The StrengthsFinder® and the ChangeGrid

Hi, Everyone!

For the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ajai Singh, who’s come to Davidson from Mumbai to complete his Certified MasterStream Sales Trainer course. Prior to his arrival in Charlotte, Ajai was in Texas attending a training program offered by CoreClarity, Inc. about coaching using the Clifton StrengthsFinder® instrument.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder® is an online assessment developed in 1998 by Donald Clifton, Tom Rath and a group of researchers at the Gallup Organization. It is offered exclusively as a value-added experience integrated into their book, “StrengthsFinder 2.0.

The assessment presents the respondent with 180 pairs of statements describing beliefs about one’s self and asks you to lean gently or strongly in one direction or the other — or take a neutral stance, if that feels right. Upon completion, you receive a brief report revealing your top 5 strengths from a list of 34 possibilities. (I’ll tell you about the other 29 a bit later.)

You all know that I’m fascinated by ALL psychometric instruments, so I asked to see descriptions of the 34 strengths, and any sort of “Map of Humanity” they may have created. Ajai provided me with all of that (follow the hyperlinks to see for yourself) AND extended an invitation for me and Linda to experience the StrengthsFinder for ourselves.

Now, two more things you probably know about me:  1) I am incapable of turning down an opportunity to complete a free assessment, and 2) I genuinely want to explore how the ChangeGrid might enhance the personal growth achieved by a respondent subsequent to completing the StrengthsFinder — or any other assessment for that matter.

So here’s a link to my Top 5 Strengths. In order from the highest, they are:  Strategic, Deliberative, Analytical, Relator and Individualization. If you follow the previous link, you’ll find the actual report that Gallup sends out, which includes descriptions of each of those strengths.

Here’s another link to my Coaching Packet. The Coaching Packet is the creation of Candace Fitzpatrick, President of CoreClarity, Inc. It was designed as part of a coaching system she developed around the StrengthsFinder.

Well, all I can say is “WOW!” The result certainly resonates with me, my work and the way I approach the world — and I’m excited by the opportunities for the ChangeGrid to be integrated into the marketing of the StrengthsFinder and the delivery of the professional services that surround it.

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least FIVE ways the ChangeGrid could be used by professionals building a practice around the StrengthsFinder.

The first two would require that the respondent has a basic understanding of each of the talents being assessed:

1) Following the completion of the StrengthsFinder, create a ChangeGrid exploring the optimization potential of the respondent’s top 5 talents, which, in my case, looks like this:


Optimizing my Top 5 Strengths (CLICK to view full-size)

How is this useful? While I may possess a particular talent, the question here is, “How effectively am I leveraging it?” — and the ChangeGrid reveals the answer.

To set the stage, let’s look at the verb I’ve chosen — “optimizing” — and determine an ideal location for it on the ChangeGrid.  While I haven’t dashed to the dictionary here, I’d say that “optimizing” means successfully applying the talent in increasingly challenging situations — and I’d suggest it would ideally plot at coordinates 10,10.

Looking at my ChangeGrid, my strongest talent — the “Strategic” theme — falls at coordinates 6,11. That means I’ll definitely need some DownGrid and OutGrid Maneuvers to achieve maximum optimization potential.  Meanwhile, my “Relator” theme plots very far DownGrid and represents a talent that is well-developed but under-utilized — classic untapped potential.  In fact, NONE of my talents are currently optimized — so what sort of ChangeGrid Maneuvers might you recommend for me?

2) Create a ChangeGrid exploring the optimization potential of ALL 34 talents. Here’s mine:

Optimizing all 34 Strengths

Optimizing all 34 Strengths (CLICK to view full-size)

Certainly, it’s good to know how we stand with ALL of the 34 talents — not just our top 5.  (BTW, you CAN order a complete report, including a coaching session, from the Gallup Organization for about $500 — which at first glance, seems a bit steep.  Nevertheless, I’m truly tempted because I would really like to know what my NEXT 5 top talents are — and what my WORST 5 are too! How’s THAT for tension management?)

But even without knowledge of ALL of my individual talent rankings, I can still explore the optimization potential for the entire set — and that could be VERY useful.  For example, if some goal you’re working on would benefit from improving a particular talent that currently plots in an undesirable location, you’ll know what work lies ahead if you expect to build strength in that talent area.

3) Create a ChangeGrid that explores the top 5 talents in more detail. Break each of the top 5 talents into 5 to 10 “mission-critical activities”  for a more in-depth look at the client’s readiness to progress.

4) Create a Secondary ChangeGrid. Of course, every time a ChangeGrid is read, a new ChangeGrid is born, populated with all of the CUSTOMIZED action items that emerge during the discussion. This, in turn, gives the coach/manager clear and instant insight in the likelihood that the client will actually follow though and DO what needs to be done.

5) Create a ChangeGrid that explores a single CORE/DEFINING activity for each of the 34 talents.

In this application, you would need to craft a clear, exemplary activity for each of the 34 talents. Ajai and I did spend some time developing such a list, and here offer it as our sample “34 Strengths Profile.”

This could be easily deployed as a marketing campaign or integrated into your sales efforts as an intake and conversion tool.

Give it a little thought, and I’m sure you can all come up with even more creative and valuable ways to put the ChangeGrid to productive use — whether you’re using the StrengthsFinder or ANY other psychometric tool.

– T –


Oprah’s BIG Surprise!

Hi, Everyone!

I stumbled across a very cool video that’s a perfect example of tension management in action — and thought I’d share it with you.

While you’re enjoying the video for what it is, notice all of the elements that are coming together to create and manage the flow of tension — and put yourself in the role of each of the parties involved in the experience … Oprah, the viewers, the dancers, the Black Eyed Peas, the choreographer, T-Mobile and the people who just happen to be walking by. What would a tension curve look like from each of their perspectives? We can discuss it on an upcoming ChangeWorks Forum call.

CLICK HERE to watch the video

– T –

What a Difference a Verb Makes!

Hi, Everyone!

I recently had the opportunity to view a pair of very interesting ChangeGrids during a coaching session. The activity list, in both cases, is absolutely identical.  In the first ChangeGrid, the respondent answered based on each activity as stated — but in the second, the respondent modified ALL of the activities (obviously, in their head as they were considering their answers) to begin with the verb “finishing” followed by whatever the original activity was. The results, as shown in the two ChangeGrids below, reflect one of the most important considerations you must weigh as you craft an activity list for yourself or one of your clients — choosing the right VERB is CRUCIAL.

The Activities as Originally Stated

The Activities as Originally Stated (CLICK to view full-size)

The Verb Changed to "Finishing"

The Verb Changed to "Finishing" (CLICK to view full-size)

In the original ChangeGrid, a strong OutGrid pattern is clear, indicating a high level of intention and engagement. But look what happens when the verb is changed!  In the second ChangeGrid, MANY activities have escalated into Stress and several have moved InGrid.

We can discuss this in detail on a future ChangeWorks Forum call, but in the meantime, what do you make of these ChangeGrids?

– T –

Accountability Club Forming

Hi, Everyone!

I don’t know how many of you saw the comment that Brian Dilts added to my last entry, so I thought I’d bring it to your attention:

From T’s call today, I like the idea of starting an accountability group specifically targeted at marketing the ChangeGrid and MasterStream. How about Monday at 8:30 a.m. eastern time? Or suggest a time that works for you. Anyone else up for it?”

As we discussed during the last session of the Accountable Self series, an Accountability Club can be a GREAT support system for building your practice — and I’d encourage you all to give it a try.  So, let Brian know if you’re interested by responding to his comment or sending him a note to, and when your group is ready to begin, I’ll be happy to do a short teleconference on the tools I put together for the club members to use.  Just let me know!


Events for 9/28 – 10/2/2009

Hi, Everyone!

Here’s what’s on the schedule for next week —

MasterStream Trainer Certification:

From Monday, September 28 thru Wednesday, September 30 we will be conducting the Certified MasterStream Trainer program at our offices here in Davidson, NC. Class runs from 9A-5P each day. If you are interested in attending, please call Linda at 704-987-6500.

ChangeWorks Forum:

On Monday, September 28 at 3PM EST, we will have our weekly ChangeWorks Forum teleconference. This week, we will have two key topics to cover.  First, we will take a look at a ChangeWorks Group Profile prepared by MG Finch on the 7-member sales management team of one of her clients in Ireland.  I’ll show it on screen during the call, but if you’d like to have a full-size copy for yourself, or to show a prospective client as an example, I’ve given you a link for downloading. The file is quite large (over 50mb) so give it a few minutes to download.


We will also explore a question that Dave Miller asked a couple of week ago about the differences between our Path of Self-Discovery and the method outlined in the Appreciative Inquiry approach. The question centers around the absence of a Black Step and how that impacts outcomes. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Appreciative Inquiry, I’d encourage you to explore — but to set the stage for our discussion during our call, we’ll hit the highlights as detailed in the following document:


This call is open to ALL graduates and current students of the ChangeWorks Practitioner training program.  You can register by following this link:

Gold Team Corporate Business Builder Teleconference:

At 11AM EST on Thursday, October 1, we will continue our discussions about pursuing ChangeWorks-related opportunities within corporate or organizational clients. If you would like to have input in the development of marketing materials and website copy for attracting more corporate clients to your practice, I STRONGLY suggest you carve out time to participate in these calls.

This call is open exclusively to Gold & Platinum team members only.  You can register by following this link:

Gold Team Continuing Education Teleconference:

On Friday, October 2, at 11AM EST, we will introduce a new subject — “Customer Experience Management” — which explores how tension management applies during the “21 First Impressions” an organization makes on its prospects and clients.

This call is open exclusively to Gold & Platinum team members only.  You can register by following this link:

Please join us for these events!

– T –

Patterns: Strict Vertical Plotting

Hi, Everyone!

Here’s an interesting ChangeGrid I discussed with Dave Miller earlier this week. It reveals a pattern we’ve encountered on occasion — and since I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before you come across one similar to it, I thought I’d share a few insights with all of you. (Just click on the image below and a full-size ChangeGrid will open in a separate window.)

Strict Vertical Plotting (CLICK for full-size)

Strict Vertical Plotting (CLICK for full-size)

Two things caught my eye about this ChangeGrid right away. First, every activity plots out in a perfectly straight, vertical line. Second, the respondent chose ONLY four pairs of even numbers.  Both of these patterns reveal some interesting insights and trigger some questions worth pursuing.

Let’s look at the verticality issue in more detail.

In order for an activity to plot directly on the vertical axis, the respondent must provide responses that TOTAL 12 — for example, Ability=8/Challenge=4.  While the occasional activity plotting in such a manner is to be expected, a strong pattern of activities — or in this case, an absolute pattern — makes you wonder what’s going on in the respondent’s internal dialogue — “Well, if my Ability is an 8, the Challenge CAN’T be greater than a 4.” – or – “If something’s really challenging, I MUST have a low ability to do it.”  The belief that there is a direct inverse relationship between Ability and Challenge may seem understandable, but it’s wrong.

Take, for example, an Olympic athlete determined to win a gold medal.  Such an athlete would, no doubt, rate their Ability highly — after all, they ARE an Olympic athlete — but it would be nothing but foolish bravado for them to underestimate the Challenge their worthy opponents represent. Medaling at the Olympics is just one of countless examples of activities that would logically plot OutGrid.

There are also countless activities that could easily plot InGrid.  Let’s say, for example, that friends invite you over for an evening of playing boardgames — and the game they’ve chosen is one you’ve not played before.  Obviously, you’d rate your Ability to play the game on the low end of the scale, since you have no knowledge, skill or experience related to it — but you’d probably rate the Challenge pretty low as well, since … well … how tough could it possibly be since it’s a BOARDGAME?  Activities that are unfamiliar, inconsequential, amusing little diversions designed purely to pass the time are very likely to plot InGrid.

So what are we to make of a strict vertical plotting?  What does this pattern say about the respondent?

On the positive side, I’d say the pattern indicates a practical and pragmatic thinker — a “cut and dry” way of looking at the world.  On the negative side, I’d say the pattern indicates a rather constrained and limiting use of logic.  In any event, the plotting certainly isn’t that of risk-taking, growth-oriented mover-and-shaker.

What do you think?  Please add your comments below.

Now, to the second observation — the fact that the respondent chose ONLY four locations to plot ALL 23 activities.  What’s up with that?

Well, to me, it’s not all that surprising that a respondent with a strict vertical plotting would also reduce a robust 13-point scale to one with only half of those options!  Just like they’ve lost all of the richness of OutGrid and InGrid responses, they’ve also lost the nuances and subtleties — the shades of gray — that the ChangeGrid reveals.  That leaves the person with a self-imposed, tightly-limited set of options in which to compartmentalize their life’s experiences.

How might that play out in their daily life — and in their interactions with others?  Let me know what you think!


Welcome to InStream!

Hi, Everyone!

Today is the day I launch our blog!

My goal in building this blog is to offer ongoing education and a forum for our team of ChangeWorks and MasterStream professionals.  Through my blog entries, I will present new concepts, new applications and new approaches for integrating ChangeWorks into your professional practice and your business model.

I’ll show you some of the more interesting and unusual ChangeGrids I’ve been sent — and tell you what I think they mean.

I’ll give you suggestions on powerful ways to integrate the ChangeGrid into your client work.

We’ll explore ways to build your practice by applying the ChangeGrid in your marketing.

I’ll be happy to answer any questions you wish to pose — and create polls and discussion forums around any issue you’d like your peers to weigh in on.

We’ll celebrate your successes and share stories of how you made it happen.