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Leveraging Your Strengths to Lead, Follow in Times of Change

Leveraging Your Strengths to Lead, Follow in Times of Change

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 7, Episode 28
  • Learn from Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Charlotte Blair about the prevalence of change and how to use your CliftonStrengths to navigate it.

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Charlotte Blair, a founding partner of the Strengths Partners, which Charlotte founded after she became a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach in 2013. We spoke with Charlotte about change: why change is such a "hot" topic today; using your CliftonStrengths to navigate change; the velocity of change; and what managers, coaches (and individuals) can do to bring teams through times of change.

NEW: Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

Jim Collison 0:00

Hi, I'm Jim Collison, and live from the Gallup campus here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on July 5, 2019.

Jim Collison 0:19

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you have questions during this webcast, we do have a chat room, it's available for you right below the video window there -- maybe to the right of it as well. Log in and ask us the questions there. If you're listening to the recorded version and still have questions, you can send us an email --, and don't forget to visit the Gallup Strengths Center,, for all your CliftonStrengths coaching resources and training needs. You can also catch the video in both streaming and downloadable audio for offline listening. All the instructions on how to do that and all the links that you need are on our Coaches Blog -- head out to

Jim Collison 1:03

Charlotte Blair is my guest today. Charlotte's one of the founding partners of the Strengths Partners, a company she formed with two other coaches after becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach in 2013. She she's working primarily with teams and organizations. And 90% of her work is CliftonStrengths. Her background before moving into leadership development was in technology -- yay! Sales, having spent seven years at Canon UK, and then 12 years with Verizon -- Can you hear me now? In the last few years, she's found that every company she's worked with faces similar challenges. We're going to talk a little bit about this today, helping people navigate the fast pace of change. Charlotte, welcome.

Charlotte Blair 1:41

Thank you very much for having me. I'm super excited to be here again -- I'm really honored that I'm here after doing the live Called to Coach with you in the summit as well.

Jim Collison 1:50

Yeah, thanks -- thanks for doing that, by the way. I called you up without any warning, that was legit. I just -- we needed to -- I needed to have you up there and you, you did a great job and folks, that's going to release I think this week late or no, not this week, but late next week, that will actually be edited and be produced so folks can go out and watch that as well. Any any takeaways for you when we think about the summit? Well first of all, let's start with your Top 5 and then any summit takeaways from you.

Charlotte Blair 2:19

Okay, so my Top 5 I always struggle, Jim, to only stay at my Top 5, am I allowed to go beyond my Top 5?

Jim Collison 2:24

You can you can do as many as you like. Nah, that was probably a mistake.

Charlotte Blair 2:30

So my dominant talents are Activator, Woo, Command, Arranger, Positivity; then I go Responsibility Communication, Maximizer, Individualization, Futuristic, Significance, Self Assurance. The last few are maybe not quite in that order. And I remember when we did the live, I missed that Individualization, but yeah, that they're my -- they're my dominant go-to-every-day talents.

Jim Collison 2:54

And what -- tell me a little bit about Strengths Partners, what do you guys do? Just give me a little more than what I said in the introduction.

Charlotte Blair 3:01

Little bit more than that? I think I made that quite succinct. What what we what we do primarily is the team thing, which I think you -- you mentioned, I love doing that. But we try and partner with other organizations as well, where they might need some some help around resources, help around embedding the strengths, as well. But I think one of the reasons why I mentioned the change piece was that that's the bit that people seem to kind of struggle with sometimes. And we partner again, with people and organizations when they when they need us. So the majority of the work that we do is around that, that that teams piece and how might teams navigate the fast pace of change together?

Jim Collison 3:49

The genesis of this session was a Facebook group post you put out there, talking about this somebody was looking for I think the material or something from when you I think you spoke about this at the summit last year -- last year, last summit, right? And it generated a ton of comments. And I was like, OK, if there's this many people asking about it, we need to have you on. So yeah, that does happen in our Facebook groups. That's kind of how I, I track what people are interested in, where we need to go -- some of those kinds of things. But, but why change? Like, what's the -- I think we all know, we live in a pretty fast-paced world, you know, today, but but why is it such a hot topic right, just right now?

Charlotte Blair 4:36

I think we do know, but I think sometimes we forget. So you know, every organization is going through some change. In fact, you know, I, I'd love somebody to tell me an organization that isn't going through some sort of change. Now, we often think (of) that change being about technology, but it could be, you know, how we work, where we work, who we work with. So everybody is going through some sort of change. And it just seems to be with this digital era, that the the pace is accelerated. And we've seen so much of this kind of stress and change fatigue, and you know, the buzzwords around being agile and agility coming in. But I think we we forget that how much change is going on. And that in order to kind of stay ahead for an organization stay ahead, we have to be able to kind of manage that change. And people are at the heart of that change. I remember last year, you know, I spoke on this. I remember sitting in on Jim Ball's session as well, he was talking about that it was it was a good kind of combination of the he was coming at it from a change management point of view. And I was coming at it from a change leadership. But when I remember sitting in this year on Mara's session around change, that that whole piece about, well, you know, everybody's going through some sort of change, the technology bit is what we seem to start with. And that tends to be the easier bit; the heart of it is the people side. So you know, how do we help the people navigate that fast pace of change? So I think every client I go and see, says that this is an issue for them. Either they mention it when I say -- ah, what are some of the challenges that you're facing right now? They say just the fast pace of change. Or it might come up in conversation when I say to them, yeah, so last week, I was talking to this client about you know, we were using strengths and times of change. And they were oh, yeah, gosh, that's actually what we're going through at the moment. You know, we're really struggling to help our people navigate that change.

Jim Collison 6:33

You know, you mentioned the technology part. And I think we're actually for the technology is some of the least used reasons now for the change where the technology's gotten pretty stable in a lot of areas. Yeah, there might be little micro changes that are going on. But you know, the the idea, I think when we think of open work concepts, when we think of diversity and inclusion really starting to change the workplace, for what it looks like, I think we have to think through, and I guess I'm just kind of saying yes to your idea. I think these changes are not necessarily in what email client we're going to use or how technology -- if I have my laptop or not, you know, it is -- or phones, right? It really comes down, those are easy, I think those are really easy changes to manage. The hard changes are when the workplace changes in ways that make us uncomfortable, genuinely uncomfortable, right. And I think oftentimes, diversity and inclusion is one of those spaces where we say we need it, but then when it actually happens, it's a, it's a lot harder to manage when when the people I'm working with come out of a different culture or see things in a different light, or say words differently, that mean different things to me. And I was like, oh, I want a diversity, I want an inclusion, but I didn't want to actually change myself. So as you're working with folks, what do you what do you think, when we think about the changes that are really that our businesses are really, really struggling with? What kind of changes -- what would you say is the No. 1 or No. 2 problems or changes that are happening, then?

Charlotte Blair 8:08

I think the No. 1 is actually the amount of changes that people are having to kind of deal with. So I don't think there's any one particular one, I think, you know, technology is that very common one that we see. But I think for people, the biggest challenge is the amount of change that they're having to go through. And the fact that they they rarely ever get time to perhaps implement that change when something else, you know, has just changed. My husband, you know, works for a big global telco as well. And it's like, OK, right? Well, we're now going through this massive change. And at the same time, we're going to do this change, and at the same time, we're going to hot desk, and at the same time, we're going to do this. So I think people are really struggling to handle the amount of change that's going on. And the fact that we rarely ever get to sort of stop and really, you know, embed that -- it's just a continual. And so when we think about -- we forget sometimes how much change is going on. I think we also forget that we all think, feel and behave differently. I know it's that common thing that we say, but I think we forget about it. And when we sort of say, Oh, we have to be sort of change agile, and we have to be positive and we have to be champions. Yeah, that might feel easier for you and I -- high Activator, Positivity, Arranger, that's like, yeah, this is going to be great. This is going to be fun, let's go. But what about, you know, the -- what about our colleagues that think, feel and behave really differently to us? So for me, it's about helping every individual and every manager understand how those individuals think, feel and behave, what their what their talent themes bring, and what their talent themes need in times of change and how they can contribute. So whether it be that diversity and inclusion, that kind of check -- that, that piece around there, what, what is it that that person brings to it, but also what does it need and, and the whole, you know, what also might get in the way,

Jim Collison 10:00

Want to talk a little bit about the tools. But before we do that, I do want to focus on the individual for a second in the work that you've done. And you've seen as you've coached teams through change. As you're working with individuals, of course, we all have this unique talent set -- this Top 5, all 34 we have access to. How do you see, is it -- do people respond? Do you see people definitely responding to change differently based on their Top 5 or based on their talent set that they might have?

Charlotte Blair 10:30

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's the piece that we forget. You know, how might somebody high Context, high Deliberative, maybe high Strategic approach a change that's going to be different to the way that I might approach it? Yeah, I'm going to go in all excited, guns, guns blazing. Yeah, this is going to be great. Somebody else that sort of high, high Context, high Deliberative as well -- well, hang on, what about what about the past? What about when we did it before? What about the risks that might be coming up, and these are the people that often get labeled as the, you know, the, the the negative Nellies in the team, or the people that we see as resistors to change. Well, we need those people, if we don't have those people, then people like me are going to go running off making dumb decisions, you know, thinking that the world is all rosy and you know, not not weighing up the risks. So yeah, that is exactly it, that everybody brings something different to the change, and they will need something different. So the more managers can help, you know, individualize their approach when they're going through this fast pace of change. How do I help Sarah navigate this change? That's going to be different to how John's going to navigate this change? What is it that their strengths can bring to the you know, the piece? How do we how do we get those people to maybe not be the resistors? Or if they are the resistors, that's OK, we kind of need resistors -- they have a part to play. But if they are really stuck, how do we help them use their strengths and become champions? How do we help them look at the risks that are going to happen?

Jim Collison 12:05

I knew the world was changing fast. I'm -- I love change, I based on my Top 5, I love to do things differently. I love when things change. I have Adaptability high. I love it. And when I started saying why, you know, when I started struggling with the change, I realized, holy cow, if I'm struggling with it, the for the folks who who don't have those talent themes that can kind of lean into that change -- and by the way, I think sometimes change we some we change for change's sake, which isn't always healthy, as well. We need some people applying the brakes at times. So what kind of tools are available to us, Charlotte, out there? What do you use? What has helped you? What, when you're coaching? What kind of stuff are you using?

Charlotte Blair 12:48

So I think you think about some of the models, the tools and the models that might be out there -- and I'm not a I'm not a change expert, as in I'm not a change management expert. But I, I've found some of the resources out there really helpful when I help teams navigate their set change. One of them in particular is like the change curve. You could go out there and Google any change curve, and I particularly like the kind of John Fisher change curve, when you think about the types of emotions people might be going through when they when they go through change. I think that's really useful to understand and map, perhaps how the 10 things play out there. And I'll give an example like you, typically, I think I like change. And I've always go -- Yeah, I love change. And I was working with an organization a number of years ago, and they said that we were going to be changing the floor that we were sat on. And I was like, yeah, great, I get to sit next to somebody different, this is going to be awesome, I can use my Woo, this is going to be great. Until I found where I was sat. And I was sat at the end of the corridor near the wall, next to the most introverted person that I think probably we had in the building that -- that might have been done on purpose, it might have been done on purpose to either shut me up, or bring him out of his shell, I'm not sure, but I don't think either of us enjoyed the experience after a while. So I went from, you know, in the top right of the change curve of being super excited, energetic, enthusiastic, to pretty quickly sort of dropping down into the kind of fear, you know, frustration, annoyance, and then I kind of thought, well, this isn't really helping me, what -- what can I do about this? And I kind of thought, well, how might my strengths be able to help me and then I went, perhaps I'll use my Woo and my Aranger to organize a morning tea, because we were moving in with a completely new department. Maybe I'll set up a morning tea so that we can get to meet new people and, you know, sort of collaborate better. So it helped me think about how I could use my strengths to move myself, you know, from that dip back up to being enthusiastic and excited again. So I think, understanding is that if we're a manager, understanding where our people might sit on that change curve, but it was so as an individual, where we might set in the change curve, and what needs to happen to help us kind of like, you know, move through from from the end of something to the beginning of something new and not stay down in that dip. Because if we stay down in that dip a little bit too long, then that's when we start to lose productivity and morale takes a -- takes a nosedive.

Jim Collison 15:22

Well, that's the important part, right, is recognizing half the battle is knowing we're there, you know, it's like, oh, yikes, this is happening. These -- this is happening to the folks around me, being able to see it, being able to do it -- what else, what -- other tools that or other things that you use in this?

Charlotte Blair 15:37

Yeah, so I'll try and kind of split this up, what I'd love to be able to do is give some of the people out there listening a feel, whether you're an internal coach within your organization, and whether you're kind of external independent consultant, some some tools and resources that you might be able to use for individuals, managers but also some some teams. So I think that, uh, you know, at an individual level, just having those conversations, this is individual or in or in a group, you know, having that conversation of helping people think about for themselves, which of their themes do they think serves them best in times of change? So even just asking that question, I think gets people thinking about it. If they then struggle, and again, it depends on whether they're new to strengths, or whether they've, you know, discovered their strengths, and this is not the first, you know, first time that they've been looking at it, using some resources that might be helpful to them. So the ones I like using are the Insight Cards that Gallup have, I have a number of those packs of Insight Cards that talk about the -- What do I bring? And what do I -- what do I need? Those the ones -- absolutely. So I use those. I also use Cascade. So in Richard Sterry's Cascade tool, we know that there's that Bring and Needs sheet. So helping people look at that and say, Hey, what do I bring? What do I need? I know, when I was looking at change a number years ago, Adam Seaton had a great sheet on that of, you know, what do we bring? What do we need? What might change route be? So helping people pull things out of their reports, obviously just their reports are really useful.

Charlotte Blair 17:16

And then the ability to be able to share that. So the fact that they share it with each other, and they can see, hey, I you know, I approach change in a really different way to you, and one of the activities I love doing with that, and particularly around groups, when we think about what do I bring and need in times of change is to kind of pair people off with maybe the least likely to occur themes. So what does my Activator bring to the change, but pair me up with other other people may be high Deliberative, what do they bring to the change? And it's like, well, they bring the, you know, foot on the brake, the caution, and I bring the foot on the accelerator. So we start to look at where some of those complementary partners might be around the change. So that's at that kind of individual level. Some of the other kind of tools that I love using, and I know I mentioned this on the previous Called to Coach, the Resource Guides for Managers. And what I think is extra amazing at the moment is in the It's the Manager book, that you guys had that amazing, you know, 50% discount on and I ordered two boxes of them. So when I go and see my clients now I'll be, you know, taking that book in. How might a manager coach somebody else high in that theme? So if I'm a manager and Deliberative, Strategic and Intellection are not dominant themes for me, how do I, you know, get to understand them and be able to coach somebody in my team behind those themes? But then also being able to use those four needs of followers. So if I'm a leader, how am I going to use my Activator to, you know, build trust? How am I going to use my Command to have compassionate and some of these things you might not think are, you know, the types of things that you would use to have compassion, but really getting people to think about it. So as a leader, they become more more self-aware. So that's kind of some of those tools and resources like I like using. Similar to the -- sorry.

Jim Collison 19:12

No, no, keep going. Keep going.

Charlotte Blair 19:13

Yeah, you know, I could just keep …

Jim Collison 19:14

No, you're fine. Before you go, hold on, before you do that, there was Holly das, the Theme Insight Cards is the answer to the questions -- you were talking about these cards, we kind of blew through it. I showed it, but they're called Theme Insight Cards; you can purchase them at So go keep going.

Charlotte Blair 19:32

So I mentioned the change curve. One of the other models that I really liked using in times of change as well is the Kotter model, the John Kotter model, which is like 8 steps to change. And we can do this at an individual level; we can do it at a team level; we can do it at the manager level. And I always try and get people to think about, I try and get them to think of themselves as a leader, regardless of whether they've got a title or not. So if as a team, we're a group of individual contributors, how might I show up as a leader to help lead us through some of these changes? So, you know, understanding the role that I play are my, you know, do I class myself as a resistor? Am I a helper? Am I, you know, a champion around the change? But you know, what, what role am I going to play? And how am I going to use my strengths in that?

Charlotte Blair 20:23

And when we think and again, you know, Kotter, if you just go out there and Google John Kotter, you'll see the kind of 8 steps there. And I'll kind of run through them very quickly. But you know, one of the first ones is, is create context and urgency for change. So what are, what are some of the themes that might be able to help us create that context and urgency for change? Well, we might want to make sure that we have the people high Context or high Analytical or even, you know, high Activator, what are some of those themes that might help us do that? So we start to make sure that these different steps are covered by the different themes. So then then next step is form a powerful alliance -- what are some of the talent themes that might help us form that powerful alliance? It might be the Woos, it might be the Includers, you know. We could list off a number of different themes that might help us do that. Create a vision for change. So who are the people that are going to help us create that vision? So we're starting to make sure that we're leveraging everybody in the team, not just making sure that it's down to just that one person. Then we go about sharing the vision. So how do we need to make sure that we're sharing the vision. Are we just -- typically what would happen in an organization is, we might share the vision one way, we might just send out an email. But that's not really making sure that we include everybody; maybe not everybody reads the email, maybe we need to do it in a number of different ways. Maybe it's that people are high Ideation or high Communication, the different themes that might help you share that vision.

Charlotte Blair 21:47

Addressing the barriers is the next step. So how do we go about addressing some of the barriers to change? Well, who are the people that might help us look at that -- well, it could be our Restoratives might look at it, it might be again, the Strategics, the Intellections. Ensuring short-term success or how are we celebrating some of those, you know, quick wins that we might be having -- might be some of our people high Positivity or -- yeah, again, we can, we could just sort of, it helps people when they think about yeah, OK, that's something that I'd like to get involved in. That's how I can be a change champion, by using my strengths in this next step of the journey. And then we go on to sort of strengthen the change process -- that might be our Maximizers that will help us do that. And then we've got to sustain and align that change with the culture. So that in itself is just a simple exercise. We don't need to be change experts, we can just show people what that model looks like. I typically then break them off into groups and have them you know, on a butcher's paper, say, OK, in your organization, what do you think we do really well at? Well, I think we do this bit well. OK, what are the two things that we don't do so well at? We've gone through a change recently, what did we sort of perhaps stuff up a little bit? OK, well, I don't think we, you know, shared the vision very well, and I don't think we strengthened the process, we just run through it. And we got to the next one. And we, we just sort of carry on. OK, so out of those two things that we haven't done so well, what are we going to do differently? So what do you think we should, you know, stop doing that we're doing now? What should we continue to do? And what should we start doing? So the whole start, stop, continue? That's a dead easy exercise to do. But just making sure that people are thinking about their strengths in that. So how am I going to use my strengths to start, you know, sort of sharing the vision, for instance. So for me that kind of change curve and the Kotter model are two really simple things to do, they can be a 10-minute exercise, or you could spend, you know, kind of hours doing them. And again, you don't need to be a change expert. And they don't need to be an absolute expert over their strengths, they just need to be pulling out those pieces from their reports or using the Insight Cards or using their insights from from Cascade to help them think about the role that they could be playing.

Jim Collison 24:00

Because we're because Theme Thursday this season is all about the 34 report, I've got mine sitting on my desk, which is really helpful. And I know it's a paper copy, but it's so, so much easier sometimes to have that paper copy available to you than, OK, let me log in and look it up or whatever, right. But one of the blind spots, one of the new areas, these blind spots, that we identify -- and for Arranger, which is my No. 1, it says, "Your tendency to continually reorganize tasks, projects and people might confuse others. Take time to explain your approach, and how it can work better." That is like, for me, that is a great, I think, a great clue into some of the things I need to be careful of in these high change areas, right that I move, that I move so fast, that others might move slower. Anthony asked this question in the chat. He said, Do do you allow people in a team to embrace the changes at different paces? What would you say to that?

Charlotte Blair 24:54

Well, I think so yes. Because we can't expect that everybody's going to embrace the change as quickly as I am. Because I'm you know, high Positivity, high Activator, it's just like, yeah, this is gonna be great! Let's, let's go. So, of course, different people are going to embrace the change at different times. And that's the role of the manager to help people embrace it. Now, obviously, we're just talking there about blind spots, Jim, if you're some of those deeper thinking themes, and you get stuck in that, you know, thinking you're that person that maybe just sort of needs a bit longer to think about it -- high Intellection, high Analytical, you really want to look into the detail, there's obviously always the time where we go, OK, enough's enough. Now we need to get moving. And that's where I love that kind of complementary partners where, you know, pair me off with somebody high Deliberative, Intellection that's going to slow me down is good. But also I can help them get moving when the, when the time's right. So that's a critical piece about the manager needs to individualize their approach and let people if they, if that's what they need, in times of change, the time to think think about it and process it, that's what we need to give them.

Jim Collison 26:03

What happens when the change is so fast that you don't get that kind of time to be able, you're not afforded, you're not granted that kind of time to be able to work through those steps, any any hints there?

Charlotte Blair 26:15

Then I think that's where those kind of peer support and complementary partnerships do do help to be able to kind of talk it through and, again, you know, in Mara's presentation, she talked about how something like 70% of change initiatives fail. But I think when we don't go back and we don't revisit, well, you know, actually, maybe what did go wrong there? What could we do differently about it next time? OK, so we didn't have time to think about it. And we just had to kind of, you know, move forward. OK, next time? How might we be able to sort of help that person? And that's where that kind of change curve comes in as well; if that person didn't have time to think through it. And they're, you know, they're stuck there. And they're the sort of hanging on to the pain that went on, because they didn't get the time to think, our role as leaders and managers is to sort of help people coach through and even think about, okay, what are some of their other themes that they might be able to use to, you know, help help them move forward? Because, yeah, that that pace of change is not going to suit everybody all the time. And we can individualize our approach as much as we can. But it's, it's never going to please all the people, you know, all the time.

Jim Collison 27:24

Yeah. Yeah, that's, that's, that's why the manager job is one of the hardest jobs in the world. When -- I've heard you say this a couple times, what other theme -- you've said that, you know, a lot, is that a go-to for you? And it's great, but, but sometimes we can kind of get stuck in the, the kind of the Name it, Name it and Name it in, in our in our, kind of in our Top 5, do you find great success in that and being able to say, OK, OK, so we're stuck here. What other themes could we use to unstick this? Do you find success in that?

Charlotte Blair 27:55

Oh, absolutely. And I think that's why at the beginning, when I said, oh, can I can I name more than just like Top 5? If I, if I'm limited by my Top 5, then I'm, I'm not thinking about all the possibilities. So how might my you know how might my Individualization that's at No. 9 sort of help me? So again, yeah, it's like the, the sort of amplifier, how do I adjust the different dials to make sure that I'm using a talent theme that I may be less familiar with? And then if it's not mine, you know, if I, if I need some of those deeper thinking things, I often joke and say, well, my first thinking theme is, you know, No. 12 Futuristic, the rest of the stack way down at the bottom. I often say I just don't think -- how do I leverage somebody else's? How do I partner with somebody else? So yeah, I think it's critically important, which is, I think why majority of work I do now is with the full 34. I sometimes struggle to go back and work with the team, that's only the Top 5, because it's such a short piece of who we are that we need to be able to lean into, in all of them. I have to say, you know, I've got 34 -- I've got Learner at No. 34; I often say this to people. That doesn't mean to say I can't learn. But I will use a different theme to do it. So you know, what else do you have in your toolkit that might be able to help you -- you might get stuck in that kind of Context, Deliberative, but hey, what are some of the things that you've got in your dominant talents that might be able to help you move through at the pace that this change wants to go through, needs to go through?

Jim Collison 29:20

Yeah, I have Deliberative and Focus at the very bottom, for me, and I, I, I rent those out all the time. I just, there's no way I'm going to do them. They just I'm not I haven't had success with them, and so I find partners, quickly, oftentimes now. And that's been a lesson for me, maybe in the last decade of when I get into new roles or on new teams, is in -- you alluded to this as well, in in the with -- i think we have to assume that change is going to be the new norm, right? Where this isn't going to get any better. I think it's going to constantly be this way. So when I join new teams, I'm I'm poking and prodding to kind of start figuring out OK, who are going to be my, my partnership friends on this? Who can I rely on? Who who has Responsibility? That's where I kind of go to first is who has some Focus and Responsibility to help me out? Charlotte, when you think about our coaching community, what would you say and give them some advice? Or how they could get in -- If they're not, you know, if they're not doing this, or this is new to them, what kind of advice would you give to kind of help bring them into coaching with this?

Charlotte Blair 30:27

So I think it's, you know, the first off when you're having that conversation with your client, whether that be a one-on-one, or whether you're you know, working more with an organization is, you know, what, what are the biggest challenges that you're facing as an individual or as an organization right now? Or if you're an individual within an organization, what are some of the biggest challenges that your organization is facing right now? It sounds like a pretty simplistic question. But I'd be really surprised if people don't say, the rapid pace of change in some sort of context, or, you know, people might talk about helping people be more resilient, you know, we need to look at resiliency. Well, you know, why is it that people are feeling not particularly resilient? Oh, well, it's just the, you know, the pace of change that's going on. So just I think asking that question of well, what are some of the biggest challenges that you're facing right now? But if if, if that question doesn't get answered, say, I mentioned earlier, I will often share what I've been doing with other clients. And I might say, when I was in with this organization last week, you know, we were looking at, you know, how do people use their strengths in times of change? People always pick up on that and say, oh, yeah, that that would actually be really useful.

Charlotte Blair 31:37

So I think using change, or even if you're not using the word change, I think funnily enough, sometimes the word change scares people, you know, we're changing this. If we actually said, improve, or you know, even being a bit more agile about things, people are less scared off by the fact that we're changing something. So how might you link that into the conversation? So I find it a good way of even just getting in into a client. So I've been into seeds and plants. And it might be that that's actually what we're going in to talk about: navigating change. And then I introduce strengths as a tool of being able to help people navigate the change. How do I how do I become more self-aware? And how do I become aware of what others, and it comes back to this whole what do we all bring and need in times of change, and, and again, what that blind spot might be. So strengths is just the tool. But I've done it with other clients where they go, well, actually, you know, we don't use strengths. We already use DISC. Well, I know enough about DISC, you know, to say to be dangerous, it's not dangerous, but you know, I know enough about DISC to go OK, right, well, if you're high in some of those kind of influencing themes, how might you be able to use it? If you're a high Dominance? Sorry, not influencing themes. If you're high Influence, you know, how might you be able to use that in times of change? If you're a high Dominance person, how might you be able to use use that? What do the different approaches bring? So you know, just using strengths as a tool to be able to help is good.

Charlotte Blair 33:03

But also what I find is that clients go, oh, yeah, I've done strengths. I often kind of struggle a little bit with that. Oh, yeah, I've done a strengths workshop, I've done a two-hour or a one-day, you know, workshop. Well, strengths is not a once and done. So OK, what are you doing with that? How have you been using strengths lately? Well, actually, no. And I give them some some tips. And then we go on and talk about well, how -- here's some exercises that you might be able to use with your own teams to help navigate change. And one of the simple things that I like there, as well as even just using the picture cards that Gallup have, and just changing the wording on those slightly. So you know, what might this picture card say, you've got everything on your desk there, Jim, haven't you, you're about to show us the pack of picture cards, there you go. So I get people to kind of you know, pick the pick the picture cards. Yeah, I've always got a, you know, I've got my cup of tea in front of all my resources, and I've got about 15 different packs of packs of cards, and people love them. That's that kind of activity that you can use, whether you're just going in and doing a, you know, refresher 10-minute session, or whether you're doing a much deeper session, but just change the wording of those questions of how does this picture represent the ways that you work with others in times of change? How does this picture represent what motivates you in times of change? How does this picture represent what you're responsible for, in times of change, so just add "times of change" onto the, onto the back of that, and for other coaches out there, you know, just tweaking that activity, then gets people thinking about, OK, yeah, you know, change is something that we need to be doing more of. And I always try and make sure that I leave them with extra kind of resources. Sometimes I leave clients with packs of cards, or the Insight Cards, so that they can kind of continually continually do that. But I think just asking the question is the key thing. What's the challenge? Or even is change affecting you? I don't really like closed questions so much, but how, how is change impacting your your organization at the moment, and I'd be super surprised if they go, "Actually, it's not, we're not going through any change."

Jim Collison 35:09

Said by no one, ever, all right? Little, little tip on these cards, by the way. So I have the old-school ones, there's nothing on the back, that's originally they were blank. We now have questions we put on the back, that's what you were referring to, and you can kind of change those questions that you have, maybe, and we sell these, you can buy them, but maybe you're in a market where you can't get to them or shipping is prohibitive, or whatever. They're just pictures, like there's, you can just print out a bunch of pictures and do that in your own local market. Because you know, you can get a variety of them. And, you know, that's all we've done. The the the the magic's not in the pictures, Charlotte, right, I think you know, the magic is in the conversation, right? The pictures, just get conversations going, that allow you to have this, this dialogue with people that begins them talking to one another. Oftentimes, it's the picture that will break down if there's -- especially if there's conflict in a team, if they can express that conflict through these pictures, then it's not personal anymore. It's not I'm having a conflict with you. I am just like this, whatever this is, whatever this happens to be, or maybe like this, you know. And so it just kind of takes the the personal-ness out of, you know, out of the conflict. And so those can be really, really effective in in getting it done. Anthony says, whoops, the chat moved -- we'll do Anthony first -- We use the term "improvement projects" when making changes, always linked back to the group's strategic directions, which is good. Donna says if you're if you're not embedded, or with a client long-term, do you have tips for helping an organization or manager continue to focus on the effects of change? So if you don't get embedded long-term, any advice there?

Charlotte Blair 36:57

Yeah, so if you what I try do is, you know, obviously, I keep a database of my clients, the lovely thing is when you when you export, and you have their email address, I try and make sure that maybe even through sort of MailChimp or something like that, occasionally I'll email my customers of, here's some, here's some activities that you could do with your teams that are relevant to change, or I might share, you know, articles or resources with them. I mean, when we think about some of the resources, you know, Gallup, you guys have some written down, but you guys have some amazing different documents that that refer to kind of matrix teams or organizations, but

Charlotte Blair 37:41

the ones that I kind of use these quite a lot, I'm trying to find it now. But the guys wrote a great one on the future of future of work, I think

Jim Collison 37:50

it was just buried in the state of the American workplace is a, an out of that has come a bunch of little sub sub sub reports. It's on, like remote workers. And and, you know, some of the challenges around those pieces, right?

Charlotte Blair 38:08

Yeah, that's right. The one in particular that I found really useful was the real future of work. So sometimes I might send my clients, one of those articles or again, you know, I posted on LinkedIn. So Donna so that you're making sure that you're, you're at the forefront, you might not be embedded with that customer. But you're in their mind, you keep kind of you know, knocking on their door, even whether it's just a an article, or here's an activity, or here's some questions that you might want to ask your team at the beginning of your next team meeting. So that they invite you in, and that they do kind of get embedded. And sometimes they don't invite me and they kind of go, Oh, no, we're doing this ourselves, well, that's fine. As long as I'm helping that organization, really use strengths, not just do strengths, that they actually really become a strengths based organization, then then then that's fine. But yeah, I just send them articles.

Jim Collison 38:55

For the for the longest time, I couldn't get our coaches to read as a guide, the sum of the best workplace information is available in, and it can be applied across the board. I mean, sometimes the things that go on and families are the same things that happen in the workplace, by the way, they're just little mini workplaces in some regard. And so, yeah,, if you go to, do a little search in there, we're actually moving Charlotte, all of the coaching material is moving on to So now, you don't have to go to coaching anymore, you can head over to and search and all our all that strength material, not quite yet. But then when we make the conversion access, it will be there as well. Other -- Oh, I was going to mention one other form, I like in change. And I repurpose that individual development plan for it, where you know, it's a name and claim it and aim it. And but you have a green box that says a goal. And if the if you put the change that's happening in there, and then talk about the various themes that you have, and draw, you know that then it kind of walks you through that process of Okay, what can I use, it's just if you do this already, it's just a formal form that you can fill out and then it funnels at the end, what now can I do, that's actually a really great forum, build on your kits. If a Gallup-trained, really great form, you can hand out walk people through it in you leave it with them. And that's a good opportunity for them to remind them that you work through this with them. So would you add anything else to that Charlotte?

Charlotte Blair 40:29

Yeah, I think the critical pieces yet not just being aware of what their strengths bring a need, but then how are you going to apply it? What are you going to do differently? You know, as a result, and I think, you know, links in with that is that potential over the blind spot? So I think another another thing that I sometimes have them think about is, is, you know about their attitudes toward change. So do they have perhaps more of a fixed mindset or more of a growth mindset? Do they have more limiting beliefs, that change is done to them? Or that they actually have a role that they can play, you know, more of an enabling belief of, I have a role to kind of, you know, play in this change, but the, what are you going to do? What are you going to do differently as a result of knowing this about your strengths and how they can can contribute to the changes that critical thing? I think also in there, when I think about when I use cascade, I remember last year before the summit and I was doing the that session, our member richard serried, you know, developed a worksheet within cascade that was particularly around change as well, that's quite useful to sort of help individuals, but also teams of, again, how do I use my strengths to contribute to the change? You know, what, before it's happening while it's going on afterwards? But again, that okay, what am I doing differently as a result is the is the critical piece? And the same for leaders as well, you know, not just let's not just talk about it, what are we? What are we actually going to do about it? And how are we going to share how we approach this differently with each other?

Jim Collison 41:52

I think a good opening conversation to this is, you know, oftentimes, this domain where we were domains, enter in expect, we're thinking the all 34 report, with teams domains can be very, very powerful, because they will group things together very quickly. And I think you can have an opening volley of a conversation that goes something like, Hey, here's our team. And here's how we kind of sort what our tendencies going to be both good and bad, as a team, as we think about a impending change or an impending improvement, I'm going to start saying that more and impending opportunity, right, those kinds of things. And that can actually, at a group level, begin, again, to take the blame off individuals, and really give the team kind of a team identity and say, oh, OK, we have you know, we've got some, we've got some tendencies, but we also have people who can, you know, who can help us in these areas right in and allow people to start having those conversations. And I think, to your point, at the end of the day, we need people stepping up and saying, Okay, I'm going to do this in the midst of this, whatever this improvement as whatever this opportunity is, I'm going to take something and do something with it. And I think that's the end goal, right?

Charlotte Blair 43:05

Yeah, it is, and how they're going to hold each other accountable. So I love the whole picking an accountability partner, and preferably pick an accountability partner that thinks differently to you is a is a good one. And I love organizations that then leverage technology platforms, like you know, you know, Yammer or chatter or whatever that whatever it be to make sure that they're going yeah, okay, we keep the language going, I'm using my responsibility, because I said I was going to do this. So I'm using my responsibility to kind of get that, get that down. But also making sure that when you when you sit on what can be some of the challenges, if we're looking at the group data, we don't go down that route of go. And we see it all the time. Oh, my God, we don't have many influencing themes. That means to say, we can't influence anybody over the change, it's okay. Well, you know, the data says, We don't have any influencing themes, perhaps, you know, we can't see this great personal of the orange themes, but okay, how might you use your strategic to influence somebody? How might you use your responsibility to influence somebody? So you know, that whole piece about where it's not what you do, it's how you do it. So how you're going to use your, your talent themes in that in that kind of tough times of change. So I love looking at the team data when we're when we're approaching sort of changes a team of Okay, yeah, what, what, what's this telling us? But okay, you know, how are we going to use these types of things to make up for the fact that we've got lack of focus, so we don't have any complex? For instance,

Charlotte Blair 44:36

I've had it where, you know, a group of HR professionals, this was recently they all had context in their bottom 30 something. And it was like, wow, this is this is interesting. And when we talked about, okay, well, what else do you use? Actually, I use my individualization because I've really got to understand that person and their past and their history. So that helps me versus the fact that oh, my God, I don't have context. So you know, having them think about this as a strengths approach. What do you have versus what do you have?

Jim Collison 45:10

Yeah, I think we sometimes miss like, we get the part about partnering individuals partnering with other individuals to help. I think we miss teams working with other teams, sometimes to at the higher level to say, Hey, who in this org could help us? And how can we partner with another team and make it even more powerful, and then bringing them in with a with a, you know, with a team report to say, Hey, who can help us in this area? And man, what a great way to get cross team collaboration going, if it's gonna, it's going to influence an entire org, you know, maybe you need to get your comms team in there. If you're gonna get too much software developers, and they, you know, they maybe they don't have a lot of influencing in there. But your comms team does? Well, let's get the comms team to kind of help us out, get get some of that communication going and that influence happening? And I just think at the group level, we don't we don't take advantage of that enough.

Charlotte Blair 46:07

Now, if I think about, you know, some of those those challenges that I hear, so change being one of the challenges that I hear the other ones that I hear is is around silos, how do we break down the silos? So when we're wanting to implement a change, or accelerate productivity or whatever it be? How do we break down the silos and sometimes the data kind of backs that up and go, Oh, wow, okay, we've got a group of, you know, high related here. Okay, how do we make sure that we're leveraging other people in the team as well to break down some of those silos? Okay, well, John's got a great relationship with Fred that's in the commerce team. So okay, how do we use that? Or how do we use some of our wounds or include is around it? So I think, you know, change silos, and the other one that I find comes up a lot, which can hinder sometimes change? Is that whole piece about psychological safety? Do I you know, do do I have this fear speaking up? And I remember Stephen shields talking about it in his that's what I loved about his session on diversity inclusion at the summit, that whole kind of candor piece of a being safe to speak up, how do we use our strengths to make sure that we're speaking up about what I think this changes the dumb ideas, but instead of just saying it maybe as bluntly as that, how am I use my strengths to be able to voice the fact that I think we're going down the wrong path, and there could be different way of doing it. So that's something else that I see kind of comes up. And if you can link those three together, then then then great, that's how you can start to get sticky and, and embedded within an organization.

Jim Collison 47:40

Holly on the chat room says you give me a lot to think about, I have some major changes on the horizon, I have a department strengths profile. Thanks, Charlotte for the insight, Charlotte, anything else you would add anything we missed? for coaches?

Charlotte Blair 47:53

I think some of the other resources that we talked about some of the Gallup resources, it's the manager, Gallup's own reports, the state of the workplace, that real future work, you know, being able to if you work with q 12, as well, being able to link that cute up in their heart helps. That there are other organizations that have some really great data out there as well. I mean, one of the ones that I found useful to me, and I think I started doing change work when I was at Mercer, internally, but then also externally immersive, do a great report around, you know, the state of the global state of the global workplace, sorry, the global talent trends, that's your report. So they've got that kind of talent trends and change comes up on a regular basis with that one. So that's one of those other other resources. But and I think, you know, what I what I've done with some other people as well, prior to, to this, Jim is, you know, I kind of packaged up some of the stuff that I use in times of change, or sort of with my plans for time to change, packaged up and said, Hey, here's some of the slides that I may be used. I'm not a big slide person. But here are some the slides I use, here's the kind of workbook here's some of those activities. Here's the links to find some of the great videos. I mean, there's a really cool video out there. Have you ever seen the dance and gone the hill video? That the hill it's of God that starts to do what I would probably do, you know, dancing on my own quite comfortable dancing on my own on the hill, my high kind of Whoo, positivity? Yeah, this is fun. And then that, you know, he's starting a movement and like joining joining him, so you know, some of those videos, so I kind of packaged up some of the resources that I use, so people are interested in those, then, you know, let me know, and I've been sort of setting up calls with people to kind of, you know, what, walk them through them. So, but there are so much stuff out there that you don't need to be an expert in change to be able to help your teams or your clients, you know, navigate change. There's lots of simple exercises, lots of things that you can just tweak resources are already out there.

Jim Collison 49:57

Yeah, I think in it's more of doing what you're already doing a lot of cases with people of helping them that you'd said it earlier, that's that, that understanding who you are, and how you're wired and how you're going to respond to something is the first step. And and I think for a lot of coaches that just getting people to see that dynamic, working them through that piece. Change has such a, an embedded trust factor in it. In other words, if in the organization, trust is low, no matter what you do, it's always going to be hard. If trust is high, it's going to be little bit easier. People are going to trust each other and trust one another. And so there's some great opportunities there. So I'm not sure I did remember that video. And that is super great. It's probably something I ended up doing. Except I had been more aggressive about getting people to, to help me out in that he just started doing it. And then people came over in it because he wasn't afraid, right wasn't afraid to kind of dance on his own. There was another video on our Facebook group with a little girl. She's in it. It's like a church kind of choir thing. And everybody's standing. And she's dancing up there all by herself. And just a great, great symbol that sometimes we're going to have to step out and insert those things without other people. Charlotte, thank you for your time today. Thanks for doing this on a US holiday and for in the middle of the day. And although stuff is great, I appreciate

Charlotte Blair 51:24

that but doesn't affect me at all during the U.S. holidays. Absolutely fine for me, Jen, that's nice. Thank you for staying up late on a U.S. holiday.

Jim Collison 51:34

Yeah, no, no worries. It's it's always good to chat with you. And and great to get this help get this message out. There's a lot of things happening with it. And And how about one more? Any, any final? Anything else final that I missed? in there? Sometimes I rap too early. Anything else you want to say as a final?

Charlotte Blair 51:52

No, I don't think so I think we've pretty much covered it. We've we've sort of jammed a lot in there. And I maybe didn't go as all organized as I thought it was going to kind of come out. I told you I read a lot of notes, but I don't always refer to them. But I think it's thinking about what can you do with the individual? What can you do with the managers? Or if you are an individual or a manager or a team? There's there's lots of different ways. But just sort of thinking about how do I use what I have how I think feel and behave, to be able to sort of help me cope with or, you know, navigate through the change. But now I think you you pretty much covered it. So thanks for having me on.

Jim Collison 52:29

Appreciate having you on it's always a good reminder with that, you know, the lots of materials, you mentioned a lot of things throughout this, there's lots of materials in the kits that I'm often reminding people of. To say, oh, yeah, no, that's in the kit. It's good. And maybe it's time for a kit audit, you know, spend a little bit of time -- log in, find your kit, some people don't even know how to log in to them. Log in, if you have the electronic version; if you have the paper one, just pull that thing out. It might be good to start going through some of those forms, and Charlotte, based on what you're saying, just as you look at the form, say How would I use this as you look at the exercise, whatever it is, as you look at the cards, as you look at whatever -- think, How could I use this for people who are going through change? And I think it's I think what you said today is just add a few, maybe add a different word to it. And you might have that whole toolkit already available to you.

Jim Collison 53:26

With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available at the Gallup Strengths Center, just, you can send us your questions or comments. Send those to us in an email, You can also catch the recorded audio and video and download it onto your phone and listen to it like a podcast -- all the cool kids are doing that these days. From any pod catcher or any podcast listening device, anything -- your phone, Android phone, iPhone, just search Gallup webcasts and you'll see all the webcasts that we have available for you out there as well. If you're interested in becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, you can see a list of all the courses that lead to that, including instructions on how to be certified. And we have some courses, some great courses that don't you don't have to be certified for, you can just come and do those and they're awesome as well. They're all on our courses page If you want to figure out how to join these things live, visit our eventbrite page, just go to and follow us there as well. Summit 2020 -- I think we're calling that Gallup at Work Summit, just announced, early June, the weather is going to be great. The best pricing is right now. So if you're thinking of -- Charlotte mentioned both this year and last year's summit, lots to learn out of those as well. If you're thinking about coming, now might be a great time to lock it in, best price for everybody is right now. Head out to, I think that gets you there. I think I just made that up but it should get you there and we'll look forward to seeing you at the summit next summer. Join us on our Facebook group, you can just go to, continue the conversation there. Want to thank you for joining us tonight or or tomorrow if you're in Australia. With that, we'll say Goodbye, everybody.

Charlotte Blair's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Activator, Woo, Command, Arranger and Positivity.

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

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