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Online workshop report: developing personal strengths

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This is the transcript from the online workshop held on Tuesday 28 November on the subject of developing personal strengths.

Stephanie Phillips Hi Peter. Glad you got here okay!

Peter Gerrickens Hi Brian, it is nice you are also taking part!

Stephanie Phillips Hi Ken, Carol, just waiting a few minutes before Peter gets started.

Brian Perry This is my first time I have attended a workshop, a complete novice.

Stephanie Phillips Brian - let's hope you enjoy the experience!

Carol Young First time for me too.

Stephanie Phillips Peter - do you want to get started with introductions?

Peter Gerrickens You may be happy to know that it's my first time as well.

Stephanie Phillips If everyone could just briefly introduce themselves we can get started. I'm the Editor for TrainingZONE, by the way!

Ken I'm Ken Hare - I work as a training coordinator/manager for the U.S. Army.

Russell Holt Russell Holt - TrainingZONE too. Focused on online learning.

Brian Perry I work as an independent management consultant / trainer.

Carol Young Hello, I'm a partner in a business consultancy called Straight Talk.

Peter Gerrickens Welcome to all of you. Has anyone of you read my introduction to personal strengths?

Carol Young Yes.

Brian Perry Yes I have, this morning!!

Ken No, I was late in attending.

Peter Gerrickens Do you have any remarks to make / did you recognise something?

Brian Perry It did make sense to me, I am particularly interested in just how you could measure particular strengths?

Peter Gerrickens Brian, that' s an interesting question. You can't really measure it, but you can compare different peoples behaviour and ask and give feedback on it.

Peter Gerrickens Brian, what would be your purpose for measuring it?

Brian Perry I agree that's one way, but sometimes you need a catalyst to get things started. There seems to be some parallels from what you are suggesting and the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory. A tool I have used a lot to help people identify via their Personality type just what they might be good and not so good at.

Stephanie Phillips Hi Ellie, just getting started here. Does anyone else have any comments on the article?

Russell Holt Peter, as a first step, presumably some kind of 'strengths analysis' be conducted with an individual? Or is this an area for individuals to undertake themselves?

Peter Gerrickens That's a helpful tool to measure strengths. Another interesting tool is The Feedback Game which I developed. As the name already explains, this game is much about giving and receiving feedback, which gives an interesting interaction between people about their strengths (and weaknesses).

Stephanie Phillips Can you tell us a bit more about it, Peter?

Ellie Peart Good afternoon - first time visit - please excuse the tardiness.

Peter Gerrickens The Feedback Game consists of 140 cards: 70 strengths and 70 weaknesses. With these cards, I developed 20 ways of playing for different purposes: teambuilding, feedback, career planning, coaching, etc.

Brian Perry Peter, does it have a min/max number of participants who can "play" simultaneously?

Don Williams Wish I had that resource when I used to do skills analysis for people in a job club to find their transferable skills, Peter.

Ken Does the game tell you if a skill is present or not - and not "how well" it is developed?

Peter Gerrickens You can play it by yourself (but then you miss the feedback), mostly it has been playing in groups consisting of 4-10 players. If there are more people, you need to subdivide the group.

Carol Young How is the 'feedback' given and developed?

Brian Perry I have run feedback skills workshops for numerous managers in the past. The theory has been quickly grasped and taken on board, but mostly people really do struggle with putting the theory into practice. How will your game help with this?

Peter Gerrickens Don and Ken: for skills I developed the Development Game. There is often a mix up between strengths and skills. In my opinion they are different: you are born with a set of specific strengths, which you can develop during lifetime. Skills however, can be acquired.

Peter Gerrickens Brian, just by playing the game, people practice and experience about giving feedback. Meanwhile people reflect on their personal strengths.

Don Williams I guess that would depend on one's point of view?

Russell Holt How do you actually change people's behaviour through this approach? Or what's the next step in the process?

Brian Perry Do people have to know each other pretty well if they are to participate in the game?

Don Williams I accept a strength does not have to be a skill...

Peter Gerrickens Sure Don, you are right, but this is how I see it!

Peter Gerrickens Russell, you can' change peoples behaviour, but they may gain more insight in their behaviour and the effect this causes on others.

Russell Holt Are people receptive to this idea of how their behaviour affects others at work? Does knowing it make them want to change?

Peter Gerrickens Russell, this is also the case with weaknesses. Behind a weakness there is almost always a strength hiding. It is very revealing to people to discover the connection between a strength and a weakness.

Brian Perry Russell, certainly in my experience, people often live in blissful ignorance that the way they might be doing things could well be "racking people off" It is only when they are "advised" that their behaviour can begin to change. "How" they are told of course is the key to them changing.

Peter Gerrickens Russell, giving and receiving feedback makes the communication between people more open and creates a better working atmosphere.

Brian Perry I agree with Peter, when feedback becomes a part of the normal business process the relationships between people becomes much more open and a better atmosphere is apparent.

Russell Holt I agree. Often the people most in need of this process / better communication are likely to be the least likely to buy into it. How do you deal with that?

Peter Gerrickens In Holland, working with strengths and weaknesses is one of the most important subjects in training, management and education. It's really a hot topic! That's why over 50 % of the Dutch trainers work with The Feedback Game.

Stephanie Phillips Peter, I'm afraid we're coming to the end of the 45 minutes. Is there anything you'd like to end today's session with?

Peter Gerrickens Russell, people like to explore their hidden strengths. These give them the challenge to put in practice and in this way change their behaviour because they are motivated to that.

Peter Gerrickens I think the theme of strengths gives many possibilities in training! If you want to know more about it, please contact me: gerrickp@xs4all.nl.

Stephanie Phillips Peter - many thanks for taking today's session. We'll put the transcript up on the site later today.

Ken Thanks for the session.

Russell Holt Thanks Peter. Interesting stuff. Bye all.

Stephanie Phillips Thanks all for taking part. To leave the workshop, click in the top right hand corner.

Don Williams Have to go. Thank you Peter it was interesting ....

Brian Perry Thanks Peter, I will be in touch.

Ellie Peart An interesting first visit.

Don Williams What is on next week?

Stephanie Phillips TBA - it will be an HR topic though!

Don Williams Thank you .....

Stephanie Phillips It will be up on the site in the next few days.

Carol Young Interesting to see how this sort of thing works, thanks for the insight.


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