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Called to Coach
Strategic®: Developing Your Leadership Skills
Called to Coach

Strategic®: Developing Your Leadership Skills

Webcast Details

  • Gallup CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 2: Strategic
  • What is the power of Strategic in a leadership role?
  • How could Strategic help or hinder you in leading others?

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.


Explore Gallup's CliftonStrengths® for Leaders Report and discover its ability to help you maximize the impact of your -- and others' -- unique leadership talents and strengths, in this Season 2 episode of The CliftonStrengths Podcast. Join Jim Collison and Dr. Jaclynn Robinson as they discuss the Strategic® theme, its power in a leadership role, how it can help or hinder you as you lead others, and how you can leverage it with the CliftonStrengths for Managers and CliftonStrengths for Sales Reports. Unlock the leadership potential of your Strategic talent -- because everyone leads something.


A leader with this theme can help others see the path forward by sharing the vision and the steps to reach it. Thereby, they can create a lot of hope and stability for the future.

Jaclynn Robinson, 1:58

It's so important to think about, What's my best form of communication, and what's the time where I'm going to be at my best to process and think about how I want to communicate?

Jaclynn Robinson, 8:58

Jim Collison 0:01
I am Jim Collison, and this is The CliftonStrengths Podcast, Season 2, recorded on November 8, 2022.

Jim Collison 0:07
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast series, we'll look at the CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report one theme at a time, and today's theme is Strategic. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. If you don't see it, there's a link to it right above me there or you can email us your questions: Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Gallup Learning and Development Consultant. Joined me for Season 1 of The CliftonStrengths Podcast, where we looked at Wellbeing at Work for each theme. Jaclynn, good to have you. Welcome back!

Introducing Strategic

Jaclynn Robinson 0:49
Thanks. It's gonna be fun. Season 2, here we come!

Jim Collison 0:53
I'm excited. We are looking for Strategic today. Can you give us a kind of a quick overview of Strategic to get us started?

Jaclynn Robinson 0:59
Yes. So those with Strategic create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, you tend to quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

What Is the Power of Strategic in a Leadership Role?

Jim Collison 1:09
Patterns and issues is a good, it's a good way to say it. And it really works itself out differently as we're, this season, we're kind of focusing on leadership and leaders. What's the power of this theme in the leadership role?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:23
Ooh, you know, there's an innate ability to naturally see roadblocks as potential opportunities with a leader that leads with Strategic. And as a result, they can see many options that can be explored. And with a natural aptitude for analyzing the environment and looking a few steps ahead, Strategic leaders, from an organizational standpoint, can really move the company ahead.

How Can Those With Strategic Lead Others?

Jim Collison 1:46
When we think about how this theme can lead others, so we're going to spend a little extended time on this. As you look at it, how can this theme directly lead people?

Jaclynn Robinson 1:57
Yes. So a leader with this theme can help others see the path forward by sharing the vision and the steps to reach it. Thereby, they can create a lot of hope and stability for the future, because they're helping others see what that North Star is. And they can put employees at ease by sharing how they would navigate through any potential obstacles that might end up coming along the path. And that creates trust in employees. So if adversity does strike, they feel confident that the leader has it covered. I think we've seen that a lot this year.

Jim Collison 2:27
Yeah. I think certainly coming out of the pandemic, if that's the way we want to say it, or, or just in the times we're in, here at the end of 2022, there's been great opportunities for that. The world is shifting in so many different ways. And I think those with high Strategic and leadership roles have an incredible opportunity to share that. As we think about this idea of anticipating problems and solutions that can kind of come out of that, What have you seen in the work that you've done -- I mean, as you just think about that, that aspect of the anticipating problems, how can organizations take advantage of that?

Jaclynn Robinson 3:04
With the leader that has Strategic? Ooh, I think leaning on that individual to talk about the different outcomes that they see that can be achieved with the organization. So really trusting that they've, they've thought it through and they can see that chessboard, so to speak. And going back to what you just mentioned with the pandemic, so many employees right now are looking for, What is our strategy for 2023? And do you have pitfalls covered if something happens along the way? I'm seeing a lot just with employee engagement, where there's some hesitancy. Where is leadership taking us? So I think that is, that is something that those with Strategic high can really lean into: the power of helping fellow leaders and employees see what the best option is, and to take them there, step by step.

Jim Collison 3:56
You said a key word in there, which is effective "strategy." And as we think about the communication of that strategy, what do you think -- while we're, we're focusing mostly this season on the leaders themselves, as we think about those followers, what does that provide for followers as, as they're communicated effective strategy? What does that do for them?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:16
It makes me think of the 4 Needs. They feel Stability that the future is moving in the right direction, and the leader has it covered, and Hope. Oh, there is a North Star moving ahead; we are getting out of this. For those with Strategic, they're focused on breaking status quo, and so the future looks potentially even brighter. It's going to be breakthrough versus where we've been. So they know it's not going to be stagnant. And I think when they find the words to communicate that to employees, they do feel that sense of Stability and Hope and trust in who that, who's leading them.

Jim Collison 4:54
These themes don't exist inside of a vacuum, and oftentimes we think, think about them into terms of outcomes or things we can be doing. Someone with high Strategic may benefit from planning sessions or future-oriented seminars, some of those kinds of things, to keep them relevant. Jaclynn, as we're thinking about those other helpful things that they could do along these lines, what, what else do you think -- still along the line of leading others, What else would you insert in there, as far as things they could be doing to continue to build that theme?

Jaclynn Robinson 5:31
Ooh, I love the idea that you just said of seminars. I've seen a lot of Strategic leaders hold town halls, where they can, you know, have a PowerPoint and show where the vision is or the, the road is moving. And then they can take questions from the audience. So that really satisfies the audience's curiosity or hesitancy for what the road ahead looks like. I think, even if we think about theme dynamics, if they're pairing with someone with even Futuristic, to take that messaging and that path they have and create more inspiration around it, because that's what someone with Futuristic is so good at -- inspiring others. And so, instead of just giving strategy, they can sprinkle a little of that creativity and inspiration into their messaging. So that's, that's, I think, a good way to cultivate that talent theme even more.

Jim Collison 6:24
As we kind of wrap this section on leading others, how important do you think it is that this, that those high in Strategic get this opportunity to communicate it with their colleagues or, or, or write about it for internal or external distribution in some way? How could that play in in the leadership role? We sometimes talk about communicating in being out front, but what about maybe some of that written communication?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:50
That's a good question. It reminds me of a question I'd ask a Strategic individual: What is your best form of communicating? Because for some, it might be verbal, and for some, it might be written. And even as we were talking earlier today, when, if it is written, when is their best time of day to write, where they feel that creativity, where they feel like their, their verbiage is going to be strong? Is it morning? Is it afternoon? Is it night? Because having that time blocked down is going to make their communication even more clear, whenever they're delivering it to an audience. Whereas sometimes, we know those with Strategic, they might have so many different options in their head; if they're not really clear on how they're communicating, it can come across as too much for others, too many different pathways that are heard, and that might actually confuse people.

Jim Collison 6:54
I love that idea. You got me thinking along the lines of when is this theme -- When do I use this theme best? What time of the day? I hadn't really thought of that in that, in those terms. We probably won't do this for each of, each of the themes. But I think maybe an important question to ask is, When, when is, when am I at my best? Not just in what I'm doing but when I'm doing it? I guess I haven't really thought of it from, from that perspective: What time of the day do I strategize, do I use my Strategic, does it work best for me? I think both you and I were thinking our morning hours are super productive. But, you know, that, just an additional thought. Any other thoughts on that time, that time element or kind of just thinking through that last little bit of, like, Hey, there might be a time of the day or a situation that comes at a certain time. Right? Any other thoughts on that?

Jaclynn Robinson 8:32
It leads me to think time -- how those with Strategic, because, I call it "plugging into the matrix." So anyone with Strategic might feel that same sense. You plug in, you're seeing all the patterns. But having that think time really helps you process and sort through What is the best option moving forward? What's my second-best option? What's my third? And so making sure you do -- that's why I think it's so important to think about, What's my best form of communication, and what's the time where I'm going to be at my best to process and think about how I want to communicate?

Jaclynn Robinson 9:08
Because it might take a little bit more time to verbally share out what those thoughts or ideas are in a way that's going to be welcomed, as opposed to, you know, sometimes you get thoughts and ideas from other people. And it can sound dismissive, because you've already thought it through. But you need to be able to think through that. How do I want to navigate through that so I'm not hurting people's feelings, and they're still open to providing feedback, but they know that I've also thought it through? So I think that's the value of, How do I communicate and making sure they've got that sync time as a leader.

How Could Strategic Hinder Your Leadership of Others?

Jim Collison 9:39
I don't have Strategic high, and I think sometimes when we're doing these planning sessions, I'll, I'll squelch, squash, hold back the Strategic learning things, because I'm like, Ah, we've done that before. Right? We say, Ah, whatever. I've seen that. I was born at night, but it wasn't last night. Like I've seen this all happen before. How can, how could Strategic get in the way, or how could it hinder the leadership of others? What kind of things may come out in a way that makes it less optimal?

Jaclynn Robinson 10:09
I think I just teased this out a little bit, too, so it's a great segue. A leader with this theme can appear dismissive to the thoughts and ideas of fellow leadership or employees. And that can start to create an environment where people feel more hesitant, or leery to share thoughts and ideas, because they'll see it as, they'll, they'll recall all those, all those past instances when they were shut down. And it felt like their, you know, thoughts and ideas were dismissed. And for someone with Strategic that wants to break through status quo and appreciates, you know, new ideas and thoughts, that ends up being such a hindrance to them, and it ends up, you know, hindering the entire workplace -- or even family life, if we extend just beyond the workplace for a moment. You might shut down family members with those quick ideas that you've got.

Jim Collison 11:02
Yeah. Yeah. And I can think of baggage of previous Strategic sessions when it all made sense, and nobody would follow. Right? And then I think sometimes the hindrance in there can be we take that out on the next group that's asking us for those things, right? So not even related to the previous session or the previous employer or the previous opportunity. But we were shut down -- I'm kind of saying this from experience, but the next group that comes along, they think they got a great idea. And you could be like, "Well been down that path before; it didn't work." And that doesn't mean it won't work again; like, it might, but I think maybe carrying some of that baggage from previous sessions, like from previous -- you've been asked, you've been leaned on for strategy. You offer it. Nobody follows it. Right, you know, or high Activator here. So I'm, I'm only speaking to that, because I've destroyed probably a lot of good ideas and good thoughts by just like, OK, that's too much to worry about. I'm just gonna move on how I do this, and not follow the strategy. Anything else? What else would you add to that?

Jaclynn Robinson 12:17
That's a good one. I think, well, another hindrance -- and this would be more personal for someone with Strategic, so not impacting others necessarily. But it could, as a secondary happenstance. But if you're not having that think time, you have so many ideas in your head that it might just feel like you're a hamster spinning in a wheel, without that time to really sort through your ideas or even incorporate and really think through ideas that have been offered to you. So having that think time can help you think, think about the ideas that others have offered, think about your own. And then start to sort through what is going to be the best path and how do we talk through this in a way where we're not dismissing what anyone offered, but we're still welcoming it and just all kind of aligning on what we think might be the best path?

How Can You Use Strategic as You Lead, Together With the Managers and Sales Reports?

Jim Collison 13:15
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, all good thoughts. And a reminder, in the CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report, there is a Success, Hinders, and then Action Items that are available for you on these themes. This is just as a taste of what's available for you that we encourage you to get access to that CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report. And, and there's some additional, there's some additional opportunities for you to learn and grow through that. One of the things I wanted to do differently during the series is talk a little bit about how this new report might interact with our two other reports, CliftonStrengths for Managers, CliftonStrengths for Sales. So as a leader, how could I use this CliftonStrengths for Managers Report? I might have access to that already. How could I use that together for Strategic with this CliftonStrengths for Leaders Report?

Jim Collison 13:15
Oh, yes. Well, as a leader that can cut through complexity and find the best alternative forward, this leader can help teams acclimate to change more expediently, more quickly and calmly by slowly guiding them or redirecting their path, because they already see what the road ahead looks like. And that's going to help, that's going to help teams manage their responsibilities, manage team goals more effectively, and with -- going back to Stability, with Stability.

Jim Collison 14:31
Yeah, I love that in the context of managing -- managing people and processes, and then the Strategic. I think the, you know, the Strategic look forward without any action items is just a dream. Right? Right? We have to have actionable things that we can kind of come back to and be able to lead that -- whether that's in a partnership or whether that's as a leader. I mean, not everyone has that ability to pull people forward. Sometimes you may need a partner who can jump in and activate, right, on this -- pull people for and build those plans. What about, what about the CliftonStrengths for Sales Report? As we think about these leading and selling -- these two together -- How could we use the two together for greater success with Strategic?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:14
I think this is fun. Like anytime we start talking about the influence that these themes can have. So a Strategic leader's ability to see multiple solutions for the future, and to anticipate people's objections or fears about the future, can put someone with Strategic one step ahead. Because they can start to sort through all of those potential hiccups or challenges to the solution they see. So in their communication with others, highlighting the pros and how to navigate through potential cons can get others on board and moving in the same direction.

Jim Collison 15:50
I heard "anticipating" in there. That was the word -- like, anticipating objections, right. And that's, this is a sales function. But we, we think about, sometimes we'll only think about this in terms of selling things and not selling ideas, or selling vision. We're selling direction, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 16:08
And you have people saying, "Why? Why are we doing that?" to your point.

Jim Collison 16:11
Yeah. And to be able to overcome those objections strategically and say, "Well, let me paint this picture for you." Right? Let me, let me give you some reasons why these are important. And I think that's -- so, so for individuals like, "Oh, yeah, I'm not in a sales role." No, I think we're all in a sales role. And so it gets this opportunity --

Jaclynn Robinson 16:31
We all have to sell something sometimes.

Jim Collison 16:33
Yeah. Any, any other thoughts on that, Jaclynn?

Jaclynn Robinson 16:36
I just, I think that's such a good, a good point, because leaders are focused on Strategic vision and where they're moving the company forward. And we hear a lot of employees, when they're frustrated, or hesitant or confused, it's because the vision isn't clear. And they're not quite sure why they're moving in that direction. And someone with Strategic can offer that "Why." And they can be thinking through why people might not want to get on board and support that piece too, to say, "I understand you. I hear you. This is what I've already thought through. And this is why I still think it's going to be beneficial."

Jim Collison 17:14
As a, as an Influencer, right? And I have these heavy Influencing and then Relationship Building themes. These, this, this, I need this Strategic. Like, I need it as part of it, as, in some of the roles that I do, I need to partner with high Strategic, because it's super important. And, and it's because it's easy to just do. Like, as an Activator, Arranger, you know, it's easy to just go and do those things, but to do them on purpose, right, I think that's what Strategic brings to it.

Jaclynn Robinson 17:46
That's a good word -- purpose, because people are looking for purpose and vision and How is this aligned to what the company stands for and the goals that we have for the future? Ooh. Yeah.

Jim Collison 17:58
Good stuff. Any last thoughts on Strategic before I wrap it?

Jaclynn Robinson 18:01
Ooh. Strategic is one of those themes that I feel is so needed. And I love all themes, but especially as we start looking at employee engagement, those that have Strategic, you, you have such a great opportunity right now to help -- or those that are coaching leaders with Strategic, you have such a great opportunity right now to help set that vision and drive people towards it in an inspiring, stable, hopeful way. Go forth! Share your Strategic with everyone!

Jim Collison 18:35
Not too much pressure, but go forth!

Jaclynn Robinson 18:38
Go forth! Help them realign, reset and get really excited about what the future holds.

Jim Collison 18:44
With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available around Strategic. If you just head out to Log in, go to the Resources tab, and on the menu in the left, put in "Strategic." You're gonna get a lot of resources -- everything we have, all seasons of Theme Thursday, the new CliftonStrengths Podcast -- anything we've produced around it. Lots of information; again, Log in there to Gallup Access. Stay up to date with all our webcasts just by following us: -- B-R-I-T-E. Join us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths." And by all means, make sure you're subscribed to The CliftonStrengths Podcast. You're probably listening to it right now. Get it subscribed in your podcast app, so you never miss an episode. We want to thank you for joining us today. If you're listening live, stay around for some midshow. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Jaclynn Robinson's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity and Relator.

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

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths® and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup. Copyright © 2000 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

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