A Simple Pattern for a Powerful Conversation
It’s too easy to point out weaknesses. Successful leaders know the top three strengths of everyone on the team.
Peter Drucker wrote, “A person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weakness, let alone on something one cannot do at all.”
Every leader who expects performance learns to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses.
Top three strengths conversation:
Ask team members to write their top three strengths on a note card before they come to the next one-on-one or one-on-three meeting.
Before team members arrive, write their three top strengths, as you see them, on a note card. Include one illustration of each strength.
- Exchange cards.
- Explore ways to maximize and develop strengths.
- Conclude with a discussion about insights gained. What are you learning about yourself? Others?
#1. Send a list of possible strengths before the meeting.
The 34 strength themes from Clifton Strengthsfinder is a good option. (click the link for descriptions.)
Include your own strengths in the conversation to make it interesting. Have them write your top three strengths with illustrations.
#3. Exclude weaknesses:
Discuss their top three weaknesses at a different meeting. Don’t use a discussion about strengths as an opportunity to bring up weaknesses. Separate the conversations.
#4. Adapt this for a group exercise with your entire team.
Give team members freedom when they’re working in known strengths.
Provide intervention, oversight, and direction in areas of weakness that need to be developed. Develop weaknesses that block the effective use of strengths. A person who is great at analysis may need to develop their decision-making skills, for example.
What suggestions do you have for a “Top Three Strengths Conversation”?
What additional patterns might you add for successful one-on-ones?