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Called to Coach
Focus®: How to Feel More Energized at Work
Called to Coach

Focus®: How to Feel More Energized at Work

Webcast Details

  • What do people with Focus bring to their roles and workplaces?
  • How can you bring energy and motivation to work as you apply your Focus talent?
  • How can managers with Focus create more of an energized, thriving culture on their teams?

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


Productive employees want energy, motivation and drive to characterize their work life. Managers want their teams to possess these in abundance. And organizations envision an entire engaged, thriving workforce that overflows with these qualities. How can individuals high in Focus® bring energy and motivation to their workplaces? And how can managers high in Focus foster a work environment that is energized, motivated and thriving? Join Gallup's Jim Collison and Dr. Jaclynn Robinson and discover how, using your Focus theme, you can bring new energy and motivation to your role, your managing, your coaching.


Anytime you can block time daily or weekly for a power hour, it's a beautiful thing. This is time that could specifically be for tackling any key priorities that you have, without distraction.

Jaclynn Robinson, 1:19

Use your big Focus theme to focus ... on that person's goals and aspirations and genuinely listen. Because you already have that ability to zone in on something, and they're gonna feel it.

Jaclynn Robinson, 13:10

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is The CliftonStrengths® Podcast, Season 3, recorded on January 26, 2024.

Jim Collison 0:06
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast series, we'll look at how to feel more energized and motivated at work one theme at a time, and today's theme is Focus. If you're listening live, join us in chat, or, if you have questions after the fact you can always email us: Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Senior Learning and Development Consultant and joined me for Season 1 and 2 of The CliftonStrengths Podcast, where we looked at Wellbeing at Work, our book, and the CliftonStrengths role-based reports in Season 2. And Jaclynn, always great to be with you. Welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 0:51
Thank you.

Focus: Questions for Individuals

Jim Collison 0:53
We are spending the season thinking about, about bringing energy and motivation, I think, is important to say as well, energy and motivation, with your themes to work. Today, we're talking about Focus. Let's talk about the individual first. So what are some ways an individual with Focus can feel more energized -- and we use the word -- by focusing on their basic needs? Small "f" on that "focus."

Jaclynn Robinson 1:15
I think anytime you can block time daily or weekly for a power hour, it's a beautiful thing. This is time that could specifically be for, you know, tackling any key priorities that you have, without distraction. So I've seen some people start off their mornings early before everyone else is in the office or on email, to get stuff done. Or they'll stay, you know, an hour later. But this could also be a really good time just to take a step back and reprioritize the responsibilities that have accrued on your plate over the last, you know, week, so that you can re-sort and think about what to do first.

Jim Collison 1:59
You have Focus high; I have it very, very low. When you think about someone with, with Focus in their Top 5, does the environment bend to them? Or do they bend to the environment? In other words, can they focus -- in the midst of chaos, can they focus? It depends on a lot of things. But do, so do you think they influence the environment to, so they can be focused or they're focused, and the environment adapts to them? I don't know, any thoughts on, on that, as you think about the two And it could be -- maybe it's both. But any thoughts on that? And --

Jaclynn Robinson 2:35
Yeah, it's one of those where I've seen two strands. And some people high in Focus can take the chaotic environment, and it's just white noise, and they can completely hone in. And others, I know like me, I prefer not the chaos. I need more of that quiet space to really hone in and zone in on what I want to get done. So usually in coaching, I'll ask somebody, if they have that high, What is your preferred way of getting work done? What might -- is chaos a distraction? Because if it is, it's so helpful to get that power hour, so you can take a step back and just figure out what you need to get done first. Otherwise, your brain kind of feels like a hamster spinning in a wheel -- it's a little anxiety-ridden.

Jim Collison 3:19
Yeah, I think it's, I think it's good to know how to set that up. You know, you, I think people, there are some folks who can go in to just chaos and they -- Kevin Costner was in this baseball movie, I forget the name of it. But he would, he'd say a word, and it would invoke this focus, and all he would see is the catcher. And everything else would fade out, would just, right? And he could invoke the focus. And I think for others, the environment maybe need to be set up in a way. In other words, I have a focus room that I go to, or I have a place I go where it's quiet, that allows me to kind of drill in and be most, be most productive in that. I think that's maybe a second level of Focus -- of knowing, like, OK, for my basic needs, I'm going to need to set up, either I'm gonna need to set up the environment, or I'm gonna need to invoke the environment to make it, to kind of make it work for me. That may be that next -- any other thoughts on that before we move on?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:15
I think that's good, especially if you're thinking from the individual perspective. And then from a, if they're on a team, then someone high in Focus can help kind of, you know, get people focused on the one goal. They can, I think that can be a benefit of it. But if it's just solo task work, yeah, the way I think we're describing it could be either/or.

Jim Collison 4:36
Now, Jaclynn, focus! We're talking about the individual, not the team. So, the next question: What are some ways an individual with Focus can feel more energized by, again, focusing on their individual strengths and development?

Jaclynn Robinson 4:50
As someone that can lose track of time, when you have this theme, it's really easy to just get lost in the flow, the literal flow. But specifically pay attention to what you're loving that you're working on or what you're loving that you're learning. Make note of what, what that is, so you can search out additional opportunities in the workplace to build on more of those exciting projects or learnings, or to share it out with your team members or manager, so they can have their, you know, eyes and ears open for more of those opportunities. So it's using the flow with more intention. Because if anyone's seen someone high in Focus, it always looks like they're in flow, once they're in work mode. But it'd be good for that individual with Focus to decipher, you know, What is it that I'm just, I feel the energy when I'm, when I'm doing it?

Jim Collison 5:41
Yeah, and maybe that Focus intentionally is always outward-facing, in some ways, of getting things done, and yet their own, their own development may be getting themselves done. And that may take some intentionality, right, of saying, Hey, OK, I'm gonna take a second and think about my own development in this -- very purposefully and very fo-, in a very focused way -- that allows me to get to the end of something. Because there may be other things that are just distracting that, that, you know, getting, getting things completed or, or in the zone, one thing at a time. Everybody's different on that, of course. I guess that's one thing to think about, for those of you high in Focus. We can maybe spend a little more time in the midshow talking about it. But what about, what are some ways an individual with Focus can feel more energized by building partnerships? You alluded to this a little bit earlier, but finding purpose within their role?

Jaclynn Robinson 6:34
I think, one, if we, we're thinking workplace, working with individuals with different strengths who are striving towards that same team goal that you are, that can be energizing. And it can provide you with the freedom to focus. We want to use that, you know, phrase. Because if you're partnering with someone who loves to multitask, and they like taking on that more multidimensional or fast-moving element to the project, that's great. That allows you to really focus on key priorities, or one part of that overall project. And I think we might be good examples of that, with your Arranger high and my Focus high, is you're so great at just moving everything around. And I just like to focus on, you know, the one thing.

Focus: Questions for Managers

Jim Collison 7:21
Well, you get this done. You get this done, I could not, I could do, I can ask the questions. I could show up for the webcast. I'll get it scheduled and all those other things. But your Focus, on a weekly basis, gets the content built. And the way you work, and I've seen you do this, is you just block out this time. You're like, I'm doing it right here. And I'm getting it done. And so yeah, that is a good partnership. As we think about the manager in this role as well and some partnering with it, it is the partnership that works for us. And this is why, this is why things get done. It's not, I don't, I, if it was up to me by myself, we would never, this would -- we'd do it; it just wouldn't be as good as it is good. Let's make that transition to the manager. How can a manager with Focus support others with their basic needs?

Jaclynn Robinson 8:11
A couple of things here. So they could use their Focus to prioritize expectations, based on importance and urgency, and then highlight the most critical expectations that require the immediate attention of team members. And then, we can also think about, you know, barriers that might exist. So when setbacks or obstacles arise, your team is really looking to you for that alignment and stability. And you can demonstrate that determination and perseverance by helping them start to think through a roadmap that's going to keep them on target -- because you've got that North Star in your sky, and you can just help them continue to pivot.

Jim Collison 8:50
We've talked, we talk a lot about the we versus me and so, how some themes lead with me, and some lead with we, I think. And this one, I think definitely, in our minds, leads with me. I think when we think of Focus, we think of the individual first. But I love, as you're talking about this, I love the we in this, where it's like, no, that, a team needs focus. And so someone high in Focus can be -- and you used that term North Star to continue to drive them forward. Someone's always keeping an eye on the ball. This is the thing for me: If it's, if I have a project that's longer than 2 days, I mean, good luck. It just doesn't -- I've already forgotten about it 3 hours after we started it, right? I need friends. And we're going through a lot of things right now where I need some, you know, project-management friends with Focus who will continue to drive some of those things forward. There's other themes involved in that, of course, but the Focus definitely helps, you know, on that. How can a manager with Focus help others feel seen, heard and valued? Again, that me versus we, and this just turns it into a we question, right? How do we, how does the manager take that Focus and then with others, make them feel seen, heard and valued as an individual?

Jaclynn Robinson 10:02
I think they can pay close attention to the details of a team member and really zone in on that team member's personal and professional interests. Get to know their strengths, their weaknesses, their aspirations, their challenges, and then start to tailor your interactions to support those specific needs and circumstances. So you've got that roadmap, now that you know what their loves and dislikes and, you know, goals and challenges are, and you can really support them in that way and keep them on that road to success.

Jim Collison 10:35
Yeah, remember, the goal here is success. So using that Focus to achieve -- small "a" in that case -- but to get things done, to stay on target, so to speak. How can a manager with Focus build trust, inspire and deepen team collaboration and community then?

Jaclynn Robinson 10:53
Integrating team bonding activities with work-related goals and projects, I'd say. Find those opportunities where social connections can start to enhance the task performance and project outcomes, while also deepening rapport at the same time. So it's kind of a fun blend of saying, Hey, we've got a goal to achieve. Let's do it in a really engaging, team bonding type of way. And maybe it's, you know, when I see it done, even on our team, we might be talking about revamping a course, as an example. We might be in breakouts on Zoom. And we're each having our ideas that we're generating in those breakouts, specific to how we want to revamp a course. So that's one way that it might be visible with Focus is, Hey, we've got this goal. Let's make it fun on how we're going to achieve it.

Jim Collison 11:43
A manager with Focus, we think about these 5 coaching conversations, right, that a manager has. And you've talked a lot about the team. But I think there's also some benefits to the manager relationship, to the, to those they're managing. And in those conversations, having this deep focus. I mean, when I, when I meet with people, I am all over the place, right? I just, which, in some cases can be really, really good and very, very useful. I feel honored when I'm talking with someone, and maybe this is, I actually love saying this, I think you do this for me all the time: You actually listen. You're focused in on what I'm saying; you're paying attention. I think -- by the way, I'm not sure that's always reciprocal. So I'm sorry, if I'm all over the place when you and I are talking as, and such. But, but building trust as a manager with those they're managing, that may be that area, right, where they can bring Focus in that conversation. Any, any additional thoughts on that?

Jaclynn Robinson 12:50
Yes. I think you just framed up really well what I wanted to hit on with the manager with Focus helping someone feel seen, heard and valued. You mentioned it in a different way that I think lands well. So thank you for your Communication® theme. But it's the act of listening. It's little focus. Use your big Focus theme to focus, definition-wise, on that person's goals and aspirations and genuinely listen. Because you already have that ability to zone in on something, and they're gonna feel it. And when you're reciprocating it by saying, OK, now what do we want to do with this? What do we want to do with your aspirations and these challenges? That's going to make them feel really valued as a person. Yeah.

Jim Collison 13:35
It's an amazing, it's an amazing skill that when I've, when I've worked with somebody who has it, and they draw me in with that Focus, and I know I have their attention, I open up. I'm actually, I'm, I give more. I am probably more productive because of it. Because I, I trust; it builds trust. Yeah, yeah. It builds trust. So I think it's kind of cool. I think it's under, that's an underrated thing as for managers, in thinking about that, is your conversations matter. And that's a skill that you can use as -- because listen, I've done plenty of meetings with people, and they said to me, "Are you still listening?" You know, because my eyes are drifting -- doing something else during, during meetings, sometimes I'm doing other jobs, you know, right, because that's just not the way I'm built. It's an honor. By the way, folks, for those of you listening who have high Focus, it is an honor for me to have a conversation with you when you're in Focus mode. I can feel it. And others, I think others can as well. So last question, as we kind of bring this in for landing: How can a manager with Focus support the growth of each team member?

Jaclynn Robinson 14:46
The structured and goal-oriented approach that someone high in Focus has, they can really help employees start to see the value of feedback and achieving their objectives. When you're conducting those regular one-on-one Check-In meetings to discuss their progress or challenges, you could even add in adjustments to their development plans, based on where they're at and where they need to go. So really use those meetings to reinforce the importance of Focus. And I think that can help foster accountability, clarity, and then continuous improvement with each team member, but also the team itself, when you're thinking about team goals.

Jim Collison 15:22
Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Did I steal your thunder by what I said before, when you, in the, in the sentence you just said? Was that, was that OK?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:31
I think, yeah, it was good! You always reframe something up in a way where I'm like, yes, that! We've talked about this before, it seems, too -- I'm like, he simplifies things!

Jim Collison 15:40
I don't get -- yeah, I don't get your notes, for folks, just kind of behind the scenes. I don't get your notes in advance. I have some questions, and I'm just responding to. So sometimes I've noticed I've said things that you've, that you were gonna say farther down the path -- although you're, you're very skilled at making sure you don't do that. So, Jaclynn, let's do a final wrap on this. Final thoughts on Focus?

Jaclynn Robinson 16:04
Ooh, well, for the individual that has it, I, you know, was looking at some of the comments too. And there was a lot of feedback and reciprocity in this idea that we can get anxious with chaos. So if you are someone that knows somebody with Focus high, and it is a chaotic environment, any way that you can just support can be helpful. And then giving time and space -- if you're a manager, and you have someone high in Focus, giving them the space and the quiet time to adjust and adapt and reprioritize is really helpful. But if you're the person that has to go through the chaos, because you have high Focus, just make sure you're really attuned to your wellbeing and getting a power hour in or just a walk around the neighborhood or something to kind of just sort through what it is you need to do and feel aligned and grounded again.

Jim Collison 17:00
Well with that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available in Gallup Access -- more like this available there: Log in and check the Resources section. Or you can go to and click the Search bar, and then just put "Focus" in there. And all the resources we have around it are available there. Check it out -- for you Learners®, get out there and get that done today. For coaching, master coaching, if you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, we do that as well. You can send us an email: If you want to join us for the 2024 Gallup at Work Summit, or maybe it's after that -- we're probably doing something. Check out our website: gallupatwork -- all one word -- Love to have you join us for those events. We got some coming up, and they're going to be dynamite. Stay up to date on all our future webcasts by joining our Facebook or LinkedIn groups. Of course, you can find us on any social platform just by searching "CliftonStrengths" -- all one word -- and if you've enjoyed it, hit those Like and Subscribe buttons, and if you found it useful, share it. We make these so you can share it, by the way. No secret: We want you to share them. So however you do that. Thanks for coming out today. If you're listening live, stay around for a little bit of a 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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