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Ideation: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Ideation: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 5, Ideation
  • 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 Ideation.

Join Jim Collison and Maika Leibbrandt as they talk about your Ideation 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

I'm Jim Collison and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 5, recorded on September 13, 2019. Theme Thursday is a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one at a time. And today's theme is Ideation. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us in our chat room. Hopefully many of you are out there. But if you're on our live page, just click the link below the video window to come over to the chat room. If you're listening after the fact and you have questions, really on anything, you can send us an email: Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She is a workplace consultant here with me at Gallup and Maika, always great to hang out with you on Thursdays. And welcome back to Theme Thursday.

Maika Leibbrandt 0:48

Thanks, Jim. Gosh, it's great to be here. You know, the CliftonStrengths at the top of our profile is where we find the most power. Those themes represent our unique makeup of potential, not just whether you're talented, but how you're talented. And our greatest chance to succeed, whether that's at work or anywhere, comes from strengthening what we naturally do best and doing more of it. If you have a lot of Ideation talent, or you care about someone who does, today's podcast is for you.

Jim Collison 1:15

Hey, I have an idea. No, anyways, what does it mean -- what does it mean to have this as a top talent theme?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:21

It means that ideas fascinate you; that you both create and connect. You're especially talented at coming up with new thoughts or new takes on things. And sometimes those things that you're coming up with are the connection between ideas that other people wouldn't notice or consider.

Jim Collison 1:38

And so how might people with this dominant theme notice this in their life?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:42

Well, if you've got high Ideation, chances are somebody else at some point in your life has called you "creative." You get excited by the invitation to brainstorm. You can probably quickly offer a lot of ideas or possible solutions without discretion or without qualifying which one of them is the best. You notice similarities; you notice themes; you notice connections that that other people miss.

Jim Collison 2:08

My other work partner like you, Jodi, who I work with a lot -- I talk about her from time to time -- she, she notices this in me, it's 7, but it's super strong. And she has a little trick. She'll say, she'll come to me and say, I need 5 ideas on this. Go! And literally, I just start rolling through them, and she'll count them off, and at 5, she's done. And she's realized -- you want to see that role. I think people will ask you, they'll they'll realize, you'll become a trusted or a valued resource for like, "Hey, I need to shake some things up a little bit. Can you give me some kind of some new ideas on that?" She also knows, for me, she needs to limit it. So, like, because I'll give her ideas all day long. So she's like, 5 ideas.

Maika Leibbrandt 2:47

So how does that make you feel when she comes to you with that kind of an ask?

Jim Collison 2:49

Oh, awesome, and we've talked about that, like she -- she not only does it, but she's recognized me in front of other people, saying she uses me for that. That's I think the important part. How do you know that that you're being effective in this area? She recognizes -- she just doesn't do it; she recognizes me for it. So of course it feels great. Right? And and it's just an awesome experience. So I think there's those little clues that you can kind of see ...

Maika Leibbrandt 3:14

That's powerful. Yeah.

Jim Collison 3:15

We, in the new 34 report, we've been talking about blind spots and some things maybe to watch out for, stuff that holds us back from excellence. What may be some things with Ideation that we want to look out for?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:26

Yeah, remember, this isn't a diagnosis, it's not a scientific guarantee. It is our responsibility to understand how the theme might be perceived by others. So think about these blind spots answering the question of how could you get in your own way? With high Ideation, you bring a wave of ideas and thoughts. And that wave could confuse people who can't sort quickly through them. So introduce your Ideation; offer it up, don't ambush or surprise people with that power. You might think about saying things like, Hey, can we brainstorm for a few minutes? Or, I'm going to offer you a few ideas, and we'll sort through -- sort through them together. Or maybe you just say, Hey, tell me what you want to think more about? That's where we'll go together. Your excitement about ideas could be mistaken as commitment to executing on them. I'm sure I've talked about this with my own Ideation before, especially when I'm working with partners who are great at executing. So, in order to keep that from getting in your way, confirm action with people. Know what cues that you're picking up from others that indicate the expectation of some doing or some execution. Maybe it's a deadline, a contract, a follow-up question. It might even be just saying, Hey, are we brainstorming right now? Or are we committing to something?

Jim Collison 4:43

Yeah, I've got in the habit of in meetings and team meetings to say, OK, I just want to ideate for a second -- this, like, none of this may be any good. And that's kind of -- I'm kind of asking for the group's permission to be able to do that, or to Hey, I'm going to start doing that. And sometimes, like, is that OK, Can we do that now? And if they're like, I'll move off of it. OK, that's fine. But in a team role, right, there's some opportunities that Ideation has to kind of do some things with a team. That works for me. What else?

Maika Leibbrandt 5:12

So Ideation plays that Strategic Thinking role, which means these themes, well, they all describe people who makes sense of the world from within their head. Specifically, to Ideation, on a team, it can be an energy source. If you just need people to get a little bit shaken off of the status quo, you can help change where they're going by offering different perspectives, different takes, creativity, that kind of popcorn-popper engine of new content, can be really fun. It can be really contagious, especially if you've done what you suggested, Jim, and you've offered it up and invited it. And a key that you also said out loud, I don't if you caught it, was that if the permission is not given, you honor the integrity of the Ask by not sharing it. And that's important too. You don't just get to say, "Can I do this?" and then do it; you have to listen to the answer. But that's I think it's a brilliant example of the role that Ideation plays on a team. Your Ideation person can also be your problem-solver, or they can be a solution-suggester. They don't need the commitment to which strategy is deployed as much as they do the space to come up with potential solutions. They can be -- you think about a great first stop on the train. If you've got a problem-solving train, and you're going to line up all of the people on your team, make the first stop the person with Ideation. Then, maybe a couple stops later, think about Maximizer who can say, All right, here's the best of what we're already doing. Of course, you don't have to have those themes on your team in order to solve a problem. But I think it's typically one that people with high Ideation will play.

Jim Collison 6:43

Before you jump into the comparisons, I want to add one thing to that and this is that generally those high in Ideation too, they're OK if you say "No." So like, if you're in a situation, I don't, I can shut it down just as fast as I can turn it on. And I think that's another misconception when we think about it in teams, like oh, no, he's gonna feel bad, or she's gonna feel bad if we say "No," but that that person goes, Oh, OK. I'm good, I'll -- you know. And so don't be afraid -- on teams, don't be afraid if they do ask. Just say, Maybe now's not the time. Can we -- can we do this at another time? Or something like that.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:16

Or, hey, we don't like that idea. I think that's important about Ideation. Jim, you and I both have high Ideation. And I think we've developed this expectation with each other of when do we execute on anything? It's when it comes up over and over again on its own. And we can ideate together really, really well without the expectation that every idea we say is golden, because we know most of them aren't. It's -- it is, in many cases, quantity that creates the good ideas, because we've had 700 bad ones.

Jim Collison 7:47

Yeah, let's compare. When we think about this in the Relationship Building themes, let's compare.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:51

Yeah, that's my fault for not changing our notes. It's a Strategic Thinking theme. Other Strategic Thinking theme.

Jim Collison 7:57

I am reading directly from the notes.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:57

You are doing exactly what you were told. Who put a question mark on the teleprompter? So let's look at Ideation and Strategic. Ideation is a constant flow of new ideas. It's also connecting one thought to another in a creative or a new way. So Ideation might say, Hey, what's a new way to do this? Strategic is that quickness, similar to Ideation, but what it's quick about is deciphering themes and options forward, kind of clustering ideas, and thinking about where does this take us? It's got more of a forward motion than Ideation does. So again, if Ideation says, What's a new way to do this? Strategic might say, what's the best next step? Or what are our options? Futuristic has more of a timeline to it. So Futuristic thinks in that forward-leaning timeline, or even starting in the future and coming back. Creative ideas might show up for people with Futuristic because they're thinking about what might be possible. Whereas Ideation is thinking in all directions, not so much with a timeline. and creative ideas happen there because they're thinking, What could happen here and now? Not what might happen in the future? Again, another way that some people might be called creative from different motivations is this distinction between Ideation and Input. So Ideation is going to be creative and say, I came up with this, out of the blue, out of my own brain, all on my own. Input is going to be able to say, I heard about this, and you didn't think it was relevant here. But I've done so much research, I've gathered so much stuff, that it feels creative. And it's still there, it just comes from a different kind of a preparation. In partnership, Ideation can be a thought partner to reenergize you when you're stuck. Imagine, and remember, people with Ideation love to be asked. So imagine just saying, wow, you know, I've been slogging away on this exact same thing over and over again, I just need, you know, a shot of caffeine to the brain. Someone with Ideation can be that shot. So just say, Hey, I need to take a breath and get a different perspective. Someone with Ideation can also open your mind to possibilities that you hadn't considered. And they can quickly offer different approaches without having to take ownership of the approach itself, or of whether or not you accept their ideas.

Jim Collison 10:14

We mentioned a little bit of these already. But when we think about communicating well with Ideation, what does that look like?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:20

One that I'm sure we've talked about, but here, I'm going to just underscore it again, be real clear on your expectations of the conversation. Are you -- in the U.S., we say -- "blue sky thinking" a lot? Or are you making commitments? It is OK and it's helpful to clearly state the goal of the conversation. Do you hope to leave with possibilities or responsibilities? Give them some space to generate quantity before you have to sort to quality ideas. Depending on other themes, this might mean that they need to talk out loud, that they need to write, that they need to go away and think alone. There might be 100 ideas before they get to one that actually works. And that's just the first 5 minutes that those first 100 could come. So allow some space, maybe even think about giving those folks with Ideation on your team some time ahead of time to really sort through as many ideas as they possibly can. And then you can expect to have the good ones.

Maika Leibbrandt 11:13

It's like you know me, Maika! What might inspire or motivate someone with high Ideation?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:17

Freedom to choose how something is done. Don't lock them into repeating the same standard operating procedure if you don't have to. And if you do, state the reason why. I don't need a new idea for how to do brain surgery, right? If there is safety involved, I don't need a new idea for compliance. But if you do have to keep them going through the same "How," make sure it's for a standard "Why." Challenge them to come up with a brand new take on something. I mean, think about saying this: Jim, I want to do something in a way no one has ever thought of. I can see your eyes light up even through the microphone, that sort of a throwdown. I'd also say, invite them to offer ideas and ideas alone. Bring them in for a specific amount of time, or like you mentioned with Jodi, a certain number of thoughts, just to absorb all the ideas about your project they can offer. Don't do this after it's already finished. Do this when you still have time to make some adjustments and let them know, How much time do we have to take a different approach on this. I would also say something that can motivate somebody with high Ideation is access to tools that help them create or express their creativity. Maybe it's an app, maybe it's a software system, maybe it's tactile space to actually create. The more you can give the ability to express direct -- the more directly you can get that into their hands, the more you're going to see the benefit of their Ideation, of their creativity.

Jim Collison 12:51

So what can people with Ideation do to practice this every day, then?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:55

Give yourself time to release your ideas without commitment. Imagine a soda fountain, like not just a Coke bottle that you open, but an actual fountain. If every bubble of carbonation in that soda is an idea, then the cup that you're pouring it into is your brain. Someone with Ideation can feel like they're overflowing with all that foam on the top, because the ideas just keep coming and bubbling. And it kind of creates a big foam on the top. Try releasing ideas through writing, through a voice memo, through talking to somebody who has, you know, who likes to listen. You'll find once you skim that overflow of foam off the top, more ideas are going to come that are fresher and more relevant to the task you're trying to solve. Also, build in buffers into your calendar before a meeting to prepare, or after a meeting to gather your ideas. And so you're either pre-brainstorming or you're continuing to think. It can be as little as 10 minutes in Outlook on your calendar, just to capture all your thoughts and help you show up with the energy that that creates for you.

Jim Collison 14:09

That's a good idea, actually. I hadn't, I could probably do a little more pre-planning going into meetings, having some of that Ideation brainstorming before I get there. That's generally, you know, I'll get asked to come to those kinds of meetings. And I just wait because it's fun to do. But that's a really good idea is to kind of just pre-plan by myself.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:27

But how cool is it that the reason isn't so that you can show up organized, it's so you can show up energized!

Jim Collison 14:32


Maika Leibbrandt 14:33

This is an Ideation moment; I'm just having this idea right now, but how great would it be if we all committed to ending a meeting 5 minutes early, and using that buffer to feed our talent for the next one.

Jim Collison 14:45

That is a good idea! What if you did that collectively? Like what if you just, before you let people go, you just ...

Maika Leibbrandt 14:51

Yeah, don't let them go! Say OK, I need you to do whatever you feeds your talent for the next 5 minutes to help you show up to your next place even better,

Jim Collison 14:58

Man, maybe more people would want to come to your meetings. OK, we -- we better stop ideating.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:02

Ooh, that was good!

Jim Collison 15:03

Speaking of practice -- this is what we do all the time, by the way. What can we do with with any of our CliftonStrengths to get better?

Maika Leibbrandt 15:10

If excellence was easy, everyone would have it. Excellence or near-perfect performance requires investment. Talent-mindfulness is a practice for you, whether you lead with Ideation or not. And it's meant to be a practice that helps you focus on yourself. So this is different from everything we've done for the last 15 or 20 minutes or so. And it really is about you. Ideation is about constant buzzing brain activity. So today, we're going to focus on what's going on inside your brain. We all have talents that filter our world. And one way to get in tune with what that talent is, is to evaluate what's making it through the filter. So in this exercise, I invite you to start by considering a current challenge. And then we're going to listen to your own brain activity around that challenge. We're going to help you sort through some potential answers, some solutions or some clues that come from within, because that's where your greatest power is, it's in your own talent.

Maika Leibbrandt 16:11

So let's start with a deep breath in. And a nice long exhale. ... For two more breaths, focus only on your breathing. ... When your thoughts stray over the next 5 minutes, bring them back to your breath. Visualize a current challenge. It doesn't have to be monumental; it might even just be a simple task. What is a current challenge that you actually have? Let's imagine every idea inside your brain is a tiny light. And you activate those lights with your breathing. So if every idea you've had in the past 24 hours is currently swirling around inside your brain, take a long, slow inhale and see them light up. And with your exhale, those lights go dim. Try this a few times, just with normal breathing. Inhale and light up your ideas. Exhale and let them dim. If every idea from the past 24 hours is a light, then ideas you've had about this specific challenge more than once get to be bigger, brighter light bulbs. Breathe normally, but notice which ideas are lighting up brighter than others. Again, the more you've had the idea, the brighter the light is inside your brain.

Maika Leibbrandt 18:39

Now let's focus just on today's waking hours, instead of the past 24. What solutions have crossed your mind? What ideas, concerns, sensations inside your brain have you had most often? Are there ideas that maybe seemed fleeting, but are now coming back to you now that you're giving your brain some time? Now that you think about it on purpose, what are you noticing about your current challenge? ... If you were to trust only the ideas inside your own brain, no external influence, which solution would you trust the most? ... We're gonna take one more deep inhale, and this time, as you breathe in, see that cluster of possible solutions join together to form one bright light. And keep that light on as you exhale. Take with you the power of your own talent filter to solve the problems in your world in a way that makes the most sense to you. And that's your talent-mindfulness for today. Jim, back to you.

Jim Collison 20:39

You see me smile at one point? Maika gets to see me behind the scenes. I don't, I don't normally, as we've been doing these, I haven't spent that time -- always working ever I'm trying to make sure we know what's going on here at the end. But man, that bright light scenario is it good one, I kind of think of all the things we have going on here with the conversion and Access and ideas around it in the community out there. And man, super helpful to kind of think of those ideas as lights, and then at the end, one stood bright. And ah ...

Maika Leibbrandt 21:14

Leave it on!

Jim Collison 21:15

That's pretty great. That's, that's pretty great. We hope you are enjoying those as much as we are, as we've kind of grown into them as well. Well, I think, Maika, I think you're getting better at them as well as you write these, you know.

Maika Leibbrandt 21:29

Getting feedback helps. So keep that feedback coming. Let us know what you like about them. I showed up at a client site this week, and a whole bunch of different people were like, Hey I love talent-mindfulness. And then a couple people who hadn't listened asked the people in front of me, like what is talent-mindfulness? I said, Why don't you describe it? And somebody said, they're like, Well, it's kind of like regular mindfulness, except it's focused on you. That's exactly true. I love that.

Jim Collison 21:57

Yeah, no, super fun. Well, we're enjoying going to do that, and again, we appreciate your feedback, as well. A couple reminders before we go. Take full advantages of all the resources, and some new resources coming available with the new Gallup Access, I think you're going to be excited to see it. We are just days away now, on September 20, that might have already passed -- 9/20/2019 is our conversion weekend, and moving from the Gallup Strengths Center to Gallup Access. We're excited about all the new resources that are coming for you in that as we think about just redesigned pages and such. And so, head out now, you can go to If it's after that, it will redirect you, but you can go to to get there. Coaches Blog is moving as well, don't forget, you can go to, not today -- doesn't necessarily work today. I've been showing some sneak previews. By the way, if you haven't joined us in our Facebook group, to kind of stay up to the minute on all the things that are happening with that as well. If you want to join us for any of our courses, we got a bunch of great courses out there, and some things coming up even, maybe even time to start thinking about the summit that is coming up here in 2020. We're excited about that, June 1-3, get all the details on our courses, page, or is the new summit site. And lots of information out there; more coming. It's a little sparse at the moment, just because we're still a ways out, but more information coming as well. Want to thank you for joining us today. Some exciting stuff and we'll look forward to hanging out with you for a little bit in the post-show. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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