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Time Travelers

“The thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.” Unless you have Context in your Top 5. This Reflect talent looks at the past to determine how we got to where we are today. If you have this talent in your Top 5 you are a retrospective thinker who may call an evening watching the History Channel “date night.” But please don’t do that unless your significant other also has Context.

Context looks to the concreteness of the past to solve problems. What worked successfully in the past determines our best practices going forward. Past failures are guideposts to ensure we don’t make the same mistake twice. Context may look like a Connect talent as the more it understands others’ personal story and how they came to be, the more foundation for relationship is built. People that treated us right will be trusted, but those who failed us Context may have a hard time forgetting and/or forgiving.

The Kryptonite of Context shows...

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Natural Diversity

With all the attention on social reform over the past 4 months, it seems fitting to draw attention to two Connect talents that naturally look to involve people and see them for their uniqueness: Includer and Individualization.

The Includer hates to leave anyone out. An inclusive reflex pulls outsiders in and errs on the side of acceptance. Because they can see the value and worth of others they tend to reach out to a diverse group of people, ideas, and perspectives. “The more the merrier” is a theme they live by. When we learned our middle son, CT had Includer it explained so much of the uniqueness he brought to our family as our kids were growing up.

CT had the best birthday parties. His Includer wanted everyone to share in his special day. He invited all his classmates, the football team, the baseball team, the hockey team. (He didn’t even play hockey.) The result was a huge mob of pre-teen kids having the time of their lives at a tsunami-sized pool party or...

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The Unbelievable Power of Belief

belief kryptonite Aug 28, 2020

If seeing is believing for some, believing is seeing for those that have the Belief talent. Their choices are made through the lenses of what really matters to them. If you have this talent in your Top 5 there is probably a bedrock grounding in your life that guides and directs you in your decisions, focus and direction to live life on task. You have core values that you will stand by and often speak up for. This grounding shapes how you do life and often, who you do it with.  

People often make the mistake of associating Belief with faith. Though Don Clifton said that Belief is a talent that can have a “spiritual” component to it, that does not relegate it to a faith or religious system. Faith involves a hope, trust, or loyalty to a person, deity, or transcendent truth. Belief is an intrinsic drive or motivation that comes from values or pre-determined purposes. It can often look like a code of conduct or philosophy for life. How you live out that code towards...

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Empathy - Getting Your Feelers Out

empathy Jul 22, 2020

It’s the middle of July, and it’s hot. No need to dress in layers to go outside. However, inside some public places the thermostat is set so low that you may need to pack a sweater to avoid catching pneumonia. But there’s more to the temperature of a meeting room than air conditioning. There’s the interpersonal weather of the people in the room. For a reading on that warm or cold front you will want to tap into Empathy.

Empathy is a talent that has more of an emotional constitution. When they say “I feel you” they are really taking in the emotional vibes and wake from you. They can instinctively read people – their feelings, moods, and sometimes motivations. Like a barometer to atmospheric pressure, they can sense the emotional temperature and pressure of the room, unearthing unspoken motivations and conflict. I had a co-worker with Empathy who could enter a room and quickly identify anyone bearing an extra burden of emotion, regardless of...

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Adaptability - Flexibility that Flows

adaptability energize Jun 30, 2020

If there is a talent that can eat the disruption of a global pandemic for breakfast it is Adaptability

Adaptability is an Energize talent that thrives on change and variety. Flexibility and pivoting are second nature to those with this talent. The opportunity to adjust to something new, fresh, or different is life-giving when this talent is in your upper tier. While most people can be hesitant or even resistant to changes in their schedule, routines, circumstances, or relationships those with Adaptability get engaged and even excited about these disruptions to life. Whether adapting to working from home or connecting the kids to online school, the demand to adjust, transition, and re-adjust is more an opportunity than a problem for Adaptability. 

While riding with the tides of change and going with the flow of the unexpected are earmarks of Adaptability, it has a variety of other expressions. For some it looks like a juggling act of multi-tasking, keeping multiple plates...

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Are You Frozen or Fried? 2 Steps to Rehab Your Talents

In 8th grade, I had a fall over a hurdle that resulted in a compound fracture to my right arm. With a full cast that started below my knuckles and extended over the elbow and bicep, I was sentenced to 12 weeks of no use of my dominant hand and arm. Two things happened over the course of the next three months: First, I got creative and a little more proficient doing things with my left hand and other body parts like learning how to write (legibly!) with my left arm, albeit at a much slower rate. Second, I bought fully into a marketing campaign that milk builds strong bones and began to drink it at every meal.  

Three months later when my arm came out of the final cast, it was withered and puny compared to my left arm. Writing and many simple tasks were immediately regained by my freed right hand but it took some deliberate therapy to rebuild the strength and mass in my right arm so I could extend it out straight, lift heavier objects, and throw a baseball. I had...

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Talents in Turbulent Times

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Early last fall, we experienced a major change in our work with one of our suppliers that disrupted our productivity and deliverables for many of our clients. I actually went through the steps of grieving related to the Kübler-Ross change curve (see graph below).

There was the initial shock. How could this be happening? What were these people thinking or NOT thinking? I soon went to denial, calling customer service to get answers and register complaints. I probably entered the depression phase about the time I started calling other colleagues to commiserate and find out what if anything they were doing to return things back to the way they used to be. 

After binge watching a season of Suits and Googling to see if there were any free and easy legal actions I could take, I finally began to experiment with real alternatives and adjustments I would need to function in the new reality foisted upon us. By...

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Learner and Input: The Curiosity Cousins

input learner Feb 24, 2020

Many people have trouble differentiating between the Learner and Input talents. One way to observe the difference between the two may be to watch how two different people might read a book. The person with Learner will sit and read every page, the footnotes and the appendix, then make note of the author’s recommended books on the same subject. The person with Input might skim the book jacket, the introduction, the chapter titles and maybe the first paragraph of each chapter and then put the book down and pick up another on a completely different subject.

Most Learners want to funnel new knowledge into some sort of application. Maybe it’s another degree or certification, a new skill, a presentation or report, a hobby or home project. Input collects information or things of interest to them and stores it in an accessible place (often just in their minds) for later reference or use. 

Both talents have a curiosity or thirst for information. Learner wants new knowledge....

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The Art of Start

Ah… the excitement and hope starting off a new year. Something about the freshness, newness, the clean slate, the opportunity to do something different. All these feelings are common motivators that people with the Activator talent feel every time they start something new. The anticipation of launching, exploring, innovating something unique and useful thrusts these people into action.

Activators may have a short attention span for long meetings. When they get the feel and flavor of a direction or goal they want to spin talk into action and ideas into intentionality. No failure to launch here. They will innovate, initiate, and ignite the next big thing that resonates with them with fearless enthusiasm.

Though great out of the blocks, some activators are known to have an aversion to finishing all the things they start. Once things get routine or mundane they are off to start something new and more engaging. They can overwhelm Achiever and Responsibility with their plethora of...

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Positively Joy to the World

positivity Dec 19, 2019

The December holidays just may be the most wonderful time of the year for people with the Positivity talent. They have a mission to bring joy to the world by making more than holidays happy. If you have a coworker or neighbor who is rocking blinking holiday jewelry or a Santa hat, or has decorated their truck with reindeer antlers and a red nose or their cubicle with colorful lights and garland, you may know someone with Positivity.

People with the Positivity talent unselfishly share their genuine joy of the season with others. They brilliantly create and build a dynamic environment of contagious enthusiasm. From sing-alongs to ugly sweater contests, they celebrate people and successes, encouraging higher engagement and productivity.

Their optimistic attitude is on year-round. I once worked with a poster child for Positivity whom I will refer to as Stacy. Her upbeat attitude was attractive and infectious. When she walked into a room the mood lightened and energy scaled upward. This...

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