May 23, 2011 Program Summary

“Strengths QuickStart Clinic:
How Solo Professionals and Team Members Can Reduce Stress and Increase Results by Maximizing Their Strengths”

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This workshop was a continuation of our “solo professional” series, highlighting a topic that applies equally to freelancers and to corporate professionals alike. Strengths training focuses on how we can individually learn to recognize our inherent talents, and then systematically turn our talents into strengths.

Our guest presenter, Jim Seybert, has been personally certified by the StrengthsFinder™ Profile’s co-creator, Marcus Buckingham, to provide workshops to the general public on Buckingham’s exclusive, strengths-discovery material. Jim gave us an overview of how and why we can strive to play to our strengths in any career context.

Much of the language surrounding the idea of playing to one’s strengths centers on a specific value proposition. That proposition says that teams of people work better together and get more accomplished when everyone on the team knows — and does — what they do best. There’s a substantial amount of research to support those claims. That’s why it’s so important for those of us who work on teams to learn to recognize and maximize our strengths, as well as those of our fellow team members.

But what about folks who don’t have the benefit of working on a team?

Solo professionals are often described as a “one-person band.” The image of someone playing ALL the instruments is usually a happy one, but the reality is that while the solo performer can make a lot of noise, the quality of the music is very seldom enjoyable.

Is it even possible for the solo professional to focus on individual strengths? Is the idea of “playing to your strengths” something the freelance worker should even consider? The answer is YES.

By playing to our strengths most of the time (instead of just once in a while) we can all achieve much greater career satisfaction and productivity — as well much lower stress!

The Background Leading up to This Event

In 2001, Gallup researchers Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. made history with their blockbuster book, Now, Discover Your Strengths.”

In this book, they introduced a revolutionary new program to help people identify their talents, build them into strengths, and thereby enjoy consistent, near-perfect performance. These authors based their findings on a 25-year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human strengths, which were derived from Gallup’s vast body of psychological profiles of more than two million people.

Their strengths program introduced 34 dominant “themes” with thousands of possible combinations. Using the StrengthsFinder® Profile, anyone could now discover and then translate his or her own themes into personal and career success.

Fast-forward to today, and the relevance of the StrengthsFinder Profile continues to skyrocket. Millions have used the 2001 book to gain insights on to can achieve greater satisfaction and productivity in their work. Buckingham has since written several more books and formed his own consulting firm. In this fascinating video, he offers compelling evidence of how organizations that focus in earnest on employee strengths produce much happier workers and substantial productivity gains.

Buckingham also has since trained and certified a small cadre of elite practitioners to offer Strengths Training workshops to the general public. Strengths expert Jim Seybert is one of only 12 people in the world to receive this certification.

Upon learning of our STC chapter’s unique makeup, Jim offered to provide a free Strengths QuickStart Clinic. The goal was to help our diverse constituents make the most of their strengths, whether we work independently or as members of a team.

Highlights of Our May 23rd Discussion

Jim helped us discover the answers to key questions like these:

In our personal and solo-professional lives:

  • What’s the difference between a strength and an ability?
  • Is there a way for me to feel less guilty about my weaknesses?
  • What’s the difference between identifying my strengths and taking a personality test like Myers-Briggs (MBTI)?
  • I’m burned out. Can focusing on my strengths bring me back to life?

In the work environment:

  • What is the secret to forming a well-rounded team?
  • What do I do with an employee who thinks that he or she has a strength, but really doesn’t?
  • When I’m an employee or a contributor to a team, how can I help my associates make the most of their strengths so we can achieve more together?

Discover more by downloading the resources below!

Downloads & Resources:

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Download the handouts:

“Strengths QuickStart Clinic: How Solo Professionals and Team Members Can Reduce Stress and Increase Results by Maximizing Their Strengths”
Date: Monday evening, May 23, 2011

Jim Seybert's mission is to unabashedly encourage people to do their best work, and to love doing it. Jim is a Certified SimplyStrengths™ Trainer, one of a dozen people in the world who was authorized by StrengthsFinder® co-creator Marcus Buckingham to use his exclusive material on an independent basis. Jim's small, private consulting practice will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary in October of 2011. Since leaving the soft chair and big office comfort of corporate life, he has worked with companies that range from Fortune 100 to solo practitioners. He's led workshops and executive retreats on jungle islands off the coast of Nicaragua, in high-rise board rooms over-looking Toronto, and many places in between.

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