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Significance: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Significance: Highlights From Your CliftonStrengths 34

Webcast Details

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

Join Jim Collison and Maika Leibbrandt as they talk about your Significance 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 31, 2019.

Jim Collison 0:22

Theme Thursday's a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one theme at a time, and today's is Significance. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. There's a link above the live video window and it's right up there. That'll help you get into the YouTube page and sign in the chat. Join us there. If it's after the fact, you can send us an email with your questions: Maika Leibbrandt is our host today. She's a workplace consultant here at Gallup with me. Maika, always great to see you on Theme Thursday. Welcome back.

Maika Leibbrandt 0:48

Thanks, Jim. Gosh, it's great to be here today. You know, those CliftonStrengths at the top of your profile really are the most powerful. These represent your unique makeup of potential -- not just whether or not you're talented, but how you are talented. And your greatest chance to succeed, whether that's at work, in life, in your community, really lies in understanding what you naturally do best so you can do more of it. If you possess a great deal of Significance talent or care about someone who does, today's podcast is for you.

Jim Collison 1:17

All right, let's get started. What does it mean to have significant -- Significance as one of my top talent themes?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:22

It means that you think big, and you want your impact on the world to match. You have a desire to do meaningful work and you define that meaning outside of yourself sort of externally. It's this drive toward creating or influencing people in a way that makes an obvious difference for them.

Jim Collison 1:39

I won't lie. I have people ask me this sometimes, because some of the things I do match that definition -- it's the middle for me, so -- but how might people with this dominant Significance notice this in their life?

Maika Leibbrandt 1:51

It means that you're aware of your audience. So you probably know someone or some group of people who is always listening or noticing what you're doing and you're driven to understand what they're thinking; you're curious about how your message is being received and maybe even how they're interacting with you. If you've got high Significance, it's likely that feedback matters to you; that it fuels your performance and inspires you to do even better work. Now, sometimes this feedback might need to be in the form of recognition. But again, the main drive isn't for the recognition itself. It's for that "check-in" with someone other than you -- somebody outside yourself -- so that you can align to what is most meaningful for the people that you're serving. You might have a specific style or a personal brand that other people identify as uniquely you. You're you're attracted to excellence; you notice it in others; and you like to surround yourself with the very best. You sense when you're in the spotlight. And that sort of sense is exciting to you. You you enjoy the challenge to lead or to influence. And it's probably true that you can quickly spot opportunities that will make a difference in the lives of others. Now others might see just a big project, but you probably see aspects of that project that will be most meaningful or most memorable to other people.

Jim Collison 3:09

We have been looking at the All 34 report this year, and part of the new section that's in there is on blind spots. And so how might people with Significance get held back a little bit from excellence with this theme?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:20

So these blind spots aren't a diagnosis; they aren't even, you know, scientifically guaranteed that you'll ever experience them. But it is important that we discuss them and we understand how our themes show up among other people who don't have them. So with blind spots, we're answering really that question of, What do you need to get out of the way in order for your Significance, in this case, to really be the best it can be? One of the first blind spots is just based on the fact that Significance is not among the most frequently occurring themes in people's Top 5. And so it's not that common to be so driven by other people's perception of you. That kind of desire to be relevant, to make a meaningful difference, it could be misinterpreted or misunderstood by the more internally motivated people around you. They could see it as being wrong at the very worst or, or even just self-focused.

Maika Leibbrandt 4:13

So in order to get around that, or at least just clarify it for folks, I think it's important to speak about the kind of mission that you want to stand for. Name your values, name the difference that you hope to make. And when you notice your work having a positive effect on others, celebrate that effect. I also really love this specifically worded blind spot that I pulled directly from our CliftonStrengths 34 source data. It says, sometimes you might mask your vulnerability or come across as overly controlled. And this can make it difficult for others to know how to support you. Consider the value of making others feel important by letting them know when you need help. That's verbatim from the from our source data.

Maika Leibbrandt 4:57

I also added this piece to it. I think it means to name what you don't want to be known for. And this isn't something negative, like I don't want to be known for disappointing people, but name those specialties outside your best talent that you're not going to invest further in. It might be something like, You know what, I will always bring a bag of cookies, but I'm never going to bake them myself. Or I'm never going to be excellent at understanding invitations that I need to send across time zones. Whatever it is, get comfortable with it and then ask other people to help and let them "wow" you.

Jim Collison 5:33

Maika, in previous seasons. I've talked about the "me" and the "we" versions of these themes. In other words, some of them tend to lean towards individual performance; some of them is how we interact in with groups. And yet we know across all themes, they can do it regardless, whether it's individual or teams. How might Significance, which seems about the person, right -- the person in this role and how they feel about themselves -- how can that role play on a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 5:58

Interesting. I would even say, in several situations where I've coached people with Significance, it's not necessarily that they want to be seen as important or meaningful, but that they translate that kind of importance to the team that they represent. They want their team to make a big difference. And that's certainly valid and part of the definition of the theme itself. Let's dive a little bit farther into what what kind of a role Significance plays on the team. It falls into that Influencing domain, and the Influencing themes really describe the kind of talent that thrives when it's inspiring or affecting others. So on a team, Significance serves, I think, to elevate the focus of the group -- always looking for ways that you can make a deeper or even a broader impact.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:42

Significance is not usually one to shy away from feedback. And so that can keep your team's work relevant in the marketplace. They can, they can help aim for goals that stretch the impact of your work. Instead of just saying, hey, let's develop an app because it's cool. Somebody with Significance might say, You know what? Most of our customers use this specific kind of app. So let's make ours better than this one. Or instead of saying, I want to get in shape, so I want to learn to run, somebody with Significance is going to elevate the impact by saying, Let's not just run; let's run in a popular community 5K and raise money for a local charity while we do it.

Maika Leibbrandt 7:21

Significance is going to help the group understand how they show up in the world, stay in contact with their customers and be an internal observer -- somebody who sort of has that radar into not just what is being said, but how is it being heard? Let's compare Significance to a couple other Influencing themes. I think it's important not just to classify it, as you know, one of those 4 quadrants of leadership, but really to say how is this different from some of the other Influencing themes as well? First of all, Significance and Self-Assurance. Significance is better with an audience. Self-Assurance is better when they're tuned in to their own gut. Competition: Competition says I want to win. And I want to know that we won as -- that our win was earned among people who also cared about winning. Significance might say, I want us to win if winning is going to help us make a difference that sticks with other people.

Maika Leibbrandt 8:20

Other -- another pair that I think looks very similar in terms of how they can prune and and sort and really focus is Significance and Maximizer. So Maximizer -- Jim, this might even be, as you mentioned, when people ask if you have Significance, it might be your combination of Maximizer plus mission looking a little bit like Significance. Maximizer takes something good and turns it into something better. Significance focuses on something that's going to be seen as good and meaningful to others. So they're both sorting. They're both offering, I think, insightful consultation on where to best invest your energy for the greatest return. They just define "great return" slightly differently.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:01

In a partnership, Significance can help you know who your most important stakeholders are, who your most perhaps influential audience members are. They can offer tweaks that are going to make your work more memorable or more meaningful in the eyes of others. They can help you also narrow your focus toward what's truly going to make a difference.

Jim Collison 9:20

Yeah, it's a great point, Maika, maybe we can talk a little bit more about it in the in the mid-show, just about how that actually plays out because I have some ideas around that. Any clues or advice on communicating well with Significance?

Maika Leibbrandt 9:31

I think honor their awareness of other people's perceptions. I'm not going to dance around the fact that Significance is the the theme out of all 34 I get the most pushback from -- even from people who have Significance. And we went to great lengths to really study what are the talent themes, you know, within this, this theme and how do we help people understand them in a way that isn't first met with a little bit of, I think, almost embarrassment that it sounds like it's self-absorbed. Even when people read this and their original report, they didn't want to own it more than any of the other themes.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:03

I would just say anecdotally, in my experience as a coach, it is the one that people sort of shy away from or don't think is one that they want other people to know that they have. I think it's important to dive into where that comes from. And remember that Don Clifton has Significance in his Top 5, and that's probably what drove him to do some really meaningful work. I think if you're going to communicate really well with Significance, it has to start from a desire and a curiosity to see what's great about that. Significance is not self-serving, it really is others-focused.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:35

So if you're talking to somebody with high Significance, ask them who they're working with and what they love about them. People with high Significance have a really strong connection to the perceptions of others so they can be great at making sure they're staying connected. Also, offer them feedback. Ask how they would most like to receive that kind of feedback, and let them know what you're noticing. Let them know what you're learning about them. Be that "open line" into the impact that they're having on you. Really help them understand what the what the splash is that they're having in the world. They crave that.

Maika Leibbrandt 11:09

Celebrate their milestones. Recognition is important to them, but I think what's more important is the acknowledgment that their work is being absorbed and, and that other people are benefiting from it. So you can do that by celebrating milestones. They are going to matter to the people with Significance, but celebrating is important to everyone. And you're going to get -- if you read a little bit of Dipper and Bucket -- some of that positive splashback yourself.

Jim Collison 11:33

I think that pushback is a good sign from them that it's there.

Maika Leibbrandt 11:37


Jim Collison 11:38

And so, you know, and as coaches, I think, you know, you mentioned, Don had Significance. And I think if we kind of looked back historically, if we could, we may find that really important events have happened, have been pushed forward, have been made a reality because people with high Significance push those things forward. So as we think about we want to continue to work with them and motivate them and and get them going forward on this. How might we inspire or motivate somebody with high Significance, Maika?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:07

Opportunities to do work that is really closely tied to the end user. How close can you get to your client, your student or your community? I also think that social media these days makes that even easier. So breaking down those walls between what you're doing and the people who are absorbing it is going to be important to someone with Significance. Also the chance to be creative, the chance to add a personal flair to what's being done. You don't have to be original to be memorable. You just have to be connected. So people with high Significance can see creative ways to create this kind of external connection.

Jim Collison 12:43

And what with what can people do with Significance to practice this talent every day?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:48

So know that you're, you're driven not just to do, but to really take on excellence. Streamline this desire by really staying focused on what your most important priorities are. You can do this right now! If you're listening right now and you have Significance, look at what you have going on over the next 10 days and name the single most important thing that you can accomplish. Be sure to include a note of who's counting on you to accomplish it, if you need that extra boost of energy toward that goal.

Maika Leibbrandt 13:19

Spend some time imagining the future. Ask yourself what kind of a legacy you'd like to leave. Find people who can talk about possibility with you and make "futurecasting" a regular practice. The last thing I'd say to practice is, find one more way that you can keep in touch with your most important stakeholders. Maybe it's adding contact through any kind of social opportunity. Maybe it's just reaching out and asking a trusted adviser to challenge you.

Jim Collison 13:49

Maika, a word that you said -- I think it's important, I'll say it again because you pixelated a little bit on that word -- is "futurecasting." Spending some time "futurecasting." I think that's really, really, really important with Significance that we get -- and it's kind of that that combination of vision, hope and direction all kind of wrapped into one to get people moving forward. We need that, right? So as you get that pushback -- again, it's been mentioned in the chat room a couple times -- as you get that pushback, fight that off a little bit. And and really pump into them that we need that theme just like we need the other 33 that exist.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:25


Jim Collison 14:26

So speaking of practice, we've been doing a new segment during Theme Thursday this season, talking a little about talent-mindfulness. What can we do? What do you have set for us today?

Maika Leibbrandt 14:36

I really like this one. You'll notice -- maybe, maybe you'll notice, or at least for me in my high Connectedness, this was a pretty meaningful one for me, and it ties back to that word futurecasting. If you can figure that out, you can send me a direct message about it. Really, talent-mindfulness is is a clean space of exploration for you. Aside from figuring out a specific theme of our week, aside from thinking about what do I do with this? The next 3 to 5 minutes are just meant for you to think.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:05

Now, I'm aware that this might be too fast or too imaginary for some people. But the more you practice, the better you're going to get at being able to pay attention to your own talent in the moment. It might take time. Feel free to come back and play back this recording with a pen or a paper or a computer until you get the hang of just really being present and thinking. Let's do this, we're gonna spend the next 3 to 5 minutes just exploring your own perception of your world through your lens of talent.

Maika Leibbrandt 15:34

Take a deep breath in through your nose and fill your lungs with that fresh air; kind of hold it at the top. And then release that breath through your lips, let it go; maybe an audible exhale. As you continue to breathe normally, you're in a clean space. And I just want you to think. You don't have to tell anyone what you're about to think about; this is a space for you.

Maika Leibbrandt 16:02

Imagine someone in your life who's had a significant and positive impact on you. This might be someone you know personally. Maybe it's someone that has affected you from afar. You don't have to pick the one who's had the most effect, but just think about somebody who's been significant in your life. See this person in your mind. Imagine they're here in the room with you. If there's an empty chair around you, or maybe you're driving to work, maybe they're sitting in the passenger side. Feel their presence with you. ...

Maika Leibbrandt 16:44

What's something you admire about this person? ... What's something they do better than others? ... How would you describe the talent of theirs that they have shared or offered with you? ... How are you different because of this person? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 17:27

It takes a lot of investment to have this kind of impact on another human being. You have huge talent inside of you, and that kind of huge potential to positively affect someone else. Now, it's not likely that your talent is exactly the same as the person you're imagining in the room with you right now. Chances are, you have something very different to offer, and you might offer it in a different way. Now, not only is that OK, that is necessary. But you can learn from this person. So let's keep thinking a little bit and try and do just that.

Maika Leibbrandt 18:06

How did this person offer you the best of themselves? ... What really worked or is working about this relationship? ... I'm not going to challenge you to take this whole thing full circle and turn it inside out and design an action right now. I want to keep the focus on what you're learning from someone who's had a meaningful impact on you just by doing the practice of reflection. So what is something that you're noticing right now about this person -- something you want to think a little bit more about? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 18:57

What is something you're admiring about them? ... Because this person was bold, courageous or simply generous with their talent, how is your world slightly better? ... If right now you're feeling a pull of energy toward doing something, an idea, an action that you need to take, all I ask is that you do it today. That's your talent-mindfulness.

Jim Collison 19:43

That's pretty great. Jim Ball says, "Amazing exercise in the chat room, Maika!" Good work. Good work.

Jim Collison 19:50

Well with that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available at the Gall -- it's gonna take me a while to get, to get past that -- on Gallup Access. Just and send us your questions or comments. If you want to send us an email: is really the best way to get those emails in to us. You can catch the recorded audio and video of this show as well as the past ones make we make them available on our YouTube channel. Just go to and you can search for CliftonStrengths, one great way to do it. If you want to catch the live versions, you can catch those at Gallup Webcasts Live on YouTube available. Any podcast player, just search Gallup Webcasts -- you can find those, we're available for you with 7 different podcasts available for you. If you're interested -- if you're interested (I can't talk today!) -- if you're interested in any training associated with anything that we do, you can get access to that off our courses page. Just go to, or you can fill in the contact form on the live page and you can get that done as well. If you'd like to sign up for the live webcast, you can do that at Gallup. Maika, I don't know what's wrong with me today. -- I'm out. I don't know what, I don't know what's wrong with me -- [].

Maika Leibbrandt 20:59

Start that -- wait! Go back and start that whole sentence.

Jim Collison 21:02

No. It doesn't ...

Maika Leibbrandt 21:03

If you want ... Should we just end?

Jim Collison 21:05

No. Join us on Facebook: Want to thank you for joining us today. We appreciate it. Stay around for the mid-show. Let's get out of here. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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