My cousin Mike was a Secret Service agent; and then, on his retirement, he became an independent security consultant. You'd think that he would have been stoic, unemotional, a man of few words. But nothing could have been further from reality; when I think of the Woo talent theme, I picture Mike. He had so many stories of the fascinating people he met on the job and during the course of his world travels.
Whenever we visited him, we'd go to a restaurant of Mike's choosing because he was close friends with the chef (and, it seemed, with the entire restaurant staff!). He was warm and outgoing; he loved meeting people and had an infectious laugh that no one could resist. He was Woo personified. Individuals with strong Woo (Winning Others Over) talents are natural networkers, love meeting new people and easily break the ice and make connections.
Woo is socially fast -- easily and quickly making personal connections. Those high in Woo tend to love social situations where they can meet new people -- they are energized by the opportunity to find out about someone they don't know. In the world of Woo, there are no strangers -- just friends you haven't yet met.
Woo: Helps and Hinders
When you coach those with Woo in their Top 5, helping them claim both the "helps" and the "hinders" of the theme is critical to productive aiming. Some common helps and hinders of Woo include:
- You are naturally friendly and quickly set people at ease. This makes others want to work with you.
- Your natural networking ability creates connections that you can share -- when you talk with others, you often connect them with people who can help them.
- Your network is often a source of solutions when your team gets stuck and can't find the answer.
- Your bridge-building capability can be an asset in connecting your team with other departments and constituencies.
- Your need for making numerous connections can cause others to see you as superficial and less than genuine in your relationships. Check yourself -- are you primarily making connections that will benefit you and your advancement, or are you genuinely making relationships that focus on others? People can see through insincerity.
- You want -- need -- to be liked, which by itself is not a bad thing. But sometimes this can prevent you from delivering hard news or having a necessary though difficult conversation.
- You are quick to praise others. Be sure your praise is authentic, deserved and individualized.
- Some people might find your high energy and natural enthusiasm off-putting. Take stock of your surroundings, and match your Woo to the needs of those you are winning over.
Woo: Self-Awareness, Self-Expression, Self-Regulation
In order to productively aim Woo -- or any -- talents at a particular goal, an individual must have: 1) self-awareness about the theme's power, edge and vulnerabilities; 2) an understanding of how the theme finds expression in day-to-day thinking, feeling and behaving; and 3) knowledge of how to regulate the theme to maximize the potential positive outcomes that can be realized through intentionally applying a strengths-based approach. Coaches can help clients with strong Woo talents by exploring the following:
- The Power and Edge of Woo: Those with Woo among their Signature Themes have an ability make quick connections with others. They are social influencers and create impressive and lasting networks.
- The Vulnerabilities of Woo: Because they derive energy from meeting new people, those high in Woo might be perceived as inauthentic and too "salesy." Make sure the connection is genuine.
Coaches can assist clients in realizing and claiming the expression of Woo by helping them explore instances in the past when this theme was particularly useful. To facilitate this exploration, coaches can ask the following questions:
- What makes a great day for you?
- How do you stay connected to your network?
- What has been your greatest success -- either at work or in your personal life? How did your Woo talents contribute to that success?
- What connection have you made that turned out to be more important than you thought it would?
Self-regulation occurs when individuals know which of their talents to use in particular situations, or know which talents to combine to amplify, accelerate, activate, soften or moderate that talent. For example, because those with strong Woo talents love to meet new people and expand their network, they risk ignoring previous relationships in favor of cultivating new ones. In situations like these, a coach can help the client find other talents that might yield better results. Also, coaches can help clients explore different theme combinations. Below are some possible combinations that will either accelerate or moderate Woo:
- Themes that tend to accelerate Woo: Communication, Positivity, Activator, Harmony, Strategic, Maximizer
- Themes that tend to moderate Woo: Deliberative, Relator, Analytical, Restorative, Discipline, Empathy
Woo: Five Powerful Questions for Productive Aiming
- How would you describe a great day at work? How do your Woo talents contribute to those best days? How can you have more of those days?
- Who are the newest members of your team and your organization, and how will you make them feel welcome?
- Who are the important individuals who need to be advocates for your team? How can you win them over?
- What celebration are you planning for your friends in the upcoming year?
- What is the greatest value your Woo talents contribute to your team? How have you communicated that to your manager or team leader?