Project Management

Shifting Change: Insider Tips from Project Leaders

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Today's world is influenced by change. Project managers and their organizations need to embrace and sometimes drive changes to keep up with the pace in highly competitive environments. In this blog, experienced professionals share their experiences, tips and tools to manage and exploit changes and take advantage of them. The blog is complimentary to the webinar series of the Change Management Community Team and is managed by the same individuals.

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Luisa Cristini
Nic Jain
Ruth Pearce
Abílio Neto
Vitaly Geyman
Walter Vandervelde
Steve Salisbury
John ORourke
Ronald Sharpe
Angela Montgomery
Tony Saldanha
Ryan Gottfredson
Joseph Pusz
Kavitha Gunasekaran
Ross Wirth
Carole Osterweil

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Finding Strengths - In Others!

Over the last couple of months, I have had the pleasure of offering two webinars exploring the use of character strengths as project managers. In the second webinar we moved onto the topic of seeing strengths in others - the second three phases in the SBPM model – See, Acknowledge, Leverage.

We used a sample profile created from attendees’ responses to the VIA Assessment. This is the kind of thing I do with project managers and teams when I work with them. The strengths profile of a team is an indication of team culture.

Some questions to consider are:

  1. What does a team with this profile feel like to work in?
  2. What strengths are most prevalent and how do they affect communications?
  3. Can there be too much of a character strength or strengths in a team?
  4. If yes, what do you do about it?  Some options are
    1. Explore the profile with the team – awareness is a great first step.
    2. Explore how people feel about the top strengths and what strengths might be encouraged to create balance.
    3. Spot strengths with team members to get them used to seeing their own strengths and the strengths of others.


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When talking about strengths spotting, a common question is:

How do I start?

The simple answer is “just start”. Attendees had a chance to spot strengths based on a real-life story of a woman’s experience as her husband has a heart attack. (Don’t worry! He recovered!) First, we practiced strengths-spotting and then reflected on a key point, which is that we are often the last people to be aware of our own strengths. During the exercise, attendees saw 15 or more strengths in the story, yet the story-teller only identified about five. This phenomenon, known as “strengths-blindness”, afflicts about 2/3 of us.

What we learn from this practice is:

  1. We don’t always know our own strengths
  2. It is helpful to have feedback from others
  3. It is impossible to get strengths spotting wrong!

When I told the storyteller our list, she did not say “no, you are all wrong, there are only five!” she was happy that all these strengths were present.

This is why I always say to people wondering how to start strengths-spotting – just do it! Get a list of the character strengths (Available from the handouts for the webinars here and when you are watching a movie, attending a meeting, watching your favorite sports person, visiting family – spot strengths. Circle the ones you notice. And as you get better at it, you will notice more and more.

But then what? Tell people what you see. Start with people you feel comfortable experimenting with and share what you saw – both the strength and the behavior so that your listener can do it again! Tell them why you value that. For example, “I really saw your judgment when you were asking questions and weighing all the information before making a decision. It really helped us to think through the problem and get to a good solution.” Or, “I really saw your teamwork when you stepped in to help the others get the work done this weekend. It shared the workload and made sure everyone gets at least a little time off.”

There are so many things we can with a framework of character strengths. Sometimes it can seem as though we are ignoring problems or people it is difficult to work with. When we are uncomfortable it often feels unnatural to start strengths-spotting. And yet, if you take a step back and look for the strengths in a person you find difficult, it opens up opportunities such as:

  1. Engaging them from a position of strength, acknowledging the strengths you see in them before pushing back on their position.
  2. Engage them from a position of strength by asking them to use a strength you see to support you.
  3. Seeing them in a strengths light changes you and your perspective and it may just make them less annoying!

There are two things I tell people about character strengths:

  1. We share the same strengths and express them uniquely.
  2. We all have some of even our lesser strengths. If self-regulation is low for you, you still have it! If you woke up this morning and thought “I don’t want to get up today” but you got up anyway, you used self-regulation!

Start strengths spotting today!

Have questions? Message me! 

Posted by Ruth Pearce on: June 24, 2019 11:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those who don't have it."

- George Bernard Shaw