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Deliberative: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Deliberative: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 5, Deliberative
  • The CliftonStrengths themes at the top of your profile are the most powerful and give you the greatest chance for success. Join us as we discuss Deliberative.

Join Jim Collison and Maika Leibbrandt as they talk about your Deliberative talent theme -- helping you unlock the power of truly understanding yourself through how you get things done, influence others, connect with people and think critically -- on this Theme Thursday Season 5 webcast.

NEW for Season 5: 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 Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 5, recorded on August 22, 2019.

Jim Collison 0:21

Theme Thursday is a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one theme at a time, and today's theme is Deliberative. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us in the chat room. If you have questions after the fact or anytime you have questions on anything, send us an email: Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a workplace consultant, here at Gallup. Maika, it's always great to be back on a Theme Thursday. Welcome back.

Maika Leibbrandt 0:43

Thanks, Jim. Great to be here. You know, those CliftonStrengths at the top of your profile really are the most powerful. Those themes represent your unique makeup of potential -- not just whether or not you're talented, but truly how your talent comes to life and comes to play. So your greatest chance of succeeding lies in understanding your entire profile and really tapping into and leaning on those talents at the top. If you possess a great deal of Deliberative talent or care about someone who does, today's podcast is for you.

Jim Collison 1:12

Yeah. So we always start with this question: But what does it mean to have Deliberative as your top talent theme?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:17

it means you anticipate obstacles; you move forward in a way that avoids them; you take great care in executing a thoughtful plan.

Jim Collison 1:25

And there's always the question of how in these; like, we spend a lot of time talking about. So how might people with the dominant Deliberative notice this in their life?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:33

Yeah, if you got Deliberative high, you might have been called careful or cautious in your life. You probably feel certain once you've done the doing of strategy homework, which we'll talk a little bit more about what that might look like. It's it's likely that you love taking steps progressing toward what you know is a pathway that you have considered. It doesn't have to be -- I'm not saying that you love being certain, because I think people with Deliberative are very much in touch in tune to the fact that you can never be completely certain. But being close to certain certainly helps. You probably don't throw around a "Yes" lightly if you have high Deliberative. You can sense and spot variables that could get in the way of execution more often and more easily than the people around you.

Jim Collison 2:16

I love that you don't throw around a "Yes." This is with Deliberative very, very low for me. I almost always start by "Yes." And then like, whoa, wait a minute, right, I lead with act with Activator and follow up with Deliberative. But when we think about the blind spots, right, we've been focusing on the all 34 report this year, and we have this new section talking about blind spots. When we think about that, what could hold us back from excellence in this area of Deliberative?

Maika Leibbrandt 2:42

Sure. And it's important to remember, this is not a scientific diagnosis. It's very possible that people with Deliberative never experienced these downsides. But I think it's important that we consider what could keep us in our own way. And so there might be a couple of things you might want to consider with Deliberative. One is that your care in thinking about the right plan could take quite amount of time. And that time to others could look like you're being dismissive or fearful of the action that perhaps they want to take or they want to take with you. So one way to think about really leaning into that is, know what helps you do that anticipation and ask for it. Do you like to talk through something with a good "think partner"? Are there certain places or sources where you get the best information that really helps you think through that plan? Does it help if you know the agenda before you're asked to come to a meeting? Rather than saying "No" in order to buy yourself that time, and then come back to a "Yes," think about saying something like, Hey, let's think about how we can execute this smartly. Or give me, you know, X amount of time to really consider what that would mean for us.

Maika Leibbrandt 3:53

Another thing to consider with Deliberative is your ability to execute confidently comes out best, when you've taken that time to thoroughly vet all the possibilities. So it could be really easy to think that anytime you want to execute on something, you need to go through that exact same process. You might want to do this kind of churning and evaluating on every single decision that you make. But that assumes that all choices are worthy of your process. This could slow you down; it could also keep you from truly investing in areas that are more promising than others. So create a system; create something that's going to help you prioritize where to deliberate the best or where to deliberate the most. Maybe it's clarity on what are your most important goals. Perhaps it's even just having a conversation around alignment with choices that benefit your team best, or just to check in maybe with your boss or with a partner about what's important to them, and what information they have that you don't so that you can accelerate that process instead of having it be equal across every choice that you're making.

Jim Collison 5:02

Maika in the chat room, Holly says Deliberative, you can sometimes be called an "eeyore," right. And that's maybe that was a character in a book who was always kind of melancholy and was maybe a little negative about things, always finding what could go wrong with it, if you don't know that reference "eeyore." But always sees the potential pitfalls of a plan. And I think, Maika, that's one of those things when we think about how Deliberative works on a team, I don't think it has to be that way. I think that's one of those things that we because of whatever reason, because of things that have been in the past, it's been a label that's been on it; I want to break that label. So as we think about Deliberative on a team, how can we approach that?

Maika Leibbrandt 5:40

Yeah, I think that sort of "downer negativity" caricature that maybe we ascribe to Deliberative happens as an oversimplification of what the actual theme is about, or maybe a symptom of what that theme is about. What Deliberative is about is, is careful, cautious consideration of how we move forward. And it really is the execution of how we move forward. Now if if somebody with Deliberative has used negativity in order to buy themselves that kind of time so they can do the real beauty of the theme, that might be the symptom of why it comes out that way. But it's not the definition of Deliberative. It is, within a within a team, Deliberative falls into that Executing domain. It is about practical forward progress, really rolling up your sleeves and doing the analysis, the the thought work that it takes to get us moving in the most confident way. I think it might be easy to mistake Deliberative for a Strategic Thinking theme. And maybe it hops over to those Strategic Thinking categories once in a while, because there is a lot of considering with Deliberative. but what it's what it's really about is the sorting through what needs to be done, and what risks exist in reality, not so much dreaming up what could be done, what should be learned, and what potential cause and effect could exist within our imagination. So it's not about sorting through sort of imaginary options, as much as it is analyzing reality and realizing OK, this is the right direction to go.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:10

So within a team, Deliberative might look like we're going to drive on this street, because the other one has a pothole. I've done the work to, you know, look around the corner and see that there's a construction team, you know, looking and realizing that there's there's a pothole on the other street, so we're going to go this way. It also might say, it's time to open the meeting with this icebreaker, because I did the work of getting to know each person in the room and I am positive that it'll land well with everyone and get us where we want to go. So it's that kind of certainty that comes from anticipation. I think on a team, Deliberative can be your minesweeper. It's it's about doing that due diligence in order to deliver certainty to the team's actions or the team's standpoints. Let's think about perhaps contrasting this with some other Executing themes to really help us understand this theme. I want to compare Deliberative and Restorative. So Deliberative might take the approach of tinkering with the effect of different choices to move forward confidently. Restorative might be tinkering with broken things, to bring them back to work. If Deliberative says, We owe it to our customers to carefully explore options and do what we know will work, Responsibility might say, We owe it to our customers to do what we said we would do. You can see how these all of these might play together. But they've got slightly different nuances and probably should be treated as different talents to honor within a team. And within a partnership, imagine what Deliberative brings to another partnership or to an alliance. Deliberative can perform the background check. Deliberative really delights in doing the effort of exploring real options. It could also help that partner feel more confident, especially in a partnership with communication about why decisions are made and how they're made. So tell your partner about the specific choices that you did not make and why you didn't make them if you're somebody there with Deliberative or somebody partnering with Deliberative. Also, I think Deliberative brings to a partnership the opportunity to notice risk that other people might fail to consider. It's about anticipating the effect that an action might have. And that can be -- that can be a skill that you sharpen. The better you plan, the more able you are to notice patterns and share them.

Jim Collison 9:35

Maika, I think sometimes when we think about the communicating the communicating these themes out, the most important part of them is how we do that, because the interface that people have to this theme is often through you. Like, we can have these definitions, and they're great. So when we think about clues or advice around communicating and doing it well, what what kind of advice would we give?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:59

If you're communicating well with someone who has high Deliberative, I think that means you're noticing critical questions as their act of care. So what might seem like a hesitance to you or a concern is a sign that they're considering the idea. It's a sign that they're, they're really extending that compassion. I would always also say, know that somebody with Deliberative is always at a varying stage of deliberation. So ask them what they've been considering. Ask them what they're thinking about lately. Ask them what's on their mind, what kind of choice they're excited about having made; really acknowledge the fact that there's always this churn that is happening.

Jim Collison 10:38

You know, as I was thinking about our pre-pre-show, we were spending some time talking about this. And even those, though Deliberative is 34 or 33 for me, I enjoy that process at times. Like you and I were spending some time thinking through and deliberating and thinking through -- not a natural tendency, not my go to. So for someone with it, how might we inspire or motivate Deliberative a little bit more?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:03

I think something that would really inspire a deliberater or someone with Deliberative is the chance to vet a choice. Offer them a project that isn't on fire, not something that has to be solved today, and give them a deadline. Say, Hey, I need you to sort through our options for this; bring me back a recommendation. Or also the opportunity to lean into the conservative approach that they tend to have during times of change. This is actually a statement I took from the CliftonStrengths 34 report, because I just thought it was so great. Really help them understand exactly what the non-negotiables are. Ask them to help the team navigate change by identifying the states -- the steps that we should not take. I think it's interesting. Jim and I both love to think about variables. I think for Jim, it might come from Arranger; for me, it comes perhaps from Strategic. But we really do love the the stages of thinking about "What if?" The difference between that and Deliberative is Deliberative is going to think "What if?" and instantly be able to understand risk. Oh, and it's almost by saying, What's the worst-case scenario or why not? So it's a little bit different than than the take that we take. But I think, again, all of these themes can look very similar outside the person. So it's not that difficult just to say, you know, you're going to engage and inspire and motivate somebody just by having a conversation.

Jim Collison 12:22

You're totally right. I think Arranger or Ideation are those two that come together to look like Deliberative. I don't know if I have that. But you're right. I don't know if I have that ability to necessarily understand all the risks associated with those decisions. I can come up with many that the motivation is different, though, and why I'm getting to that goal. And so I always appreciated that. You put a statement in the show notes that you didn't read all the way through, but I really liked it -- it said, Bring me back a recommendation by this day, whatever that that deadline is. And I think that's really important. Deliberative gets a bad rap sometimes for people thinking they're going to take forever, and they just sometimes need a defined a time to think about this, whether it's one minute, one hour, or one day or one year. I think defining that I think to folks who have Deliberative is super important. You want to add anything to that?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:08

I would say that helps -- I'm glad you called that out, because it really helps us remember that Deliberative is dealing with real variables. A deadline is one of those variables. It's not so much about imagining, you know, like we're mentioning here with Ideation and Arranger and even my Strategic. it's more creating opportunities and thinking about the the the imagined state, what could happen, where does this go? If this, then that and sort of the chain of events. Deliberative, remember is about we're doing, we are on the ground, we need to know what the right way to go is. So yeah, deadlines are part of those variables that Deliberative enjoys, and it's probably pretty good at analyzing the risk of.

Jim Collison 13:48

These themes make their way to strengths as we practice them. And so how do we practice -- people with high Deliberative? What can they do to practice this every day?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:55

That needs to be a subtitle. That was really good, Jim: These themes make their way to strength as we practice them, you're you're good at this.

Jim Collison 14:02

Maybe I've done it a few times.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:06

If you're going to practice Deliberative, stretch your planning into predicting. Review a choice that you're making and identify the patterns that you are noticing. So this is going to help you get faster at that exploratory phase in the future. It's it's a similar way of saying, even if you're not going to follow the plan that you're considering, the fact that you're considering it is going to help you get faster at making your next plan. I would also say find the best systems or information sources that really feed your understanding of the practical reality. Maybe it's a form that you can automate your measurements within or a subject-matter expert who answers your questions in exactly the way that you're looking for. Spend time there every day, every week, spend time there on purpose. And I want to take this one, I actually highlighted this in our notes, Jim, because I took it verbatim from the 34 report. Be sure to set aside time for yourself. Should we just say that 100 times to everybody, whether you have Deliberative or not? Here's the example we get from the report, it says try this: Reserve 20 minutes each day to sort through your projects, plans and ideas. Use this time to gather information on opinions, or on options, assess different situations and solidify choices that you need to make. When you have the opportunity and the freedom to calculate, you will make better decisions.

Jim Collison 15:26

So speaking of that, we've got some practice -- been a very popular part of our show. If it's not popular for you, you can fast-forward to the end for the information if you want it. But give it a give it a try. Maika, as we spend some time with talent-mindfulness, just a little exercise to walk through to kind of nail this thing and hammer it home a little bit. Walk us through that.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:48

Yeah, give, give the section a try. This will take 3 to 5 minutes at the very most. I found myself actually quoting some of our previous talent-mindfulness exercises in a class that I taught this week. This answers that question of OK, what do I really do? The class that I was teaching was an introduction to CliftonStrengths. And of course, we want people to leave our classrooms really implementing the change that they have learned about. And so we're very mindful about asking people to make a commitment. And I actually stopped my my course -- I was like, all right, write down what you're going to do, which theme you're going to use. And then I had this moment where I was like, I have an idea. Is this a moment where my Ideation and Communication are getting the better of me? It might have been, but I went with it anyway. I said, All right, class, let's, let's just ask yourself, like, but really. I had them review their commitments with the "but really" lens on. I said, Tell me something you will actually do to practice this. So this is what talent-mindfulness is really meant to be. Whether or not you have the theme that we're talking about as a dominant talent theme of yours, this is 3 to 5 minutes for you to think about yourself, and you to reflect upon a topic that might sound a little bit similar to Deliberative, but it you don't have to ave that; it's not meant to be tied to Deliberative.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:04

So let's take the next 3 to 5 minutes and go into this. I invite you to just to take a deep breath, in through your nose, and out through your mouth. ... In Gallup's Advanced Strengths Coaching course, one of the coaching techniques that we describe is something called mental contrasting. It's a way to help your client expand their thinking around a problem by exploring the emotions, the ideas or maybe even the plans other than what they're currently focused on. So right now, I'd like you to think about an important task that you need to complete. It could be personal or professional, long term or short term. It needs to be real, not not a "what if, maybe I should do this." What is something you really do need to complete? What is it? Why is it important to you? What does success look like upon completing that task? Maybe even imagine yourself after having completed that task, what will you be doing? How will you celebrate? How will you will your world be a little bit different? Which of your dominant talent themes is going to help you complete that task with ease, excellence, enjoyment? OK, hope you have a real spotlight in your mind of what this task is and how you plan on going going through with it. Now I'd like you to consider what factor -- either one that you know about or one that could just be a potential you haven't experienced yet -- could get in your way? Let yourself go there. You don't have to say any of this out loud. You don't have to acknowledge it anywhere but your brain. But what could really go wrong? How would you react if that happened?

Maika Leibbrandt 19:20

Let me give you permission to go a little bit deeper. What is the worst that could happen? And how would you react? What would you do? ... Now let's come back to what you thought of before; let's come back to why this task is important to you. And now that you've considered potential risks, I want to invite you to refocus on the "but really." What do you really need to do? What is the very first step that you need to take? ... Now let's take another deep breath in through your nose and a big exhale out through your mouth. There's your talent-mindfulness for today. Hopefully a nice little refresh on an important task.

Jim Collison 20:37

Pretty great, Maika, with that we will remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available at the Gallup Strengths Center, soon to be Gallup Access, and so if you haven't checked it out, But for now if you're listening for the next month or so, That will automatically -- by the way, that will automatically redirect here in the future. If you have questions or comments you can send us an email; this address doesn't change: And don't forget, you can get access to all of these programs plus more at the Coaches Blog, so go to and they're available there. Soon to be So we're excited for that -- doesn't work today, but it will on September 21. We're excited about that as well.

Maika Leibbrandt 21:17

Big deal.

Jim Collison 21:17

Maika -- big day, Maika mentioned, you might be interested in becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach or we have a whole list of courses that lead to all kinds of outcomes, some great ones as well. Head out to our courses page:, see what's available in your area, at your time that would work for you. If you want to follow us on the webcast side, follow us at That will notify you every time we create a new event for one of these and want to join -- if you want to join us in the Facebook group, you can do that as well, I also thank Mark, he listens to these every single week and takes that paragraph you know, we're doing full transcriptions now. He takes this last paragraph and actually makes those links make sense. The transcriber does not -- it does all kinds of goofy things. So Mark, thank you.

Maika Leibbrandt 22:04

Thank you, Mark.

Jim Collison 22:05

Mark also single-handedly, single -- literally -- converted all ...

Maika Leibbrandt 22:09

He uses both of his hands, but nobody else's.

Jim Collison 22:12

That's true -- 700 pieces of content, or it will be, up to 700 pieces of content that will make its way to the new site. So Mark, thanks for the work that you do. We thank you for coming out today. If you're listening live, stay around for the next one. With that, we'll say Goodbye, everybody.

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