Lead Through Strengths

I hear a lot of curiosity about how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Futuristic to your career.

In this series, I break down one strength per post — so that you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make a better alignment between your job and your strengths.

– If you’re exploring this concept as a manager, use this series for career development ideas and even new clues about responsibilities you could give a person with this talent theme so that they can show up at their best.

– If you’re exploring this concept for yourself, use this as a chance to build a reputation for your strengths so that you’re more likely to be given assignments that live in your strengths zone.

You’ll get three layers to chew on:

1. Career Branding
2. Red Flag Situations At Work
3. Fresh Application Ideas

Career Branding When Futuristic Is Your Strength

You probably already have a reputation for what you know. Think about your personal resume, CV, or your LinkedIn profile, I bet it’s full of “the what,” which are things like job titles, skills, knowledge, expertise, or the degree you earned. What’s missing is usually “the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live.

Chances are good that you are a lot like my StrengthsFinder training clients, where you don’t physically see your teammates and customers every day. That’s why LinkedIn has become so important for career branding. It’s how your teammates, customers, and vendors go look you up before a meeting – to see who they’re about to talk to. And rather than only telling them what you know, you should also give them a peek at how it is to work with you.

So here are a bunch of Futuristic-related adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile:

  • Visionary
  • Imaginative
  • Creative
  • Inspiring
  • Energetic
  • Vivid
  • Forward-Looking
  • What-If Thinker
  • Anticipator
  • Dreamer
  • Futurist
  • Predictor

Red Flag Situations For Futuristic

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Futuristic. They might even make you want to quit the team. So I’ll give you a couple of these to be on watch for — because if they fester, you might get the urge to quit the job or become detached and disengaged at work.

Here are two Red flags for Futuristic:

  1. The “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” Culture. Imagine the situation where the status quo is a good thing. You might work with a teammate who wants to steadily maintain the current excellence on the team. Yet you see standing still as shrinking into the past. You look ahead. You see a vision of “what can be” in the coming months and years. And you like to step forward toward that vision (even if they are baby steps). Yet if you encounter a work culture or colleague who constantly tells you to leave well enough alone, you might feel stifled.

  2. The “We Already Tried That And It Didn’t Work” Culture. Think about this scenario. You have a great idea for a process improvement. It’s big and bold and it requires some action-taking from others on the team. When you present your ideas, they quickly shut you down because they tried that two years ago and it failed. If this is a common experience for you and you lead through Futuristic, you will likely get frustrated with how they’re stuck in the past. You know that two years ago, things were different. The team was made of different people. The technology wasn’t ready. The implementation didn’t get followed up on. There are a hundred variables you can see that make it different today, and it would be maddening to the Futuristic talent theme to be dismissed because of dated ways of viewing the work.

3 Fresh Application Ideas for Futuristic

These are ways to apply the talent theme of Futuristic at work, even when the job duties on the team feel pretty locked in. If you’re exploring this concept as a team manager, be sure to have a conversation around these ideas. You’ll both be able to come up with places to apply them.

For someone who leads through Futuristic, put this talent to good use with one of these options:

  1. Visualization. Encourage your Futuristic team member to spend 30 minutes each week thinking about the future of your department. Encourage the person to be extra concrete and visual with the vision for the future. Tell them to imagine what is already true and good and possible on the team – and then to project those good things into “what could be” 1-2 years out. The more vivid and concrete these ideas become, the more compelling they’ll be to other people as well.

  2. BHAGs and Dreams. If someone on your team leads through Futuristic, let them in on your BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). Tell them about your career dreams. Ask them about their life dreams. This person thinks a lot about the future, and giving them space to marinate on those inspirational futures can be an energizing headspace for them. Many leaders will hesitate to share visions or ideas that are not fleshed out enough – they don’t want to lead people on. Yet those who lead with Futuristic can help you do just that. They can help you turn those dreams into realities.

  3. Early Adopter. If you have a major change, and you know people will resist, consider enlisting the help of a team member with the Futuristic talent theme. For example, let’s say you’re implementing a new CRM system and your existing Customer Relationship Management system has been in place for 12 years. The changeover will undoubtably cause some people pain for a few weeks, yet you know the new features are going to wow the team soon after. Someone with the Futuristic talent theme can see from here to there. They will not get mired down in the switching costs and how much extra work it will cost them over the next few weeks. Enlist them as an early adopter and promoter of the new change.

Here’s Your Personal Branding Homework

  1. Go take action on your LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the Summary section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.
  2. Then think over the red flags to see if there’s anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down.
  3. And finally, volunteer your talents through the application ideas. And if you’re a manager, have a conversation with your team members about which of these things sound like something they’d love to have more of.

Want To Do StrengthsFinder Training With Your Whole Team?

If you’re thinking about doing a virtual or in-person event to kick off your strengths-based culture, head on over to our training page to see if our current offerings are a good fit for you. Until next time, thank you for being part of this powerful strengths movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness already inside them.

Direct download: 090-Futuristic.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 2:30am CST