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Exploring Creative Strengths Tools: Cascade, Strengths Twins

Exploring Creative Strengths Tools: Cascade, Strengths Twins

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 6, Episode 13
  • Learn about the Cascade strengths report and the Strengths Twins initiative, CliftonStrengths tools created by a strengths coach who uses them in his church.

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with guest Richard Sterry.

Richard Sterry is the person behind the Cascade strengths reports and the Strengths Twins initiative. He has a passion for supporting Strengths coaches and growing the strengths movement.

  • Richard is the founder of his company, Releasing Strengths, and regularly contributes to the coaching community with his creative tools like Cascade and Strengths Twins. He also provides technical services to coaches and is introducing the strengths movement to his local church.

Tell us a little about yourself

  • My Top 5 are Individualization, Learner, Relator, Maximizer and Harmony.
  • Learner and Maximizer often get me into trouble, I want to do something new, but it needs to be really new, so I'm never quite sure what's going to happen.
  • My relationship building themes really help me get to know and understand people.

Tell us about the work you're doing with your local church

  • Using Living Your Strengths, I've worked with several small groups at my church and it's really quite an eye-opener for them.
  • If you bring it alongside the biblical references that parallel strengths concepts, it can give a whole new meaning to when people are giving work and service within a church environment.
  • Actually doing something they are passionate about doing, rather than out of a sense of duty.

I think this can apply to any type of volunteer/non-profit situation where you have a single purpose; Are you adding any other inventories in such as Spiritual Gifts inventory?

  • No yet, but it's something I'd love to. Spiritual gifts and Strengths go hand in hand.
  • Spiritual gifts is what God has called you to do, and Strengths is how you do them.

How does work in your church from the financial angle?

  • I've worked purely within my own church on a pro bono basis; they cover the cost of the book and materials.
  • I think this is a great way to start and build from.

How long have you been doing this and how do you measure success?

  • I've been doing this for a couple of years, have taught seven courses with 80 people which is about 1/3 of the congregation.
  • Measuring success is difficult, but I constantly hear stories from individuals and people are always talking about their strengths.
  • I'm also starting to see one or two partnerships forming.
  • This will hopefully prepare us for some upcoming changes.

Change is a great place to introduce strengths; conflict is a great way of creating clarity; Strengths can provide a framework for this; Are there particular challenges being a coach in the UK or Europe?

  • One of the first comments I get is that the assessment is "very American."
  • I give a big apology at the beginning and then we just get on with it, we have lots of friends in the U.S., we're all on the same planet, if it doesn't fit let's just find another word.
  • This can open up even more conversation.

A good question to ask is: If that's not right for you, what word should it be? Does the clarification give an extended opportunity to give more advice?

  • Yes, it also gives some flexibility; it's the same concept but in a language the resonates with them.

Jim: Nobody can translate better than a local coach on the ground living in the culture.

Richard: The crucial thing is not to focus on the word but to get to the meaning behind it.

Let's talk about your technology projects. First the Strengths Twins project: What is it and why did you make it?

  • I was in the U.K. during the Summit last summer and heard about people hoping to find their twin (the same Top 5 themes in any order).
  • Then people started posting names, themes and email addresses on social media and I thought there could be a better way to do this.
  • It's a page on my website, enter your information, the database does the number crunching and matching and you get an email if a match is found.
  • No charge for it, it's purely for fun.
  • Results since August:
    • 45 pairs of two
    • 6 sets of triplets
    • 2 groups of quads
    • 1 set of quints
    • We have about 1200 in the database and have matched up about 120 people.

So 1 in 10? What do you think about that? The numbers don't match up what Gallup says.

  • It's a small targeted audience responding to this; advertised in the coaching environment.
  • People with certain themes are more inclined to participate.
  • So you get a certain amount of skewing.
  • 50% of people with Strategic who have registered have found their twin.

What is the value in finding your strengths twin?

  • I found my own twin just before Christmas and she was a bit hesitant to enter her themes because she has Individualization at the top and she wanted to be the only one who had those themes.
  • But we've had great conversations along the lines of: How do we find social situations, what struggles do we have in common, how do our other themes help us.
  • It was a conversation with my "other self", someone who understands me and can help me learn about myself.

We spend a lot of time on our Power of 2 concept, finding your "opposite"; I had not thought through the "sameness" concept.

  • You can learn from the other person about how they have handled situations.
  • I haven't heard from other strengths twins, I let them pick up the conversation once the match is done.
  • Please share your stories on Facebook.

Can I refresh my data in Strengths Twins?

  • No, once you're in there, you're in there.

Let's talk about Cascade which is now a licensed product, you went through the process with us to get that license, it has gotten more love than any other product I've seen. What is it? Why did you develop it?

  • Cascade started about 3 years ago when I needed something for my own coaching business.
  • I wanted to package up the huge wealth of resources from Gallup so I could quickly access and use them in my coaching.
  • About a year ago I showed it to another coach who say you've got to get this out there.
  • So I packaged it up, put it on web site, and someone bought it!
  • In 2017 I decided to pursue what I love doing -- coaching in the church environment and Cascade.
  • There was a lot of interest in Cascade at the Summit last year and I realized this was getting serious, so I approached Gallup team to make this official.
  • Cascade became official in January 2018.
  • Jessica Kennedy was brilliant in helping with the process.
  • It primarily does four things:
    • It's a repository to store all the themes of all your clients all in one place.
    • It's a massive time saver -- you can create name tents, badges, reports, etc.
    • It also provides a set of professional looking reports tailored specifically to the team or the individual.
    • We've touched on the Power of 2, Cascade has a special report with the Power of 2 as an extra coaching resource.

We struggled with our own Excel team grid; how many people are using Cascade?

  • 250 current customers, it's growing rapidly.
  • I produce a monthly newsletter, Cascade Connections, where we talk about the reports and share ideas on how to use Cascade.
  • Anyone can sign up for the newsletter, you do not have to own Cascade.

How does the pricing work?

  • There are two flavors of the base product:
    • Cascade Professional -- aimed at organizations
    • Cascade Personal -- designed for self-employed coaches
  • Then there is the Bonus pack -- gives reports beyond Top 5 themes, goes a bit deeper
  • And there is the Go Large module -- takes it from 500 to 2,000 people
  • There are two languages: English American and English UK
    • I would like to add other languages, and need to talk to the IP people about that and get permission to add other languages.

Demo of Cascade using screen shots

  • Cascade needs to run on the full version of Microsoft Excel on a PC or Mac.
  • You can export your file from the Gallup Strengths Center and copy and paste it in.
  • You can also manually enter information, be sure to use the drop down selection, it's crucial that everything is spelled the same.
  • There are four columns on the left that you can use to categorize your entries.
  • Entering the data here is the most difficult part of Cascade.
  • The team grid
  • You can quickly see unique and popular themes.
  • You can select who you want to see in the grid by using your categories.
  • It shows breakdown of themes by domain, you can also sort by them.
  • You can select or sort by theme and select them for example to send them an email.
  • All of the other reports hang off of the team you've selected.

The frequency chart

  • This is automatically generated.
  • It includes the text to put into a Word cloud generator and links for some Word cloud generators.

The spark chart

  • This shows how themes are balanced across the domain in just one diagram.
  • People who are more analytical love seeing a visual depiction.
  • Good for comparing teams.

The team summary

  • This shows what the team can bring as a team, what they need, what motivates them.
  • It's the "team on a page" -- frequencies, spark chart, etc.
  • The team summary is only in the bonus pack.

Other view of the same information

  • A report that shows pie charts with domains of Top 5, can quickly see by color what domains they have
  • A report that shows all 34 side-by-side; can show just Top 5 and bottom 5
    • If doing one-on-one coaching, add your own here
  • Power of 2 chart is a worksheet; select who to include; a suggested activity is included
    • Use for manager and staff or two staff members or use for marriage coaching
    • Any two people; any pairing of people; see what's brilliant and be aware of what might trip you up

Individual reports

  • Information from the Theme Insight Cards
    • Can see all of their themes together along with information about them
  • Bring and Need report -- an expanded list of contributions.
    • This is a powerful report in lots of ways.
    • You can give this to managers for each person on their team.
    • Are needs being met? What does this person bring to my team?
    • I use this very much in my church.
    • A lot of people resonate with this report.

Other features:

  • You can print on various size papers, small to wall chart size
  • You can save as PDF
  • You can take a screen shot straight to PowerPoint
  • Name tent -- easy to print out, fold
    • Name and Top 5 color-coded
    • You can also include your own logo
  • Name badges
    • A variety is available to choose from

Could you change these colors if Gallup changes them?

  • Technically it's possible, but it would be a lot of work to do it.
  • Cascade contains a lot of conditional formatting.

Can you paste the pie chart to name badge or tent?

  • (Laughs) I've had that suggestion and I'm looking into it.

All of these things came about because either I needed them for a coaching session or someone else did

How often do you have a new version and now do people find out about it?

  • The Cascade Connection newsletter includes update dates, usually come out once a month.
  • You can ask for update at any time.
  • 12 months free with purchase then annual fee for updates.
  • Please bear in mind that I'm in the UK and different time zone.

Would you be open to community involvement for translations?

  • Yes, but can't include it at the moment because of licensing
  • Richard showed a chart showing that Cascade is in 27 different countries
  • 49 different countries are included in Strengths Twins

Jim re-emphasized that this is a Gallup-licensed product.

  • We appreciate Richard's patience with us, we learned a lot about the process working with Richard
  • It was the first digital product to be licensed

Richard Sterry's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Individualization, Learner, Relator, Maximizer and Harmony.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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