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Adaptability: Learning to Love All 34 Talent Themes

Adaptability: Learning to Love All 34 Talent Themes

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 1, Adaptability
  • Learn how themes form the core of CliftonStrengths and how to understand and appreciate your own -- and others' -- strengths, as we focus on Adaptability.

On a recent Theme Thursday Season 1 live webcast, we discussed the Adaptability theme with Gallup Contract Services Administrator Scott Wright.

People with strong Adaptability talents live in the moment. They don't see the future as a fixed destination. Instead, they see it as a place that they can create out of the choices they make right now. They discover their future one choice at a time. This doesn't mean that they don't have plans. But their Adaptability talents enable them to respond willingly to the demands of the moment, even if circumstances pull them away from their plans. They don't resent sudden requests or unforeseen detours. They expect them.

Gallup Senior Learning and Developing Consultant Curt Liesveld says that people who have high Adaptability are generally comfortable with and responsive to changing situations and environments. As part of the Relationship Building Domain, Adaptability allows people to remain calm in unexpected situations, which can be invaluable when partnered with someone who has low Adaptability.

When Adaptability is in its raw form, it might cause someone to have a relatively short attention span. On the flip side, mature Adaptability gives people intense, real-time awareness that allows them to respond with immediacy. Curt says that Arranger is a productive pair with Adaptability, bringing control to a given situation.

Coincidentally, Scott has both Adaptability and Arranger in his Top 5 strengths. He uses this pair often when he is working at an event and something goes wrong. Remaining calm, he can quickly survey the situation, weigh the possible options and figure out how to amend the mishap as efficiently and effectively as possible. Scott's Adaptability immediately creates a sense of calm, which lightens the mood for everyone around him.

Learn more about the Adaptability theme and how people like Scott use it in their everyday lives. Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from the Gallup campus here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, recorded on March 26, 2015.

Jim Collison 0:19

Theme Thursday is a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the Clifton StrengthsFinder themes, one theme at a time, and today's theme is Adaptability. If you have questions, comments or contributions during the webcast, we do have a live chat room that's available for you. It's right below the main video window on our live page. So if you're at By the way, you might want to have a pen and paper out during the, this webcast because it's going to be some great stuff that you're going to want to write down. That's one of them: We do these webcasts live out there. If you have, if you have those questions, you can join us live in the chat room. If it's after the fact, you can send us an email: If you're listening to the recorded version, or you need custom strengths solutions, coaching solutions for small, medium or large organizations, again, you can contact us: And of course, don't forget to visit the Gallup Strengths Center -- that's just -- for all your coaching resources and training needs, including a complete list of all our Certified Coaches that are available around the world. So if you were looking for a directory that had all the coaches, maybe one in your area, you might want to stop at the Gallup Strengths Center for that. You can also catch the video in both streaming and now downloadable audio for offline listening. If you want to recapture these, you can't join us live, it'd be great to have you join us just on the downloaded version, audio and video versions are both available. Everything's out: Curt Liesveld is our host today. Curt works as a Senior Learning and Development Consultant with Gallup here on the Riverfront, although he's coming to us from Liesveld Pond out in Lincoln, Nebraska, today. Curt, welcome to another Theme Thursday!

Curt Liesveld 1:53

It's great to be here, Jim. It's, it's beautiful on Liesveld Pond today. I'm looking out the window, and I'm excited for our theme of the day, Adaptability. And I'm really excited to have our Theme Thursday guest, Scott Wright, who is an associate of mine at Gallup. Some of you, some of our listeners might know his wife better than they know you, Scott. You play a role little more behind the scene. Heather Wright is also a Senior Learning and Development Consultant who leads many of our programs and has led many of our coaching programs as well. So this is Heather's other half here. And so I'm glad that -- I'm looking forward to having people get to meet you, Scott.

Scott Wright 2:27

Well, thank you.

Curt Liesveld 2:28

So we're going to talk a little bit about Adaptability as the, the theme of the day here. And this is a theme that really is comfortable and responsive in changing situations and environments. I think one of the things that distinguishes people is their -- how they relate to variance and variety. And the adaptable person is someone who's more on the side of "I kind of like variance; I kind of like variety." It's interesting, this Domain, this theme falls in the Relationship Building Domain. And I think it also could fit conceptually in the Executing Domain. It's how people go about their work. But I think the -- why it's in Relationship Domain is I think people who have Adaptability are usually a little calmer than the rest of us in changing environments. And I think that has a positive effect and I think we're attracted to people because of their calmness. So people probably, one of the reasons people probably like Scott is he's has a, has a calming influence when, when there are times of stress. We'll let him comment on that later if that's true or not; I don't know.

Curt Liesveld 3:37

Some, we often talk about some words that kind of get at the essence of a theme -- nouns and adjectives. One of the themes that I came up with, or nouns, is "first responder." These are people who are responsive and people who kind of jump into situations that need some help. They're first responders. Another phrase might be an "early adopter" -- again, people who kind of embrace change maybe quickly because they like change. People who are, are willing -- this, this doesn't sound quite as sexy sometimes, but these are people who know how to follow. They, they know how to follow the situation. They know how to kind of go along with the environment sometimes, and that can be important. I think it's people who are situationally aware, and maybe I would say people who really sometimes love change. And, and I often say, they say, "Change is around forever." So I think this theme has some really, some real advantages sometimes in, in a world that is constantly changing. And there are lots of environments in, in our world where change is really the, the primary currency.

Curt Liesveld 4:47

Adjectives that we might put with Adaptability would be like flexible, responsive, easygoing, present, in the moment, spontaneous, agreeable and my favorite: existential. That's kind of a big word. But I like that word. They really, and we can talk more about that if, if existential works for you or not, Scott. What this theme looks like in its raw form might be "My attention span is short." That's I think what raw and it -- we'll be interested to hear if Scott had a short attention span when he was 10 years old.

Curt Liesveld 5:27

What it looks like in a more mature form is this: "My intense real-time awareness helps me to respond with immediacy." That sounds more mature and more productive. And I think that's ultimately what it can bring.

Curt Liesveld 5:41

I think it's interesting to think about the relationships between this theme and some other themes. And some, some themes where I see connections is, for example, I think a theme like Arranger could actually intensify the Adaptability of a person. A partner, when when you put Arranger with Adaptability, it effectively, this partner effectively manages organizations and team chains through interaction, involvement and influence. So I think when you add Arranger to Adaptability, it brings some control to the responsiveness, it brings a a bit of control to that. Also, you can add Empathy to Adaptability. An Empathetic partner brings an awareness of the emotional implications and the repercussions of change. Even though a person with Adaptability enjoys change, they know that not everybody likes change. And so they might be -- and it's interesting, I think Scott has Empathy pretty high, so it'll be -- that might be a fun one to talk about, if he's, how his sensitivity to people's emotions helps him in in times of change.

Curt Liesveld 6:51

There are also some themes that could moderate Adaptability. I don't think he has this particular theme, but for example, Discipline. So if you -- when you add Discipline to Adaptability, whether it's inside of a person or a partnership, a person or partner with this theme brings order and predictability to the chaos that is always associated with change. So that would bring a bit more, it would, it would moderate Adaptability, if a person had both Discipline and Adaptability.

Curt Liesveld 7:25

Let -- this is another good word, I think, that goes with Adaptability. Have you, have you heard -- ever heard the phrase, carpe diem? It's kind of this Latin word, "Seize the day!" I think it was Robin Williams who kind of made it famous in a movie he had. I can't remember the name of the movie, but it's really Latin for "Seize the day!" And what it really means more literally is to pluck or pick the day because it's like ripe fruit. It's like, you know, fruit is only ripe at its best for a short time. I just think that's a great kind of way to think about Adaptability.

Curt Liesveld 8:04

Let's see, maybe let me get into some of the numbers. Sometimes people are kind of interested in that as well, frequency in Top 5: 17% of our database have Adaptability in its Top 5. In terms of the rank order and -- it's in 8th place; it's the 8th-most-frequent theme. So there's, you know, a pretty good amount of Adaptability in our database. The theme that is most likely paired with Adaptability is Empathy. So that makes some sense. These -- people who are aware of what's going on around them are often aware of how people are feeling. People who are, have situational awareness often have emotional awareness. So those could be things. The theme that is least likely paired with Adaptability is Focus. And that makes some sense too, kind of Focus is kind of a, more of a goal orientation, more of a single-mindedness, whereas I think of Adaptability as almost having like a 360 view around them. They can kind of -- it's, it's all kind of encapsulated in today, but it's a 360 -- the circle is today, and I can see all around today. I'm really present in that particular moment. So I think that's enough for our Theme Overview here and Theme Overture. So let's get Scott into the conversation. So Scott, did you have a short attention span?

Scott Wright 9:35

As a child? Yeah, I think if you went back and asked my parents, there were a couple of different things. No. 1, he talks too much. That was a common theme from my teachers was, yeah, he talks too much. He needs to be quiet in class, which, you know, looking at it from a strengths point of view was my Communication, which is No. 5, coming out. So there was probably a more positive way my teachers could have looked at that, but, but yeah, the attention span also, and not -- and that lack of, you know, focusing on, on specific things was, was definitely there too.

Curt Liesveld 10:08

But I know that you, you were successful as a student. You, you graduated from law school, you, you're you're an attorney. So how, how did you, how were you successful as a student with a shorter attention span? You must have managed that somehow.

Scott Wright 10:24

Yeah. And I think it was breaking things up into smaller chunks; not, not sitting down and having, you know, especially through law school, not having 6-hour-long study sessions on one topic. Breaking it up, maybe into smaller chunks, or chapters or something, and jumping from one to the other, from one class to the other and topic to the other, and kind of playing with that Adaptability and honing that so that I didn't get bored or out of focus when I was studying.

Curt Liesveld 10:57

So jumping, I like that. I think that's a good metaphor. Jumping around is good for some people. It helped you be a better, would you say it helped you be a better student?

Scott Wright 11:08

I -- for me, yes. For someone who doesn't have Adaptability, jumping around would probably drive them crazy. And that's, you know, that's the, that's the difference between individuals. But, but yeah, I -- for me, jumping around and, and jumping into something and then jumping into something else was, was, was very good for me.

Curt Liesveld 11:28

So how do you jump around today? In your -- you have a, I think, maybe one of the most interesting roles of people in our company. You have, you put -- you wear lots of different hats. You have lots of different expertises that you bring. Why don't you just tell people a little bit about the variety of your role at Gallup?

Scott Wright 11:47

Sure, sure, I have probably about four or five different hats that I wear at Gallup; four or five different roles. My main role is that I'm a Contract Services Administrator with our Education Practice. And so I'm responsible for writing proposals and doing marketing to help grow our education practice -- the work that Gallup does with school districts and colleges and universities around, around the country. A secondary role that I have is I'm an Event Producer, and I work with our events team. And I will do everything from writing scripts to helping produce videos, audio voiceovers (I do a lot of audio voiceover -- a little kind of nickname that I have around here is "The Voice of Gallup") and many different recordings. If you call into our Help Desk, I'm the voice on our Help Desk recording and, and for 15, 18 years now I've been the "Voice of God" inside of our events, the big, booming voice that tells people to sit down and be quiet. But you know, I've done a lot of that work.

Scott Wright 12:53

So that stuff, too, that live event production, fits in really well with my Adaptability. Being, being in control of a room of 600 or 700 people where we've got videos going, we've got people at the podium, we've got to get microphones in the right place, we got to get lighting cues right -- all of that stuff really fits in well with the Adaptability. Another role that I have at Gallup is, with my legal background, I do some work with our intellectual property. And I help manage the proper use of our intellectual property, both internally and externally with, with Gallup clients and others who, who do some of those things. Then I also lead tours of the building for Gallup clients when they come in; I'm a tour guide for our building, our campus here in Omaha. So there's a lot of different, different things that I do.

Curt Liesveld 13:40

You know, it seems like a big part of what you do is probably about your Communication talent. I mean, when I think about the voice, the writing, the language, even intellectual property has a, has a kind of a Communication part to it. So that's certainly part of it. I was just thinking, Do you have any examples of, like, especially these live productions, where something didn't go well, and you had to adapt?

Scott Wright 14:09

Yeah, there's been quite a few. Now luckily, the audience doesn't always see it, because they don't know what was supposed to happen! So we, we can kind of hide them a little bit sometimes. But yeah, there are multiple times throughout the years where, where someone who's supposed to be next on stage cannot be found. We can't, we can't find them. So we either have to drop them out and bring in the next person or we have to somehow stall for some time. And you know, we can't communicate with the speaker who's on stage right now. So you can't tell them to stall, so we got to get creative with some of those things. And we try --

Curt Liesveld 14:45

So what are, what are you like in those moments? What's kind of going through your head, what's, what kind of emotions are you feeling in those situations? I know, I'm, here's I know what I would feel like in those situations. I would be pulling my hair out and I would be kind of -- are you calm in those situations, or calmer than most, most people?

Scott Wright 15:07

That's exactly where I was gonna go, that, and you brought that up earlier, that calmness I have, I have, yes, a very overwhelming calmness that comes over me, and I don't get excited, I don't get worked up, I don't get frazzled. I can stay calm in that situation and start thinking through the options and the possibilities. And then, again, that Arranger theme comes in. Arranger for me is is No. 1 on my Top 5. So that Arranger theme partnered with that Adaptability allows me to just start looking across the available options and how we can, how we can solve this issue that we're looking at right now.

Curt Liesveld 15:47

And does that have, I mean, I think, I think part of your own calmness can have a calming effect on others. Would you say people say that about you? That you have a calming effect?

Scott Wright 15:57

Yeah, I've heard that many, many times throughout my life. Many of the folks on the, on the webcast today will, will know this. Heather and I are the proud parents of four children, three of which happen to be triplets. So we've had, we have four children and two pregnancies. We have triplets. So obviously, that was a big life change.

Curt Liesveld 16:17

I was going to ask you about that.

Scott Wright 16:19

Yeah, having, having triplets and finding out we were having triplets and preparing for triplets. Obviously, I got a lot of people saying, Wow, you're just so calm, you're just so easygoing about this, you know. I would be really worried or excited, excited in maybe a scared way, not a, not a happy way, I obviously was happy about it. But then, as our triplets were about 2 years old, we discovered that while pregnant with our fourth child, that he A) had a significant heart condition that was going to require open-heart surgery fairly soon after birth. And B) that he was also a child with Down syndrome. And so getting that news all at once in this, you know, span of just a few short weeks, really to, so to speak, and then going through a, you know, his birth. And then at 3 months old, Nick went in for open-heart surgery.

Scott Wright 17:16

And through all of those changes of raising triplets and, and dealing with being a parent of a special-needs child, and then, throwing in on top of it the, you know, open heart surgery on a 3-month-old child is, is, you know, a lot for any one person to handle, certainly. But through a lot of those things, people just kept saying, "I can't believe how calm you are! I can't believe how you just have a sense of ease and a sense of, of positivity in your ease that, that comes out." And I think that was the Adaptability.

Curt Liesveld 17:52

Yeah, so you attribute that to that? And what -- can you say what it is about the Adaptability? Is it, is it that you just think about "Today, we're gonna make this, we're gonna do this one day at a time"?

Scott Wright 18:09


Curt Liesveld 18:09

A day at a time, and we're not going to think about the, you know, the future implications? I think sometimes, I think what happens for some of us is we, we anticipate, you can anticipate all the good stuff, but you can also anticipate all the bad stuff. And you bring that back to today, that gets to be a pretty, pretty heavy burden. And so, living day, living, living one day at a time has some advantages.

Scott Wright 18:33

Yeah, I totally agree with that. There's, there -- you said the word, I think, earlier, "situational awareness." There's an awareness that I, I feel in, in every moment, you know. I'm, I'm very tuned into every moment of every day that is, I'm not thinking about the future. You know, one of the things about me is, it's maybe a little unique, I don't know, but I can't set goals. I can't look into the future and set goals for myself. I can't, whether it be work, career or family or whatever, I just don't have that ability. It just, it is nearly impossible for me to set goals. But I also have, I think, a more heightened awareness of what's going on right now, versus other people who don't have Adaptability, because I'm able to, to experience today and what's happening right now better than maybe some other people are.

Curt Liesveld 19:30

You know, and I think that is, as I have thought about this, it's really something that philosophers have talked quite [a bit] about, and, and, and writers and authors. I was looking at some quotes here, and I've got a couple of them here. Emily Dickinson, you know, we all studied her in, in American literature, and she said, "Forevers -- forever is composed of nows." I think, I think she might have had some Adaptability. And then, Henry David Thoreau, another one that I remember from American literature here, "You must live in the present. Launch yourself on every wave. Find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunity and look toward other -- another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this." I think a lot of times philosophers and writers are often trying to help most of us do this, what you seem to do pretty naturally -- to kind of live in the moment.

Scott Wright 20:30

Yeah, yeah. And I think that's, you know, the -- that live-in-the-moment, the live-in-the-time, like I say, the Adaptability, we said it kind of at the beginning of the show here, that a lot of people think it's that you just kind of have no direction, you just kind of float through life. And, and you don't really have a, you know, you used the word "follower." And I would totally agree, as a, as, for myself, I'm not someone who is the leader or who wants to be the leader, but I will be one of the absolute best followers that you have and will help you get a lot done as, as a follower.

Scott Wright 21:08

Some, some people have asked me in my life, you know, especially with the 4 kids, "Why don't you be the head coach of a basketball team or something like that for your kids?" I'm not a head coach person, that's, I'm not that type of a person. But I'll help you, I'll be your assistant, I'll do whatever, you know, you need me to do as an assistant. And I'll be a, you know, a really strong partner to you that way. But as the, the ultimate leader, that's, you know, that's not something that fits well with, with me.

Jim Collison 21:40

And Curt, I'll, I'll say, you know, Scott and I have worked together now for a year and some change here on these webcasts, and a perfect description of Scott has come in and just will do whatever I need him to do when I need him to do it -- to fill in for me or to, you know, we're working on a new show or some of those kinds of things. And so he's just been really good; he'll do anything, and, and do it very -- be very flexible in the process of doing it. So this is a perfect real example of the two of us working together to kind of make this happen.

Jim Collison 22:11

We both have Arranger No. 1, which I didn't realize until just now, Scott. And so we fit together well there. But his Adaptability and my Activation -- I'll activate on these things and bring Scott along in the process. And so somebody asked a question in chat, You, Scott, you had mentioned about not having that piece where you -- the goal-setting piece. And so I think our partnership is one of those where, where that works, because I'll push it forward; you'll, you'll get it going. And then you have responsibility for me to make sure it's the right thing to do. I can't tell you how many times I've come to you and said, "Hey, Scott, I got some questions on this. How should we really do this?" Some of it's your, your legal background. But I really depend on your Responsibility. So I think, I think that kind of answers that question.

Scott Wright 22:57

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Curt Liesveld 22:59

It's, it's, there's, it's, it's flexibility with integrity. I mean, those two things go together in him. And I think that, that adds value, I think it adds value to integrity to be flexible, but it adds value to the flexibility when you add integrity to that. And so --

Scott Wright 23:14

You know, one of the I was just going to mention, one of the, one of the descriptions of Adaptability that I was reading in my own, my own reports. And maybe it was one of our books, I can't remember, but it used the example of a palm tree. And a palm tree is, you know, it has the flexibility to bend in gale-force winds, but it's still strong. It's still a strong tree and will still stand up.

Scott Wright 23:40

And that, you know, going back to kind of our change and managing change in life and in, in career and all that, you know, I have the ability to, to stay strong through change, and I actually kind of like change, and I enjoy changing things. And I can help other people and I can pull them along through change because I can show them the -- how it's so good and the good that's going to come out of it. I don't dwell on, on the fear or dwell on the, the, kind of the bad things that come -- that people have with change. But that palm tree, you know, the --

Curt Liesveld 24:18

Yeah, bend but not break.

Scott Wright 24:20


Curt Liesveld 24:21

Yeah, no, that is a great metaphor. I think that is a, that's the perfect metaphor for, you know, I think there used to be if flowers don't bend in the rainfall or something, but that "bend, but not break" mentality is a pretty important one. How about the evolution of this? Can you can you tell people how, I mean, you're a pretty, you're a very sophisticated example of Adaptability. And how has this thing evolved in you? I mean, obviously, you've been exposed to this, this tool, but can you think of some things that helped to, to make it more productive, more mature?

Scott Wright 24:59

Yeah. I think the first that comes to mind is just the awareness and, and learning it because, you know, at, at an early stage of childhood, maybe even through college and certainly through law school, law school I hadn't yet experienced Clifton StrengthsFinder. So I didn't know about my Adaptability theme at that time. So when I say I broke things up into chunks, that was just because that's the only way I could get it done. I mean, I just, I just did it because that's the only way that it worked.

Scott Wright 25:30

But, you know, when I started at Gallup, I've been at Gallup now for over 18 years, but when I started at Gallup was when Don was just starting to develop the StrengthsFinder, and we were testing it and doing all that. But, but learning that theme and all my themes and getting to know what they mean and having it perfectly described my life is -- been a big step towards putting it to good use. And so that, I think, the, the awareness of the theme is, is probably the first big step that, that I had in, in my evolution of Adaptability.

Scott Wright 26:10

But then also, putting it to use in ways -- the change management is a is a good, a good thing. I mean, I, I can go through change very easily. And, you know, as you know, all of us, Curt, and Jim and I know, our organization has gone through a lot of changes over the last 10, 15 years. I'm very able to cope with those changes, without getting upset, without getting worried or, or, or dwelling on maybe the negatives. And so that, I think, is where I've been a big help to others that I work with is to be able to, to help through that change and be sort of that stable, calm again -- bring that word "calm" back in -- that calmness in the eye of the storm, maybe of, you know, there's a lot of things swirling around. But I'm that calmness that, that attracts people.

Scott Wright 27:06

And I think sometimes organizations don't understand -- not everybody in an organization; sometimes, organizational leadership, do not understand the emotional implications of change. That's something, I mean, with your Empathy and, I think, the combination of those two things -- we talk a lot about emotional intelligence, but I think emotional intelligence becomes very important in times of change. Because when, when change is, not everybody is quite as -- sees change as that much fun as you do. But I think, to me, that is such --

Scott Wright 27:39

Is a good word, right? Yeah, "fun," "fun" is a great a great word for it. I mean, again, change, change is always difficult. But to me, I need change; I need things to be constantly evolving and have, you know, routines are not my friend. I, you know, doing the same thing day after day is not what -- anything that is attractive to me. I want to have change; I, you know, a new email, I could be in the middle of a project and have a new email pop up on my, my email account and I'll instantly drop whatever I'm doing over here to read the email. Because, again, I want, I want to jump around to things. And having, you know, the, the one that I've sometimes heard talked about with Adaptability is, is a juggler. You have a lot of balls in the air at once; you can, you can keep a lot of, a lot of things going at one time. And again, I think that hits perfectly home for me.

Curt Liesveld 28:31

Yeah. So is there any knowledge or skill? Is there anything that you did that you think that has helped to transform this kind of natural preference you have for change? And that anything that you added to that, that made it a productive strength? Is there anything you know, or experiences that you've had that have helped you to, to kind of become this kind of more sophisticated change agent, change advocate?

Scott Wright 29:03

You know, I think -- the only thing that really comes to mind at first is, is parenthood. And, you know, really, especially in our situation, with the, you know, the triplets and everything, I had to learn and had to really rely on my Adaptability going through all the things that we were going through as a family, you know, and I mentioned the whole childhood thing, but also put right in the middle of that, just as we found out we were pregnant with our youngest, Nick, we were also relocating from Lincoln to Omaha, because Gallup had moved up to Omaha. So again, you just keep throwing more and more things but I think just learning, and I think the other thing is, is helping even my children and learn and, and teaching them that Don't get so worried about the future. Don't get so worried about tomorrow. Think about, you know, enjoy today. Enjoy the fun you're having today and and experience today and, you know, that, that's a, that's one. But, you know, as far as as specific, I don't know that I've ever taken part in --

Curt Liesveld 30:16

Just the experience, it sounds like.

Scott Wright 30:17

Yeah, experience.

Curt Liesveld 30:18

The experiences -- you've, you've, you've immersed yourself in experiences of change.

Scott Wright 30:23


Curt Liesveld 30:23

And to some degree, that's what's, what's helped you to become more adept in changing environments here. I had some things down here about how, how this theme could help parents. I mean, we've had some, so I wrote some of these things down here how Adaptability might help you parent. It says, Living with children is always surprising and unpredictable. Is that true at your house?

Scott Wright 30:46


Curt Liesveld 30:47

You will thrive in this changing environment. I think that's basically what you said. Part of the way that I have gotten better at this is I've, I've been a dad. And families are not predictable. And and yours has really been unpredictable, probably more, more unpredictable than usual. And it really has caused you to, and I'm sure there were been moments when there were, that, that was not easy. It could not have been easy.

Scott Wright 31:12

No. And it's certainly that -- every parent of a child goes through moments in their lives where it's, it's not easy to deal with any of the changes. But I think overall, I have a better ability to see the, you know, to come to that calm spot and to see that, OK, this isn't bad. This isn't a problem. This isn't trouble. We're going to get through this. It's going to work. Everything's going to be OK. Tomorrow will come, the sun will rise tomorrow, it'll be fine. I don't need to worry about the sun rising tomorrow, because I know it's going to. So I'm just going to live in today and make sure we get through today OK.

Curt Liesveld 31:51

Yeah. Jim, do you have any questions out there?

Jim Collison 31:55

Oh yeah, lots of questions.

Curt Liesveld 31:56

OK, let's get some.

Jim Collison 31:57

If we don't get to everybody's questions, we'll take it to the Facebook group. So if I don't answer your question, or you're listening to the recorded version of this and you've got questions, just drop that in our Facebook group, just go to [] -- either one of those. We'll, we'll get you in a room and you can ask the question. So Carol Ann wanted to know a little bit more, Scott, about Adaptability in you as a child.

Scott Wright 32:22

I think, oh, really, for me, I -- going back to what Curt and I talked about a little bit ago, it just really, I, I wasn't someone who could work on long projects. I'm not someone who could sit down at a table for long periods of time. I needed to get up and move around; I needed to change focus. I needed, you know, to have, OK, this is great over here. But now I want to go over here and do this. Kind of like, you know, the distracted by, I, some, some would say maybe easily distracted, that might be a sort of a negative way to look at it: easily distracted. But again, it wasn't that I wasn't paying attention to what was going on that I was working on first; it's just that I needed the var -- the variety. I needed multiple things going on.

Curt Liesveld 33:13

Did your parents kind of ever force you, try to force you to focus on things? I'm just -- or did they give you the freedom to kind of be successful in the way that you were kind of wired here?

Scott Wright 33:25

I think it was more of the latter. I, there really wasn't a lot of forcing of, of you need to, you know, bear down and focus on this, or you need to, you know, do whatever; it was more, you know, I, I never, I never really was a bad student. You know, I got decent grades and I was able to, you know, as you mentioned, Curt, go through not only undergrad, but then also law school and, and was on Dean's List in both places. And so, so a successful student. But I had to do it in my own way, not, not in the way that maybe the school system would traditionally want me to do it or the way that other kids might have done it. I had to do it my way.

Curt Liesveld 34:12


Jim Collison 34:14

Curt, this is a question for you. Annette had asked, Are we born with Adaptability? Or does it depend on our lifestyle?

Curt Liesveld 34:23

It's kind of that "nature or nurture" question. I, and I think it's both. I think it's, I think there's a probably a genetic nature, a genetic creation of these patterns within us. But I think sometimes the environment, I mean, when you say lifestyle, I think, to some degree, it's about the environment. And I think, to some degree, you know, it sounds like Scott lived in a family that gave him some freedom to kind of go with what worked here, and there was not a lot of pressure. If he would have had a lot of pressure at a young age to become something different, he might not have been as adaptable. He might have -- but if you think about what would have been lost when you, when you see this kind of individual who has this tremendous capacity to live and influence changing environments and live in multiple kind of settings like this, I mean, it's a good thing that they didn't.

Curt Liesveld 35:13

So I don't know if I can say categorically, it's, I think it's some combination of both: who someone is genetically and who someone is, what their early environment is, both of those things really shape who we become. And, and I think it's best when, when, when parents, to some degree, try to customize their approach to their kids, based on who the kids are. You've got four kids, so they're probably not all the same, I'm guessing.

Scott Wright 35:41

No. Definitely not. They are very, very different kids. And they require different ways of parenting to each one. You know, there's obviously some similarities. But at the, at the end of the day, my daughter is a very different person than Palmer, who's our firstborn of the three. She's a very different person. They get to the same outcome. They, they, they both are very good students; they love school. They get to the same outcome, but the way that they get there is very, very different.

Curt Liesveld 36:15

Do any of your kids get there like you got there?

Scott Wright 36:18

I think, yeah, I think probably my son Hogan is, is more like me in that sense. He, he wants to get things done fast. He wants to, you know, and that's, that's one thing, too, that maybe I didn't mention was I wanted to get my work done fast. I wanted to do it, get it done and move on to something else.

Curt Liesveld 36:36

Do something else. Yeah.

Scott Wright 36:38

And, and I think he's a lot like that. He likes to, he likes to, "I know this; I want to just get it done. And then I want to move on to another, another project" or "I want to move on to some other, some other experience."

Curt Liesveld 36:50

Yeah, absolutely. Good.

Jim Collison 36:52

Kevin had asked the question for you, Scott: How do you see your Arranger, Responsibility, and Adaptability meeting with your Harmony?

Scott Wright 37:00

Wow, I'm gonna put all -- at least 4 of them together, right? They're all in one question! Yeah, really. OK. So, you know, Curt and I talked about this a little bit a few days ago, but the, the, the Adaptability piece of it, I think, drives a lot of it. But in the, in the trying to figure out the, the, the process of how we're going to solve something, or how we're going to get to an end, the Adaptability makes me jump right in. The Harmony that's in there allows me to build those relationships and keep those relationships going and give them trust. There's, there's a, there's a piece that, you know, Curt and I talked about a little bit that we haven't brought up here, but it's an element of trust. I can, people have a lot of trust in me because I, again, I have that calmness --

Curt Liesveld 37:51

Part of that's your integrity too.

Scott Wright 37:52

Exactly, exactly, and, and the integrity might also be part of that Responsibility piece too, and bringing that theme in. And when I take on a project, or when I take on solving something for someone, I take personal responsibility for it; I want to do it. So that Adaptability lets me know, OK, if I'm going down this path and solving it this way, and we hit a roadblock, I can instantly change and move over here and find a way around that roadblock, and find a way to get that done. And so the, the, you know, the Harmony builds the trust on the relationship side; the Responsibility makes me take ownership of it. But the Adaptability lets me get it done and, and the Arranger is what helps me plan, you know, the 5 different routes that I'm going to use. I'm going to try the first route, the most preferred route, to get a problem solved. But the Arranger has allowed me to plan out a couple other routes in case that one sees a roadblock.

Curt Liesveld 38:53

I think what your Adaptability is -- it's, it's, it's your language, and this is brand-new language for me around Adaptability is this "jumping in." I'm willing to jump into the water. It's, it's that -- it's a new experience -- hey, it's a new experience. I'm gonna jump in, and then you might want to jump out later. But some people it's, it's similar probably to Activator. It look, it could look like Activator. It's the initiation: I'm, I'm willing to jump into a new experience, a new situation. And, and so that's, that's a really insight for me, just hearing you talk about it.

Scott Wright 39:29

Yeah. And, and I agree and but one of the things we always talk sometimes about balconies and basements, and one of the basements of that "jumping in" is that -- you know, if you think of it in a setting of a pool, you may not know how deep that water is, or you may not know, you know, exactly how you're going to swim once you jump in.

Scott Wright 39:50

So sometimes I can jump into things and I start working on something, but maybe because I've been so adaptable, and I've tried to "Let's, let's do it quick; let's go fast," I sometimes don't take enough time to plan and to organize. And then I have to take a step back, bring in the Arranger and start saying, OK, let's, let's think this through a little bit more rather than just go 60, 75 miles an hour right from the start; let's take it a little slower and ramp up to that speed.

Curt Liesveld 40:18

Yeah, I think Activator would have a similar basement. It's a little bit impulsive. Kind of spontaneous, impulsive words -- I think there's a spontaneity to, to Adaptability, kind of real-time kind of -- good.

Jim Collison 40:35

So Curt, let me ask, with that in mind, so Annette and Eileen in the chat have a similar question so I'll par -- I'll paraphrase them. But if you're low in Adaptability -- and, and you, Curt, alluded to this with Activator; you could use Activator to look like -- are there other themes that might jump in there if [you're] low Adaptability and you might be in a situation where you need it?

Curt Liesveld 40:57

Yeah. What themes could you use to compensate for low Adaptability? Yeah, I think Activator would be a good theme to do that. I think Individualization -- I think, as I said, I think themes like Empathy. If you're aware of people, emotional awareness can help you know where to jump in. I think there's a, they both have an awareness to them. Individualization, I think, is another theme that, that has some things in common with Adaptability, in that they both love diversity. Individualization loves the diversity of people; people are different. People with Adaptability really like a variety or differences of experience.

Curt Liesveld 41:37

I think another theme that might work here with Adaptability could be Learner. I think that's one of, that's another -- people that have Learner like, like new information. They, they're, they're comfortable with changing ideas. And so there's a, there's a little bit of overlap there as well. So those might be some suggestions of other themes that you might rely on when you need to get into new situations that could help you, or even even Woo. I mean, your ability to kind of take, to meet new people could also help you because that's really what it's about. It's about change. What are the themes that help you with change? I think Adaptability and Arranger are two of the great ones. But I think there are some other ones as well.

Jim Collison 42:23

Scott, anything you want to add to that, from just personal experience?

Scott Wright 42:26

I -- No, I just -- that I agree with it. I mean, that's the way it's played out with me. I mean, I don't have Learner very high. That new information doesn't, you know, that doesn't spark me, the seeking out new information is, that's not very high for me. I think it's -- Learner's in the 30s for me. But, like Curt said, the, the Adaptability and the Arranger piece are what brings it for me.

Curt Liesveld 42:48

And I think what -- we get to new in different ways, Scott jumps into new experiences, and he gains new information. Learners jump into new places where there's new information, and they, they form new relationships; they have different experiences because of their conceptual attraction to, to newness. So this is a really (this is my Learner at work here), this is a new area of kind of exploration just around this whole idea of change, and how themes contribute to, to the experience of change, the management of change, the leading of change.

Jim Collison 43:27

Well, and we get some real-time feedback. So Annette, who had that question, said, Well, it looks like she's gonna lean on her Learner a little bit.

Curt Liesveld 43:33

OK, good, terrific.

Scott Wright 43:36

And the other thing, too, is, I mean, and we kind of all know this, but you don't, you don't want everybody in the world to have all the same themes. We need people that are strong in all the other themes to, to really make everything work together. If everybody had Adaptability in their, you know, Top 5 or, or so, it just, it wouldn't be as good of a mix. We need people with all those others, so embrace what you have, and manage what you don't.

Jim Collison 44:01

No, right on. But there is that time when you're forced into a situation, and you need the theme and you don't have it. I, as I've done this series, one of the things I've learned is finding other themes that get close. And then, and then, and then aiming it, right -- the strategy of getting that thing aimed and saying "All right, I'm gonna depend on my ____," or, like we were talking about earlier, Scott, there are times I need to lean on your Responsibility, right? I'm doing some things and, for me, you know, I'm just activating, activating, activating, which isn't always great. And so, Scott, you've been awesome. I run things through you. "Hey, Scott, what do you think about this? You've got history here. You've got that Responsibility piece." We talked about the integrity. And you've just been really good for me. It's a check-and-balance system from that standpoint. So it's been helpful. Last question. Oh, go ahead, Curt.

Curt Liesveld 44:45

I think this is what we're going to talk more about when we get into theme dynamics. We've got a book coming out about that and who knows, maybe a webcast about this. We can spend more time dealing with this, the dynamics between these themes and kind of clarifying that for people.

Jim Collison 45:00

Yeah, no, there's been a lot of the chat in the chat room today about that. They're all excited about, hey, because we've been talking about these partnerships. And so they're -- that, that is coming. That's the, the next iteration of Theme Thursday. We've got to get through all 34 first, and we'll do that and wrap those up, and then jump in the dynamics.

Jim Collison 45:17

Last question from Matt. And he says, I work with, I work in a small office, about 11 team members, and 7 of the team members have Adaptability in their Top 5. And nobody has any strengths in the Influencing Domain. How do I help them plan and think about the future as well as preventing them from bouncing off of each other (sounds like a little bit of reaction there) as they try to adapt to each other and the environment? Curt, why don't you, any, any thoughts there?

Curt Liesveld 45:41

Yeah, it's hard for me to answer that question without getting some more, I mean, knowing what, what, what they're trying to accomplish. I don't necessarily think every group has to have Influence until I know what they what they're being expected to accomplish. So it'd be card -- that might be one I could answer better kind of offline to get a little more information in order that I'm not leading them in the [wrong] direction.

Jim Collison 46:05

Good, and Matt, so maybe you can drop that in our Facebook group. And we can start a discussion around that on the Facebook side: [].

Curt Liesveld 46:15

And it may be here, and maybe I do have something I could -- it, when you think about Scott and his, his studying, I mean, it -- he, he, he got to the outcome in a different way. And I -- it seems like I'm saying this more and more to managers: Are you willing to give per -- make sure people know what you want them to accomplish but then give them some freedom to get it done in a manner -- what might seem like chaos to you could be productive. And I don't know if it is or not. Sometimes that's the case. Sometimes people are not worried about the results. They're sometimes more worried about the style of how -- when you talk about bumping into each other. That might be kind of normal for people with high Adaptability. They're all jumping around. And I'd want to know, are they getting done what needs to be done? That's, that's the main question I'd want to know more about. So --

Jim Collison 47:08

All right, Curt, with that, let's wrap it.

Curt Liesveld 47:11

OK. I just really want to thank Scott. Scott, you have been just a great example of what Adaptability looks like in its most mature form. And I -- it was just an honor to kind of hear your story and the way that this, this pattern has evolved in you and has been become a very productive part, not only of The Gallup Organization and all the, the important roles that you play here, but also the important role that you play in your family as a, as a dad to four kids and the kind of impact that you're having on those lives and the way that you've met the challenges that come with that in such a calm, caring way. So, so thank you.

Curt Liesveld 47:55

I want to close by reading a song here that I think -- I'm not going to sing it; I'm just going to read the words. I'm kind of, I'm kind of a child of the '60s and I don't know if you remember the New Christy Minstrels? Probably not. But how about John Denver?

Scott Wright 48:13

Yep. Yep.

Curt Liesveld 48:14

He had this song. It really wasn't his song, I think was a guy by the name of Randy Springer, who wrote for the New Christy Minstrels, but it's a song called "Today." So I'm just going to read this. "Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine, I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine. A million tomorrows shall all pass away ere I forget all the joy that is mine today." I think that's kind of at the core of what makes Adaptability great. The people who live in the moment and are present in the moment and are adaptable and flexible in the moment. And Scott, you've been a great example of that.

Scott Wright 48:50

Well, thank you very much. This has been great joining you guys on this. As Jim alluded to, I've been in his chair many a times for this and other webcasts that we do, and so it's, it's kind of fun being on the other end of it now and being a guest on it. So thank you.

Curt Liesveld 49:04

And, and you did it perfectly, just like you do all the other roles. You are adaptable!

Jim Collison 49:10

Indeed. And Scott, thanks for me for partnering with me on these. It's great to have a backup. I did these for a few months without a backup. And it was nice to be able to take a Thursday or a Friday off, or be out of town or be sick or whatever. And so I appreciate you doing that as well.

Scott Wright 49:23

No problem. Glad to do it.

Jim Collison 49:23

For everything Heather has done as well, right, and you jumping in and helping us with, with Called to Coach and these as well. So, thanks again. I'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available. And so if this is your first webcast with us, you'll want to get a piece of paper and a pen and stop the video for a second -- or the audio -- because we're going to give you a whole bunch of links here that you will want to write down. Just a few they're very super important. Everything's at our Gallup Strengths Center. So just go to -- all one word -- and if you have questions or comments you can send those to us in e -- in an email: Don't have to be a coach to use that link, if you just want to -- that's just the email address that we use. And send those questions in. We'd love to get them for you. You can catch the recorded audio and video of this show plus all the past ones I mentioned earlier. We have a bunch, including our -- the links to our Facebook page and YouTube page and iTunes links and RSS feeds and iPhone apps. And we have tons of resources for you. If you're not taking advantage of them, shame on you! Get out there and take care of those: That's the site: On that same site, we also have a meetup tab, and we're trying to gather -- as we get larger, we're trying to get smaller; we're trying to gather everybody by cities, we have about 20 cities here in the United States, plus 3 international cities that we are doing meetups in. We'd love to have you a part of those. Or maybe you're already doing a meetup, and we don't know about it. Go out to and click on the Meetup tab. And actually Scott helped me build that page, way back in the day. He was by that meetup, that meetup page, and has since transferred it to somebody else. But we'd love to have that information. We're trying to get folks together around the world. Check on that page, find a meetup near you, love to get you involved in some of those things as well. If you found this helpful, please share it. Lots of different ways to do it socially; get, help us get the word out, and for -- thanks for joining us today. We'll look forward to the next Theme Thursday. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everyone.

Scott Wright's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Arranger, Responsibility, Adaptability, Harmony and Communication.

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

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