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CliftonStrengths Arranger Theme: Teams and Managers

CliftonStrengths Arranger Theme: Teams and Managers

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 6, Arranger
  • "Strong themes, stronger teams": Learn how your team can own its Arranger talents and become stronger, resulting in improved performance, organic growth and better wellbeing.
  • Interested in learning more on this topic? Read more about how to improve teamwork in the workplace.

We discover how the Arranger talent theme relates to your manager and your team in this Season 6 episode of Theme Thursday. When we improve teams through owning our CliftonStrengths, we improve performance. When we improve performance, that's how we get to the kind of organic growth that allows us to have stronger economies, a stronger world and better wellbeing. And great managers hold the key: As they move from boss to coach, they help team members understand who they are already and hold them accountable for being even better, maximizing the team's engagement and impact. You might even be a manager in ways you never thought of! So join Jim Collison and Maika Leibbrandt for Season 6, as we focus on teams and managers -- including a new talent-mindfulness challenge at the end of each webcast. Strong themes, stronger teams.

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

We've created the ultimate guide to improving teamwork in the workplace!

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 6 -- have to have two hands now -- recorded on January 23, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:22

Theme Thursday is a Gallup webcast series that dives deep into the CliftonStrengths themes, one theme at a time -- this season based on developing teams and managers with CliftonStrengths -- and today's theme is Arranger. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. There's a link right above the video window off our live page there. It will take you to YouTube and chat room is there. If you're listening after the fact or have questions about anything, you can send us an email: And don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app. We have this available as a podcast or you can find us on YouTube as well. If you're watching us on YouTube, click the subscription button down below. 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. And welcome back.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:01

Thanks, Jim. Great to be here. You know, this season we're exploring every theme through the lens of a team. And we know from our studies in leadership that strong teams have 5 things going for them. We're going to use these 5 Truths of Strong Teams as a jumping point today to get into the detail of every CliftonStrengths theme throughout the season, domain by domain. So we're going alphabetical within domains, and right now, we're at No. 2 within the Executing Domain. So instead of Achiever, which we just wrapped, and you can catch that, today, we're focusing on Arranger.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:31

They're both about doing, but they bring different flavors of hard work to a team. Achiever spots opportunities to work hard toward completion; Arranger spots practical tweaks -- little changes that can improve how we work hard. There's so much more to uncover about Arranger; that was just a tiny little taste of what you have in store, especially when you think about how does it play out across these 5 Truths of a Team. So let's get started.

Maika Leibbrandt 1:57

The Arranger definition -- the short one that you'll find on our CliftonStrengths Quick Reference Guide, or if you're looking at your CliftonStrengths 34 report, this is the short version that you find summarized toward the end of that report. It says you can organize, but you also have a flexibility that complements this ability. You like to determine how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.

Jim Collison 2:21

So let's get started with that No. 1. What is -- what's the No. 1?

Maika Leibbrandt 2:24

The first truth is, "Conflict doesn't destroy strong teams because strong teams focus on results."

Jim Collison 2:30

Yeah, this is a really important point in this, this, this No. 1 as we think about the conflict not destroying teams, because it can often draw out clarity in that. So when we think about focusing on results, what does that mean with Arranger?

Maika Leibbrandt 2:45

So with Arranger, it's the efficiency of the effect that really matters. They probably do best when being held accountable for multiple results at once. Just this morning, I was listening to Season 1 [Arranger] of Theme Thursday, which, if you haven't, you should really consider going back to. Especially think about, you may be listening to every season of your own Top 5 or Top 10. It's Curt Liesveld interviewing my friend Mara. And they both talk about -- they use this word "multiplicity" in describing Arranger, and that just really, I think, hit me in a different way than it had previously as that ability to organize and hold in, in high regard a lot of different important things that need to be done or important execution goals. So when we think about what does that mean to focus on results for Arranger, they're going to see not just the results that are important to them, but the components that really need to work in order for the whole result to be accomplished.

Jim Collison 3:42

Yeah, just full transparency: Arranger is No. 1 for me. So Maika just is talking about me. And so when we think about how Arranger -- when we think about Arranger tracking progress, how do they do that; what, what results might matter most?

Maika Leibbrandt 3:56

Think about identifying tasks or contributors that influence overall results. Again, it's that idea of being able to have -- be in touch with all the components. They might partner really well with an Achiever, if they're able to say, Hey, this is what we want to do; this is your goal you have. And if we want to get there, we first need this component to go right. I think shared results really matter to an Arranger. They like to understand the influence that the individual inputs have on the overall output.

Maika Leibbrandt 4:27

Wasn't that good? Let me say that again. Because it's just a phenomenal sentence. Arrangers like to understand the influence individual inputs have on the overall output. So it might be important for people to share goals on their team -- if you've got an Arranger on your team -- understanding what's important to the colleagues that they're working with. Maybe -- I did this with my favorite Arranger partner, who happens to be seated right over here -- we thought about, Hey, what are our individual goals and which of those should we duplicate so that we both are caring about them and working toward them?

Maika Leibbrandt 5:00

Your Arranger is going to understand how our team's progress connects to the organization's overall accomplishments, even if they don't realize they're understanding that out loud. You might need to dig out that that clarity, but know that it is there because it's, it's what they're thinking about even when they're not trying to think.

Jim Collison 5:15

Maika, Ralph asks a great question: Is Arranger always about productivity? Or does that change, depending on theme dynamics? And it's really, really interesting because, for me, I am all Influencing except here in Arranger. And so I can see how that strong Influencing tendency that I have does bleed into that. So a lot of sometimes the motivation to get things done, for me, because that's -- Arranger helps me get things done, is around getting them done in an influential way. So creating more podcasts, finding more efficient ways for people to sign up and follow us, to putting technology solutions together that work to get crowds moving forward, right. And so that productivity is part of the influence and part of the theme dynamics piece. Anything else you'd add to that?

Maika Leibbrandt 6:02

Theme dynamics -- the right answer is theme dynamics always changes a theme. Always. And by "theme dynamics" -- if you're new to this -- we mean that it's the interplay of the power of, you know, more than one theme together, realizing that no individual is any one theme; that we're complex. But it's that much more important, then, that we really do understand the definition of the theme itself, so that we can know what kind of colors we're mixing.

Maika Leibbrandt 6:24

So Arranger is about productivity. The lens that it has on productivity might be slightly different from some of those other productivity-focused Executing themes. So I think about, Jim, working with you and knowing if I took away your Arranger, it'd be pretty obvious that I was taking away an Executing theme. Because you and I -- I don't have any Executing talent; I think I have Belief at No. 10. But it doesn't really look like Executing. You always stretch me farther to say, What are we measuring? What are we doing? What did we accomplish? Anytime that we check in with each other about how are things going, there's always at least one thing you bring up that is about some kind of measure of progress. And I would attribute that to the Arranger piece really driving toward the practical realities of productivity, not the sort of dreamy "What could we do? What should we think about?" Or "Who could this influence? or Who can we do it with?" But sort of, "What's right here in front of me? And how can I tinker with it to make sure that it's humming a little bit better, so that we can get more done."

Jim Collison 7:26

Kelly makes a nice transition for us. She says, "Not bothered by chaos ... opportunity to turn into productivity." And so as we think about No. 2, what is that, Maika?

Maika Leibbrandt 7:34

It's "Strong teams prioritize what's best for the organization and then move forward."

Jim Collison 7:39

So how does someone with Arranger then focus on a larger goal or purpose other than their own? Because that's really what teams are all about, right?

Maika Leibbrandt 7:46

Yeah. It might be important for them to understand the different players on the team. Understand what are the strengths of the other people you're working with? What are their responsibilities? Also make sure that you're helping them consider what the organization's goals are, or what the organization's purpose is. Then, what the key contributors toward those goals might be, and how they can understand not just the ingredients, but the mixing. So it's not just, What are the components? But really, How do they come together?

Jim Collison 8:15

And then, What inspires someone with Arranger to take action?

Maika Leibbrandt 8:19

Having a say in how things are configured; exposure to the inputs or the components. If I'm in charge of, say, teaching a class that's being held in a hotel, and I have high Arranger, I'm probably going to feel more prepared if I've explored where the material is coming from; what is the room like? How are my students arriving? What food is being served? Even just playing through that ability to understand this is what, what we're dealing with will "up your game" in thinking about How can I make those components hum together a little bit more? If you've got somebody with high Arranger on your team, and you're trying to inspire them, offer them a field trip -- either physical or intellectual -- to other parts of the organization that they rely upon or other parts that rely on them.

Jim Collison 9:05

I don't think I realized this was a part of my Arranger talent until you just said this; that, like, when I go to a new city, the first thing I do is survey and find all the parts. So like, Where are things located? Where are they at? How I'm going to get there -- and not for trivia, not for input, but for productivity. So then I know like, OK, so tomorrow, or whatever, when I need to go somewhere, I can get there most efficiently; I can, I know where it's at; I can know the place. And so that's kind of a new thought for me. I didn't know that was coming from Arranger; that's pretty cool.

Maika Leibbrandt 9:34

What I love -- the Arranger piece that I love about that -- is you put yourself in the center of that orchestrating. It wasn't, Hey, in the morning when I need to be to this new place, I'll let Siri tell me how to get there. It's that, No, I'm going to feel more productive because I know from my core that my ability to arrange is even more natural than artificial intelligence could be.

Jim Collison 9:54

No. 3 is "Members of strong teams are as committed to their personal lives as they are to their work."

Jim Collison 9:54

Well, and it also helps me with teams. When I, right, I lead by influence. And so I want to be the smartest guy in the room, so that when people have questions, I can say, Do this, go here, go do that. And they're like, Haven't you just been here a few hours? And I'm like, I know, but I've studied the whole place, right? And so interesting the way that works out. OK, what about No. 3?

Jim Collison 10:19

So when we think about Arranger showing up in someone's personal life, like, you know, wait a minute, aren't we talking about business here?

Maika Leibbrandt 10:27

I know, it's crazy, right? I think it's important to -- when we say personal life, yeah, the entry point for that is thinking about what do you do when you're not on the clock or not at work, and what does it look like there? But it's also realizing business is personal; that we're not rational creatures, we're emotional ones. So if we're going to get to stronger teams, we have to acknowledge that those are full of human beings.

Maika Leibbrandt 10:49

So think about how Arranger might show up in someone's personal life. It might seem like they always have a lot going on. They might be called "busy." They probably thrive on a certain amount of diversity, when it comes to their personal endeavors. Yes, Jim, I was thinking about what you like to watch on YouTube in your free time, and how to me it seems totally eclectic to be interested in watching somebody cut their lawn! But to you, or to someone with Arranger, they can see the connections. So it might look in their personal life like they've got just, you know, coals in a whole bunch of different fires. But to that person with Arranger, they can see those connections and see how it is, you know, one big piece and one big picture.

Jim Collison 11:29

How, what kind of questions could a manager ask -- knowing these may be personal connections, right -- for someone who has Arranger?

Maika Leibbrandt 11:38

What about, How are you arranging your weekend or your trip? Or even how are you arranging your day? What are you orchestrating for your family or your community? What are the most important things that you're juggling? What's something that seems out of place but you know just needs a better fit?

Jim Collison 11:55

Mike McDonald, who we've had on -- he did the Q12 for Coaches series with me here on YouTube. And so, he always asks me; he comes in the office, he's like, I need to borrow your Arranger for a time, right? And he's not my manager; he's a coworker. But it's a great opportunity, right? He knows that; he knows me. And he's like, I need to borrow this. Let's think, you know, let's start thinking through these. So, all right, what about No. 4?

Maika Leibbrandt 12:17

What a great shorthand to say, I honor you. I respect you. And I'm not going to expect you to do anything about this later.

Jim Collison 12:26


Maika Leibbrandt 12:27

Shout-out to Mike McDonald.

Jim Collison 12:28

He's a great guy.

Maika Leibbrandt 12:29

So No. 4 is that "Strong teams embrace diversity." There's a great quote from Strengths Based Leadership, where we took these 5 truths, that says, "Having a team composed of individuals who look at issues similarly, who've been the product of comparable backgrounds, and who have experiences with similar track records or approaches is not a sound basis for success." So we know diversity is bigger than just difference in CliftonStrengths themes. We're using this as a jumping-off point to talk about what is special and unique and different about this one theme that will show up within a team?

Jim Collison 13:02

So how can we see someone through their Arranger talent beyond the descriptors, right? What is it that they naturally bring to a team?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:10

They have an ability to sort through the big picture and quickly identifying the moving pieces; an uncanny knack, I'd say for making a tweak that improves the end result without upsetting the whole picture.

Jim Collison 13:23

And how might they change the perspective of a team? What kind of unique perspective can they bring?

Maika Leibbrandt 13:29

They're better when -- Arrangers are better when there are multiple pressures, instead of just one kind of focused pressure. They can manage a group of stakeholders because of that, and really, I think help the team navigate toward what's most urgent and most important. They also bring a courage to change. Arranger initiates necessary change, rather than sort of waiting and reacting to it was another great nugget I took from Season 1, when Curt was describing the difference between Arranger and Adaptability. Whereas Adaptability is more about the presence and the ability to react with grace, Arranger is about that sort of taking control and saying, We need to make some of these changes, and here's how we can do it.

Jim Collison 14:13

So every season, I kind of pick a favorite section, and this is going to be mine. Like No. 5.

Maika Leibbrandt 14:17

I love how quickly you know what your favorites are. Maybe that's an Arranger too, like that, that component. That rocks! No. 5 is "Strong teams are magnets for talent." Another way to spot a strong team is to look for the teams that everyone wants to be on.

Jim Collison 14:33

Yeah, what are those things that will be attracted to Arranger in that?

Maika Leibbrandt 14:36

Yeah, so um, I think the parts of Arranger that are going to attract to other people: They make excellent producers, organizers and operators. Think of someone who can take in a lot of input all at once and not be thrown by that -- what some other people might call call "chaos." But they can take it all in and sort of put it, put it all back out into the universe in a way that's more put together. They might attract people who need a connector relationally; who need someone who can fidget and tweak and make adjustments that matter -- adjustments that we know need to happen but that other people are not noticing.

Jim Collison 15:14

It's almost like managing a chat room while you're trying to do a podcast and speaking, right? I mean, it -- Facebook is going on, all these things are happening. How might you describe the gift Arranger brings to a team that others would want more of?

Maika Leibbrandt 15:27

I think it's a powerful combination of opinion and operation. So Arrangers can usually describe the insights they have for improvement. And the reason they can do that is because those insights tend to be focused on practical realities. They can also do the Executing, the juggling multiple projects and assignments. They can make an excellent calming partner, because they can see how the pieces fit together, even when other people can't -- and not in the same way that, say, someone with Connectedness can calm you down and say, "OK, there's a bigger plan. It's all right." They don't do it through mystery. Arranger does it through, through tangible, objective ability to say, "Here's what matters. Here's how it fits." And so I think that's -- that can be a really powerful piece that people are magnetically drawn to.

Jim Collison 16:21

This season at the end, we're talking about these -- kind of this wrap-up of it, Maika, so -- What are these 5 again? Kind of just work us through them.

Maika Leibbrandt 16:27

Sure. We'll get to a point in the season where you don't need me to wrap these every single time. But I think it's important to keep them top of mind. It's 1) Results, not conflict; 2) What's best for the organization and then move forward; 3) Work plus personal lives; they're both important; 4) Embrace diversity; 5) Magnets for talent.

Maika Leibbrandt 16:47

So think about maybe what those 5 mean for you; what they mean for a team that you are a part of; how you might use those as even describing sort of current state and future state of a team that you're a part of. And most importantly, how are you going to take a look at the DNA of your team -- the, the makeup of your team? Do you have people who are defaulting to Executing like we're talking about right now? Do you have a mixture of people who really are kind of across the board, we think about those leadership domains. The question I hope you're answering is, How do we honor the talent that we already have here, in order to get to what we know builds a stronger team?

Jim Collison 17:23

Yeah, no, that's great. Let's jump right into our talent-mindfulness exercise for today.

Maika Leibbrandt 17:28

Great. Let's take a purposeful break from what we're just learning and absorbing, and how we're going to focus now on our own talent. So the reason we do talent-mindfulness is to really focus on yourself and give you an opportunity to practice. So right now, wherever you are, as long as you're not driving a car, I invite you to just physically stretch. Let's mark the next 3 to 5 minutes as different from the last by doing something physically different than what you've done. If you can, stand up. I'm not going because I've got a lot of, like, wires happening here.

Maika Leibbrandt 18:03

But if you can, go ahead and stand up; otherwise, start with your right hand and point it down into the low diagonal. Really think about pointing your hand to about -- if you are a clock and 12:00 is straight up and 6:00 is straight down, put your fingers to about 4:30. And tilt your your right hand, do that. Tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder. So you're sort of stretching away from your fingers. Feel that stretch reaching past the ends of your fingers.

Maika Leibbrandt 18:34

Now leaving your head tilted, I want you to draw your fingers up in a curve. So you go to about 3:00, 2:00; again, straight up toward the ceiling is 12:00. And then let that hand continue on over to match right above where your head is. And stretch again past the ends of your fingers. All right, relax. Let that hand go back down. We're going to do the same thing on the other side. I'll guide you through it, but you probably don't need me to by this point.

Maika Leibbrandt 19:00

This time, if you're that same clock, your left hand now is down at about 7:30. And you're going to stretch real far just past the end of your fingers while you lean your right ear toward your right shoulder. Feel that stretch in your neck; stretch your fingers past your fingertips. And let's trace another curve just out to 9:00; 10, 11, 12:00 is straight up and a little bit over to match your fingers above the top of your head. And then retrace it and relax. Release the stretch; bring your head back to the center. And take a breath in.

Maika Leibbrandt 19:39

Release that breath. We're going to do some creative thinking. This will be about yourself, and probably different from the rest of your day. So thank you for doing that slight physical punctuation to separate this exercise from where you were before. If you want, you might find it's helpful to close your eyes, but if that's not something that's available to you right now, just look at something that isn't going to distract you.

Maika Leibbrandt 20:04

If you haven't heard it yet from me, chances are this is probably your first time listening to our podcast, because I am a loud and frequent proponent of removing things -- doing less but doing better; not being all things to all people; not having all the things in your grasp; decluttering both in the physical space as well as in the promises you make to other people. Today, we're going to challenge that a little bit.

Maika Leibbrandt 20:33

So there's a beautiful multiplicity to Arranger, but we can all learn from this, with or without that specific talent theme. I'd like you to think about something additional that improves your day. Today, instead of peeling away and focusing on just one thing, let's expand the focus to the periphery; to the accessories. What are the artifacts, practices or the experiences in the in-between of your priorities that bring you joy? Now, think about it this way: If your to-do list is full of deliverables, and those deliverables are scoops of ice cream, what would be the hot fudge, the sprinkles, the whipped cream that you might add to that ice cream? The little touches that you don't write down; you don't remind yourself to do; but that somehow you make the effort that when you give as a person are more enjoyable as a human when they're there.

Maika Leibbrandt 21:44

If you need a little bit of a jog on your ideation here, to help you get this in mind, think about a short moment when you experienced joy yesterday. What's something that happened in less than 5 minutes that made you smile ... or sigh ... or just stop and think? ...

Maika Leibbrandt 22:15

There is great power in removing things from our calendars. There is importance in narrowing and limiting the promises that we make so that we're offering only the very best of ourselves. And there's also a very real and urgent need that I want you to answer today: What can you add to your day that will help you enjoy those moments of just a little bit more? Maybe it's music. Maybe it's meditation. Maybe it's a walk or a run or an ice cream sundae.

Maika Leibbrandt 22:58

Your talent is potent. Your moments are precious. Find something small and easy that you can add that helps you remember both. And then revel in the delicious multiplicity of being a talented human. That's your talent-mindfulness for today.

Jim Collison 23:27

I choose ice cream sundae. That is my choice. Thanks for hanging out with us today. With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available now on Gallup Access. Easiest way to get there is That -- actually, if you sign in through that link, it'll take you right to the main strengths dashboard. That's kind of -- we made it easy for you that way. There, at the CliftonStrengths page, we post full transcripts with streaming audio and video plus the past episodes. Again, visit We have a lot of resources available for you there. While you're there, sign up for the new CliftonStrengths Community Newsletter -- monthly updates from everything that's going on in the community. If you're a reader, and you like it that way, you can sign up; we'll send it to you in your email box every single week. You can also search for "CliftonStrengths" on YouTube and you'll see we have a couple channels out there. You can subscribe there or on your favorite podcast platform -- say that 10 times fast -- just search Gallup Webcasts and we'd love to have you subscribe there and get it every week without missing it. If your organization is struggling with implementing anything we discussed today, as we think about these themes, we can help with that. Send us your questions: You can also see a complete list of all our courses that are available, and 2020 will be a big year for our courses. Head over to If you'd like to sign up for future live webcasts, we have a site for that. You can just head over to and follow us there, and you'll get an email every time we set something up. Would you like to join us in Omaha in June? Who wouldn't? It's beautiful here, by the way, June 1, 2 and 3 at the Gallup at Work Summit. We'd love to have you join us for that. Registration is open; in fact, the price goes up in April. So you probably want to get that locked in as soon as you can. Head out to and get more information there. Join us on our Facebook group: You can also join us in LinkedIn. We have a LinkedIn group called CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches. You don't have to be a trained coach to be in that group. Just ask to be invited; I'll put you in there as well. Well, thank you for joining us today and for all that you do in the chat room. We appreciate it -- really good chat room today. We appreciate that as well. We'll be back next week with two more. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

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