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Trudy Bailey

Avoiding Strengths Overplayed: Think Orchestra, Not Soloist

Posted by: Trudy Bailey, Development Consultant, Capp

 

In this final blog for our dedicated Realise2 Blog Month throughout April, I turn my attention to strengths overplayed…

 

Using our strengths enables us to enjoy endless benefits such as increasing our performance, goal achievement, happiness and confidence – and the list goes on. Be honest though: have you ever overplayed one of your strengths?

 

I am sure it was with good intentions, but sometimes, we may find ourselves not knowing when to dial back on our view, ethical conduct, or the quest for something new.

 

Some of our strengths may stem from our background; it may be hard to even contemplate taking a step back as we feel we may dishonour who we are or those whom we have role-modelled. However, I know that you know it doesn’t always serve you well!

 

If we don’t take our foot off the automatic pedal sometimes, we may find our strengths lose their energy. Let me overplay my Narrator strength and give you some examples, based on the Realise2 families:-

 

Relating – My extensive experience with Realise2 tells me that we are often caught out here.  The words: “But I love reaching out and connecting with people” echo in my ear. Working with people all day can be exhausting and time out may not be easy, especially if you have a family too.

 

Why not try using your relating strengths in parallel with other strengths? So, for example, think about the power of Esteem Builder and Creativity, or Empathic Connection with Resolver. This will help you move people towards their goals rather than simply ‘relate’.

 

Being – Ummm, how can you overplay the strengths that define how you like to be? Think about what it might look like when your Moral Compass is guided so strongly; that your way is the only way, or when your Humility leaves no room to showcase your own worth?

 

My other favourite is Unconditionality. Everyone wants to obtain advice from someone who doesn’t judge them and their queue of supporters can extend long into the evening!

 

Motivating – All action and no motive? What are you driving, changing and growing towards, and whom are you going to inspire?

 

Make sure you are clear about your purpose before turning up the volume dial on your motivating strengths, as they will be focused towards something meaningful and the energy will be sustainable.

 

Communicating – It is so crucial to be able to communicate effectively with others, but often we get stuck using one style. This then becomes a little tiresome for you and others on the receiving end.

 

Have you had one too many emails from the Scribe, too many stories from the Narrator, or been a tad bored of the opinions of that person blessed with Counterpoint? Try to find a variety of ways of communicating so you can connect with others’ preferences.

 

Thinking – If you have organising strengths – for example, Planful, Order, Detail - then I am sure you deliver your work with enviable Excel spreadsheets, and on time.

 

It is worth just checking though whether occasionally the 80/20 rule or even 90/10 rule will suffice.

 

Overusing these strengths can lead you to be stifled in your career as you are too focused on the smaller things.

 

Above all, think of your strengths like an orchestra, rather than a soloist.

 

On their own they certainly deliver; but using them together creates a beautiful harmony of movement that varies in pitch and performance, allowing both the conductor and audience a more fruitful and engaging experience.

 

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As Spring Reveals Itself, So Can Your Unrealised Strengths

Posted by: Trudy Bailey, Development Consultant, Capp

 

I posted a recent blog saying that unrealised strengths were like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I am feeling a little like that about the arrival of Spring in the UK this week – it is simply gold!

 

For those that haven’t taken Realise2 yet, and who don’t know your unrealised strengths, think about what strengths have served you well in the past but are a little dusty now. Or identify the areas for which you have energy in growing and developing.

 

As the name suggests, we are not currently using these strengths – that’s what makes them unrealised – so they may be a little harder to uncover. As such, ask others where they have seen you perform well before, or keep a diary of the things you would love to do. All of these provide clues for where your unrealised strengths might lay.

 

So, let us take a moment as we enjoy the growth of our gardens, to think also about our own growth and how best to polish the pot of gold that is our unrealised strengths.

 

  • The best place to start is by looking at the unrealised strengths in your Realise2 profile and recognising where you get an instant buzz. Which ones could you happily keep where they are (for now!) and which are you thinking, ‘Ummm, I have always wanted to…’ I confess to not getting excited about my own unrealised strength of Order, but where there is a need, it is a good friend. However, I could easily bore you all when I talk about my love of my Creativity or Optimism.

 

  • Next, think about any opportunities coming up at work where there may be a perfect opportunity to put yourself forward.  What tasks or projects could you become involved in and add a touch of inspiration for the benefit of others? Take a risk and don’t worry if your strengths are different to the others on the project team; you will be able to make a valuable difference as you introduce new qualities to the team mix.

 

  • Don’t forget about home life too. Which unrealised strengths are waiting for your hobby to begin at last? Can you use these unrealised strengths to teach the kids something new?

 

  • Do any of these unrealised strengths need a helping hand? Sometimes they can be unrealised due to a need to up-skill ourselves, or maybe more practice is required. Learn from role models and start being curious about their successes (see Jonathan and Alex’s blog on social learning). Practise their advice / what they did. Ask for feedback. It all helps in building your own experience and momentum.

 

Above all, be confident in your abilities. By using your strengths, you’re far more likely to be performing well and also from a place of happiness and passion; you just need to find the purpose and put your unrealised strengths to work.

 

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My Strengths Journey: How Strengths Can Change Over Time

Posted by: Trudy Bailey

 

As one of the lead trainers on Realise2, Capp’s online strengths identification tool, I am often asked “How do strengths change over time?” I love this question because it asks me to justify how strengths are not only dynamic, but also stable over time, and I am able to demonstrate my strength of Counterpoint!

 

I thought sharing how my journey has shaped my strengths over the years might, in turn, help you think about your own strengths and their past and future path.

 

I have completed Realise2 every six months since the launch, nearly 4 years ago.  Realise2 measures not only your performance (things you do well), but also your energy (things you love to do) and your use (how often you get a chance to use them). With this in mind, the profile collates this to show you your realised strengths, unrealised strengths, learned behaviours and weaknesses.

 

I am lucky enough to have enjoyed several different roles in this time at Capp (one of the benefits of a strengths-based organisation) which has seen some exciting changes as I develop in new areas and find ways to use my strengths further.

 

Here are a few examples from my Realise2 profile:

 

Humour, Counterpoint and Persuasion – My manager reflected that no matter where my journey took me, I have always been able to see the funny side of things!  These three strengths have remained with me in my realised strengths in every profile. They are a good dynamic, as I often bring a different viewpoint to situations, and will then use humour to be persuasive.  These feel part of who I am and I would feel naked without them.

 

Service – This started out as one of my realised strengths. I simply love to do things for other people; it gives me such a buzz. Unfortunately, over time, I have used this too much as in my role I am responsible for providing a service to lots of people. So, Service has now become a learned behaviour: something I do well but I find a bit draining.  That can happen to our strengths if we overplay them.

 

Growth and Drive – Both of these were once unrealised strengths, and are proudly sitting now within my realised strengths as I get to use them more often. I am on a progressive path at Capp and love what I do, so I am able to draw on my strengths to achieve my career goals, whilst supporting others to achieve their goals.

 

Order – This was once a realised strength and has been an unrealised strength for a couple of years. This works well for me, as I prefer to work more interactively with people, but I also know that when I am managing large scale projects, it is something I know I can draw on when required.

 

Planful – A weakness for me, and showed up as one on every profile! My preference is to use something I am good at: putting things into action as soon as possible is one of these, so it can leave my planful requiring some support sometimes!

 

So, we’ve seen that strengths can change in your profile, as well as how and why. How have your strengths evolved and where could they take you?

 

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Four Quadrants, Four Ways with Realise2

Dear Readers of The Capp Blog,

 

Throughout April, we will be running a series of blogs about Realise2, our strengths identification and development tool that has now been taken by over 60,000 people around the world. Giving us a great jump start to this series, Trudy Bailey starts us off with “Four Quadrants, Four Ways with Realise2“.

 

We hope you enjoy the Realise2 blog themes throughout April.

 

Yours,

Alex Linley

 

Posted by: Trudy Bailey, Development Consultant, Capp

 

So, you have your Realise2 profile. It looks pretty and the strengths icons are cool, but now what?

 

Here is a tip for each of the four quadrants to help you identify some actions, based on the 4Ms of Capp’s Realise2 Model:

 

1. Marshal your realised strengths – We want to use our realised strengths in a way that keeps the energy alive, rather than consistently using them until we burn out or annoy others! Do you have any that you could dial up to achieve a task, or dial down? You may have other strengths you can use instead of your natural default realised strengths. What would others like to see you use more? Ask for some honest feedback from someone who knows you well!

 

2. Moderate your learned behaviours – So, you perform well here but the energy is lacking. Which of these learned behaviours drains you the most? Can you delegate it to someone else or rely on it less? What about sandwiching it in between something more enjoyable? I sandwich my work using my learned behaviour of Detail between a couple of realised strengths or I know I will drink too much coffee!

 

3. Minimise your weaknesses – Yep, the dreaded W word; we all have them, so time to face them so we can focus on our strengths instead. How might you use a strength to compensate for your weakness. For example, I use my Judgement strength to support my weakness of Adherence (so I know which rules are ok to break!) Alternatively, try swapping tasks with someone else or tweaking your role slightly.

 

4. Maximise your unrealised strengths – This is the best bit. Often described as a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow or a present! You have energy here which is not getting a chance to be set free.  Which of your unrealised strengths can you most proftiably maximise? Do you have any goals or tasks you can specifically align them to? You may need to work on these gradually as you gain experience and build your confidence.

 

Use the the Realise2 4M Model to work through your profile and take some actions around each quadrant. That’s one of the best ways to deliver performance through strengths.

 

Good luck!

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Doing Less with Your Strengths: A Woman’s Secret

Posted by: Trudy Bailey

 

So, the pressure is on us women to ‘do it all’ and as we juggle demands to satisfy this, we find ourselves still continuing to add more ‘stuff’ into our day (ok, into the night as well).  Some days, you wonder how you got through it and, if you are anything like me, you feel like a day’s work has been done before arriving at the office. You look around to see if any of the other women are feeling as frazzled as you are. You apply another coat of concealer and gloss, feeling slightly inadequate as you sip your extra shot skinny cappuccino and wait for the effects.

 

But with this being the turn of the season as many women return from holiday and start to gear up for the final few months of the year, we have an opportunity to see – for once – about how we can do less, but more effectively.

 

In Capp’s Female Leaders Programme, Nicky gives some great strategic advice relating to how we can align our strengths as an emerging leader – I resonate with it all. I will share with you something practical tips about ‘doing less’ as you employ your strengths, as I confess to a little more practice at juggling! Here are some of my Realise2 strengths and top tips for real progression and ‘me time’.

 

Judgement – I make good decisions and accept this. Perhaps as a woman who wants it all, there was a time for prolonged guilt as a result of not ‘serving’ a particular individual or, the time I had made available for others.  There is no looking back, only pride in the decision to make a difference to those to whom I offered guidance.

 

Authenticity – I do what I feel is right for all concerned, and that even includes me! I know I can outperform my peers in the areas that energise me, so I recognise this and only look for praise and promotion in areas I wake up excited by. I become more resilient to challenges at work when I know that I am leading in a way which is right for me.

 

Persuasion & Counterpoint – Having been told when I was younger that I was always trying to get my own way, I know how to fully use these strengths to my advantage! I look for ways to make a difference to the organisation that have not been thought of before, and to be controversial. I love to challenge and to have passion in the process of winning people over to my ideas. This then gives me the autonomy to take ownership of the project and get noticed quicker than others.

 

Humour & Enabler – I know I want to have as much impact as I can with my two children in the relatively short time I spend with them. Being an Enabler with Humour means that I can not only support and encourage them at school, but also bring us closer together as we laugh about the challenges they have faced in their day. The homemade reward chart certainly enables the children to earn their pocket money, and cuts down my to-do list rather nicely! I can also create quicker ways to establish enduring memories with my Humour, as I challenge them to be as daft as me! Think about using the Enabler in you to create that ‘village of support’ that we all need.

 

Service – When I first completed Realise2, Service was in my top three and it now sits rather happily at number eight. Service has a tendency to be overplayed as we search for ways to be recognised. You will find climbing the success ladder far easier if you can engage more specifically and purposefully with your strengths, rather than being ‘well rounded’ in a more generalised sense.

 

Planful (a weakness of mine) – I have learned to adopt a strengths-based partnership philosophy at home. Once being slightly distracted by my partner’s strength in Detail, I now take full advantage as he enjoys some elements of housework!

 

Although, of course, you may not share all of the elements of my strengths profile, you can look to your own Realised and Unrealised Strengths in a different way.

 

From today, make the most of your post-holiday reflections to see how these final few months of the year can be different to those that preceded them, as you start to do less and enjoy more.

 

Follow the link to find out more about Capp’s Female Leaders Programme.

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