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Maximizer: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Maximizer: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Webcast Details

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

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

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

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, Season 5, recorded on October 10, 2019. Theme Thursday's a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one at a time. And today's theme is Maximizer. If you're joining us live, we'd love to have you join us in our chat room. If you are not and you're listening to the recorded version, you can send us your questions: Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a workplace consultant here with me at Gallup, and Maika, always great to see you on Thursday -- on a Theme Thursday. Welcome back.

Maika Leibbrandt 0:43

Thanks, Jim. I'm thrilled to get to talk about one of your Top 5 today. The CliftonStrengths at the top of your profile, as you know, are the most powerful. These represent your unique makeup of potential -- not just whether you're talented, but how you are talented. And your greatest chance to succeed, at work or anywhere else, is by really unpacking those, understanding them and leveraging them. So if you possess a great deal of Maximizer talent or care about someone who does, today's podcast is for you.

Jim Collison 1:09

I love my Maximizer a lot. I mean, I love Woo -- it's the best theme -- but I love Maximizer a lot. What does it mean to have Maximizer as a top talent theme?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:18

It means that you're attracted to things that are working well, and you add polish and shine to make them even better. This can be about individual or group excellence. You're in your element when you're transforming something good into something great.

Jim Collison 1:31

And what might someone with this dominant theme -- how might they notice this in their life?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:36

You're probably drawn to winning teams. You feel a shared energy when groups -- with groups who are doing really well. You can see ways that a project can be improved, even with when other people already think it's finished. You may have been called a perfectionist but that does not have to have a negative connotation and it might not have have ever described you, but that idea that you can always see a way that something can improve is certainly there. You probably have more energy around things that are working than around things that need fixing. And you might be able to see the strengths of others faster than they can. You can narrow in on what's really great and what's working. And this can be a powerful connection tool. Jim, just as an aside, you have Maximizer. Any other ways that you've noticed it, maybe even before it had a name?

Jim Collison 2:22

Well, you know, we've we've talked about this in prior seasons, but whatever -- this saying, I said, Whatever is worth doing is worth overdoing. And it's always been, you know, we talk a lot about quality. For me, it's a lot about volume or about more, right, doing more of what's great in people. I love that last thing that you said about, you might be able to see the strengths of others faster. I oftentimes recognize those in people before they recognize them. And then I'm really good at taking advantage of them, from how do we use that more in a team setting or how do I how do I give them advice on how to use that more in what they're doing? So, again, for me, it's a "more" -- and this is, I love this because we get an opportunity to kind of talk around these, these things that also could have some blind spots. And we've been talking with the new 34 report, we've been talking a lot about that this season. How might this hold someone back though?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:11

Yeah, it's a powerful 25-page report, that CliftonStrengths 34. If you haven't taken it or seen yours yet, I encourage you to take a look at it. One of the areas that is getting a lot of really positive feedback is this idea of blind spots. They're not a diagnosis or not a scientific guarantee, but it is our responsibility to understand, hey, how could I get in the way of my own greatness? And that's what we're describing with blind spots. With Maximizer specifically, you have more energy to polish and improve things than most people. You can see areas of potential improvement that might even be glaring at you that other people might miss altogether. And because these can keep coming up, even when you don't predict it, it can be challenging for people to meet your expectations. It can come across as you constantly moving the goalpost or adding a mile to the end of the marathon. So plan on it. Don't tell yourself you need to turn it down; just make it part of your plan from the very beginning. Make it part of your plan for yourself and for any potential partners you might be working with. Consider maybe setting different levels of completion to a project. Is there a pilot phase? Is there a "good enough for now" -- a beta test, a first release? Could you factor in time and resources for improvements that you know you will want to make but can't yet predict? Another blind spot for Maximizer could be that you can see opportunities for excellence everywhere. But if you were to execute on all these potential improvements that you see, you would run out of time and resources. So turn your talent on yourself a bit and be picky about what you maximize. Maximize your Maximizer! What do you really want to be known for? Where is the absolute best investment of your time? For something that falls out of boundaries from that ideal investment, either be bold enough to just say no altogether or remove your personal ownership. Realize that some things are OK just being OK.

Jim Collison 5:07

I think you just described Maximizer inception -- when you maximize your Maximizer.

Maika Leibbrandt 5:12

Maximize your Maximizer -- that wasn't even in the notes; just came out.

Jim Collison 5:17

Super great, and I think Maximizer in a team setting is really where it's most powerful. As we think about that, what kind of role does Maximizer play on a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 5:25

So you might be saying that because it's an Influencing theme. And these themes describe talent that thrives when it's rubbing off on others. Maximizer can be a challenger, encouraging people to drive toward bigger, better or more brilliant outcomes. Maximizer can notice hidden potential, either in people or in processes, in projects and deliverables. Give the Maximizer on your team time to get familiar with what's currently happening and freedom to make suggestions on how it could be better. Exposure to your very best or your strongest elements of your team is important for them because it's where they'll find their most fertile ground for ideas and where they'll find the most energy. A Maximizer could be a great final step in creating something. So make it a point to pass your best projects through a Maximizer machine before calling them final.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:18

Let's compare it to some other Influencing themes. First up is Significance. Significance is doing work that others consider to be meaningful and important; Maximizer is doing work that focuses on what's already good and working. Competition and Maximizer: Competition says, I want to be the best and I'm paying attention to other competitors' performance; Maximizer says I want to take something good and make it even better, and I can find ways that we can be the best comparing to where we started. Activator and Maximizer: Activator says, Let's get going; Maximizer says, Let's make this even better. In partnership, Maximizer can quickly and willingly specialize in areas of talent. Imagine the collaboration conversation with a Maximizer. I get to have this all the time because I have a great partner in Jim, who is a Maximizer. And there's not a whole lot of baggage when we say, "Why don't you do this, and I'll do this?" Because that Maximizer voice can say, This is the best investment -- is for both of us to focus on our strengths. A Maximizer in partnership can help you see what you do well and encourage you to do more of it. Thank you, Jim, for that. Can also raise expectations. Good enough is not good enough for a Maximizer who can see a potential for excellence.

Jim Collison 7:39

Maika, the entire Called to Coach series, for me, was a was an exercise in Maximizer. Like, it exists -- I know some people who might say, Woo or Communication. Yeah, we use those, but it really is this attempt to, through communicating, to push more, faster, right? I think it's a it's really an example of how we're using that. How else, when we think about advice on communicating well with Maximizer -- that's the way I did it, how else can it be done?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:05

Get to know what they value the most. People with high Maximizer are probably going to be offering gentle nudges toward improvement often. You should acknowledge that these are in service of something greater, rather than as general criticism. Also be clear when you have a final deadline, and when there might be room for tweaking, because they'll probably always be able to offer a tweak. And it'll work best if there's room for it. Ask them what they're noticing. That's probably a great piece of advice for any Influencing theme. But what potential, specifically, for Maximizer are they most excited about? What do they wish other people were noticing?

Jim Collison 8:41

You're good because I tweak this a lot -- this series -- even as we're in the series, we're constantly tweaking, and I'm like, Hey, we could try this. And you actually do this really, really well, too. When we think about -- and for us, it's motivating. It's inspiring. We get excited about thinking about midstream changes to make things better. What else could inspire or motivate someone with Maximizer?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:03

Well, I should probably finish your thought there, Jim, which is, other people might not get as excited as we do about midstream changes. So if you are the Maximizer, just make it obvious. If you're making a shift that changes the expectation of success, just tell other people. I think other things that might inspire and motivate someone with Maximizer are challenges or projects that lean into the practicality of working from areas of strength. This will click for them; there's an efficiency drive somewhere inside Maximizer that is a delight to realize when you don't spend all your time bringing up -- bringing the negative up to zero, and instead adding to what's already a positive, you invest that energy differently. So maybe it's a project like coaching top performers or like consulting or offering feedback on your best client partnerships or your best projects. You know, Jim, I even think about you and you're drawn to -- now you also have Positivity No. 6, but the kind of energy that I feel from you, when you tell me about good feedback you've given to people you especially admire. You know, that's a brilliant opportunity to say, Look at what's going well and recognize it. Investigating best practices within or outside the organization, learning from top performers -- not just experts, but, you know, people with a proven history of success. Those all might be great investments for Maximizer.

Jim Collison 10:29

Having this high theme and just pushing people or constantly trying to make things better or more, can require a little bit of practice. And so, Maika, what are some things we can do as we practice this talent theme?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:41

So if you've got high Maximizer, spend some serious and real time practicing your own strengths. Dedicate between 5 and 30 minutes a week to one specific theme, and understand what fires that theme up for you. And how can you find a new way to create that fire on purpose? Also, find a way to spend less time fixing what's broken. Is there a problem that you haven't been able to solve? For a Maximizer, the longer you work at it, the more it's probably going to drain you. And if you haven't already found improvements that are going to make it excellent, you're likely getting diminishing improvement at this point. So find a partner who can breathe new energy into it. Or find somebody else you can give it to. Spend time studying excellence. Find someone you admire who defines excellence in your eyes, and follow them if they're alive and on social media, become part of their tribe. If they're not, read about them, really get to know their story -- that kind of investment in understanding that that top level or that the the extreme definition of success speaks well to Maximizer.

Jim Collison 11:47

Yeah, I'll add one more to that is is understand when to push and when to move on. Everything is not ready to be maximized. And so just because it's -- just because you think it's true, and just because you feel like you could do it, the situation may not be ready for it. And so back away, move on, use your talents where they're ready to be used.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:07

Well maybe that comes back to maximize your Maximizer!

Jim Collison 12:11

Maybe, well, its inception. We've been spending a good part of the season at the at the end of the show talking about this idea of talent-mindfulness, not necessarily just around Maximizer but some good opportunities to think about that or focus on that or some of the things we've said here, Maika. As we think about that, what else can we do and lead us through this experience,

Maika Leibbrandt 12:27

So Maximizer lends itself nicely to the study of strength because the theme itself is driven by this practical desire to focus on what's working and make it better. Today's talent-mindfulness is an exercise to help you practice your own talent. And it will take about 3 to 5 minutes. It's different from the rest of our podcast. It's not exclusive to Maximizer theme; it's for you, no matter which of your dominant CliftonStrengths themes float to the top. I invite you to focus on your own experience for a moment. So you can feel free to close your eyes. If that's not comfortable or possible for you, just look down at something unmoving. The goal here is to minimize the distraction and really focus on your own experience. Like you to think about a group that you are a part of. This could be a team, an organization, a family, a community. If you were to introduce this group to someone who knew nothing about them, what would you say that they're best at? What would you promote about this group as being a positive attribute that they should be famous for? Something this group does consistently well.

Maika Leibbrandt 13:56

Now today's challenge is not going to be to unpack what makes this strength so strong; it's to take it a step further. If your group was to "up their game" -- let's say, improve upon that greatest strength by 100%, what are three positive consequences that would happen? Let me ask you that again. If your group was to get 100% better at what they're already good at, what are three positive consequences that would happen? Think through this specifically. If my group was to get 100% better at that thing they're already great at, here's what that would mean. And what else? Good. And what else?

Maika Leibbrandt 14:57

What is the biggest dream you can imagine having for this group? I'm not asking you to commit to 100% improvement. Today, I'm not even going to ask you to enforce 1% improvement. But encouragement is a powerful tool. As you come off this "high" that we're in right now about dreaming about what's possible, I want you to take a specific thing with you that you appreciate about this group. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 15:41

OK, now open your eyes and look at your watch or a clock. Or, if you have to, your phone. I want you to see exactly what time it is right now. Over the next 24 hours, before this exact time tomorrow, I challenge you to turn that appreciation into encouragement. Find at least one other member of this group and tell them out loud what you appreciate about them. We talked about an Influencing theme today. But the truth is, we all have influence. No one is here alone. The effect you have on others is real. So it might as well be positive. Someday your group very well may achieve world-class performance that you just imagined. But they won't do it without encouragement. And that is something you can create today and every day. Thank you for investing a few moments into talent-mindfulness. Jim, welcome back.

Jim Collison 16:48

It's good to be back. I just enjoy sitting behind the scenes, watching you do that. If you haven't watched just on the YouTube video, it's kind of fun. I just focus on Maika while we're doing this, and I hope, you know, I've heard from a few skeptical folks on this. And I was a little skeptical at first too, when we first started doing this. And Maika was like, Hey, I want to try this new thing and I'm like, This is kind of weird! And I've really kind of come to enjoy it and a great opportunity especially as a Maximizer to kind of think about how can I take advantage of these times more and learn from them as well, since we just had Learner.

Jim Collison 17:24

With that we'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available on -- now and Gallup Access; head out to -- that's available for you out there as well. If you have questions or comments after the fact, send us an email: You can catch all the recorded audio and video of all of this program plus all the past ones, available on our YouTube channel. Just search CliftonStrengths on YouTube and you'll find our channel. We have a Gallup Live Webcasts channel as well; that's all the live stuff. So if you want to see pre-, post-, and all the fun that we have in those shows, you can get them done on YouTube as well. Any podcast player -- if you haven't started doing that, started listening to podcasts, let me encourage you to do that. Android, iPhone available for you. Just search Gallup Webcasts and you can find Called to Coach, Theme Thursday and everything else that we do here at Gallup. If you're interested in becoming a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach or really get any training that we make available out there for you publicly, check it out on our courses page: is the right place to go. If you want to join us live, and it's more fun live, I think, to join us, head out to our eventbrite page: All these are actually listed in our show notes, by the way. So if you're like, Oh, are you writing this down? Actually we're transcribing it now for you, available in our show notes: if you want to look them up there, we have a special webcast page now where you can see them all available for you. Join us in our Facebook group: And I love the conversation that's going on there as well. I want to thank you for joining us today. If you're listening live, stay around for a little bit of a postshow. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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