Understanding the past to build for the future.
Leaders, and colleagues, need to position people on work project teams effectively and efficiently to ensure work gets done and people stay engaged. A lot of leaders often spend too much time trying to guess where to put people because they don't have a point of reference.
What follows is a "scouting report" for those with Context® talents, as identified via the CliftonStrengths assessment.
If you are a leader or a colleague of someone with talents, consider how you can best position them in the context of your team and your projects. You can also use this as a discussion piece to find out how they see and use their Context® talents.
Each person with Context® talents operates differently. Make sure you're not missing out on their unique contribution.
Disclaimer: The following insights represent the author's opinions based on their understanding of the CliftonStrengths® themes. These are not statements created by or formally endorsed by Gallup®.
Position: Hold the Line / Defender
Provides their team with the historical context to understand the present and plan the future.
Ways in which this team member can make a direct and immediate impact. Use these insights to consider where you place them on the team or in an organization.
Beyond the Now. These talented individuals are a rare breed that see behind the end lines of a soccer pitch and beyond the confines of their office or their team. They give voice to that which came before. For a soccer player, they can share the thread that runs from ancient China and Greece, to 12th century soccer in Scotland & England, to Wembley Stadium, and the FIFA World Cup. In the workplace, the talented individuals can bring a unique understanding of how the team has gone to this point, and what past decisions mean for taking future action. Consider placing these individuals in role and on teams where precedent needs to be heavily considered; whether or not it needs to be adhered to.
Moving forward. In some cases, those with Context® talents can be wonderful "bridgers" between those who've done all the analysis and those who will take the first action steps. They can understand the thinking done by those with Analytical®, Deliberative®, and Intellection® talents and can reinforce the rules and beliefs alongside their colleagues with Belief® and Consistency® talents. It is from this "backbone" they can help those with "transitioner" style talent themes start to move forward.
Ways in which people with this theme might "overplay" their talents.
Stuck in the Past. Those with Context talents have the potential to be do drawn into the past that they don't connect their information about the past to something applicable in the present. The past will be fascinating to them; just be sure to help guide them in understanding what is truly important.
Searching for a beginning. These talented individuals might not know or understand exactly how far they need to go back into the past in order to understand the present. Depending on their work, and their other talent themes, a different time window and sense of scale needs to be considered as you help these individuals refine their application of their talents. Is it enough to understand:
the background of why the team launched the current?
the history of the department or organization?
the history of western culture?
how the laws of nature, starting at the "big bang", impact current decisions and plans?
Talent Combos / Position Modification
Input®: "The Informed Strategist" - Those with Context love understanding information from the past that can influence the present or future. Those with Input talents love to collect. Individuals with Context + Input talents have a beautiful capacity likely to have the ability to collect past information on both your organization's or team's history, and the context of other teams or competitors. In this way, these talented individuals can offer a multitude of perspectives as their teams move forward. On the soccer field, this is the player that no only all the past strategies utilized by their own teams, but also the histories and strategies of all their opponents.
Focus®: "The Informed Attacker" - Those with Focus talents can often cut through the clutter and bring a singular focus. Combining Focus talents with Context talents can offer a team a laser-focus on the most critical aspects of the team's past. They can help a team get clear about what (past) approaches are essential to consider from the past so that the can best plan for the future. If we think about those with Focus talents as soccer forwards, then these can be individuals that will drive forward with a very clear, distinct, and specific view of how the project got to where it is, and how they can push it forward to success.
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