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Individualization: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Individualization: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Webcast Details

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

Join Jim Collison and Maika Leibbrandt as they talk about your Individualization 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.

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, This is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 5, recorded on September 19, 2019. Theme Thursday is a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one theme at a time. And today's theme is Individualization -- also the longest theme as far as letters. If you're listening live, join us in the chat room. You can find that on YouTube and the link on the live page, or you can send us your questions: Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a workplace consultant here at Gallup. Maika, always great to see you on Thursdays. Welcome back to Theme Thursday.

Maika Leibbrandt 0:46

I'm so happy to be here. I type show notes, and I use the theme -- I type it in ALL CAPS. You think Individualization is long, correctly punctuated -- put it in ALL CAPS; it'll rock your world. But whether or not you have Individualization, today's podcast is for you. It really is about diving into that theme. So if you have it, you'll learn something about yourself. Or if you care about somebody who has it, you'll learn something about them. The CliftonStrengths at the top of your profile are the most powerful; these represent your unique makeup of potential, which is specifically a great choice of words for Individualization because it is about uniqueness. Your talents don't just tell you whether you're good and talented, but how you're talented. And your greatest chance to succeed at work or anywhere comes from understanding those, diving into them and understanding how to do more of them. So again, if you possess a lot of that Individualization talent, or care about somebody who does, we're here to learn about that today.

Jim Collison 1:39

One more tiny bit of Individualization trivia. So we use it as the test word for when we're creating all the posts and stuff. And we have character limits. Everything is tested with Individualization.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:50

If it works with Individualization, it works.

Jim Collison 1:53

OK, no more trivia. What does it mean to have Individualization as a top talent theme?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:57

It means you're intrigued with the unique qualities of each person, you have a gift for figuring out how different people can work together productively.

Jim Collison 2:05

And how might this theme really, how might people notice this in their life?

Maika Leibbrandt 2:08

You might realize that it's easy for you to remember specific details about people, maybe it's what they like, what they know, what their story is, when their birthday is. You might quickly feel like you really know somebody, not just at that surface level. It's possible you've been called or even call yourself a good judge of character. I think that comes from that ability to really spot the detail in a human really quickly. You probably avoid generalizations and might be bothered by grouping people together. You struggle to answer questions with the word "always" because there's always something unique. There's there's always something that would disqualify any sort of a generalization that way. You may feel the need to personalize something and can do it really quickly. It's possible that you're an excellent gift-giver, or are really good at offering really individualized recognition. It's possible that specific people pop into your brain in scenarios that don't seem obviously connected to those people. So might be when you're shopping, and you notice something, and you think, "This is so Jim!" But it's that ability to almost "file-folderize" your life through the people that are in it.

Jim Collison 3:24

Because we're doing two Theme Thursdays a week now -- we just came off of Includer, and Includer and Individualization -- if you're in the chat room, and you have those two in your Top 5, we'd love to post that out there. I think, Maika, these, these are maybe two great tastes that go good together, you know, it's the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup -- that's an American reference -- of strength. But in the 34 report, we've also been talking about blind spots. So what could hold back people with Individualization from excellence?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:53

Sure, it is our responsibility to understand how our themes show up in the world; how they might be understood by people who don't have them, or perhaps how we could get in our own way. Now with these blind spots, this is not part of our scientific definition of the theme. That's important to realize. It's completely possible that you would never experience these blind spots. But it's good to know about. One potential blind spot for Individualization is, if you've ever purchased a gift you wanted engraved, you know, customization can take time. If your desire to make it special for someone outpaces your ability to do so, you might be causing more problems than solutions. So acknowledge that you have Individualization in your brain as well as your hands. Get better at sorting through when each of those has a place at the table and make sure you're feeding both. So that means that you are cultivating partnerships with people, perhaps, who can execute a customized approach that you come up with, instead of you being the person who has the really customized idea for how to roll out a learning platform or how to communicate with somebody or how to extend an invitation for relationship.

Maika Leibbrandt 5:01

And also being the person who goes and does, think about cultivating those great partnerships with people who can do it for you, even down to the idea of finding your favorite app for a personal shopper, or, or something like that, that would that would be able to help you do the executing. So you can do a little bit more of the conceiving of the individualized approach. Another blind spot is, knowing a lot about other people doesn't always mean that they'll pick up on a lot about you. Don't forget that your lens is unique, just like everybody else's. And don't assume that other people are going to notice what you like, what you dislike, or what your unique story is, as quickly as you are going to absorb theirs. Personal connection for somebody with Individualization really matters. So in your close relationships, make sure that you're sharing a bit of yourself a little more proactively than maybe you absorb what they're sharing. Think about your "hot buttons," those moments that light you up. When somebody really "gets" you, tell them them, tell them why and thank them on purpose. The same goes for your dislikes: You teach others how to treat you

Jim Collison 6:07

Another superpower for teams, I think, when we think about teams and team productivity, is this Individualization. How does that play on a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 6:13

So it's a Relationship Building theme, which means if you check out page 21 of that CliftonStrengths 34 report, you're going to see that beautiful map that gives you a periodic table of all 34 themes spread across Four Domains of Leadership. Now, not everybody needs all Four Domains. Most people default to one. Great teams tend to have a diverse population of talent, but individuals don't need to have it all. And Relationship Building is where Individualization lives. Individualization notices what what makes other people stand out, what uniqueness they bring to the team. On a team or in a group of people, they can be excellent casting directors. So helping to identify the specialties of team members that could benefit the whole, or even helping to identify ways that people bring those specialties to the team that we need to honor more purposefully. People with high Individualization don't tend to trust generalizations or assumptions that are made about groups. They'll likely find some exception to every rule. And they can conceive how it would be important to consider those alternatives. or to even just discover them a little bit more. Within a team, again, they can help every single person feel heard and valued on a on a deep and personal level.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:33

To compare it to some other Relationship Building themes that you'd also find within that same domain, Individualization says, I see what makes you you; Empathy says, I sense what you're feeling right now. It's funny, I always tend to pick our CliftonStrengths quick reference card, which is that All 34 front and back, in order to look at other themes to compare, and I forget about the ones that come at the beginning of the alphabet. So today, I picked another Relationship Building theme, and that's Adaptability to contrast to Individualization. So Adaptability is present with you right now here in the moment, knows that what you need is more important than what we have planned. Adaptability might still make a plan but adjust it based on the present moment. Individualization knows that the best plans are those that allow for customization or change, based on the humans who are involved. So Individualization probably makes a plan that starts from taking uniqueness into consideration. Jim, you mentioned Includer earlier, and if you're listening to this live, you know that we just wrapped up our Includer episode. Includer says, what do we share? Individualization says, what makes you unique? I think Includer opens the door, makes the guests feel welcome; Individualization has the guest room already set up with their favorite magazine. And in a partnership, Individualization can offer advice on how to best recognize someone in a meaningful and personal way. I remember specifically this happening to me when I had a partner with high Individualization who mentioned to my boss what my favorite store was, and I got a gift card there instead of the generic sort of gift card, just a nice little personalized touch. They can help you be more relevant with your audience by noticing what's different or specific about that audience. They can make your deliverable feel personalized, and really accelerate the speed of connection that happens when whoever you're delivering it to feels valued and heard and noticed.

Jim Collison 9:39

What kind of clues or advice would you have on communicating well with Individualization?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:44

If at all possible, avoid assertions that apply to everyone, or when you when you make them, explore them together. Rather than saying things like "always," try "usually" or "frequently." This is skill advice here, this isn't just a generalized way to communicate with people. You're probably going to lose a little bit of credibility with people with high Individualization if you declare something or someone to be always true, and always applicable in every situation. When there's room to make exceptions to the to the rule, tell them; don't make them fight for individualized attention, offer it up front if there is room or scope to do so.

Jim Collison 10:26

And then what might inspire or motivate somebody with high Individualization?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:30

You might invite them to be part of a selection situation. Are there new team members, new clients, a new couch, new vendors? They're likely to be a very quick and accurate judge of a person's specific strengths and weaknesses. So even just putting them on your interviewing panel and asking not for a judgment of a yes or no, but just what did you notice, they're likely to be able to pull details that other people wouldn't see. You might even consider, if it fits with their other themes and their desires and their values, to challenge them to teach other people. They're likely to have a pretty good handle on how individuals learn and be able to adapt in that way. I would also say if it's possible, make -- think about making a specific milestone on any execution plan you have for this person to review opportunities to customize the existing programs or your existing deliverables. It could be, hey, this is the message that we need to send, can you give us three different ways to say it that are going to resonate across the entire organization?

Jim Collison 11:34

How can people within Individualization practice this talent every day?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:39

Improve your ability to recognize others. This is probably good advice for anyone, if you want to think about that, that daring leadership move of instead of hustling for your own recognition, giving it to other people. Great recognition, whether you have this theme or not, is individualized. We even talk about this, I'm sure, on a lot of our engagement sessions where we say, you know what, if you really want to nail that recognition piece that we all struggle with, one of your best ways to do that is to understand how each person likes to be personally seen and recognized and valued. So if you've got high Individualization, practice by offering specific deserved recognition to three very different people this week. Another thing that might be great to practice your own Individualization is to turn that mirror on yourself and describe what makes you you. Note 2 to 3 specific things that are unique to your experience on the planet that would be important for other people to know if they're really going to work with you. Not only is that an important thing to do, but it's a curiosity that we want to cultivate and really plant within you that will help you continue to wonder about this for others a little bit more purposefully.

Jim Collison 12:56

Maika, I think Individualization is 10 for me. Sometimes I'm held back a little bit up -- you talk about giving this recognition, and actually there's a fear thing, when we think about blind spots, for me. There's a little bit of fear, and that I'm going to do the wrong thing. I want to get it right for the individual. I want to maximize that -- maybe this is this Maximizer-Individualization combo working together where I want the best, or the most or whatever to that. And so I'm learning as I get older, because I'm still pretty young, that I just got to push through that fear a little bit. I got to kind of practice this and do it and not worry so much whether I got it exactly right. But the thought or, you know, when they say, well, the thought was important. I need to get past that. It's stopping me, right, stopping me from giving recognition when I just need to push past it, and continue to do it as we think about practicing. First of all, would you give me any advice on that, and then we've got some, some things we want to dig into a little bit more too around this.

Maika Leibbrandt 13:49

I think it's about taking yourself outside of yourself for just a second and looking at what's the alternative. So it sounds like the alternative is not giving recognition. You know. If you can't push through that or you're worried about doing it the right way or giving it to the right people are doing the right time, they're not going to know that you were trying to sort between different gemstones or diamonds and pick the right one for them. They're just going to know you never gave them anything. So it's better to try.

Jim Collison 14:17

It's a real, it's a real blind spot for me. I've thought about it a lot. And I kind of just have to just power through it and kind of get OK, I need to do something. It's not going to be perfect -- and maybe it will be -- and I have to be willing to fail in there, too, that I maybe just -- because that's the other fear, right, is Oh, what if I get them something they didn't really like? You know, and it hampers me a little bit from great recognition.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:37

I had a good consultant friend once just ask me, you know, how many people do you know who've left their job or broken up with somebody or ended a relationship because they felt too appreciated? And so it's it's also I think, worth just being honest about that. Say, I don't know if this is the right way to honor you. Here's what I appreciate. Did that resonate with you? Is there a better way? and just being present with the humans that we share the planet with and it's OK also for recognition to be a habit, for it to feel like a skill instead of something you just do naturally. I don't think anybody -- if we all did it naturally, we wouldn't be in this engagement crisis that we're in. But it is a lot about communication. It's what most of our recognition curiosity drives us to. And when I work with teams who struggle with it, usually what we uncover is that they don't have a lack of gold stars or gift cards. They -- they have a lack of seeing each other. And even at the very root of the word, it's I recognize you, I notice what you're doing. I know what's important to you. So I'm glad you brought it up. Because it's really important.

Jim Collison 15:42

No good. It really, really is something stopping me. We have been spending some time this season working through these talent-mindfulness exercises. We have one lined up for you here today. And Maika, why don't you take a second and let's start walking through one of those.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:54

Yeah, so talent-mindfulness is an opportunity for you to practice that reflection of noticing your own talent. None of this gets better, none of this does anything for us if we don't really invest in understanding what makes us great. It's too easy to take a look at your full 34 and think it's interesting. It is not easy to do the hard work of truly understanding what that means for you, and then asking for it and doing the same for other people. So that's what this practice is about. It's not meant to be connected directly to Individualization. Fact, today, you'll probably notice that it's not. But it's just going to take about the next 3 to 5 minutes -- it's worth it. So just give it a try. Let's start with a deep breath, first out, wherever you are, just breathe out. So you really empty those lungs. And then take a deep breath in through your nose. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 16:49

And let it go through your mouth, letting go of any expectation, any worry, any striving or desire to sort out anything. You can resume normal breathing. You're invited to close your eyes if you like or just turn your gaze downward so you're not distracted by what you're seeing. Your breath that you're focusing on right now, just like every single part of you, is unique. No one on this planet has ever existed who breathes just like you. No one has or ever will exist who sees the world exactly like you see it. Even the physical lens that makes up your eye causes you to literally see color in a slightly different way than I see it. Today, let's explore that uniqueness. This is a simple practice. I'm just going to ask you some questions about yourself. And I'd like you to answer them in your mind. Maybe later you come back and write this down or press Pause and do it again. What is something you do at least once a week that brings you joy? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 18:10

What is something that comes easily for you, but seems to be a challenge to others? ... If you can slow your breathing even more to deeper breaths, we're going to slow down and think about those two questions again. What do you do every week that you just love? Something that when you're thinking about doing it right now, you feel a little bit lighter? ... When was a time recently (that) you seemed to have the answer faster than others? ... What could you do right now pretty well without taking a lot of effort? ... Now get more specific: Of everything you've been thinking of so far, go beyond the activity. What is the contribution that you are making in that activity? You're not playing a sport; you're noticing a pattern. You're not singing on stage, you're delighting an audience. What's -- what's within that activity that's unique to you? ... This deserves another deep breath in before we summarize, so let's take another deep breath in through your nose. Think about what it is and how you would name that; and out through your mouth. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 20:40

Now two questions to summarize your reflection: Where do ease and enjoyment come together to form excellence for you? ... The second question is just another way to say it: What is something you do easily and also enjoy? Name it. Maybe see yourself from above doing that very thing. This is a clue to your incredible individual contribution, your unique talent. Let's all agree to stop asking people what they need from you and being that, and start doing a little bit more of being who you are uniquely. We will all benefit so much more in the end. That is your talent-mindfulness practice for today. Jim, back to you.

Jim Collison 21:50

Thanks, Maika. I couldn't help but think for us in -- well, it's not necessarily high for both of us. We in this exercise we're going through, think about what we do from this webcast's standpoint, this Theme Thursday. Thinking about -- yes, it's mass media, but I always get the feeling you're writing, when you write these notes, when you do these exercises, you have a person in mind. And that's you, listening right now. That's that's -- it's that person who's doing that. And you know, some of the things that we do we really -- I think oftentimes we joke about this, but -- it's like we sometimes are shocked that they let us just do this. We, like, it's -- we have too much fun. I mean, this is one of those things that we use, and you crank out these notes amazingly. If it was up to me, we wouldn't be able to do it. And that's your -- that's what you bring. So, you know, thanks for the work that you do each and every week. I mean, as a listener, you have no idea the work that goes in behind the scenes on Maika's side to make sure these things happen. I'm just the voice stooge who gets up here and asks the questions. Maika is really the brilliance behind what we do. And Maika, so thank you on behalf of the individual listener, because -- we do have groups listening to this by the way, so I guess that analogy breaks down there. If you're in a group right now, first of all, if you're in a group right now just start staring at each other and make each other feel very uncomfortable.

Maika Leibbrandt 23:13

And send us a picture. We want to see these groups.

Jim Collison 23:15

We'd love to see a picture.

Jim Collison 23:16

Thank you, Jim. It means a lot.

Jim Collison 23:18

You bet. We know from the feedback, it means a lot to you too. And whether we get that through a Facebook comment, or we get that through an email, or it shows up on Facebook or Instagram, we we appreciate you guys giving us some feedback. So Maika, thanks for all you do here as well.

Jim Collison 23:32

With that we'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available. I joked in the last one of these about this -- that's kind of the first time I get to say this. Now on Gallup Access -- Actually, as of right now, still not there, it's Thursday, it'll be live this Saturday. And lots of things for you and available for you too as well. The Coaches Blog is moving as well. So what used to be is now, and so lots of resources going on out there. By the way, if you jump out there next week or whenever, and there's something that's missing, let me know. Love to love to see how we're using using things. We built the coaches blog on a platform that didn't migrate as well; we took what we thought we needed as the first swipe. But we'd love to hear from you either through the Facebook group, If you're watching on YouTube, just subscribe to us right there and we'd love to have you join us either live or the recorded channel -- two different channels so you can do that as well. If you -- like how do I join these things live? If that's a question you're asking like right now, well, we'd love to have you. Go to (BRITE) and you can get signed up. Follow us there and you get notified every time I open a new one of these. If you want to join us for some training, we have coaches' training, we've got some high-performance team stuff that's out there, just some great stuff that's available for you. You can join us there, go to, and we will fill out the contact form, we'll get right back to you. Want to thank us -- thank you, the individual, for joining us today. Thanks for coming out -- those in the chat room live and those listening on the podcast player through YouTube. Look forward to these again next week. With that, we'll say Goodbye, everybody.

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