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Avoiding the “OI” Zone

As more of the world goes back to the workplace there are huge challenges as work communities are reforming from virtual platforms. As one colleague of mine said “It’s like in two years people have forgotten how to act like people.” At Inpowering People we are seeing our work help people reconnect in healthy and effective ways. A secret to our success? Helping individuals see others as people instead of from a perspective influenced by our talent Kryptonite that can lead us to view others as objects in the “OI” zone:

Obstacles  We see others as something to overcome: a problem to solve, a nuisance to avoid, a barrier to a goal. When I am zeroed in on the finish line with my Achiever talent, a phone call or co-worker suddenly becomes a barrier to my momentum of accomplishment or a drain on my timeline towards a deadline.

Interruptions – Those with Focus, Discipline, and Consistency can shut out...

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The Stabilizer Effect

In water sports there’s an appreciation for the wake a boat leaves behind. A rough wake is not enjoyable for most water skiers or fishermen. The churn and disruption of the water is not ideal for gliding on the surface of a lake or attracting fish to a baited hook. However, a smooth wake or ripple effect makes for better riding and fishing conditions. 

Every day we leave a wake behind us. Your wake is how other people experience you. When our Top 5 talents are working well together and moving towards the flow of strength, we can leave an enjoyable wake for others to experience. 

When we are not working out of our Top 5 talents, or if the Kryptonite of some of our talents is ignited, we can leave a different type of wake that has more of a churn to it, externally as well as internally. So it is critical to understand not just our individual talents but the dynamics of how they work together. 

If someone’s Top 5 talents are in all four of the CoreClarity...

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Winners And Woosers

kryptonite woo Mar 10, 2021

Sheila’s upbeat charm and zeal for people was always infectious, but this day she entered the meeting room with an extra measure of energy and excitement. “Guess what? I made a new friend today! I was doing a trial membership at a gym and met all these nice people and one of the guys is going to show me how to play racquet ball!” 

Our curmudgeon of a boss snarked, “Sheila, you have made more friends this month than I have in my lifetime.” Unfazed, Sheila replied, “Oh? I can help you with that. Want to come to the gym?”

Our boss was having a WOO encounter. Back in the day, to “woo” someone was to seek or attract their support or favor. In CliftonStrengths it is used as an acrostic for the talent of winning others over. People with Woo have never met a stranger - just a potential new friend. Whether it is people in a waiting line, the server at a restaurant, or someone who mistakenly dialed their number, they can make a quick...

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Enviable Energizers

discipline focus kryptonite Feb 11, 2021

Two Energize talents have enough similarities to be cousins. Discipline and Focus both show up in the CoreClarity database about 7% of the time and when it comes to getting stuff done they take a more concentrated approach than other Energize talents.

People with the Focus talent see the bullseye and pursue it with bulldog tenacity, cutting out all distractions. They center in on their objective and narrow down priorities to accomplish their mission in the most direct means available. Single-minded, tunnel vision, eyes on the prize are all descriptors often used to describe those who have Focus in their Top 5. They can keep a team on track.

Focus intensifies the effects of other talents. I recently coached a team leader who made this discovery. “When my Focus combines with my Strategic I cut to the quick of a solution with much more clarity and efficiency.”

Interruptions do not play well with the Focus talent. But beware of the Orange Cone of Silence -- the Kryptonite of...

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The Gift of Gab

communication kryptonite Dec 28, 2020

Back in the old days of journalism there was a reporting rule that an objective news story should be written at a 5th grade level. Anybody over the age of 10 should be able to read the newspaper and understand what’s going on in their community and world. Though modern news media has moved beyond this philosophy in the same way it has moved beyond objectivity and print on paper, it is a great backdrop for what this post's talent seeks to do when it has been developed into a strength.

Communication is a Connect talent that builds relationships through the wonder of words. They talk their way into your life or use the pen or other creative expression to engage with others. They relate ideas, events, concepts and feelings to life and help others learn using stories, examples or visual aids. When Communication has been developed into a strength it does what the community newspaper used to do - take complex information and break it down so everyone can have mutual...

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Difference Makers

“I’ve always had this certainty of where I’m going and what I need to do next. But right now I feel like I’m in a forest without a compass. I’m not used to this internal ambiguity! “

For years Dan had been planning a major career transition that involved moving his family to another country and taking on a key leadership role that was going to be a great fit for his talents, especially his Self-Assurance. People with Self-Assurance have an internal confidence that propels them forward and guides them like the North Star. This talent can appear to have the answers to the three big existential questions of life. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?

Then, in a matter of days, events took place that slammed the door on his new opportunity. For the first time he was unsure of what was next. Because of his Self-Assurance I knew he would rebound quickly once we refocused this Energize talent to new possibilities.

People with Self-Assurance are...

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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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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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