A Powerful Exercise to Strengthen Teams with Untapped Potential

I’m meeting with the leadership team of a new client next week. I asked them to do the following exercise before our first meeting.


Please secretly complete this form for each person that will be around the table in our upcoming meeting. Could you return this project to me by end of day this Friday.

**Please don’t discuss your responses with anyone.

Part 1:

The top three strengths of (person’s name) are:




Part 2:

The thing that most energizes (person’s name) at work is …

(Please complete the exercise for yourself.)


As an example, I completed the project for myself.

The top three strengths of Dan are:

  1. Discovering new ideas and integrating them into current situations.
  2. Seeing the unique talents of people and figuring out how they can best work together.
  3. Thinking that simplifies complexity.

The thing that most energizes Dan at work is moving the ball forward. I love to explore new ideas and put them into action. Talk without action frustrates me.

I don’t care if forward movement is perfect as long as we are moving forward.

I prefer to build the airplane in the air.

Short-term planning excites me. Long-term goals and planning must quickly degenerate into short-term action or it’s frustrating, boring, and useless.

Possible uses:

  1. Read a team member’s self-assessment. Ask the team to guess who it is.
  2. Collate the responses and hand them out to the team. Affirm the strengths around the table and explore which individuals might work best together. Why would they work well? Why might they clash?
  3. Discuss how you might challenge or encourage others based on their strengths and passion?
  4. What projects might your team members be best suited to lead? To participate in?

What discussion questions do you suggest?

How would you modify this activity? 

What is your self-assessment?

Bonus material:

StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Gallup)

Take the CliftonStrengths assessment. The basic is $19.99. The assessment comes with the book StrenghsFinder 2.0 or can be purchased separately.

First Break All The Rules (Gallup)