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Linking Strengths and Self-Awareness to Transform a Workplace

Linking Strengths and Self-Awareness to Transform a Workplace

Webcast Details

  • How can strengths revolutionize the way you work with others?
  • Why is self-awareness important, and how are strengths and self-awareness a powerful combination for your work and life?
  • When leaders have self-awareness, how does that improve their wellbeing and effectiveness?

Self-awareness has even more potential than we have realized. It can benefit not only you but also those around you -- coworkers, family, friends. As you become more self-aware through knowing and applying your CliftonStrengths, you can also learn to appreciate others' strengths and discover how to better work with them. Self-awareness is also a key element in leadership effectiveness. Organizations that help their leaders identify and use their CliftonStrengths in their role -- and appreciate the strengths of individuals on their teams -- will foster workplace success as well as improved leader and employee wellbeing. Join Jess Weiss, Managing Consultant of Human Tribe and a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, as she shares her story and how she is bringing strengths-based change to organizations, leaders and employees in Australia.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 38.

When we're young, we're taught, "Treat people as you want to be treated." And I think we need to start flipping that. And it needs to be, "Treat people as you think they want to be treated."

Jess Weiss, 20:08

Quite often, leaders, they assume that their struggles are unique. And quite often, they're not.

Jess Weiss, 40:14

If you can tap into where people's natural talents and strengths lie and improve the self-awareness, then that's when the magic's gonna happen.

Jess Weiss, 17:49

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from our Gallup studios, literally tonight around the world, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on August 10, 2021.

Jim Collison 0:22
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 you join us in our chat room. Just right above us there is a link to the live, to the live instance on YouTube. Sign in and you can join us there in chat. If you have questions after the fact, you can always send us an email: Don't forget to subscribe to Called to Coach on your favorite podcast app. Or you can subscribe there right there on YouTube and never miss an episode. Bruno Zadeh is our host today. He works as a Coaching Community Leader in APAC. He's kind of me in APAC, which is kind of cool. And it's great to see you, Bruno. Welcome back to Called to Coach!

Bruno Zadeh 1:07
Thank you, Jim. I like to be a mini you. I found that fantastic!

Jim Collison 1:11
Well, we all have our unique gifts. I think there's some stuff you do better than me, Bruno. One of those is a fantastic interview that we're going to do tonight. So why don't you take a second and introduce our guest?

Bruno Zadeh 1:21
Absolutely, Jim. So today I'm delighted to host on Called to Coach Jess Weiss. Jess is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. Her Top 5 are Input, Empathy, Maximizer, Positivity and Developer. A lot of Building Relationship here. Jess has joined the Accelerated Strengths Coaching course in December 2017. Prior to becoming a coach, Jess was in the fitness industry. She was a personal trainer and also a training manager. Jess was leading a team of 8 trainers across multiple locations. And this is where I can clearly see the transfer of skills and experience from the fitness industry to the coaching industry -- focus on performance and achieving goals. Jess brings her invaluable experience into her coaching sessions and workshops. She's a passionate coach and facilitator specializing in human performance in the workplace. She is the Managing Consultant of Human Tribe, a training and consulting company built to improve the performance of businesses by improving the performance of their people. Human Tribe used to say and believes that, "When people thrive, business thrives."

Bruno Zadeh 2:41
Jess has been working with the team at Capital Chemist Charnwood, a community pharmacy in Canberra, for over 2 years, engaging with the team at all levels, from front line to partners. She's accredited in Gallup CliftonStrengths, Everything DiSC, The 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team and Hogan Personality Profiling. But Jess says that CliftonStrengths is by far her favorite tool and most popular tool! (Jess is, after all, high Input.) Jess has identified that her purpose is to continually learn, grow and collaborate, so she can make a difference in the lives of others. She aims to fulfill this purpose in every new project. In her spare, spare time, pre-COVID, Jess played competitive soccer, and ultimate frisbee. She has a wife, Kristie, a little one, Addison, who is 14 months old, and two dogs, Chino and Maggie. Jess, welcome to Called to Coach! So my first question -- you're welcome. My first question is, how did you discover CliftonStrengths? And what originally brought you to the course?

Jess Weiss 3:57
Yes. So Nic, who's my mentor, the founder of Human Tribe, she did her strengths accreditation earlier in 2017. And she came back and she debriefed me. And as soon as I run my, I ran my strengths, I just absolutely fell in love with it. And the funny part was that even though Nic had done the accreditation, I just, it just spoke to me so much, obviously, with, as you can see from my strengths, my No. 1 being Input, it just spoke to me so much. And it got to the point that I had just gone and learned so much that I almost knew more than Nic, who had done the accreditation. So I worked really hard to be able to get to the point of being able to come through the accreditation myself, and I absolutely loved it when I, when I got to come and do it.

Bruno Zadeh 4:42
That's great. I have another question. We talk about your Top 10 CliftonStrengths, and I know you have some great anecdotes about your Input No. 1 and your Arranger No. 10. Do you mind to share your story and share with us how's that play for you?

Jess Weiss 4:59
Yeah, absolutely. So I remember when I first did my strengths, and I got my report, and it came out No. 1 Input. And I remember seeing it and going, "I've always known this about myself, but I didn't know that it was a strength. I didn't know it was something that I could harness." And I think it was just so far in the basement where it was this craving to know more, but I hadn't quite learned how to harness it and how to send it in the right direction. So it was constant frustration and dissatisfaction because I felt like I wasn't learning and collecting enough. And I remember, as soon as seeing it, I was kind of like, "Oh, OK, this is a strength. This is something that's special about me. This is something that I can really, you know, leverage and work to turn into a strength rather than something that was just an area of frustration." So that was like a real penny-drop moment for me when I, when I first saw my report.

Jess Weiss 5:51
And then my Arranger, like, this is one, and, you know, as, as you both know, we use our strengths all the time. And, you know, even little things like, if I'm going somewhere that I've been 100 times, I'll still put it into Google Maps just to make sure I'm taking like the fastest route to get somewhere because like I don't want to waste time. Right. So that's, that's, that's an example of my Arranger. And I use that all the time. And I will get frustrated with myself if I, you know, do something and then I realized that there would have been a more efficient way to do it. So yeah, not necessarily always in the, in the balcony, but I'm aware of it nonetheless.

Bruno Zadeh 6:29
How do you self-regulate your Input? Do you have some tips to share? Because it's very strong with you. I know it's a challenging question.

Jess Weiss 6:38
Yeah, sometimes it's like, "Do as I say, not as I do." So I feel like I know the right things, but I don't always listen to myself. But it's, it's becoming OK with the fact that I'm never going to learn everything or know everything or be able to collect everything, and being OK with the fact that my "to-read list" of books will always be longer than my "have-read" list of books. And sometimes it's, you know, closing a tab on my browser and kind of just closing my eyes and pressing it and knowing that everything's OK when I've closed it. It's not lost forever; if I need to find it again, I can. But yeah, I think, I think the biggest thing was just letting myself know that it's OK. And that might sound really silly, because there's this part with the Input that's, that's, that just needing to know more. But it's OK, if sometimes you close a tab without reading it.

Bruno Zadeh 7:31
OK. And you have a background in the fitness industry, and you have done that during many years. And I imagine you might be able to transfer a lot of knowledge and experience in your coaching practice. What makes you unique as a strengths coach, and what value do you bring to your clients?

Jess Weiss 7:48
Yeah, it's really interesting. A lot of people who hear that I, my background is in the fitness industry can't quite understand the link between what I did before and what I do now. And to me, it's quite an obvious transition. And I think, I think the people, the reason people struggle with it is cause most people who do what I do have a background in HR, or they've worked their way up in corporate and then they move into consulting. And for me, I went from the fitness industry where I was working, you know, one-on-one with people, and it's, it's, it's essentially coaching, when you're working as a personal trainer. You're listening to people's goals, and you're pushing them, and you're, you know, sometimes calling them out on their excuses. And you're working with them to really harness, you know, their areas of strength and then also understand how they can work around areas that don't come as naturally for them.

Jess Weiss 8:36
So to me, it was, it was a really obvious transition into what I'm doing at the moment. And I got really lucky that I transitioned from being a personal trainer to being a personal training manager. And I felt that instantly my reach was amplified. So I wasn't just training 10 clients but I was mentoring 8 trainers who were all training 10 clients. And suddenly I had so much more reach. And when I look at what I do at the moment in terms of my coaching, you know, I work with an organization who's got, you know, even a small organization, 50 people, I'm impacting 50 people. You know, I work with a manager who manages a team of two, three, five, 10 people, and you're, you're making a difference to everyone. And it's, it's, it's selfish, how much I enjoy helping others -- I know that sounds really corny -- but I do feel like I'm really making an impact for people.

Jim Collison 9:26
Jess, let me ask you a question with, in relation to that, as you think -- and do me a favor. I'm getting a little scratching from your, from that. Just, just, no, hold on to the -- yeah, hold on to the puck for me or something. We'll see if we get that worked out. Not a big deal.

Jess Weiss 9:39
OK, sorry.

Jim Collison 9:40
No, no, no worries. I'm just thinking about the, the other folks listening on the other end. The -- when you, as a manager, in your Arranger, right, you, you, as you talk about -- by the way, you're describing me to a tee -- I -- drives my crazy, my kids. Like, "Dad, how do you have 50 tabs open?" Right, right? And, you know, I'm doing all kinds of things at the same time. How helpful was that -- having that talent, knowing you could do multiple things in multiple ways, all at the same time, and making that transition into that, into the new role? How important was that talent for you? Did you feel like you could lean into that, and you were ready for it, because you know how to do this already?

Jess Weiss 10:22
Yeah, 100%. And again, when I transitioned from the fitness industry to what I'm doing at the moment, I didn't have the language of strengths. And you know, we always talk about strengths, you know, it's nothing you didn't know about yourself, but it brings it to your awareness. So I already always knew that I had these things. And then as soon as I got my report and I had the language, it kind of consolidated everything for me. And then it made me go, "OK, this is a strength; I just have to work out how to harness it." Rather than, you know, just focusing on that it comes naturally and not looking to do anything extra within.

Bruno Zadeh 10:59
Previously you mentioned something that really sticks in my mind, and it's, you make a great point -- that learning goes both ways. And I really love what you say about that. Do you have a particular moment that comes to mind?

Jess Weiss 11:14
Yeah, absolutely. It's a, it's a recent one as well with the lockdowns that we're in at the moment. So I've got Communication in my Top 10. And being in lockdown in very close quarters with my wonderful wife, I've realized that with my Communication, I totally slip into the basement if I feel like I've been misunderstood. And I didn't quite realize this about myself until I was in a coaching session with someone and we were talking about Communication. And they said something, and I had this, like, penny-drop moment. And it made, I was like, "Oh, that's why I've been getting so frustrated, you know, with, with this, you know, being misunderstood." And it then sends my Communication totally into the basement, where I start overexplaining everything and saying the same thing two, three, four times. And my wife's like, "I get it; you've said it three times now." And I'm like, "I know. I just want to make sure, because when I first said it, you thought I meant this." And that 100% came from a coaching conversation I was having someone, having with someone.

Jess Weiss 12:14
So I'm constantly learning, and maybe it's my lens of Learner, that when I'm listening to someone, in my head, somehow I'm going, "How does this apply to me? And what does that look like?" That yeah, all the time. And I think that's probably another reason why I love what I'm doing so much because I'm constantly learning and growing and collecting.

Bruno Zadeh 12:37
So you really have a different lens now. I can see clearly the strength lens about everything you plug in and the way you think and the way you articulate. And it's just a common language is what the magic comes from, basically.

Jess Weiss 12:51
Yeah, and once you see this stuff, you can't unsee it. You know, like once you have this lens, you see it in people all the time, whether it's someone that you're working with or someone at the shops, they'll do something. And you just see it, and you're like, "Oh, OK, you're high Discipline." I get that, right. You just start to notice those things, and you just can't unsee it. And I love that, because it gives this whole extra lens and this whole extra, you know, layer of understanding to people in relationships.

Jim Collison 13:18
Well, and how great is it when you can see that in a positive light? Lisa in the chat room is saying right now she just loves your Positivity. And how great is that when you can recognize that about someone else? In other words, Discipline can get beat up -- actually, any of the themes can get beat up, right? People can, can, but when you can turn that into recognition and say, "Wow, I really see your Discipline there. And that's super helpful," right. Cause you and I, I think -- now, in 5 minutes, I'm figuring out, you and I are a lot alike, actually. And we probably need to lean on those Discipline, Focus folks, right? Because we don't, we're kind of doing everything all at the same time. And we need some folks probably behind the scenes to help shore us up. How, what are your, who are your best partners? I mean, when you think about folks that you partner best with -- and maybe that's your wife, or maybe that's someone at work -- do they, are they the same as you or a little bit different? How do you, how do you manage that? And what are you taking advantage of?

Jess Weiss 14:17
Yeah, it's, it's a really interesting question. And just to go off a slight tangent, like, a funny amount of times I've been asked by people, "So if I was looking to date someone, do I want someone who's got the same strengths as me or different?" And something I always say is, "You can find someone who's got the same strengths as your partner, and you might hate them, or you might love them." So I think it's more than just that. But maybe I picked Discipline because my wife's high Discipline, and I appreciate it about her but it also really frustrates me. But we've got the language. So sometimes, she'll say to me, "It's just my Discipline. Can you leave me alone?" And I kind of just have to bite my teeth and go, "Yep, that's fine. You go for it." So absolutely, I think complementary strengths and, you know, Nic, my mentor who founded Human Tribe, she's absolutely got some different things to me. And we, you know, we've got some overlap. We're both high Communication and high Achiever and Positivity.

Jess Weiss 15:10
But she's, you know, she's high Activator. And she's high Strategic. And she definitely pushed me to, I've got quite low Strategic and lower Activator. And she definitely pushed me to think about things in a different way and pushed me to, you know, do and be better. I've got low Self-Assurance and she's got quite high Self-Assurance. And I always found that she could instill that Self-Assurance in me. She used to say, "I wouldn't get you to do this if I didn't trust you." And suddenly, I'd be like, "Oh, OK, well, then I must be able to do it." So I think, I think definitely the complementary ones are the ones that are standing out for me -- that, while sometimes an area of frustration, definitely, you know, powerful partnerships can happen from them.

Bruno Zadeh 15:52
That's a great example. I hope I didn't frustrate you too much. Because I'm high Discipline and I'm high Activator. So I constantly follow up after you.

Jess Weiss 16:00
No, not at all.

Bruno Zadeh 16:02
OK, that's great. As a managing consultant at Human Tribe, you have recently designed an Effective Manager Program. Can you please explain what capabilities are essential to the development of managers? And how does CliftonStrengths play a part of manager development?

Jess Weiss 16:20
Yeah, so the Effective Manager Program was developed because we're constantly seeing people who were technically good at their roles who are promoted to a management position and then are given no training. It's the only job that, for some reason, we're not giving any training and there's this expectation. And, you know, the statistics, as, you know, both of you would know, the Gallup statistics, they're so alarming at the impacts that managers make. And yet we're setting them up for failure, because we're promoting to them to this position, and then we're not giving them any support.

Jess Weiss 16:54
So in our Effective Manager Program, we look at self-awareness, and we look at how to have coaching conversations, and how to give feedback and hold people accountable, and how to onboard for success and, you know, how to do listening and effective questioning. And it's, it's, it's stuff that sounds simple. But they're those core capabilities that, if you're not doing them, then you're going to be, you know, those statistics of people who leave their job because of, you know, the manager, rather than the person that they think of when they go, "Oh, actually, yeah, if you asked me about a great manager, I think about this person." That's what we want to build -- that real effectiveness.

Jess Weiss 17:33
And in terms of the second part of your question, Bruno, in terms of how strengths comes in, like, self-awareness is everything. Right? So, and, and I use it as a coach and a facilitator, even if the person that I'm working with hasn't done strengths. And as we spoke about, you start to see it in people. And if you can tap into where people's, you know, natural talents and strengths lie and, you know, improve the self-awareness, then that's when the magic's gonna happen, in terms of someone's effectiveness within their, within their management role.

Bruno Zadeh 18:04
And as you say, it's, it's true: The manager plays a big role in organization; it's up to 70% of variability and create a big part of your engagement with, with your team, especially in time of COVID. Here in Australia, we are on lockdown, and imagine people with high Communication -- they need to communicate even more. They need to be reassured. And it's very important to, to connect with these people, minimum of once a week. Doesn't have to be long, but they need this interaction. How do you measure your success of your program?

Jess Weiss 18:37
Yeah, so we do pre-, during and post-surveys that go out to the team member and also to the team member's manager, sorry, to the participant and also the participant's manager. So we're getting their perspective on how much they've improved as well as the manager's perspective. And something really interesting that we've seen, cause we've, we've run similar programs internally within organizations, and what we find is that someone rating themselves, sometimes what it actually makes them realize is, you know, they might have rated themselves, "Oh, yeah, I'm an 8 out of 10 with this." And then they go through the course. And they go, "Oh, actually, I had no idea. Now I rate myself a 5 out of 10." And it's not that they've gotten worse; it's just that they've realized how much that they didn't know.

Jess Weiss 19:24
So, you know, we're building that, that self-awareness within that, where people sort of, you know, the more you learn, the more you realize you don't learn. So we're bringing them to awareness. And that's something really interesting that we've seen with those pre- and post-surveys of the programs that we've run.

Bruno Zadeh 19:42
That's a great example of self-awareness. Did you notice from your manager some people who have some strengths who complement with people in their team, and now the dynamics start to change the way they interact together and help each other?

Jess Weiss 19:58
Absolutely. And again, it comes to that, that self-awareness and having that lens of realizing, just because I think this way, it doesn't necessarily mean that other people think this way. And I feel like, you know, when we're young, we're taught, "Treat people as you want to be treated." And I think we need to start flipping that. And it needs to be, "Treat people as you think they want to be treated." Because, you know, someone who has high Discipline, Jim, they probably won't get much out of us if they're forcing us to go through that regimented, you know, structure. Doesn't mean we can't do it. But it's not where our sweet spot lies. So if you've got a manager who's trying to force their team to do things in their way, they're not necessarily going to get as good outcomes as if they're tailoring it to that person and where their strengths and capabilities lie.

Bruno Zadeh 20:41
Absolutely. And we talked about that previously; I think we mentioned an example about a manager together who has a particular lens, and the team didn't want to react the same way.

Jess Weiss 20:53
Yeah. So I, it was, it was about a leader of mine who had high Individualization, but the majority of her team were high Consistency. So she was coming at it and she was going, you know, "You can do this; you can't do this. You can do it this way -- this is OK for you; this is not OK for you." And her lens was, "I'm just tailoring everything to my team." And they were sitting there going, "This isn't fair. You're playing favorites." And she had to really flip it and go, "OK, what works for me and where my lens is, isn't appropriate for other people." And she really had to flip it. And that was an effort for her, because I remember Consistency sat, you know, definitely right at the bottom of her report. But she had to adapt to what her team needed and dial down what came naturally for her so as to adapt for them, because they were finding it quite, quite frustrating and quite demotivational that they were being treated in that way.

Jess Weiss 21:50
But this is the power of strengths, that we were able to look at that and then have that conversation. Where normally, people feel it, but they can't put a word to it and can't have a conversation around it. So yeah, that was, that was an interesting one that we saw come into play.

Bruno Zadeh 22:05
That's a perfect example of strengths-based leadership: You have some strengths, and you draw up to help your team. I love it. So my next question to set up the stage, we would love to understand the world in which you are currently operating. And could you please tell us about Capital Chemist? How many branches have you worked with? Why strengths have been so successful for the pharmacies you have worked with?

Jess Weiss 22:30
Yes. So I've worked with about 5 stores within Capital Chemist. And I've also done stuff with the greater Capital Chemist group. I actually ran a couple of keynotes at their most recent forum, where one of them was about "From Talent to Strength," so it was all about focusing on strength. And then I've done individual work with with the separate branches where, you know, all of them have embedded strengths. I've just started with another one, and they've started with their employee engagement. So they've done their Q12. And then we're about to roll out strengths with their team. And they just love it because it's simple, but effective. It's a common language that they can bring to their team. And interestingly enough, and I was sharing this with Bruno, interestingly enough, the themes that came really high, they had Achiever, Developer, Harmony, and Responsibility came out as the four most common.

Jess Weiss 23:25
And it's really interesting when we look at, you know, people in pharmacy, especially in the last, you know, 12 to 18 months is that they've been busy. Like, they have been so busy being an essential service. And their Achiever is absolutely being fed. And they just, they just get in there and they get stuff done. And I think as well, being really high Developer, they appreciate the idea of focusing on strengths and looking for those improvements and working out where they can invest in themselves and, and in their team. So it's definitely been something that's, that's spoken to them quite a lot across the, the different teams that we've worked with.

Bruno Zadeh 24:09
As a case study, we have decided to focus on Capital Chemist Charnwood and discuss the change you are implementing on the ground level. What learning and development have you delivered so far? How many people are involved in the team? How often do you coach individually? And what change have you observed?

Jess Weiss 24:28
Yes, so as you mentioned previously in the intro, I've been working with them for about over 2 years. There's about 50 of them on their team. And we kicked off with like an Intro to Strengths session. So we ran everyone's reports. And we did Top 5 for the team members and then the full 34 reports for the leaders within the organization. And yeah, we kicked off with a, with an awesome workshop where we introduced everyone to the tool and to their strengths, and we had some great conversations where there was some really nice sharing going on. And then I've worked with the leaders to really embed it within the team and build it as part of their language, but also working one-on-one with the leaders in terms of building their self-awareness and really understanding their strengths and how they show up, and then how to leverage that in terms of their role that they play as a leader. And, and that's, that's as, you know, owners of the pharmacy, and that's also senior people within the team.

Jess Weiss 25:28
So there's a couple of different lenses for how we've, we've looked at it. And what's really great about what they've done at Charnwood is, you know, they've got everyone's strengths up on tiles in their, in their office, and the, the leader, Samantha, she pulls out -- and she's high Individualization, so definitely speaks to her -- but anytime someone comes into her office and they want to talk about something, she'll pull out their strengths and be referencing it as they're talking. So they've absolutely embedded that strengths-based culture into their, into their organization and across the team. All new team, new team members who join are onboarded with strengths.

Jess Weiss 26:06
So we do everyone's reports, and then they have a one-on-one coaching session with me. And then I'm regularly in contact with the leaders around, you know, just them showing up at their best. And sometimes that's specific conversations where they'll call me and go, "I've got this team member. And this is happening. And I think it's their this strength. How do I work on it?" And then other times, it's just, "This is what's going on for me as a person or as a leader." And that's, you know, where our coaching conversations are. So a real, a real variance around, you know, what we're doing with it, but it's definitely been embedded into their, you know, DNA.

Jim Collison 26:40
Jess, as a coach, what do you find, in the conversations you're having with individuals, what do you find that's most helpful for you in, in the process of helping people through this coaching journey? How do you structure those? Do you do them different for everybody? Any approaches? We have a bunch of coaches listening. So what kind of advice would you give them, in your own personal, you know, we all have our own style, but what, what works for you? What do you really like to do?

Jess Weiss 27:05
Yeah, it's a really interesting question. And, and, annoyingly, my answer is, it depends. And I'll always start at the same spot. And that's, you know, let's take a really nice, deep dive into your Top 5. And then I'll send them away with some homework, and then it's, you know, let's dive into your dominant and really understand them, and understand how you show up and what they look like and how you're leveraging them and, and, you know, what areas there are for you to be maximizing them. And then obviously, you look at the bottom of the report, you know, where are your lesser, lesser themes and, you know, how can you achieve the outcomes of those from using your dominant?

Jess Weiss 27:43
So that's always the starting point. Because again, I think self-awareness is the important place to start. And then from there, it very much depends on the person that I'm working with. And some of my clients -- and obviously, it's to do with their strengths, but -- some of them come into every session, and they're like, "This is what I need to talk about today. And this is what I want to get out of it." And others come in and go, "Not really sure what I want to get out of today." And then we start talking and I'll ask questions, and then the conversation flows from there. You know, I'll always come in with a rough idea of, you know, some questions I want to ask based on what we spoke about in our last conversation, and I'm always really diligent in making sure that we've got action items set, you know, post the session.

Jess Weiss 28:27
So yeah, annoying answer that it depends. But I, and maybe it's because I'm high Adaptability that I don't like to come in with too much of a plan. Because if, if I come in with a couple of thoughts or questions, and I never get to those questions, I feel like I've done a good job, because it means we've spent the whole session talking about whatever my client needs.

Bruno Zadeh 28:49
We can see so high Adaptability here -- strongly between the Arranger, the Adaptability. Now, I'm curious to know, how have you used strengths to improve the system and process? And do you have some specific materials or do some coaching model? What do you use, exactly? What can you do in this area?

Jess Weiss 29:08
Yeah, so this is an interesting one, and not to use Consistency and Individualization, again, as an example, and I promise it's, it's a different team to the previous example that I gave. But Samantha and her business partner, Bec, who recently bought in as a partner, they were at that forum that I said that I did that keynote on "From Talent to Strength." And I had been working with them already for, for 2 years at this point, and they had done their strengths and it was very much embedded. And someone at the forum had asked a question, and we were talking about it. And Samantha just had this realization that for some reason she was going about, you know, with high Consistency, even though she was high Individualization, she was thinking there needed to be this fairness, right.

Jess Weiss 29:55
So everyone was always rostered on for all tasks. And interestingly enough, they had what they called a concierge role, where all pharmacists would be rostered on to be this concierge. And the way that the pharmacists thought that it was structured was that they had to stand at the door, and as people walked in, you know, say "Hi!" to them. And no one liked that role, right. But what she found, once she started having conversations, is different people didn't like it for different reasons. And it was that they actually didn't understand what was expected of them within their role. But she also found that there was a couple of people that liked it, because they realized that there was flexibility to move around the store. They weren't just a statue that had to stand there.

Jess Weiss 30:35
So she realized that she was, for some reason, creating this sense of fairness that everyone was rostered on for. And what she actually did was they did one-on-one interviews with every one of their team members, which took them a while, and they asked them things like, What do you love about your role? And, If you could pick and choose the things to do and not do, what would you choose and what would you take away? And How do you feel like that aligns with your strengths? And what energy do you get from the tasks that you love? And they asked all of these really great questions. And what they've done is they've molded everyone's roles very much around where their strengths are and where their areas of interest are and what they love about, you know, the tasks that they do within their role.

Jess Weiss 31:17
And I'm not gonna lie and say that no one ever has, you know, things that they do that they don't enjoy, because we all have them. But they very much built it that it's a lot less around that and it's a lot more tailored to what they do enjoy. So it's, it's a system and process that they've put in that's almost taken some systems and processes out, if that makes sense.

Bruno Zadeh 31:38
Absolutely. Yeah. My next question is about the lockdown. So with the recent lockdown in Australia, all retail stores have had to change the way they operate. What kind of changes have been created by Capital Chemist to cope with COVID lockdown and the workplace restriction? But also, How have you personally managed your role as a coach during the increasing restriction?

Jess Weiss 32:05
So Charnwood, they're a, they're a big pharmacy. There, there, there's a lot of reliance on them within their community, and they are very involved in their community. And something that they did last year, when, when we were sort of in our first round of lockdowns is they actually split their team into their Team A and Team B. And they were not allowed to cross over with each other, not allowed to come into contact with each other. They were two completely separate teams -- still, obviously, within the one team, but they were completely separate. They had different shifts on different days, and there was never crossover. And in between every shift at night, there was like a deep clean that they did of the pharmacy. And that was something that they had to do, because they, they very much felt that they owed it to their pharmacy, sorry, to their community, to be able to keep the pharmacy open. And that's just what they had to do to ensure that they were going to be there every day where their community needed them.

Jess Weiss 33:04
So obviously, within that, there was so much, in terms of workflow and, you know, the intricacies of people where, you know, people were going, "I missed this person" and "I want to be working with this person. Can I switch this team?" And there was a lot that went into it; it wasn't a simple split, and "This is what we do now." There was a lot to it, and it definitely wasn't easy, but it was something that I had to embed to be able to stay open. And in terms of the role that I played as a coach, and something that I found quite interesting, particularly through lockdown last year, was how different leaders approached their work with me. And what I found is that some of them went, "Don't talk to me. We're too busy; can't focus on it," you know, "Don't talk to us." And others really leaned into it. And Samantha and the team at Charnwood were ones that leaned in.

Jess Weiss 33:57
And I remember, you know, calling Samantha one day and saying, "I just want to check in, but I also don't want you to feel like we need to continue our conversations." And she literally said, "No, no, I need you now more than ever!" And, and her leaning into it -- and I'm definitely not saying that I made everything better -- but her leaning into having someone there to talk to and bounce ideas off and, you know, give recommendations and just listen, I think really made an impact for her and her team going through lockdown. And her team knew that I was a resource and sometimes I had ones calling me that I hadn't seen for a year and a half since the Intro to Strengths session that just said, "Hi. I'm struggling a bit. Can we have a chat?" And, and being there as that resource for the team I think was really helpful, but also for Samantha and her leadership team knowing that her team had someone else external that they could speak to. I think that really made a difference. So yeah, they really leaned into, into it, and I think it made an impact for them.

Bruno Zadeh 35:00
That leads to the next question, because with COVID now, we can feel a lot of stress in the workplace, and they are different dynamic. And recently we have published from Gallup poll the workplace trends in Australia and New Zealand. And curiously, our wellbeing has been lot of, has been impacted. And I would like to link that with, with strengths. How do you reduce or how can you help people who have, example, high Achiever to not be on burnout? Or different strengths who, if they are not well self-regulated, could be, well, decrease, decrease the wellbeing of individuals?

Jess Weiss 35:46
Yeah. Again, it all comes down to self-awareness. And the more that we have awareness of our strengths, and what energizes us and what drains us, the more that we can be in control of it. And I've been, you know, working with strengths for years. And I'm definitely not saying that I never go into the basement, but I'll have awareness around it. Like if, if I'm driving somewhere, and someone takes a route that I know is slower than the way that we should be going, I know that I go into the basement when I catch myself getting frustrated, right? Or sometimes I'll be, I'll just go, "Let me just quickly Google this," and I start reading, "Oh, this looks interesting." And then I get down that rabbit hole and half an hour passes. I catch myself, right.

Jess Weiss 36:24
So I'm definitely not saying I don't go into the basement, but I've got awareness around it. And that's absolutely something that I try to teach all of the clients that I work with. It's not about never going into the basement, but it's having awareness of, you know, what those triggers are, and the impact that it has on our energy. And if we can spend more time with the stuff that energizes us without tipping over into that basement of, you know, burnout, for example, with Achiever. So the question is, How can you get the energy that you need from your Achiever to keep you going and let it fill your cup without reaching that tipping point? And if we can learn what that is, then we're in control of it, rather than being, you know, an unconscious spectator and suddenly going, "Oh, I guess I'm in burnout now." You know.

Jim Collison 37:08
You, Jess, as you're talking about that, I'm always reminded, you know, all three of these -- engagement, strengths and wellbeing -- play together. And I think sometimes when our, when we're suffering in well, in the wellbeing space, it, it, it hampers our ability to have that self-awareness that normally we would catch ourselves. Like if everything was in good shape, we'd be like, "OK, I'm, like, I'm just being unreasonable at this point," right? You catch yourself. But if you're suffering in one of those areas, then I think you start -- you don't catch yourself as often. You, you kind of go into fight, or flight -- one of the two -- in there a little, a little more frequently. And so I think, you know, Bruno just referenced that, that Gallup report that we, that we published around what's going on around the world. And I think that's really the key: Get on top of this wellbeing for your managers. Because if they're losing, like if the managers are losing self-awareness, chances are that's probably, that's probably headed downstream, don't you think?

Jess Weiss 38:07
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And again, this is, this is the power of working with a coach, because they can sometimes see things that you don't notice, when you're so entrenched in that and you're in, in, in the moment and you're in the struggles or the stress or whatever it might be, someone externally going, you know, "Hey, do you think you're stressed?" Or, "Hey, how are you taking the time to fill your cup?" Or "Have you stopped lately?" Or, you know, "It sounds like you're really, you know, churning through everything here. Have you taken the time to rest?" Sometimes someone externally pointing those things out to you, you can go, "Oh, actually, yeah, how did I miss that?" And it's like you're saying, Jim, when, when everything's good, on a good day, we'd notice it. It's when it's not that we don't notice it. And if we've got someone in that role that can help us and can bring it to our awareness, then hopefully, we catch it before it goes too far in that direction.

Jim Collison 39:00
It's, I think it's a good reminder, especially for the managers, that -- because they, they dictate a lot of what's going on. And do you guys, in your program, are, is there support for manager to manager? I mean, oftentimes, managers get out on an island. And so, what are you doing to make sure the managers have that connection to each other, or at least a support structure to make sure they're taken care of and not kind of left in the wind, so to speak?

Jess Weiss 39:25
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, part of my coaching is always encouraging. You know, if I'm working with two managers in an organization, undoubtedly it is going to come up in conversation, "This person did this, and it's frustrating me," right. So that's where I go, "OK. Well, you know, why do you think you were, they were doing that? Let's think about it from their point of view. OK. Well, do you think you could go and have a conversation or how do you think you could go about that differently?" So inevitably, it's going to come up, and the more that we encourage that communication, then the more effective it's going to be.

Jess Weiss 39:57
And, you know, to go back to the Effective Manager Program that we were talking about, it's, it's people from different organizations coming together to form a cohort. And within that, they've got a network of, you know, 10, 11 other managers who are going through the same struggles as them. And I think quite often, leaders, they assume that their struggles are unique. And quite often, they're not. It's all around the same, the same area. So having people outside of your organization who are going through the same things as you, it can be a really powerful network to have that quite often, you know, managers miss out on. And because they miss out, they're, they're losing opportunities for themselves to learn and grow, but also to help each other and play that role for someone else.

Jim Collison 40:43
Yeah, you, you mentioned early on, they don't get any training. But they get put in this role, and they don't get any training. And then I think they don't get very much support -- the, sometimes the managers above them have quit managing too, and they need those Quick Connects. It sounds to me like you play a little bit of a manager to managers in the sense of being that coach, and helping them, right, in these times of saying, "Hey, I need you to kind of look at this and maybe kind of start focusing in this area" -- especially in areas where maybe the managers above them aren't able to give that kind of support or however that, however that works out. Do you find yourself every once in a while kind of stepping into a little bit of that role?

Jess Weiss 41:25
Yeah, 100%. Yeah, yeah, most definitely. And I think you're right: I think sometimes it's because the next level of managers up are disengaged. But maybe that's not their fault, because they haven't been given the training. You know, and like you were saying before, Jim, where if the managers are struggling, it's going to cascade down, what about that level up from that manager? And what, what have they got cascading down from, from their leader? So yeah, absolutely as a coach, you play that role.

Jim Collison 41:53
We did a whole series on this back in the spring and talked a little bit about sometimes, that next level of management, they lose their expectation that they're still managers. Right? They feel like they've gotten to some kind of location, like, and now they're a director of something or EVP, or whatever. And they, they -- and listen, they have a lot of responsibility. They do. They give, but they still have to make sure people below them --

Jess Weiss 42:18
They forget about the people.

Jim Collison 42:20
They do, they do. And it's easy. It's easy to do. It's just a great reminder, I think, in organizations that we need to study those, we're doing a lot of work on that first-line manager. And Bruno knows this better than anybody, as we go into organizations, of figuring out then, But how do we run that support up the channel? Because everyone above those managers has to be supported as well in some way, and know, Hey, we're a part of this management cycle, from CEO on down, right. And, and sometimes that's where the management cycle breaks. And so good, good for you. Good to hear that you're thinking about that, that you're thinking, you know, from a management perspective, at least now, you've got a management training program in there that's get -- that's setting some baseline. How do you know, how do you know that's being successful? What, what, for you, what does success -- at the end of the day, how do you know, as a coach, you're being successful?

Jess Weiss 43:10
Just in general?

Jim Collison 43:12
Yeah. I mean, what, what's a good day for you when you get done, and you're like, "You know, I'm making a difference here!" This, feels good, that feel-good day, right? How do you know you're making a difference and getting -- and what's success for you?

Jess Weiss 43:23
It's such a good question. And I think every day it looks really different. And you know, sometimes it's someone saying, you know, "Oh, my God, you're so right! I never thought about it that way." Something -- it's sometimes it's something as simple as that. And other times, it's, you know, an example comes to mind of someone that I'm working with who's kind of newer to management, and we've done her strengths. And she needed to flag something with her manager, who's an absolutely lovely person and definitely not someone to be scared of. And she was really worried about having this conversation. And I really pushed her into it. And I was like, "You've got to do this." And I was like, "So we're going to get off our call now. And you're going to send her an email, and you're going to book it in." And she was like, "OK." And I said, "Let me know when you've got it booked in for, and then let me know how the chat goes."

Jess Weiss 44:13
And a couple days later, she sent me an email and she was like, "I can't believe I was scared. And I'm so glad you pushed me into this. And, you know, I don't even know what was stopping me. And having you there has made such a difference," like, and that's just like, feeds my soul. You know, so I think it's every day, it's something different. But it's those little things where people just sort of let you know that, "Hey, I value you, and you're making a difference" that sort of makes me feel like job well done. And selfishly, I, you know, I enjoy that. You know what I mean? It's, it's, I feel like I'm getting to help people. And if it's a double whammy of benefits, then I'm gonna take it, because, yeah, it feels good.

Bruno Zadeh 44:56
It's a celebration. Absolutely. When you make a change on life of people and all these managers, these leaders are so busy that just be successful as a coach to, to make them take the time to be coach, I think it's a great change, and you make an impact in the workplace. Now what I would love to discuss now is the difference between coaching retail as opposed to the coaching in a corporate environment. In a corporate environment, it's very controllable; you have the culture is 90% of interactions are internal. But here in retail, as a pharmacy, almost all of the interpersonal conversations are happening with customer. How does this make a difference to your strategy?

Jess Weiss 45:42
Yeah, it's so interesting and, you know, pharmacy there -- they say it, and I've seen it -- they're busy, right? They are busy -- and, and retail in general and, and you know, where corporate, they'll be able to come in on a Monday morning and have a team meeting or have a morning huddle every morning, where it's like, "Just going to check in what our focus is today," retail don't get the opportunity to do that. And sometimes someone, they'll be 4 hours into a shift before they can take a breath and go, "Hi, how are you going?" Right. So it makes such a difference.

Jess Weiss 46:15
But I think that that speaks to why strengths has been so successful for them. Because it's a simple language that builds understanding of ourselves and the people that we're working with. Right. And if we have that awareness, and that lens of, you know, you know, this person's high Discipline, so I'm gonna, you know, maybe just vary my approach to them in a slightly different way to this person who's high Adaptability. And it's catching yourself in those moments and going, "I need some help from someone. This person looks like they've got their head down. But hey, that person's high Adaptability, and they probably won't mind me interrupting them. I'm just going to go over to them," right. And Discipline, Adaptability, it's just one example of it. But if people can have that understanding and in the moment use it to make decisions about how they go about things, it is going to make it so much more beneficial.

Jess Weiss 47:06
And this happens in corporate, but it's at a bit of a slower pace than what happens in retail. And I've got a client, they sell promotional products, and they're a really successful business. And they do, the, it's all online, it's all over the phone. And their, their later, a husband and wife, they own the company, and the female leader, she is high Maximizer. So strengths really spoke to her. And they've embedded it, and I've been working with them for about 3 years now. And they onboard everyone with their full 34 report and two coaching sessions. And I'm not even kidding, when the new people are doing their reports, they've got people hovering over their shoulders, waiting to see what they come out with their strengths. So it's so embedded and, you know, once they've done it, they've all got pictures up on the walls, framed pictures, where they've got their Top 5, and they talk about each of their strengths.

Jess Weiss 47:59
So what they, they're in retail, and they work solo, in terms of they've got their own clients, and they're on the phone, or they're on their computers. But they've got this underlying culture of strengths that they all focus on. And they use it to understand each other, so that if they need to go to someone for something, they've got this lens of, "Who can I go to, based on, you know, how I've heard them talk about their strengths and what areas they, you know, are passionate about?" And it can really inform the way that the business, the business runs and the team runs within the business.

Bruno Zadeh 48:38
So it provides such a great lens to just know the strengths of others so you know how to communicate. You know that what we change is not necessarily what they will receive. So I imagine with high Adaptability and high Discipline on my side, I need to give you flow a little bit, not control too much. Otherwise, it will create some, some frustration, but we still try to achieve the same goal together. So it's a nice example of collaboration. Now, I would like to talk about the two owners, Bec and Samantha. You mentioned that another one has bought recently in the business, and you have used strengths to develop the relationship between the two owners. Would you mind talking about that a little bit? I know Bec is high Activator; Samantha is high Achiever. And they are both high Communication. How does that work, this collaboration together?

Jess Weiss 49:27
Yeah, the Communication has definitely been an amazing, you know, underlying benefit of their relationship with each other. So, you know, that's been something underlying. And because they had embedded it so well in the team, it was, it was a no-brainer that it was going to be how they were going to collaborate with each other. And, you know, we had some interesting things where Samantha would call me and she'd go, "Bec's activating again, and she's doing all of this stuff," and, and we'd break down the conversation realizes, you know, for Samantha, she was so used to always being the one in control because it was her little baby. And for her, it was actually "No, Bec's not in the basement with her Activator; you're, you're maybe in the basement with your Achiever that you want to be the one getting in there and doing it." And it was kind of her going, "Oh, OK, I get that; now I can see the strength of Bec's Activator. And it's not that she's overactivating and doing too much; it's actually just that I need to sit back and dial down my Achiever a little bit."

Jess Weiss 50:26
So, you know, that's one example just around their Achiever and their Activator. And as I said, both of them having Communication was, made my job so much easier because, you know, they were able to have those conversations with each other. And they were open to hearing those, you know, different points of view and different perspective for how it might be coming out. So definitely something that helped with the relationship.

Jim Collison 50:49
I'm gonna -- we have a few questions in the chat room that I want to, that I want to bring in. I want to go back to the beginning, Jess.. You had mentioned you guys do a survey to the managers. And Lisa was wondering, What kinds of questions do you ask? And so if you could kind of generalize a little bit, what are you, what are you looking for in that survey, with the questions that you have?

Jess Weiss 51:10
Yeah, so it's very much around, you know, what are the outcomes, the learning outcomes that we're looking for from the different modules that we go through? So as a simple example, you know, in, we have a coach module that talks about how to coach someone in the moment or how to have a coaching conversation or how to coach someone for improved performance. So our questions that relate to that will be very much built around, What are the outcomes we're looking for from that module? And what does that look like? So, you know, that's just one example. And you know, other things like, in terms of whether someone feels confident to hold people accountable and to have an accountability conversation or have a feedback conversation. So it's very much things that are linked back to what the outcomes are from the program that we're measuring, to make sure that we're actually measuring the right kind of things, based on where we'd expect them to start and finish in the program.

Jim Collison 52:08
And then she asks a follow-up question, Do you customize the survey based on the situation of the manager, or is it a general one that you, that you always use?

Jess Weiss 52:18
Yeah, it's a general one that's built around what the program aims to touch on. But the variance that allows for that is when the manager is giving their survey on their team member who's going to be participating into the program, we have some free flow. You know, What would you say are the areas that are requiring improvement? And then, you know, questions that are -- you said that they were tracking, they, they needed to improve in this area. How are they tracking against that? So there's some free flow within that. But yeah, less so from the, from the participant themselves.

Jim Collison 52:57
Yeah, no. And Lisa says, It's just good to hear somebody else's approach as we think about how we do, you know, how do you go about that? I think, how did you kind of come to those survey -- how did you come to those questions? Was that something you used from something that was already existing, or did you put that together yourself?

Jess Weiss 53:15
Yeah, we put it together. And as I said, before, it's very much built around, What are the program outcomes? And what are the module outcomes from each of the different sort of sessions within? So what are the outcomes that we're looking for from our coaching module? And then can we turn that into a question to measure someone's capability and competency at the beginning, versus once they've been through it, what's their capability and competency at the end?

Jim Collison 53:41
And then I'm assuming you're onboarding managers from the very beginning this way now, as you're hiring managers. Are they being onboarded with that same process?

Jess Weiss 53:51
So if they're going through our Effective Manager Program, then yes. If it's a coaching conversation with a new team member from one of our clients that we're working with, then maybe not; it's really dependent on the client and what that leader wants from their team. So we don't, I don't do a survey with every person that I'm coaching. It's more so around that sort of Effective Manager Program.

Jim Collison 54:17
Yeah, good, good explanation. Bruno, we got a few minutes here. Any final thoughts from you, as we think about wrapping this up?

Bruno Zadeh 54:25
Well, there are so many questions to ask. I'm frustrated; I would like to take more time. No, my last one, if I can plug just a tiny question, it will be: You are accredited in quite a few tools, but you say strengths is your favorite. Why?

Jess Weiss 54:45
I find that strengths touches on something that the other ones don't. And I actually have an example of how I saw this come into play. So we use everything DiSC as well. And we had someone who had done their DiSC assessment a couple of times, and she consistently came out as an S. Now for anyone who knows DiSC, she was most definitely like a D, right. So that's kind of the very opposite. So S is very supportive, whereas D is more in that dominant So, and it was neither here nor there, and my issue was I felt that she was filling in the assessment with how she would like to be, rather than how she was, OK?

Jess Weiss 55:28
And then we did her strengths, and she came out high Command and high Self-Assurance. And suddenly it consolidated and it caught something that was missing from the DiSC assessment, right. And what still came out in her strengths were those Relationship Building themes, were the ones that she was seeing that was coming out in that support, because support has priorities of you know, collaboration and things like that. So what, what I found that that DiSC didn't pick up on, strengths was able to. And as soon as I saw the Command and the Self-Assurance, I was like, "Oh, OK, that makes sense now." So I feel like strengths catches something that maybe the others don't reveal. And also the uniqueness to it, like, the uniqueness of, even if we share some strengths, they're going to come out differently, because they're influenced by the other themes that we've got. Like two people's Communication is never going to look the same. And that's what I absolutely love about, about strengths.

Bruno Zadeh 56:27
Perfect. Thank you so much for that. I love this answer. I will take so much from this session together. Well, I think we arrived to the end of the session. I would like to thank you for all your time and all the sharing you have done with us. It's fantastic. Thank you, Jess!

Jess Weiss 56:40
Thank you for having me.

Jim Collison 56:42
Yeah, Jess, I really appreciate you coming out and sharing this today -- it, what's, what's a blast for me is I get to hear these stories from around the world, right? And it's just great to hear what's going on -- what's going on in your world -- and just kind of the cool, unique ways that you're, you're really deploying these things forward. And, and I -- listen, I hear in your voice, you know, when I asked you the question about, "How do you know you're being successful?" and you immediately went to people. Like you, you're like, when I see a "people outcome" of you know, fill in the blank, right. And that, that gets me pumped up. Because we know, I just know this changes people's lives, and, and that's why we do what we do here. So Jess, thank you for taking the time today to be a part of this program. I appreciate it.

Jim Collison 57:26
With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available now in Gallup Access. Head out to and there's just tons of resources, including this program will be posted there, and, and many other, many others. If you want to learn out there as well, we have a lot of learning resources for you. If you're interested in coaching, master coaching, or you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Bruno does that as well. You can contact us -- send us an email: And if you want to follow us on Eventbrite, maybe you're listening to the recording of this and you're like, "Oh, this would be better live" -- because big thanks to all the friends that came out. We have a bunch of West Coasters, Jess, I told you. We have a pretty big West Coast following that's figured out they can join this session for Asia and it's in their evening time. So big thanks to all of you guys that joined us from the West Coast of the United States here. You can follow us on Eventbrite: Don't forget to follow us on any social platform, just search "CliftonStrengths" and you can find us there. Join us for a future program. And again, Bruno, Jess, thanks for coming and doing this. Thanks for coming out today. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Jess Weiss' Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Input, Empathy, Maximizer, Positivity and Developer.

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

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