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Improving Teamwork: Celebrating Successes

Improving Teamwork: Celebrating Successes

Webcast Details

  • How can managers creatively apply a strengths-based approach during times of change?
  • What are some keys to meaningful recognition for the most successful workplace teams?
  • How do frequent manager communication and transparency benefit team success?

How successes are celebrated is an important element in the teamwork equation, and a strengths-based approach in which employees know their own strengths, as well as the strengths of their team members, is vital to improving teamwork. Managers of successful workplace teams individualize their approach to recognition and celebration, and they practice transparent communication that gains their teams' trust. They are willing to try new things as they navigate all of the changes the workplace has seen in the past year and will see in the future. Join Sara Vander Helm and Rachael Breck -- two managers who excel at recognition -- as they bring you up to speed on what they and Gallup have done to celebrate successes over the past year, as well as what they are doing going forward, in Part 5 of a series on teamwork.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 34. This is Part 5 of a 5-part series on teamwork. Access Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of the series on teamwork.

It's just so important to know your people individually.

Rachael Breck, 29:48

I try to create a lot of opportunities within our team meetings and connects [and] weekly emails ... to leave space for recognition. ... But I have the people who were the biggest part of those successes do the sharing.

Sara Vander Helm, 37:46

It's about always being in constant communication. So not just being super straightforward and transparent, but also never having gaps in that relationship where it leaves people to wonder.

Sara Vander Helm, 26:05

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios here, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on June 28, 2021.

Jim Collison 0:20
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, love to have join us in our chat room. There's a link right above us there, up there, it'll take you to the YouTube page. Just sign in with your Google account. Join us in chat. Let us know where you're listening from. If you're listening after the fact, you can always send us an email: Don't forget to subscribe to "Gallup Webcasts" on on your favorite podcasting app or subscribe there on YouTube to make sure you get notified whenever we do something new. Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Learning and Development Consultant with me here at Gallup. And Jaclynn, always great to have you on Called to Coach. Welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 1:04
Thanks, Jim. All right. So we have two lovely ladies with us today, or what I would like to call Gallup gurus. Please join us in welcoming Sara Vander Helm. And Sara here leads with Communication, Competition, Woo -- which I can't ever hear "Woo" without being like "Woo!" -- Maximizer and Input. And then we also have her Best friend at work, Rachael Breck, who leads with Achiever, Maximizer, Ideation, Strategic and Learner. So welcome to the show, ladies. Welcome back to the show, I should be saying.

Jim Collison 1:43
Yeah, Sara, we actually, I think we highlighted you in a Season 2 or a Season 1 Theme Thursday. So you tell me every time I meet you, you're famous for that. So if you want to, if you're --

Sara Vander Helm 1:55
I doubt that I said that.

Jim Collison 1:57
OK, I think you are, though.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:58
He just put words in your mouth and I love it.

Jim Collison 2:01
Jaclynn, before we get started, let's bring folks up to speed on where have we come and why are we doing what we're doing today?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:08
Yeah, so if you have been with us over the past quarter, we've been talking about teams. And we've really been taking a look between, you know, the past, the present and the future, and connecting the dots of How do we create a vision and a mission for the teams, especially as we're coming through the pandemic, but even at a time of pain or shifting or change like the pandemic? How do you make sure that you've got that, I like the call the North Star, that the teams can move towards? We talked a bit about communication and how communication is key in an organization. So again, thinking about communication within the pandemic, but now that we're coming out of it as well, how do you communicate next steps?

Jaclynn Robinson 2:56
We talked about powerful partnerships and cross-collaboration. So what does that look like manager to manager, but also manager to team? And Jim and I also shared our top 10 in terms of team activities. What are some ways that you can keep the team together as a collective? So now where we are coming to a close with our, our, you know, Improving Team Performance season is talking about celebrating successes. And there's no two people that could do this better than Sara and Rachael. We've seen firsthand how they do this within the Gallup organization. And they are just really good at getting people, I would say, energized behind celebrating one another and taking a look at themselves, and, I think, celebrating themselves too, to go, Wow, I have, I have come a long ways. So -- with that, Jim --

Jim Collison 3:51
Jaclynn, before we get going, can we just do a little Focus on You so we hear from Sara, Rachael. Sara, let's, yeah, let's start with you. Can you give us kind of your role at Gallup and kind of what you've been doing over the last year as we as we think about your role?

Sara Vander Helm 4:05
Yeah, absolutely. I've had some pretty significant shifts in my role, actually. I've been at Gallup for 25 years. And but just in the last 2 years, I moved from a major focus on internal learning and development into more of a focus on our content. So I'm the Performance Manager for Content at Gallup, which means that I get to work with a fabulously talented team of writers, analysts, editors, but people who are touching just about every word that's ever coming out of Gallup. And we're trying to help people to understand who we are and what we can do with them. So that's, yeah, that's, that's most of what I do.

Jim Collison 4:42
Some of my most favorite people at Gallup, by the way, are on your team. So thanks for doing a great job managing them. Rachael, how about you?

Rachael Breck 4:49
Yeah, I'm the Director of Talent Management. I've worked at Gallup for 15 years, and I lead our Selection Consultants and then our coaches. I get to resource -- I don't lead all the coaches at Gallup, but I get to resource all of our coaching initiatives.

Jaclynn Robinson 5:05
Wonderful. Thank you, ladies! So there's a, there's -- so I like themes. Let's just start off there. And one thing that you do well are themes when it comes to celebration and success and recognizing people. There's a specific theme that you all had going last year, as we think about the pandemic and the support people needed, called Summer of Strengths. So Sara, would you mind explaining a little bit about that? And then Rachael, I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

Sara Vander Helm 5:34
Sure. So last summer, we had, I guess, the pandemic really gave us a unique opportunity to do things that maybe we wouldn't have otherwise been able to lean into as much as we did. But we were able to resource some coaching hours to our internal associates. So coaching is important for all of our associates at Gallup. And we do that through Go Tos, through great partnerships, all of that kind of thing. But this was time with a real dedicated Strengths Coach. And we were able to do that -- Rachael was able, able to provide resourcing for that, which was incredible.

Sara Vander Helm 6:06
Along with those one-on-one coaching calls that our associates had the opportunity to do, we tried to kind of build a program around that by providing weekly, you know, kind of resources. Here's what you can go do this week that will help you to get more in touch with you or you to embrace your strengths a little bit more. This, obviously, community is super familiar with the idea of, you know, how do I Name it, Claim it and Aim it?

Sara Vander Helm 6:32
And we also did a lot of focus around partnerships. So how can I, now that I'm really kind of embracing exactly who I am, how can I get to know more about my closest partners, to be sure that I'm really helping them to be all of who they are too? So it was a great opportunity. And I think our associates really benefited from it, not just because we had the time to do it, meaning the time with the coaches, but also because people needed it. They needed to get out of maybe what was happening in the world and have a better opportunity to think about what was happening within themselves and to think about their strengths in light of this new environment and climate, which, you know, was probably their own house and their own people. And, you know, just a very different thing. So it was, it was a huge success. Rach, why don't you talk about it a little bit, in terms of what, what you were thinking about when you're resourcing all of it?

Rachael Breck 7:27
Yeah, I mean, I think just what you said -- it was, it was such a hard summer. I think, like people were, you know, we all kind of thought, Is it just gonna be this 3 months, and then we're all gonna be back to the office? And then we got to the summer, and it was like, I don't think this is actually going away anytime soon. And so I think people were trying to like, figure out their new normal, and, you know, kids at home or their job may be slowed less, or slowed to what they weren't expecting. Or it kind of stayed busy, but now they have to do it at home. And so it was just a great time to kind of relook at our strengths. Our coaches loved connecting with everybody globally. We tried to match people according to kind of maybe their area, so they could get to know somebody locally that they used to see or maybe connect somebody that they've never connected with before. It was, it was just a really fun thing for our coaches as well, to practice their technique internally. So --

Jim Collison 8:22
Sara, there were some activities that we did. And I think some folks, like, Oh, I missed this Summer of Strengths opportunity. Well, no, because you could be doing this right now. And so, as we think about some of the activities that you planned and you organized around this, can you throw -- I mean, I'll, to give you a second to think about it, you asked me to do a Called to Coach-style Town Hall, which was super fun. We made a video and we had some guests on, and we kind of did it in the style of Called to Coach, which was fun for me. That was one of the events. What other kinds of events did we do during that, where coaches or organizations could replicate that maybe in their own Summer of Strengths?

Sara Vander Helm 9:00
Absolutely. So we are super fortunate to have local talent that, you know, can, can get on the phone with us at the drop of a hat, which was really lucky. But we did have other Town Hall-type experiences. We had leaders who were talking about their experiences with strengths and kind of doing a little bit, almost like this, almost like a little bit of coffee talk in that way. We also gave resources to Go Tos, so we had specific communication that went to the managers at Gallup, where they could think about how to facilitate different activities during their team meetings, during just normal team meetings, to kind of double down and make sure that they were getting a little bit of that individual, "I want to learn and dive deep by myself. Now I'm going to learn and dive deep with my team. Now I'm going to hear someone else talk about it. And I'm going to get a little different perspective that way." So we really tried to think about, you know, what are the different modes that we can deliver something, so that it could be not one-size-fits-all, but there's something for everyone.

Jim Collison 10:04
Rachael, one of the things you helped me with is early on, you said, "Hey, I've got some folks who have a little bit of time that I would normally never get access to." Jaclynn, actually, I think you were one of them as well. And she was like, "What can we do?" And so I met with some of our internal teams, and actually some of the best seasons or series that I've ever done came out of that time. We did a, we did the 5 Coaching Conversations. We did, and that Robert Gabsa joined me on How to Build a Strengths-Based Culture. And we did a 12-part series on Inspiring a Culture. And you think that Danny Lee and Jessica Dawson, right, those kinds of names. I never am able to get those folks for Called to Coach. But, but Rachael, I was able to for that. And that was kind of a form, a little bit of a form of recognition, right, for them to be on.

Jim Collison 10:54
So can you talk a little bit about, maybe, were there other ways for you to help as a manager, as managing these folks? Other things rather, or other than just the traditional notes and cards? How else can you recognize -- how else could we recognize folks, or did you recognize folks during that time?

Rachael Breck 11:11
Yeah, well, so -- great point, I think it was definitely recognition for them to join you. I also was able to kind of have some coaches write articles or contribute to some of our learning design for our courses. So to share their talents that way. I also designed a big mentoring program over that summer for 3 of our new associates. So then they could spend time with some of our coaches, again, that are just never available and always with clients. So they were able to kind of get some one-on-one mentoring or group mentoring from them. And we designed like a project that they had to present at the end of the summer. And I think it really fast-forwarded some of our newer associates' development. So we definitely didn't waste, waste the summer, and I think then both parties felt recognized, right, the teachers and the students. So --

Jim Collison 12:04
Yeah, it was, it was definitely helpful to me to have those resources, but then to take advantage of them -- we kind of came together. And I guess this is, as we have folks listening, coaches and internal coaches, to say, Never waste a moment like this. This became available; now what could we do to create that for you? Jaclynn, your experience? Let's just hear from you a little bit. As you think about, you're, you're on the receiving end of this. Talk a little bit about how did, how did those, these kinds of programs impact you, as we think about last summer?

Jaclynn Robinson 12:38
You know, as one of the coaches that was connecting with colleagues, on one end, it was really great, because we don't always get time to connect with one another. So to be able to be a coach and to support them through their wellbeing and their engagement goals that they had, to kind of visualize what those goals will look like now that the -- at the time, everything had kind of shifted -- was, was really rewarding. And then there's some folks that, you know, we might be paired with, and we know the teams or we work closely with the teams, but we haven't connected with them previously. And just getting to expand our horizons and be connected to new people across the organization that we hadn't yet worked with before, even though it was that coaching perspective, was so nice. So you did feel like you had partnerships and cohesion, even in that coach-coachee kind of relationship that we had. So that was the highlight for the coaches, myself and others, last year, when we did that over the course of I believe 2 months.

Jim Collison 13:44
Sara, feed, did we get feedback? What kind of feedback did you get, either organizationally or from individuals on that summer?

Sara Vander Helm 13:53
Absolutely. Both, we got both. We, it was really one of our most successful internal programs, I think because we always want that space, right, to really be able to dig in and think about who we are. And then just, at Gallup and any organization, the work takes us away. You know, we're going into excellence in each of our roles and doing what it is that we get paid to do. And I think sometimes, it's hard to feel like you have permission to really do that self-work and not to feel selfish about it. And so I was really proud, first of all, to be working for an organization that prioritized that. Even with everything else that was going on, it would have been very easy not to. And, and we did. And we said, No, we're going to, we're going to practice what we preach in new and different ways here -- which we always do, but this was really kind of a departure, to have this amount of depth that was available to you on a daily basis.

Sara Vander Helm 14:50
And then the other thing that I think it did, and this is what I keep seeing the kind of compounding interest of, is, I have more people now saying to me, you know, "I was in Gallup Access, looking at some of those resources that you sent me to last summer." And so we really taught people to fish, I think, really effectively, too. So now when they need a thing, or they want to think about a thing, whether it's around strengths, whether it's around engagement, they really got to know their resources a lot better than we do when we're necessarily just doing our work and going to the person who can point us to the thing. Well, they just got a lot more comfortable figuring out where things are, and kind of all that's available. Because it's, it's a smorgasbord, right; there's a ton, but we don't always have space to go find it.

Rachael Breck 15:39
I think we also just, it was just a good reminder about coaching, right. Coaching opens, opens your eyes to your strengths again, and even if you were coached when you first started or you hadn't been coached in a couple years, it's just like so refreshing to have, have somebody walk you through your strengths. The other thing I had mentioned is, as a manager, it was just a good reminder to, like, always asking your team what else they want to work on. So like this, that slow time, or slower time for some of our teams, it was good that I already knew my team members to say, "Hey, didn't you want to write an article? Let's like get going on that. Now we have the time." Or, "Do you want to be on Called to Coach?" I know you've, I know, you've mentioned that before. So it's a good reminder to like kind of keep that list in your mind for your teams for those times. Because then now, we're so busy, you know, they won't be able to have those opportunities for a while. So I just think it was a good reminder for me as a, as a Go To in that regard.

Jaclynn Robinson 16:38
There's one thing that, that you all did after the summer to build off of the Summer of Strengths -- Fall Into Your Strengths, I believe, as, as fall came around? And correct me if I'm wrong in terms of the, the framing. Like I said, I love a good theme. So I think the audience is picking up on the themes we have here. But how did you extend on the coaching that was offered to all employees across Gallup in the summer into the fall with teams?

Sara Vander Helm 17:09
Yes. So we did, we did Fall Into Team Strengths, which was just, as you said, an extension. But what it really allowed us to do was to formalize the coaching around the team. So we had our individual sessions in the summer. And then managers were able to schedule these team sessions with Rachael's fabulous coaches as well, where they would do a deep dive into, you know, what does that composite look like? What's the whole team really built around? And who are they, and kind of what's their value proposition? And then, they went to -- the coaches attended a team meeting. And it was wonderful.

Sara Vander Helm 17:47
I, for example, I got to have a coach who came to the Content Team meeting, which is the team that I lead. But then I also got to go to the team meeting that was with a different coach for the team that I'm on. Right. So my manager's team. And it was such a different experience. I mean, it was wonderful; both were wonderful. But it was great to kind of even -- I got the benefit of different perspectives and a different way of talking about talent, and then realizing and understanding the difference between the two teams, and then the similarities. It was, I mean, it was like an abundance of riches that we got to have exposure to so many different coaches. Because it's, it's such different perspectives sometimes on exactly who you are and the team that you're on. But yeah, it was wonderful.

Sara Vander Helm 18:37
So the, the team strengths program also had, in addition to coaching, there were other resources and things, prompts that we would give to teams for them to think about during other meetings or interactions; things that we recommended in one-on-one meetings with key stakeholders or key partners, to take it away from the tactical work for a minute and start thinking about who we are and how we come together. So to do like a little mini, mini-coaching, right, with just each other, which I think was something that was really successful too.

Jaclynn Robinson 19:12
I love it here that the summer was celebrating self, and in the fall, it's celebrating the, the team dynamic and what we bring. And that thread of empowerment across the board, which is what people needed last year, was just, you know, when you're, you're kind of crawling in the muck and there's so much change. Yeah, I think it was fantastic. We only heard positive feedback. As -- well, I should say, I, but I know we all heard that as well. So I'll go ahead and say, we only heard positive feedback that was coming from the individual and team coaching. Yeah. Rachael, what was the resourcing like for you? I'm thinking, in terms of the audience, there might be managers and there might be coaches that say, How do you find the time to resource? You expanded coaching firstly, organizationwide to everybody. What was that like for you? How did you set that up? But then from a team perspective, was it any different? So logistically, I'm throwing it over to you about how you did that.

Rachael Breck 20:10
I'm trying to think. I mean, I guess we just dug in and figured it out. But it was, it was good. It was exciting. And we definitely, I mean, we wanted to kind of match people and think about what coaches would go best with what managers and what teams. I mean, one, one important thing we do with team sessions is want to make sure that the manager of the team gets connected with the coach and talks ahead of time about the needs of the team and what might be going on with them or any areas they want to focus on. Or maybe they have new people that they want to get integrated, or how would breakouts work on Zoom? Who should be, you know, kind of set up with different folks? So we kind of had to set up all those premeetings and then do the postmeeting debrief with the coach as well.

Rachael Breck 20:59
But yeah, I mean, I mean, I was home too, so I had extra time. I just kind of dug in and figured it all out. I think it's, it's great when you're resourcing to like a group of people that are so excited and hungry for it. Then it's just fun. And like Sara said, we got so much good feedback. I think people want the coaching, like, you know, they're like, "Are we doing it this summer? Are we gonna do that again this fall?" Maybe the answer probably is gonna have to be "No," but hopefully we can get it going again, soon. So --

Jim Collison 21:32
Rachael, we, I heard from a lot of folks in the fall about their coach. This is, they always like, you know, as we were catching back up or I was talking to them maybe the first time in a while, and, you know, "How are you doing?" Like, "Oh, I had this time with my coach." And it was that, it was that call or two that they, you know, that they had. And I think that actually built some internal bonds as well, as folks who didn't know we had all these coaches in these places. I think this is a good, you know, a good time to say this is the importance of having kind of a cadre of coaches in an organization to be able to, to have those relationships that exist there. And it's just, when they say, "Oh, my coach," right, that, that becomes. Did you get -- I know there was some, I mean, we, we got evals back, I think, right, on this? What what kind of things did you see coming back on the evals from those?

Rachael Breck 22:25
I mean, just like with our clients, I mean people, the evals, guys, I seriously read the evals from our coaching sessions every morning. And it's not about me, but I feel it just, the, the messages we get are so nice. Like, "This changed my life." "This changed my perspective." "I really needed this." You know, "I, I have great takeaways that are going to change how I do my job day today." Or, I mean, I don't know, Sara, Sara was coached by one of our great coaches, Collette, and I mean, she called me right afterwards. And it was just like, "You are right. I love her." You know, like, I love her. Like, I feel it in my body that I love her.

Sara Vander Helm 23:08
Wait, Colette called you or I called you?

Rachael Breck 23:10
You called me.

Sara Vander Helm 23:11
Probably both.

Rachael Breck 23:16
But yeah, great comments. I mean, people need that time. And so it was just, it's such a great thing that we can give it to them.

Jaclynn Robinson 23:27
So there's a keyword I picked up on -- I cannot talk today, ladies. There's a keyword I picked up on earlier today about being busy. So we're starting to get into the face of being busy again; work's picked up. We could probably even say mid-last year, we started seeing it pick up some. How do you keep the team excited and engaged about, you know, the heavy workload that is coming up? Rachael, I've seen this personally. You have some really good ways to get people really excited about the work. And that's not always the easiest thing to do. I know you both came from the call center. So I'd love to hear from you both on how you get people engaged around busy season.

Rachael Breck 24:12
Yeah. Well, like you said, Sara and I both, we did start our management careers in a call center. So I think that has its own challenges and a lot of like increase in workload, then decrease, then increase. And you kind of calling people to come in quickly or stay longer because you haven't hit the numbers that you need to hit that night. So I think we had to try a lot of different things. We also had, like a population of age, like 16 to, you know, 70, so you kind of had to try to hit what might work for everybody. So I think, Sara and I always talk about we started with food. So it's just like pizza, candy, you know, like, pancake nights. And then you'd kind of move on to cash or gift cards or, you know, whatever.

Rachael Breck 25:00
But I think a big part of it for me, it was just getting to know our people, and they knew, they knew when we really needed help. So like, they trusted that if I asked them, I really needed their, I needed their help, and they should step up. And then they came through for us. So that was a big part of it is just kind of being, being authentic about what we need. Also, I think being really open with our metrics, where we stand, so that people can really see when the work is starting to pick up. So that's what I do now, kind of managing our coaching and selection business: just posting where we're at day to day, so they can kind of see Oh, it is getting busier; we are getting fuller. Maybe I should add some extra hours. So that, just that transparency, I think, is key.

Jaclynn Robinson 25:49
Thanks for sharing. Sara is there anything more that you would add as well?

Sara Vander Helm 25:52
Actually, I was thinking about the word "transparency," too. I just think when you're honest and you, people just know where you are. And so then they can see when things are changing, when, you know, the need's going up; when the need's going down. But I think it's about always being in constant communication. So not just, you know, being super straightforward and transparent, but also never having gaps in that relationship where, where it leaves people to wonder, right. So, you know, "I don't know; I was a little bit slower this week. I wonder if it's gonna get better next week?" I don't want people to have those moments. Right. And so I think that's a big piece of, it's just, like what Rachael said, you're knowing the people. And you know what they need; you know what their motivations are. But they also know that you're shooting it straight, and you're telling them exactly what they need, and you're in constant contact.

Sara Vander Helm 26:42
And then I think that makes it a lot easier when you do need more. Because it's not out of the blue you're showing up and saying, you know, all of a sudden, "I need you to increase your, your hours or your workload by 20%, maybe forever." That's not, that's not what it is. You know, you've, you've seen me saying, "The signs are coming" or, you know, "Things are picking up." And it shouldn't be a surprise. And I think that's a big piece of how to do it right for people is just not to surprise them; to know what they need to know and recognize the people who need a lot more warning; the people who don't and can be a little bit more flexible in the moment. And honoring that and doing it the way that they need it done.

Rachael Breck 27:23
And then being, I think, being thankful for when they do it and not, and not -- it can't always be continual. You can't ask for extra hours every week forever. Even if you need it, you have to kind of have to have that low period where you are thankful for them and appreciate their work and then kind of ramp back up the excitement again.

Jim Collison 27:42
Lisa makes a good comment in the chat room. She says that "Celebrating successes" is often about giving awards, hosting a party. And this is, this is about so much more. I think one of the things I've appreciated just in the conversation today is that we're talking about celebrating successes through productivity, as opposed to just a glass award or a printout or something along those lines. Both of you have given very concrete evidence to celebrating that through actually work, right; celebrating these successes through work. Anything else, Sara, anything else you would add, as you think about that, that piece of celebrating through productivity?

Sara Vander Helm 28:23
Yeah, I mean, I think it's, that also is just the biggest form of recognition, right? "I need you because you're the only one who can save us today. We have this thing that we have to get done, and it doesn't get done without you." And also meaning it. That it isn't just lip service, right? It's, "I can tell you 1,000 reasons why I know you're exactly the person who I need to pitch in a little bit more, take on this additional project. I know everything else that's going on, you know, inside and outside of work that might make that difficult, but let me help and coach you through that. Because we can't do it without you." And to mean that.

Sara Vander Helm 29:00
And I agree, I, you know, I think about what that comment just said about, you know, the glass awards, or, Rachael, maybe the piece of pizza every once in a while. It's nice, and it's probably not hurting. But I don't think it's actually doing what we hope it does into the future, which is to build, build a sustainable culture of, you know, you scratch my back; I'll scratch yours. And what I mean by that is, I'm going to keep recognizing you and how great you are. And also we're in a pay-for-performance kind of environment, all those sorts of things. But I need you to step up. And, and, you know, just like ping pong tables and, and happy hours at work, they only get you so far. Right. So it's got to be bigger.

Rachael Breck 29:46
Yeah, I think that's where it's just so important to know your people individually. So perhaps the best time to recognize somebody may not even be their best month; it might be the month that they worked minimal hours but also their kid graduated from college and it was a busy time for them or they have a sick parent. And you are just recognizing them for showing up and getting through that, that hard time or that busyness. That might be the most meaningful recognition time for them or, and that'll carry them for later, when we're busier and, you know, they have the extra time to give.

Jaclynn Robinson 30:22
Cheers to that, because it's in those lull periods, I think, sometimes at work, where you start to question your value and contribution. And hearing the recognition from management or from colleagues about the value you bring could be that boost, I think, exactly to your point, Rachael of OK, OK, I've got this. And I can celebrate some personal successes and wins that I'm having. And I'm going to be reared and ready when we've got a busy workload that comes up.

Jim Collison 30:48
Lisa's got another, just a follow-up to that. She says, I and many managers, struggle with pausing to make sure to celebrate -- whatever that looks like. How do you help raise awareness of that need? And I think we're onto it a little bit -- Rachael, I'll throw it to you for this idea of, when you're celebrating in the midst of what's already happening, you're not inventing that recognition. In other words, it's not necessarily taking that much extra time because it's happening as it's, as, as you go along with that. But as you think about, as a manager, carving out that time for, to, for recognition. How do you do that in a way that's, that works for you?

Rachael Breck 31:29
Yeah, I mean, I use my team. So I have a one-on-one with each of my team members each month. And I like them to kind of download, you know, what they're, what they're working on, what their, their life or whatever's going on with them a little bit. But then that helps me to kind of listen and kind of think about, OK, you know, pointing out to them, "Wow, you did this while this is going on at your, in your house?" Like I said, like some big struggle at home or whatever it is, or challenging time and like, "And you still got this accomplished?" Or "That was a really hard project; like, are you hearing yourself talk about this? This is really hard." So just kind of zeroing in on, and list -- just listening to what they're saying, and commenting and hearing it back.

Rachael Breck 32:14
I think I'm all about just kind of sometimes saying out loud, like when, when things are hard or busy, I think we need to make the space to say that. And that is a form of recognition is just recognizing where we're at. And then we try to do that at team meetings as well. So maybe we'll talk about our strengths. And here like, recently, I did a thing where we talked about maybe our strength that was frustrating us. And so somebody would say, "Oh, my Maximizer is frustrating me because, you know, nothing's ever perfect enough," or whatever the comment. And then we would allow the team to say "No, I love your Maximizer." You know, and so then they got to hear from each other on how we kind of appreciate each other's strengths. So that was kind of another team way.

Jim Collison 32:57
Sara, would you add anything?

Sara Vander Helm 32:58
Yeah. Yeah, I think the same way as Rachael, I try to create a lot of opportunities within our team meetings and connects, weekly emails and things like that -- and even in our Microsoft Teams channel -- to leave space for recognition. So we, one formal way is every quarter, we do kind of a debrief on big successes of the quarter. But I have the people who were the biggest part of those, of those successes do the sharing, right. So it's not just me telling about what everyone else has done; they get to share themselves. And then my favorite part is everyone jumps in and says, you know, "So-and-so wrote this thing, which was incredible. And I got to edit it. So I got to experience that too." And then they, the people who were part of the projects, kind of start to pile on, which is pretty incredible.

Sara Vander Helm 33:07
At every team meeting, we always leave space for any kind of props or recognition that people want to give. And I think it gives people an opportunity to just remember that it doesn't have to be the big things; it can be the small things. You know, "You helped me with this thing. And that might have seemed small. But it really made all the difference." You know, "You took this thing because my workload was too heavy," or "You helped me brainstorm about this." And I have a, I have a team full of very, very creative people. So they really appreciate anything that helps crack a code for them. Right? Anything that like kind of gets them through, not even a creative block, but just a way to think about a thing differently. And I think that's true across a lot of teams.

Sara Vander Helm 34:27
So I think just making the space and making sure that we value as a team, one of our values is that we recognize each other. And that if we can't, we're not doing a good enough job of knowing each other and knowing what we're working on. Because we do have team members, actually, who might never intersect in terms of what type of content they work on, right? They might never intersect with more than one or two others on our 15-person team. But it's a value that we hold as a team that we're going to know each other, and we're going to be able to see those glimpses of excellence and tell you about it, even though I'm not part of every project that you work on.

Jim Collison 35:05
Sara, I think a form of recognition, at least to me as you and I have gotten to share a resource with Mark, who, to this community is very important. Because 99% of what this community sees in written form is done by Mark. And, and, and you and I have partnered with him -- he'll be editing this part right now, as I'm speaking, he's writing the transcript. Sara, your, your, your partnership with me in that resource has been a recognition to me that, Hey, this work is important. And so, and he has been a tremendous resource for me to be able to do what he does. He's really good at what he has to do for me. And so again, I tell him often that, Mark, your, the work, the work that you make is beautiful to me, like, I like looking at it. I like a, I like a list of things that are ordered and structured in a way that I could never do that he does.

Jim Collison 36:00
And so you've provided recognition to me, and -- or at least that's the way I've felt it -- without even necessarily recognizing me in a, with an award or something along those lines. But with a relationship, right. So I think sometimes as we think, "Oh, I'm a manager; I'm too busy." Well, no, oftentimes, these things happen. You talked about team meetings. Rachael, you talked about giving folks an opportunity to do things that they didn't normally get to do. Those don't take any more time. Right? That's, that's not like it takes a big setup or is very, very expensive. It's just kind of about doing what you do, normally do but putting some thought -- this boss to coach idea of putting some, some thought into it. So Sara, thank you for, for, for being a good partner to me with that. You know, Mark means a lot to me in the work I think that we do here. And it's been fabulous recognition. So I appreciate that.

Sara Vander Helm 36:51
Yeah, thanks for saying that. And I mean, Mark is such a fabulous partner. And he, he and you, I know, have such a great, have such a great relationship. But I think that when you're saying that, I don't know that I've thought about it in that way. But I think in the day-to-day of being a manager and being in these conversations, whether it's project kickoffs, whether it's, I mean, sure, there's a team meeting here and there, definitely a lot of one on ones. But I think, if there's a thing that people would say about, I don't know if it's about me, or just about me and Rachael or people, people who are really thinking about this, I think it's that in the day-to-day of doing what I'm already doing, I'm making a decision to always think about the person. I'm just not thinking about the thing. Right.

Sara Vander Helm 37:39
And so I think that's part of it is just that I know, I know, what Mark and everyone else on my team are working on. And I know who they are and what matters to them; which partnerships mean the most to them. And I'm bringing that to every conversation, whether they're in it or not. And I think that's probably a huge form of recognition is, like Rachael said, just knowing, just knowing. Because you don't have to. You don't have to, but you should. And you can.

Rachael Breck 38:05
I will say, though, so Sara and I both have Maximizer, as we said, but, you know, Jim was like, "I think you're great at this." And I'm like, "Oh, I think I could be a lot better!" You know, I mean, it's just, it's something that I feel like is unlimited -- recognition, you know, you could always, you feel like you always could do more and give more. So I think that's, that's a challenge that all managers, I think, face, but --

Sara Vander Helm 38:29
I think so too.

Rachael Breck 38:31
I'll take the recognition, Jim, though.

Jaclynn Robinson 38:36
You do it so well, both of you -- it's so top-of-mind all the time.

Jim Collison 38:42
Well, I, guilty as charged on the Maximizer with you guys; it could always be better. But we've got to, we've got to continue to do it. Like we've, it doesn't, it doesn't matter how we feel. We have to continue to strive and push forward and, and continue. These people are important. It's the most important resource that we have. And so it's just important do that. Jaclynn, what else?

Jaclynn Robinson 39:05
Yeah. Just one thing that strikes me, and I'm so happy about it, is that we had you as the close to talking about teams. Because even in the conversation, you were summing up everything that, you know, leaders, managers shared beforehand, really helping people be clear on what the vision is. This is our goal. This is where we're at in relation to the goal through that constant, transparent communication that you all have been talking about. How important communication is with the team members, but having team members share it with one another.

Jaclynn Robinson 39:42
We're hearing so much about collaboration and partnerships and celebrating one another, which came beforehand. And just having you all sum that up through the thread of success, I'm just so happy that we got you on because you're just, you're speaking the language. And you're, I think, to everyone's point that we're hearing in the audience, too, is it's not just through providing a reward or a prize, but you're doing it with transparency and authenticity. And individualizing your approach; using a tool like CliftonStrengths to support you; listening to the learning and development they want and celebrating who they are, and the successes they've had through extending further development to them or giving them those challenging assignments. So yeah, you all are great at what you do.

Jim Collison 40:34
There's a little recognition for you! Before we wrap this, let's look ahead a little bit, if you guys, I mean, because we're, you know, we're coming, in some spots of the world, we're coming out of this. Others are still struggling; we still have a ways to go. But as you look ahead to the next year, and you think about strategies, continued strategies in this area of recognition and in motivating folks, Rachael, I'll start with you. Any thoughts on your thinking right now, as we're, as we're kind of pulling out of this for the next year?

Rachael Breck 41:04
Yeah, I mean, I think I'm still figuring it out, like everyone, everyone else a little bit. But just trying to, I have a global team. And I've loved over the last year, I think we've just come together as a team, because of doing a lot of Zoom meetings and kind of seeing each other more. Everybody has cameras now and everything just, there was just a lot more ease to kind of that connection, because we weren't in conference rooms. But then now we're starting to bring people back to our locations and kind of balancing that. So I'm testing different things. I don't think I've had, I've got it figured out. I want to make sure not to lose that connection globally. So that's on my mind. I don't, I don't know. I think I'll try new things. I'm still kind of working through it. It's exciting, because you want to, you know, grow the excitement of those back in the office, but then not lose the, the progress you made with those that have to be remote. So that's on my mind.

Sara Vander Helm 42:02
Yeah, I would say the same thing. I think I, what you were saying leads me to kind of think about how it can be both-and, right. So how do we not diminish the value of those Zoom calls? I mean, we've all gotten used to those Hollywood Squares, and, and, frankly, love them, and love seeing each other and having those close connections and the whole idea of democratizing a team meeting. I mean, I think it's a real thing. And it's really worked, particularly with my team. But what I am thinking about is, How do we have that and not lose the integrity of that meeting and, you know, that, the importance of that touchpoint? But then also for those who are in person, how do we have other opportunities that aren't team meetings, where people are going to learn things that are super mission critical to their role? Certainly not anything that's going to be developmental in a formal way that anyone's missing out because they live a plane ride away.

Sara Vander Helm 42:58
But we're going to start having, you know, scheduled lunches. It's come if you can; don't if you can't. But we'll have those maybe once a month, or a couple of times a month, where we just have the opportunity to be in person and be together. But again, it doesn't replace anything. It's all just more, to enhance. Right? So I mean, I'm thinking, I haven't, like Rachael, I haven't figured it all out. But I'm really up for trying a bunch of new things. I think in the last year, we've really discovered how much is possible that we never thought of before. And so I'm really in for ideating and trying to figure out what, what can be next, right? What can the future be?

Jim Collison 43:38
Jaclynn, you're out in the trenches, spending time with with our clients, customers, doing some coaching, some consulting around that. What are you hearing from them? What are they thinking? Have you had any, have you had any epiphanies from them or things coming back from our clients or customers?

Jaclynn Robinson 43:56
Yeah, some are starting to have their employees dip their toes in the water before it's -- and this goes for the organizations, I should preface it by saying, are going to be back on site fully. So to start dipping their toes in the water. They are having them come in during the summer for team meetings or just to celebrate one another, maybe over 1 to 2 hours with food and just that time to catch up and remember what it was like to be on site; to find the thrill in being able to connect with one another in person again, before, in the fall, it's kind of a given that you have to be here every single day. So we're starting to get creative in ways where we can kind of, what's the word, squash any of the anxiety that might come up when they're going from 0 to 100 once more, where it's fully remote to fully on site. It's what can we do in the interrim to kind of rev them up for that. That's been the biggest best practice that I've seen so far.

Jim Collison 44:55
I think we've already done one Joe on the Go session, right, where you can come in and get some coffee. We've had ice cream cones.

Sara Vander Helm 45:04
I think we have snow cones coming.

Jaclynn Robinson 45:07
Can't go wrong with snow cones!

Sara Vander Helm 45:08
And tomorrow we have just a good old-fashioned little meet-and-greet get-together. We have, at our Omaha Riverfront campus, we have quite a few new folks who have joined our, our floor. I get to sit up with Jim on the second floor of our University building. And we're having a little meet-and-greet to get to know the new people who have joined our floor. But also there are quite a few people who haven't seen each other in person still; haven't intersected on their odd days in and out of the office. So I think people are super excited about that.

Jim Collison 45:38
Yeah, actually all three of us now sit on the same floor.

Sara Vander Helm 45:40
Yeah. So we will, yeah.

Jim Collison 45:41
Which is pretty great. I'll actually have to come in and do some work now that you guys will be watching me. Hey, as we kind of wrap this up, Mark asks a great question. We'll throw it to the two of you: Since nothing happens overnight, what's the logical, you know, timeliness to see progress on this? And, Sara, let me start with you. As you think, and there's, there's, I know there's no definitive answer here. But as you think about starting and getting these -- when should they see some progress, do you think?

Sara Vander Helm 46:10
I mean, I guess, I don't know if I'm the only one. And because I'm so tied to thinking about engagement and all of our practices around engagement. But I think you can get a lot done in 6 months. So, you know, I would imagine, especially as you're kind of trying to build these, build these programs or think about what you want it to be, I would advise you to bring your teams along and have those conversations about what matters to them, what means most to them. And try to build it from the ground up together. And then I think you're going to get a lot more buy-in quickly.

Sara Vander Helm 46:42
So I think that that's one strategy to think about. But gosh, I can't imagine that it takes longer than 6 months for something to kind of take hold and to start seeing those dividends. Because then it's just going to continue to evolve. You know, eventually the Summer of Strengths is over, and you're on to the next thing. So I don't think you want to give yourself too too much time, because you probably missed a lot of, a lot of shots that you could have taken that would have gotten some, some ROI. Right. So yeah, I don't, I don't think it's that long. Rach, what do you think?

Rachael Breck 47:12
I think, I mean, I just go back to you have to think about it person by person. So it's like, you're probably gonna have some early adopters that are loving your recognition strategy or your team session, or whatever it is you're doing. And then maybe some that might be a little skeptical, or I'm busy for this, I, you know, what are we doing here? You know, and then, and then they'll start to come along, and you got to figure out what, you know, is a hot button for them. So I think some, some will be quick, and some will be slower, but kind of how it goes.

Jim Collison 47:43
Jaclynn, any final thoughts? You want to thank our guests too for coming on as we think about wrapping this?

Jaclynn Robinson 47:48
Of course! Thank you, ladies so much for coming on today and sharing just the, the wonderful work that you're doing across Gallup to celebrate your teams. But it has a ripple effect. And so we see it just across the board too, with the impact that your teams have on others. So thank you for sharing. Thank you, you know, Called to Coach community for being with us for the Improving Teams series. We hope you've enjoyed it. If you haven't listened, please go back. We've got all kinds of good content for you on how to support your teams, especially as we think about the future, too. We always end on, What's next? So if you're interested in What's next? tune in. Jim, back over to you.

Jim Collison 48:30
Yeah, we have a lot of great stuff coming up. I think I'd recommend, from what I've heard today from the two of you, this, as a coach or if you're coaching in organizations, this, these 5 Coaching Conversations. If your managers don't have a handle on that, I think that's a great place to start and kind of understanding. Rachael and Sara, you guys are the, you guys are the masters of owning and understanding what each one of those is supposed to be, when to do it and how often to do it. And I'm sure you do it a little bit differently in, among your own management styles. But I think there's a great opportunity for coaches to help managers in this area of saying, What are these conversations that we have? When do we have them? And what's the meaning of them? Because I'm hearing from you -- Sara, you in particular -- that a lot of your recognition happens in your, in your conversations. And so it's not taking extra time. You're not necessarily building in extra time to recognize; you're doing that recognition as part of those conversations. So I think there's a key there in those 5 Coaching Conversations. Rachael, thanks to you because you gave me a resource last year in Paul Walters. As we talked about those 5 Coaching Conversations, Paul got a good chance to do that. So go to right now. Search "5 Coaching Conversations." We got a lot of great materials on that, that you can take out right there. So ladies, thanks for coming out.

Jim Collison 48:58
With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available now in Gallup Access: Log in there, and a lot of what we're talking about, go to the Resources tab. So upper left, hit the menu, drop it down, go to Resources, there's a little search bar. Just put, start putting words, type words. Things will come up; it'll be great. So you want to spend some time there getting that done as well. If you're interested in coaching, master coaching, or you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, send us an email: And we'll get right back to you with the resource on that. And then if you want to follow these webcasts -- Jaclynn does such a great job of highlighting them -- you can follow the live ones: and subscribe to us or follow us over there. I think that's the right word: Follow us over there. And you'll get notifications whenever I publish anything new. We want to thank you for joining us today. If you're not following us on social -- by the way, Riley, who is one of our, I'll just do a little recognition here. Riley, who's just done a fantastic job in our social space, has completely changed my job when it comes to social. So Riley, thank you for doing that. But if you follow CliftonStrengths anywhere, you're gonna see some of Riley's magic. And whether it's on Instagram or it's on LinkedIn or it's on Facebook -- and I think there's even some TikTok, which I wouldn't recommend, but apparently everybody, everybody's, everybody's on the TikTok. We appreciate her and the work there. Just, just search for "CliftonStrengths" on any of those platforms. Thanks for listening today. We'll be back, oh, I see we got some, we have a Chinese, Japanese and a French podcast coming out a little bit later. So thanks for coming out. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Sara Vander Helm's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Communication, Competition, Woo, Maximizer and Input.

Rachael Breck's Top 5 Cliftonstrengths are Achiever, Maximizer, Ideation, Strategic and Learner.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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