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Want to Innovate? First, You Have to Know Your Strengths

As a leader in next-level political involvement skill development, the Innovate to Motivate® Conference is known for investing in expert faculty to connect you to nationally-known thought leaders.

Another one of our expert faculty members is Candace Fitzpatrick, President of Core Clarity, Inc. You can read more about her here: http://www.coreclarity.net/pages/AboutUs.html.

As many of you know, I believe that to improve your government relations performance, you have to work from your strengths, rather than focusing on shoring up weaknesses. This applies to one’s professional life, as well.

However, many of us don’t know what our organizational or personal strengths are. Candace will be leading two dynamic breakout sessions where you will conduct your own personal strength analysis to find out what you do well, and how to use those strengths to ratchet your results to the next level.

I asked her about how knowing your strengths contributes to innovation.

Q: You call your workstorm “The Innovation Revelation” – what revelations will participants experience?

A: As I mentioned before, most people have a series of “A-ha” moments, in which many patterns in their life are revealed. That’s one type of revelation involving the past.

Another, and the one we want to focus on for this workshop, is that knowing your talents and understanding the patterns of the past gives you a completely new way to look at your present and future. You can’t help but innovate when you have a brand new way of seeing; in other words, a revelation. The energy and excitement you experience once you have this knowledge not only propels your creativity, it engages and excites the people around you.

Innovation isn’t just about coming up with something new – it’s also about changing something that already exists. Changing your perspective is a personal innovation, which will result in transformative innovation of your ideas and your approach to life.

Q: How do people respond when they find out about their talents?

A: Typically people have a series of “A-ha!” moments – when past behaviors, specific experiences or feelings suddenly click into place. The right tools, an easy-to-understand framework and a positive language provide most people with a frame of reference they didn’t have before. Since talents are the best way for anyone to achieve success, they get an energy boost as they immediately begin to think of ways to use this new knowledge. They leave my sessions buzzing with ideas and potential.

A few resist, saying they don’t want to be “labeled”, usually because of a negative experience with another assessment of an association with a specific word. Those associations typically have to do with past hurts, their previous environment or a specific incident in which they received negative feedback when using a particular talent.

Q: Can you give me an example?

A: Well, one client received Command in her top five talents. For her, the association with this word is extremely negative because as a very young girl, she was chastised by her family for being “bossy.” The label stuck and she consistently sabotaged her career as soon as someone called her a good “boss.” She re-took the assessment repeatedly to try and command this “negative” talent away. It finally dropped out, only to be replaced with Self-Assurance, which she didn’t want either.

It isn’t that she doesn’t have Command, she clearly does because she is a strong, assured woman with a clear picture of where she wants to go and how she is going to get there. Because of her past, however, she is very sensitive to the language and has been blocking this talent consistently in her adult career. It is still there, the problem is she can’t tap into it effectively as long as she believes it is a bad thing.

This is certainly an extreme exception, but I do want to make sure we don’t claim this is going to be perfect for every single person. I have found it is by far the best and most granular tool currently available, but as with everything there is a margin of error. Sometimes the error is simply statistical and sometimes it’s due to individual perception.

Q: You’re a thought leader, speaker and business woman, with both a science and business background. What drew you to work with people on such a personal level?

A: I’ve always been a learner and an observer. When I was younger, I was drawn to physics because it made sense to me. It was a logical explanation of physical phenomenon. When I went into business, I studied the processes and systems of business. While I was a passionate observer of people, reading or understanding them was not a natural gift.

After earning my MBA in 2003, I was at a crossroads, searching for direction. Looking back I saw a pattern in my life – I had been reinventing myself about every 2-3 years. I searched for answers within myself and in books, and came across the strengths movement. After discovering one of my core talents was learning, I realized I needed to stop beating myself up for moving around so much and position myself where I would be learning continually.

Fascinated by this revelation, I searched for a logical and actionable way to quantify my motivations and potential. That framework didn’t exist so I created my own. I expanded my personal discovery into an approach that reinvents how to identify, maximize and deploy human potential. Through the process of accurately naming and understanding each individual’s innate talents, I found both my avocation and a way to understand and connect with people. I have been fascinated and energized by the journey of discovery ever since!

Q: Sounds like this is a lot of information to grasp! How do you keep people’s attention, especially in a large group setting?

A: The talents clearly show us that there are multiple learning modalities – the different ways people absorb and process information. I try to incorporate all of these into the sessions. People can expect to listen, see, touch, teach and move during the session. There are individual and group exercises, some lively and others more thought-provoking. Overall, I try to impart a sense of fun and positive energy – I think this is incredibly exciting information and, I’m told, it shows in how I manage the workshop.

Join us in New Orleans to experience your own Innovation Revelation!

Join us at I2M 2010: register online at www.innovatetomotivate.com.