Core Talents Leadership

Rick Evans


Rick Evans - Core Talents

What if an organization could skip the storming and norming stages (of organizational behavior) and go directly from the forming to the performing stage? That is what the newly formed SMPS Forth Worth Chapter Board of Directors did in 2009. Through our founding president, Rachel Vogel-Marker’s vision, Candace Fitzpatrick, Founder, and CEO of CoreClarity was brought in to lead us through the In-Powering People and Teams Program, a program based on the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment. With a clear understanding of our own and other members of the Board’s talents, a group of strangers, become a cohesive, effective group and took off running.

Don Clifton is known as the “Father of Strengths Psychology.” While a psychology major in college, he wondered what made people successful, not what made them fail. For fifty years, he studied excellence, asking open-ended questions of over two million high-performance achievers. His thought was that successful people must have specific “success strengths” that made them successful and if he could find those success strengths, he could create an assessment to find out whether or not people would be successful. What he found was that successful people understood their talents and strengths and built their lives on them. In addition, successful companies did not just accommodate differences in their employees, they capitalized on them. In the late 1990’s, Don, along with a team at Gallup Consulting, developed the StrengthsFinder assessment, which identifies an individual’s top five talents out of a field of 34 prevalent talent themes identified in his research.

Best-led organizations recognize the most direct path to individual, team and organizational improvement starts with an investment in an individual’s greatest talents. First, you have to determine what is naturally right with people and then build on those innate talents. A growing number of organizations have learned that concentrating on weaknesses is a mistake. This is not to say that you should ignore them, but it does mean that you do not start there.

Have you ever had one of those days when you left work and were full of energy? People working in their talents are actively engaged in their work. They typically are healthier, happier, have more energy, and are up to ten times more productive than the average or unengaged worker. Those who are actively disengaged in their work, take more sick days, struggle on the days they do show up, and are not only unproductive, they take away from the productivity of others. Gallup polls over the years show the actively engaged to be just under 30% of the workforce, while just over half are unengaged and just less than 20% are actively disengaged.

Armed with this newfound knowledge, I approached the company I was working with at the time and presented the In-Powering program as a method to strengthen our Total Quality Management philosophy. It was determined that the most effective process was for me to become a Certified CoreClarity Facilitator and lead the team through the In-Powering Program. I have also led the Ryan YMCA Board and staff through the beginning of their Strengths Journey and have had the pleasure to sit down with a number of A/E/C colleagues to discuss the advantages of building stronger teams and increase productivity through the In-Powering Program. At the SMPS 2014 Southern Regional Conference held in Tulsa, I also had the opportunity to present on the experiences of the SMPS Fort Worth Chapter as well as other organizations.

I am often asked: Isn’t this just a “Feel Good Exercise?” It’s so much more. Look at it as an “Operating Manual for Humans.” Some of the organizations that have worked with CoreClarity include Texas Instruments, SMU (EMBA program), FAA, Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Kansas City, CRU (Campus Crusade) and Southwest Airlines.