Melissa’s Take – Teaming Up

In our last blog post, we mentioned that personalities can clash in the workforce. A job and a career can be tough – it’s like a group project with higher stakes and money. Fortunately, someone memed it properly for us.


We laughed, and then we went on to discuss each person in the group project. We noted that:

  • One person needs concise and fact-based communication. This person generally ends up as “the leader” and keeps the group focused on getting things done. 

  • Another person is generally “the creative”; they have great ideas and can do creative work. 

  • Someone usually likes to be given guidelines and space to accomplish tasks alone.

  • Others need stability, direction, and organization. 

This led to a whole series of questions, and superb discussion. Questions included:

  • Why is it important to know each employee’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses? 

  • Why does Clearinity think it’s important? 

  • How does Clearinity find out which employee has what personality, strengths, and weakness?

  • How do we use the strengths and weaknesses of each person to help make the workplace a great place to work and a more productive employee and team?  

Each team member has Strengths and weaknesses

We like to start with the end in mind, and always start with WHY we care about something. Why is it just so important to care about the Strengths and weaknesses of an individual? Let me give a few personal examples of having very different personalities together trying to all stay happy.

Example one:

My personality is halfway between my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s personality. Every day I grow older I become more like my mother. Sometimes when I talk I hear her voice. (que eerie music)

My personality is halfway between my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s personality. Every day I grow older I become more like my mother. Sometimes when I talk I hear her voice. (que eerie music)

My husband graduated from infantry OSUT (one site unite training) in August. My mother, mother-in-law, father-in-law and I all went together to the graduation. Just so you can feel the awkwardness, this was the 3rd event ever where both parents spent time together, and we are doing it as a mini-vacation. Now, my mother is an extreme planner – the type of planner that if she does not have her calendar, she is lost. And heaven forbid if she misplaced her mini calendar/grocery list. She’s the type of planner that will research everything for a vacation and have plan A, B, and C. My mother-in-law, however, shoots from the hip. She has a very go-with-the-flow, whatever-you-want-to-do personality. She likes planned and organized things as much as anyone, but it isn’t her strength. My father-in-law is just happy spending time with people; it doesn’t really matter what we are doing.

Anyway, the last personality you need to know is my husband, Josh. He is a lot like his father and he really didn’t care what we were going to do because it was a lot better than what he had been doing – generally getting yelled at, running laps, or doing push-ups. During the 2-day event, we only had about six hours to be with my husband where we could take him off base and do things like go out to dinner or just be tourists. Now, my mother looked up anything we could do and had all her plans, but she didn’t want to take over and decide everything. These two days were about Josh and whatever he wanted to do. Funny thing is Josh had been through basic and then Infantry school. He didn’t have his phone for the whole 4 months. He stayed in one area of the fifth largest base in the U.S. So he had no clue what to do. And yet, we still needed to fill 6 hours. Our time ended up being filled thanks to all of us knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. My mother gave out the ideas that she had researched and organized; we let Josh know he was the leader and needed to make the decisions. If we didn’t know each other’s strengths and weaknesses the two days could have gone way different. Imagine if we put my mother in law in charge of organizing ideas and had my father in law in charge of making the decisions for Josh – blech! The time together would have been more stressful and probably wouldn’t have gone as smoothly.

Example two:

My mother, aunt, and I went on a trip to New England in the fall. My mother and aunt are very good planners and they need that. During this trip, they wanted to see the most and do the most. So what did they do? They made an excel spreadsheet that listed hour-by-hour, day-by-day what we were going to do, how long it would take, and where we would stay at the end of the day. They combined 3 different week-long tours into 1 week. They were able to do this because they knew all the personalities that were going to be there. They knew we didn’t need an hour in the gift shop, or that we shouldn’t stop at every stopping place in a state park. Because of their planning and knowledge of personalities, we could do and see more during that week and use our time efficiently.

Stepping up to the Business world

Let’s take our example of a group project and extend it to a business-world project. There are usually different players on every project, and it’s usually headed up by a project manager. Others will be included from different companies or different departments. Most projects don’t have the luxury of a hand-picked team; personalities will clash, weaknesses and strengths all come to light, and most people are just happy to finish the project because of all the in-fighting. We think it doesn’t have to be this way. Imagine you can know more about a team before things get started? Check out the dossier below:

If you knew all of this, you would know:

  • not to have John organize

  • not to send long wordy emails to Sophie

  • go to Ali if it needs organizing

  • go to John for ideas.

Everyone would be working efficiently because they are doing something that is a strength.

So HOW can we know?

Here at Clearinity, we use a handful of tests that can change depending on the needs of the client. However, one of our favorites is called The Clifton Strengths Finder. Why do we use this one? We use it because it gives an in-depth look at the person, without giving away each person’s answers. In short, it gives you both high-level and low-level information about who a person is an how they fit best on a team. As they say,

What if we started looking at teams by what each person did RIGHT instead of what they did WRONG?

Conrad, the founder of Clearinity, has Top 5 Strengths of:

  1. Responsibility

  2. Analytical

  3. Strategic

  4. Relator

  5. Learner

My top 5 are

  1. Restorative

  2. Responsibility

  3. Empathy

  4. Individualization

  5. Input

The names of the Strengths are pretty descriptive, but you can always read more on the Clifton site. From this short list, we can see Conrad is strategic and I am a tie between strategic and relationship. I know with the strategic mindset Conrad also likes spreadsheets (ok it’s more of a love of spreadsheets). With my strategic thinking, I love to-do lists. So if we need to make a plan it’s a spreadsheet to-do list – which we have actually made for the Clearinity process! It took a few tries to get it right for both of us, but once we got what each other needed it helped us understand how to best work with each other.

Go and do

We have the personalities, strengths, and weaknesses of our employees. Now what? What do we do with this info now? You apply it. Let the people that are working together know the personalities, strengths, and weaknesses of each other. It’s a lot more efficient to look at all the strengths the team has and use that to better the project. Work will get done more efficiently and you will have happier employees. I know from personal experience this has helped shape a great culture at Clearinity. We play on each other’s strengths, help each other with our weaknesses. In this way, we put collaboration over competition and just end up getting the work done.

A Note from Conrad

At the end of the day, you will need to find out what works for your team. The Clifton StrengthsFinder has changed my approach to work and to managing others, and it fits very well with my leadership style. When it comes to your team, you may find that you don’t like this approach at all! It’s important to note that these feelings – the feelings of what we do and do not want to use – all clue us into what sort of culture we’re trying to build as business leaders. My focus has been pretty clear; Build a team that is open to change, help clients achieve real and lasting change in their business, and build a business that can grow with our clients into the future.