I was first introduced to Gallup data about management when my supervisor gave me a copy of First Break All the Rules which shares what the greatest managers in the world all seem to have in common. This groundbreaking research led to our current quest to discover our strengths and I have been fascinated by this concept for many years.
So I was excited to hear that Gallup, Inc. was an educational partner and strengths would be a major component of the 2012 ACUI Annual Conference in Boston, MA. Our first introduction was during the keynote by Shane Lopez who challenged just knowing your top five strengths will not bring you meaning, but using them will change your life.
The quest to build some muscle was just beginning at ACUI. As Sharon Kinard from Cal State University – Northridge (Creating a Can-Do Workforce through StrengthsQuest) said Talent Themes are not strengths until you start working them out. It’s like going to the gym and building your biceps, you have to start out with lower weights and slowly increase, the same is true for our talent themes becoming strengths.
So that’s what I’m doing now. I attended my Strengths Coaching session with Mark Pogue, VP of of the Educational Practices for Gallup, Inc., and learned so much in just 15 minutes. I felt he had a crystal ball with the questions asked. Our talent themes truly create a window into our character and our inner spirit. What is important to remember is it’s not just about your top 1 or 2 themes, it is about the collective of your top 5 (and even 10 if you are lucky enough to get access to them). Knowing how they relate to each other and working on them will make you the best person and student affairs professional you have the potential of becoming.
I took on Shane’s Strengths 5 Ways and will be using my Activator theme in a unique and novel way everyday for the next 5 days. I have already done so today by sending an e-mail to staff back at Virginia Tech to get a vacant job posted ASAP because of all the amazing young professionals I have met this weekend on the job hunt. I do not want to miss out on this perfect timing to bring in these energetic and magnificent individuals. Mark told me I was on my way and keep looking for these opportunities to take immediate action on the ideas that I come across while at the conference.
My challenge to ACUI membership is take your StrengthsQuest, come by the Marriott Atrium Lounge on the 3rd floor and sign-up for a coaching session and get started on your Strengths 5 Ways.
Then, be sure to attend as many strengths sessions as you can find or simply strike up a conversation with someone about their strengths and what positive experiences have they had which link up to their strengths. If you want to have a great conversation, find Rick Miller from Texas A&M University – Commerce, who serves with me on the ACUI International Education Council and lives and breaths strengths. He’ll share with you so many creative ways to bring this tool to your campus and your students.