They are energetic, love achieving goals and have a sense of accomplishment.
Caring – People are important to them and they love helping people.
Competing – They see life as a game, loves to win and strive to be in first place.
Confidence – They take on challenges and have a strong sense of self-confidence.
Dependability – They keep their promise and thrive on trust and being seen as responsible.
Discoverer – They are thinkers and learners and love asking “why” and “how”.
Future Thinker – They love to dream about the future and love exploring possibilities.
Organizer – They enjoy planning, coordinating and making things happen.
Presence – They love an audience, tell stories and taking the lead.
Relating – They love friendships and widen the circle of friends for themselves and others.
Instead of Top 5, students will get their Top 3 StrengthsExplorer Talent Themes upon completing the assessment.
There are also parents’ and educators’ guides available on the website. You can use these resources to help parents and teachers understand their kids’ results and how they can help the kids understand themselves better and be more confident of their strengths.
Parenting is hard work. In a fast-paced society, where we literally have to work for more than half our waking time, it is hard to be a good parent sometimes.
For the most part, the stresses that come with parenting is second to none; being worried about your child’s education, food, and so on is a scary thought.
Some parents break down. They resort to screaming and shouting at their kids, but of course, this doesn’t work. So what does?
For one thing, while you are running a CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder Parent-Child Workshop, it’s important to guide these parents on how to parent through their strengths, and ultimately develop their own unique parenting style.
We cannot change the role of parents but we can help change the way they parent their children. A parent that knows his or her strengths will dramatically increase the chance of positively impacting the child in the long run. Parents that know their unique strengths are more able to get rid of their wrongly held beliefs and perspectives in their children.
By helping your participants understand themselves, it helps them understand and discover their parenting style and, at the same time, understand their child better. When you do this, you are in effect helping them to accept their child for who they are and not what the parents want them to become.
In our workshops, for example, we found that helping our clients to understand themselves first is always the first step to better relationships at home.
Therefore, when you’re running your own CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder Parent-Child workshops, always bear in mind that changes on the outside always start from the inside.
Helping couples know each other’s’ strengths is the root recipe for knowing how to love and serve each other better.
Lovebirds are not mind readers. And couples find it hard to understand one another sometimes.
As the saying goes: “A good relationship will always have a good quarrel!”
While that might be true from time to time, quarreling, in the long run, leads to neglect and even breaking up of the relationship altogether.
That is why this is so important; to make it clear to couples that your CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder workshop helps them to understand their partners better through how they think, feel and behave. It helps them understand why and how they love and serve each other differently.
Specifically, they will look at what are the complementary differences between them, how they can love what’s different about one another, and this will help them understand each other better.
The whole workshop will simply make couple relationships a whole lot less mysterious to either party. It gives couples a common language that helps them communicate better, understand each other on a deeper level, and gives couples the capability to work together to keep the fire alive.
Workshop Activity Secrets
In this section, I am not just sharing with you what you should or should not be doing at workshops, but actually sharing with you some of the REAL activities that StrengthsAsia has been using. We created these fun and engaging strengths discovery experience for our Clients using the Cliftonstrengths / StrengthsFinder tool.
My team and I have created detailed instructions on each activity, to the point of where to go to get more information, worksheets etc. These activities have proven to work all the time and I am confident that when you use them, you are going to have so much fun with your teams and families and friends.
Now if you really want to have even more ideas or activities in running a CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder workshop, Gallup has also created the Team Activities Guide which you can purchase on the CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder learning products page.
So let’s go! Here are some StrengthsAsia methods that you can use to get your participants to have interactive fun and understand more about their Talent Themes in the process.
Love, Crazy and Envy
If you need an energy startup, THIS IS IT! Give your people the proper instructions and set them free to do this. The ability of every participant in sharing what they “love” or “hate” about their Talent Themes is both innate and natural. And there is this natural curiosity to want to learn about other people’s Talent Themes. I’ve come to find out that the ability and curiosity combined is a potent source of energy. I love it!
Overview: A fun ice breaker activity for participants to share with each other about their Talent Themes. Participants are given 6 minutes to share with each other the Talent Themes that they love and the Talent Themes that drive themselves/others crazy.
Duration: 30 minutes
Instructions For Participants
Look at your own Top 5 Signature Talent Themes, choose one talent theme that you love; you love because it has served you very well. Now choose one talent theme that drives you or others crazy. Crazy in which it frustrates/confuses others. [Note: It can be the same Talent Theme for both love and crazy].
[Give them a few seconds to decide.]
Write down your answers for the first 2 questions of the Love, Crazy and, Envy worksheet.
Now we will move on to the Strengths Scavenger Hunt section of the worksheet. I am going to give you 10 minutes to talk to 5-7 people. During this 10 minutes, I want you to share with each other the talent theme that you love and the reasons why, and the talent theme that drives you or others crazy and the reasons why.
E.g. If I am sharing with Jenny, Jenny you will listen to my love and crazy themes and the reasons why, and you will record what I am sharing with you in the worksheet. And when I am done, Jenny, you will share with me your love and crazy and I will record it in the worksheet.
There’s only one rule, the first person you talk to must not be from your table.
Begin The Activity
[Start activity. 10 minutes is a guide. If people are having fun and engaging conversations, let it continue to run for about 5 more minutes].
For debrief, you can ask the following questions:
Did you hear any talent that was both a love and a crazy?
Were you surprised to hear about the crazy of certain Talent Themes?
Did anyone hear that someone’s love talent theme is another person’s crazy talent theme?
[get the audience to share]
As they share, use this time to go deeper into the meaning of the Talent Themes. You can do this by emphasizing the definition of the Talent Themes or to use talent theme contrasts to show the differences between themes. Examples of theme contrast are available on your theme insight cards.
E.g. The Relator theme loves to know people more.
In contrast, the Woo theme loves to know more people.
You can also tell stories about the different Talent Themes that is being brought up during the sharing.
The objective of Love, Crazy and, Envy is for participants to understand the different talent definitions and the differences between some talent themes. The talent themes can be both a love when applied productively and a crazy, when it is misapplied. Often times, it might appear crazy to self but not to others or vice versa.
Talent is not a strength. If it’s a strength, it will not drive people crazy. When you apply your talents correctly, it results in Strengths and when you apply it wrong, it results in weakness.
For the section on Envy, get participants to share with the class which one of their colleague’s talent theme(s) do they wish they have and why they want that particular talent theme.
Now for the talent theme that is being mentioned, ask their colleagues how do they feel when they hear what their friends share about their talent themes?
This is a good opportunity for people to affirm each other on the talent themes in action. It will also help people to see how their talent themes have created a positive impact on others.
Five Clues To Knowing Your Talents
This is one of my personal favourite tools to use when I am coaching people on their strengths. It is highly reflective and it reveals how we are at our very best even if we do not know how to describe our strengths.
The ability to attach a word to describe the potential of our strengths is empowering and liberating!
In this 5 Clues activity, you will be helping your participants explore and revisit some intensely positive experiences around these 5 Clues: –
2. Rapid Learning
4. Glimpses of Excellence
The idea is a simple one. That when you are experiencing yearning, rapid learning, flow, glimpses of excellence and satisfaction, one or more of your talents is alive and driving you towards those experiences. That is also the moment when your talent has become a strength.
Overview: 5 Clues to knowing your Talents is a worksheet created by the Gallup Organization. 5 clues are like bread crumbs leading us to recognize our Talent Themes.
Duration: 15 minutes
Instructions For Participants
Instruct the participants to answer the questions in the 5 clues to Knowing your Talents worksheet as succinctly and specifically as they can remember. Encourage them to write down details they can remember even though they may not think it is important.
Given time constraints, have them work on one clue.
Once completed, have them share what they had written with their friends, in pairs or in threes.
Give instructions to the team members to spot which Talent Themes did they hear in the story as they are listening to their friend sharing their 5 clue story.
Our Talent Themes have always been there way back from when we were younger or even when we didn’t recognized them. They are always at work and when they are energized, they often bring about experiences as described by the 5 clues.
The 5 clues to knowing your Talents activity give participants insights and discoveries on what their strengths or potential strengths could look like.
No Time To Digest Everything Now?
Draw Your Talents
This is one of my favourite activities in helping people communicate complex ideas. Drawing how you think, feel and behave tells us a whole lot more about your innate Talent Themes than if you were to just talk about it.
Make sure you encourage people by telling them that everyone is capable of doing this. You can use symbols, stick man, scratches to illustrate what your Talent Themes look and sound like. At the end of the day, it is not the drawings but the conversations around the drawings that really matters!
Overview: Participants draw what each Talent Theme looks like to them so that they can learn what each Talent Themes mean to them. They will see how each talent is unique. The drawings of the same talent will look different for different people.
Duration: 45 minutes
Materials: Post-It Notes and Marker Pens
Instructions For Participants
Instead of getting you to share, what different Talent Themes mean to you, we are going to do something more fun! We are going to ask you to draw your Talent Themes.
Research has shown that more can be revealed when you think through your hands. So without using words, draw what your Talent Themes look like, feel like and sound like for you. Draw a metaphor, symbol, an image etc. of what each Talent Theme mean to you.
Each person takes 5 post-its. Use the markers to draw. You must draw one talent theme on each post-it. Draw all 5 Talent Themes.
Do not write down the name of the talent theme on the post-it.
After 10 Minutes
[Coaches will prepare one drawing for demo purposes; Note: Make sure your drawing is not so easy or straightforward for the participants to guess. It will be good to include different elements and colours in the drawings to get them to ask questions about the drawing during the demo.]
Debrief (Group Discussion)
After everyone has finished all 5 drawings, you will demo on how to debrief the activity.
Show your own drawing and your Top 5 Talent Themes to the class.
Ask the class to guess which Talent Theme you are drawing and why did they guess that. Every time they guess, they must explain why.
After everyone has guessed, you will reveal the answer and explain why you draw it the way you did.
Now encourage them to ask different questions about your drawing. Example of the questions: Why did you use this colour? You did not talk about this part, does this mean anything?
The activity is not just about guessing the talent theme or to get it right. It is about the richness of the conversations when they are sharing about their drawings. It also gives team members an opportunity to understand each other’s Talent Themes through the drawings.
Now you will break yourselves up into groups of 4-5 people per group.
Each group will go to a flipchart and stick all 5 drawings on the flipchart. [Remind them to stick the drawings in random order]
One person will go first. The rest of the team members must try to guess the different drawings. After they have guessed, the artist will then reveal the correct answers and must explain why they draw it the way they did.
Encourage the team members to ask questions to learn more about the Talent Themes.
(After the group discussion) Select a few drawings of the same talent theme. Show it to the class. The lesson here is that even though our Talent Themes are the same, the way it’s being expressed or drawn is different.
Our Talent Themes are unique. Even though we have the same talent theme, we all express it differently. Like the saying goes “Same same but different”.
Talent Association and Imagination
Have you ever seen a picture where it is both a face or a vase depending on how you look at it? We may be looking at the same thing but the pictures that we are seeing can be completely different.
Our Talent Themes affect us in the same way. I created this activity “Talent Association and Imagination” to help teams and family members discover and realize how we can have different stories and interpretations to the same incidents that we are experiencing. The power in this activity is to help people gain the capability of appreciating and understand the different perspectives of others around us.
Overview: Participants choose pictures that stand out to them and they will have to share/describe the picture through their Talent Themes.
Materials: A set of picture cards. You will need to source out royalty free pictures. A minimum set would be about 30 cards for a group of 10 people.
Duration: 30 minutes
Instructions For Participants
Everyone stand up and head to a table at the back/front/side. [depends on set up on that day of the workshop].
Now among all these pictures, pick one picture that stands out to your or picks a photo you like best. Which photo is shouting at you to pick it.
[Give them some time to choose a picture]
This activity is called Talent Association and Imagination.
It is very likely that the picture you have picked, you picked it because of your Talent Themes. As mentioned earlier, our talent is how we think, feel and behave.
When you pick a picture and match it to a talent theme, we call that talent association.
So you are going to gather in groups of 3-4 people. For the first round, you are going to explain the picture that you have selected through ONE of your own Talent Themes.
[Do a demo of Association]
Now after everyone has shared on their Talent Association. You’ll move to the next part which is Talent Imagination.
For Talent Imagination, your team members will look at your picture, they will then pick one of their own Talent Themes and they must describe your picture using one of their own Talent Themes.
[Do a demo; assisting facilitator will explain your picture through one of their talent themes]
So now it’s your turn to do it. First round everyone will do Association and second round, everyone will do imagination.
You could ask the following questions:
1. What did you learn?
2. What are the insights that you’ve gotten from this activity?
3. Any interesting pictures/discovery?
Different people describe a different part of the photo. How can this apply to the work context?
Often times, when there is a problem, different people see different parts of the problems which can result in arguments. Or different Talent Themes have different perspectives or see things from different angles. Your ability to think, feel and behave a certain way is someone else’s inability to think. feel and behave the way you do. Because of that, sometimes conflict might happen.
Instead of looking at these different perspectives as the cause for miscommunication and conflict, you can look at these different perspectives as an opportunity to collaborate. There is no right or wrong perspective. Every perspective is different and every perspective is important. Different perspective brings different insight which can be useful for the team.
[Trainers can share own personal stories that’s relevant to the lesson above]
The Six StrengthsAsia NO-NOs
When Running A Workshop
By now, you should have a great starting point on the type of workshops you can run and some of the activities that you can do in your workshop.
But what about things that you SHOULDN’T do?
If you know anything about goal setting, it’s that you should be just as clear of what you DON’T want, as you are clear of what you want.
Let me explain:
When you hold a workshop, it’s easy to just pick and choose a workshop formula, resource and guide… like this one.
But one assumption that we have so far (one that is very serious, in fact) is that nothing will go wrong with the workshop. Make that assumption and you are toast!
And that, my friends, is something that can potentially destroy your workshop.
So for the sake of helping you avoid screwing up your next workshop…
I’ve compiled the Seven StrengthsAsia NO-NOs when running a workshop. These are the NO-NOs we use every time we run a workshop. And they are things that I think nobody should ever commit.
Let’s take a look at each and every one of them.
STRENGTHSASIA NO-NOS ONE
Turning Your Workshop Into A Classroom
The last thing that you want in your CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder workshop is to turn it into a one-sided conversation.
Let me explain:
Do you ever remember going to a class or a lecture? How did that feel?
You see, so many times we see workshops that ended up like a PowerPoint presentation on becoming a “you should do this, you should do that” kind of lesson, which completely defeats the purpose.
You should be aiming to hold a WORKshop, one that encourages conversations and engagements. It should not be just a lesson where people take notes and nod to everything you say because the next thing you know, their memories are wiped clean the next day and they totally forget about everything you’ve shared (or even since the moment they walk out).
As much as possible, try to encourage people to speak up, share their stories, to talk about their ups and downs. When people do that, they remember things.
In all StrengthsAsia’s CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder workshops, we consistently find that allowing people to speak up about learnings, how they apply the lessons learned, their struggles allow for the greatest success of the workshop.
As the facilitator, you’d have to create a safe environment for people to be willing, to dare, to want to share about themselves.
The reason is simple.
The more you allow people to share openly about who they are, what they’ve been through or even simply what they think, the more you give permission to be themselves and for other people to relate to them.
That is the secret to a productive workshop session! It is about authenticity!
Humans are hardwired to connect with emotions and with stories. But if you don’t create a platform and a safe environment for people to actually share those stories, you’d have failed before you began.
STRENGTHSASIA NO-NOS TWO
Making Your Participants Sit and Listen
Any trainer worth their salt knows that the moment your audience is static, you’ve lost their attention.
That’s why this makes it to our list of StrengthsAsia NO-NOs.
Getting your participants to move during your workshop can be awkward. But done well and right, it is both fun and exhilarating.
In fact, your audience will thank you for not turning your workshop into a show and tell.
When holding your workshop, be sure to host exercises that encourage audiences to participate, speak up and move around. Our suggested activities above let you do just all that!
Activities like these during workshops have also shown to create much better results during workshops – participants become more engaged during the workshop – and they remember better too. The benefits you get by following this simple rule will be rewarding.
STRENGTHSASIA NO-NOS THREE
Theories! Theories! Theories!
Nobody likes a workshop where they learn all theory and don’t get to put it into practice.
Be honest with yourself for a minute: Do you remember the content that you’ve read or written notes about in in the last workshop? Do you remember everything?
On the other hand, do you remember the last activity that you did at a team building event, or at a company event?
Humans are hardwired to remember actions more than spoken words.
As the saying goes: “Action speaks louder than words”, and it is so true especially when it comes to workshops.
That’s why I recommend that you use the activities we have suggested here. All the activities introduce experiential learning opportunities into your workshops.
What are experiential learning opportunities?
You create activities where people have the opportunity to learn through their experiences and practice.
– To apply a new theory.
– To speak a new way.
– To practice with the person next to them.
When you create opportunities for experiential learning, you’ll find engagement soaring through the roof. Many times, we have participants coming up to us thanking us for running the workshops for them.
Guess what they say?
They sure don’t say something like “Thank you so much for the theory, that was excellent!” Definitely not!
Instead, they almost always say something like: “Thank you so much for the workshop! I am really glad we had the chance to practice this with one another. We learned so much!”
See the difference?
Which one do you think left a more memorable impression on the participant? The second one, of course!
No Time To Digest Everything Now?
STRENGTHSASIA NO-NOS FOUR
During the workshop, you might open up ample speaking time for people to share their stories, but what if people don’t want to share?
Should you force them to? Should you push it? Or maybe gently, repeatedly nudge?
Throughout our experience of hundreds of CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder workshops, we’ve consistently found that you don’t want to push people to share.
Because like it or not, people have their own reservation as to why they wouldn’t share.
Maybe it’s their personality.
Maybe it’s their nature to not share.
Maybe it’s this particular story that they don’t feel comfortable sharing.
Whatever the case, you should give them enough time to be motivated to share on their own terms.
So, give them the space to open up and share, but don’t force it!
STRENGTHSASIA NO-NOS FIVE
Moving Too Fast
At every CliftonStrengths/StrengthsFinder workshop, there are lots of information being shared.
And we’re talking about A LOT of information.
So when someone realises their Talent Themes and Strengths for the first time, it always (and rightly so) takes them some time to digest the information and reflect on it first.
Therefore, as the facilitator, do you rush through everything, and jump straight into the conclusions?
Instead, try to give them ample time for self-reflection, and to work things out themselves. The activities that we have prescribed give people A LOT of time and space to do this. Trust the process even if you feel impatient. This has been done many times before and it works!
You’ll see much better results and responses because of that.
STRENGTHSASIA NO-NOS SIX
Providing All The Answers
Is it good to have all the answers?
Should you share all your answers?
When you answer all the questions asked, you potentially limit your participants to think and subconsciously make them think the way you think. You prevent them from getting that breakthrough experience for themselves, which is very important for them to understand themselves even better.
Remember: Great questions are always better than smart answers.
Let me explain:
When you share ALL your answers, your participants automatically assume that you’ve covered the topic extensively. And with audiences in Asia, that is potentially a recipe for silence from the audience.
The CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder topic is extremely diverse, and as such, there are infinite number of questions that you can ask.
Presenting a fixed answer too quickly potentially limits further discovery and learning plus it shuts off the conversation there and then.
That is why in your CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder workshop, it is extremely important to let the conversation flow and be open to questions all the time.
Do not feel the pressure to provide all the answers. But feel the pleasure of engaging great questions.
Need Help Running A StrengthsFinder Workshop?
I hope this post showed you how to plan and organise your CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder workshop in Singapore.
But if you’re like most of our clients (e.g. Shell, Audi, or GSK), and you’d prefer a professional team to create a powerful StrengthsFinder workshop for you that gets results, StrengthsAsia is your ideal training partner.
Speak to us about your training needs, and we’ll tailor the right Strengthsfinder training session for you!