To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
Whether they know this line from the Byrds' hit song, the Bible, or maybe are hearing it for the first time, this statement resonates strongly with those who have Connectedness among their Signature Themes.
Connectedness can sound like "there are no coincidences; everything happens for a reason," or it can sound like the "Butterfly Effect" -- for example, when a butterfly beats its wings in Brazil, it rains in Beijing. Connectedness believes we are all part of a bigger whole -- one humanity -- and what happens to one member affects us all.
Those high in Connectedness tend to see patterns and relationships where others only see chaos and confusion. While there may indeed be randomness in the world to those with strong Connectedness talents, there is no occurrence that is without meaning. The mystery of life is not confusing; rather, in a very profound way, it is comforting.
Connectedness: Helps and Hinders
When coaching those with Connectedness in their Top 5, helping them claim both the "helps and hinders" of the theme is critical to productive aiming. Some common helps and hinders of Connectedness include:
- You see the big picture. When people get caught up in day-to-day challenges that can zap their energy, you can help them step back and see things from a long-term perspective.
- Because you find links between everything and everyone, you can build bridges and promote understanding and acceptance.
- As a team leader or manager, your Connectedness talents can help forge partnerships and promote collaboration between teams or departments.
- We are all part of something bigger than ourselves. This foundational belief can give meaning and purpose to those who are questioning their contribution.
- Your philosophical approach to bad news may lead others to wonder if you truly understand the situation. Be aware of and acknowledge others' feelings in such circumstances.
- Those with strong Connectedness talents often take an "it was meant to be" attitude toward life that others can view as passive or naïve.
- Sometimes those with Connectedness can come across as self-righteous, contending that their worldview -- both seen and unseen -- is the only way to view reality.
- Connectedness' common "everything happens for a reason" perspective can be seen as minimizing unjust situations or lead to inertia when action is called for.
Connectedness: Self-Awareness, Self-Expression, Self-Regulation
In order to productively aim Connectedness -- 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) the ability 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 Connectedness talents by exploring the following:
- The Power and Edge of Connectedness: Connectedness connects the dots, makes the link between the seen and the unseen, builds bridges and values all of creation. Connectedness is also keenly aware of unintended consequences -- our actions have consequences, some that may go unseen for years, so we should take care in what we do now; it just might affect future generations in ways we may never know.
- The Vulnerabilities of Connectedness: Those with strong Connectedness talents may have a tendency to not focus on the present -- the task at hand. As my grandmother would say, "some people have so much heaven on their minds that they are no earthly good." While that may be a bit extreme, Connectedness can fall into that pattern.
Coaches can assist clients in realizing and claiming the expression of Connectedness by helping them explore past instances when this theme has been particularly useful. To facilitate this exploration, coaches can ask the following questions:
- What is your life's purpose? What beliefs do you hold dear?
- Who are your best partners at work? When do you call on them to help you?
- Tell me about a time when you felt at one with the universe. What made you feel that way?
- When was the last deep conversation you had with someone about your place in the world? How did you feel?
Self-Regulation occurs when individuals know which of their talents to use in particular situations, or know which talents to combine to either sharpen, accelerate or soften a specific talent. For example, sometimes those high in Connectedness might assume that everyone shares the same worldview and approaches life with a sense of mystery and wonder. This can be off-putting to those with a more practical, concrete approach to life and can lead to misunderstanding and distrust. It is then that a coach can help the client identify other talents that might yield better results. Coaches also can help clients explore different theme combinations to enhance and perhaps deepen Connectedness, or sharpen this theme and give an edge:
- Themes that tend to enhance Connectedness: Ideation, Belief, Includer, Empathy, Intellection, Harmony, Developer, Self-Assurance
- Themes that tend to sharpen Connectedness: Achiever, Activator, Command, Responsibility, Discipline, Maximizer
Connectedness: Five Powerful Questions for Productive Aiming
- Where are the places of misunderstanding in your organization? How can you bring healing and wholeness to the situation?
- How do you know you are accomplishing the things that are truly important in your life?
- How can you make a difference to alleviate suffering in the world?
- How can you connect what each person on your team does to the overall mission of your organization?
- How will you promote collaboration and understanding at work? At home? In your community?