Recognizing Your Strengths and Super-Powers

Photo by quicheisinsane

Photo by quicheisinsane

How do you describe your job?  Your strengths?  Your super-powers?  My "day-job" is consulting.  You could say I'm a "process consultant," but given my adoration of the Agile Manifesto, I would rather be thought of as a "individuals and interactions consultant."  And I must say, my coworkers are awesome people.  No, not just people--talent.  Awesome talent.  Three of us were met for drinks and were talking about the challenges we face as consultants and how we use our strengths.  One commented on my passion, but really, we are all passionate about our work--that's how we ended up having drinks after work.  We seek people out who will make us better and keep us accountable.  Those who may be the yin to our yang.  I think of them as my partners in crime, my allies for change.  In order to work together effectively, it is helpful to know our strengths and super-powers.

According to Tom Rath's StrengthsFinder 2.0, my strengths are Input, Intellection, Deliberative, Restorative, and Futuristic.  I consume information, appreciate intellectual discussions, envision the future, anticipate obstacles, and am adept at solving problems.  Part of this explains why I have started a blog.  

But when I think about my super-powers, I think of Rainbow Brite.  Rainbow Brite was a regular girl who became responsible for the colors on Earth.  She eradicates the darkness and shadows.  I shed light on ugly practices and behaviors, build strong teams from groups of individuals, and in a sense, create an environment for magic to take place.  I look for others to help in these endeavors--other Color Kids, you could say.

How do you describe yourself?

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Developing Super-Powers

Photo by Corey Bond

Photo by Corey Bond

In my role as a consultant, I often talk about super-powers--not because I am a geek who watches superhero movies, but because I believe that teams have super-powers.  In the agile world, we know that teams are more than the sum of their parts--they can do more together than they could as individuals.  A true team can do more by collaborating than a group of individuals coordinating their efforts.  It takes concerted effort from an organization to create strong teams.

Most organizations that I see are matrixed, which can bring its own set of challenges as middle managers may have competing goals, there can be an abudance of competing status reports, and the projects and requests seem endless and all high-priority.  A manager may understand the importance of teams and genuinely want them to develop their super-powers, but the transition can feel painful.  It can feel like a blind leap of faith, and there may be stumbles.  Are we asking for too much from managers?  Are we crazy to think that a strong team will meet the needs of the organization better than partitioning team members to answer the constant requests?

Today's managers need a different set of skills--they need to develop their own super-powers.  I like the "Matrix Leadership Competencies" found in the Leading in the Matrix infographic from Hay Group:

matrix.jpg

Infographic from Hay GroupIf that isn't detailed enough, you can also check out Esther Derby's post on What Do Middle Managers Do

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.