Tue, 6 September 2016
This Episode’s Focus on Strengths
Today’s episode features Michelle McQuaid, the author of “Your Strengths Blueprint: How to be Engaged, Energized, and Happy at Work.” During this engaging interview, Lisa Cummings chats with Michelle about her personal experience using her unique Strengths. Michelle shares practical examples about how she made huge changes not only at work, but also throughout every aspect of her life. Today, Michelle is flourishing and providing guidance to others via her books, coaching, training, and through her annual Strengths Challenge. In 2016, the strengths challenge is September 6 – 12, and we hope you'll join the next one!
If you are interested in adding new tools to your Strengths toolbox, then this is the episode for you! Listen for several tips and tools to improve your work and home life, and perhaps learn a Dr. Seuss rhyme along the way.
Michelle and Lisa’s Strengths
Michelle’s VIA Character Strengths: Creativity, Hope, Love, Love of Learning, Perseverance
Lisa’s VIA Character Strengths: Creativity, Humor, Curiosity, Hope, and Zest
Michelle’s StrengthsFinder Talents: Strategic, Learner, Maximizer, Achiever, Activator
Lisa’s StrengthsFinder Talents: Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity, Individualization, Woo
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
Michelle was in an executive role. She had achieved her career goals, and everything looked great on paper. However, she had a nagging, unhappy feeling about work, and she found herself dragging her feet into work each day. One day, she was watching a popular tv show, and saw a segment on “positive psychology.” This segment would forever change her life. Michelle found one of Martin Seligman’s books. He’s the guru in the field of positive psychology. As she read (and later studied directly with Seligman), she realized that our goal should be to bring out the best in ourselves and others more consistently. The more we use our strengths in our jobs, the more engaging, energizing, and fulfilling our lives can be.
Michelle started with the free VIA Survey, and found that her #1 trait was Curiosity. That led to her Ah Ha moment – the reason she was unhappy was because she wasn’t learning anything at work any more. In an effort to fulfill he need to learn new things, she implemented this plan:
VIA is a a system that “diagnoses" the best in people. It’s a list of 24 character strengths that are consistent across cultures and history. The goal is to focus on the top 5 character strengths that light you up the most.
Because we are affected by situations around us, Michelle recommends taking the survey every year. If there is a character strength you want to move up the list, there are methods to follow (but Michelle notes that it should only be because it’s something you value, not because society desires it). Here are 4 steps:
Check out the resources below, because Michelle offers a free e-book on her website to help you be in your zone of greatness. It’s an excellent aide to improving yourself and creating new habits.
Tool: Appreciative inquiry
It’s a strengths-based approach to change, where you build on things that are working well. There is a positive effect on the company and the team.
Spend 80% of your time on your strengths, and 20% on our weaknesses. You want commitment not compliance.
Be realistic about how to get the best return on investment.
Resources of the Episode
Your Strengths Blueprint: How to be Engaged, Energized, and Happy at Work by Michelle McQuaid and Erin Lawn
What Good is Positive Business? By Robert Dauman and Michelle McQuaid
Books of Interest by Martin E.P. Seligman:
Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman)
Michelle's Article with Shane Lopez.
Take the free Character Survey from VIA Institute on Character.
Michelle’s eBook resource: Can You Do More of What You Do Best?
Learn more and register for the Annual Strengths Challenge, which is September 6 – 12, 2016.
To subscribe and review, here are your links for listening in iTunes and Stitcher Radio. You can also stream any episode right from the website. Subscribing is a great way to never miss an episode. Let the app notify you each week when the latest episode gets published.
StrengthsFinder Mini-Course For Managers
If you’re a people-manager and you want to sharpen your strengths based support, come join our monthly mini-course. We don’t charge for this because we want to help you keep the StrengthsFinder momentum going. Teams who receive strengths feedback have 8.9% greater profitability. Yowza! Sounds like a great reason to join. Source: Asplund, J., & Blacksmith, N. “Strengthening Your Company’s Performance.” Gallup Business Journal.
Go Live Your Talents
Remember, using your strengths every day at work makes you a stronger performer. If you’re always focused on fixing your team’s weaknesses, you’re choosing the path of most resistance. Go claim your talents and share them with the world!