A 5 Step Project That Fuels Energy and Performance

“A person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weakness, let alone on something one cannot do at all.” Peter Drucker

5 step project:

#1. List the top three strengths of each direct report.

Reflect on strengths by asking yourself:

  1. What are they doing when they’re at their best?
  2. What are they doing when their energy goes up?
  3. What’s their most important contribution?
  4. What are they doing when they enjoy bringing value to others?

Don’t rush. Reflect and record your insights.

#2. Discuss your observations with each direct report.

  1. I’ve been reflecting on your strengths. (Discuss the reflection questions in #1 above.)
  2. I’m not sure, but I think your top three strengths might be ….
  3. What comes to mind for you, when you hear my observations?
  4. What would you add to the list?

After conversation, adjust the top three strengths of each direct report, where appropriate.

Bonus question: How might I help you maximize your strengths?

#3. An exploration with the management team.

Print the “top three strengths” list and distribute it to the management team. You may distribute your list to your direct reports, but that’s not the point of this exercise.

Management team discussion:

Each leader, in turn, discusses their direct report’s strengths and asks their colleagues the following four questions.

  1. What might frustrate this person, based on their strengths?
  2. What would you say to a person with these strengths that might fuel their energy?
  3. How might I help this person reach higher?
  4. What might help this person feel supported?

(Questions #3 and #4 navigate the tension between challenge and support.)

#4. Performance questions.

  1. How will you work to maximize each direct report’s strengths? (Challenge and support.)
  2. What will you avoid that might frustrate or hinder them?

#5. Discuss, adapt, and execute your action list with each direct report. 

How would you adapt the above project?

(Feel free to send an email to explore a customized development experience for your team with Dan Rockwell.)


This project is a culture-builder when done with the management team. But you could use this project for a series of one-on-ones with each direct report.


VIA Character Strengths Survey (Free tool that each direct report could take. Compare your list with survey results.)

StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Book with strengths assessment.)