Strengths and Company Culture

I woke up on Monday at the time of our team meeting. It wasn’t a great start to the week but it seemed everybody was struggling a little bit.  It led to Eugenie, declaring it as “Duvet Week”, think of it like half term. Now the funny thing is when I got that email rather than being glad I’m being told to just keep things ticking over and just chill, I panicked a bit. “BUT I HAVE SOOO MUCH TO DO? How can I afford to take time off?”

And that is part of the problem. We all work so hard, putting in every little effort that at some point you can burn out. So I decided to step back a bit and get a bit of perspective on everything. I re-arranged a few stuff, changed my key outcomes to one main one and even went and got my hair cut.

On Tuesday this week I had my first Strengths coaching session over Skype with Alex Bailey where I got to discover what my real strengths are. Below are my strengths and my thoughts and alternative names.

    • Ideation: People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena
      Aka my brain buzzing strength: I’ve always been a bit of an idea person and I’ve defo got them at the most random places (The toilet anyone?!). I’ve also found connections between things that no one else can quite see.
    • Context: People strong in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.
      AKA My Stalker Strength: I love researching to understand what got something to where it is today. That could be people or me simply IMDBing on the way back from a Movie.
    • Input: People strong in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
      AKA My Nosy Strength: Anyone who knows me know that I always ask a lot of questions. I was defo the kid that always went why?!
    • Self-Assurance: People strong in the Self-assurance theme feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right.                                     AKA My Fake It Till I Make It Strength:  I think deep inside I know what I’m doing will fall into place even if I have self doubts I guess I’ll be the one to fake it till I make it.
    • Individualization: People strong in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.
      AKA My Matchmaking Strength: I’ve always been good at picking out what makes people unique and creating a web around me of connections and figuring out who can be good use to another. It could be on professionally or romantically!
Now that I know what my strengths are I’m starting much more to make a mental note of every-time I use them. Last night I watched the 50th anniversary of Dr Who and guess what I did? I used my context strengths and ended up reading a bit on all of the past Doctors and not only that I went and read the emails between City of London and the BBC when they asked for permission to film in Trafalgar square! Geek much?

Now I’m pretty lucky that Spark+Mettle has created an environment for me to really learn and use my strengths well in my role. The culture we have at work is just awesome. From the duvet day to our outcomes focussed way of working.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot around company culture and values. In my previous job I was an administrator for a government work programme provider. Before I left I made sure I tied up any loose ends and sent the receipts to head office. I like ending things on a good note. Maintaing positive relationships is a strength of mine however this week I got asked if I had sent the receipts through the previous administrator (who is now a friend) from my ex boss. Now I know I did my part but also if it did get lost in the post I actually really did not care. It wasn’t my problem yet in other jobs where i’ve felt really part of the culture, I’d go out of way to fix whatever it was. The company’s slogan was “Improving people lives” they really did not live it all. The focus was never really to help that person into a job and remove barriers but threaten them with sanctions. One of my colleagues was told off for being “too friendly” yet the irony is an employee of the company is meant to have that key trait! They also had a crazy high turnover which goes to show that these little things do play a part. When a company gets huge it tends to lose the things that really matter at the start. I’m grateful for having that job even though it numbed my brain because I’ve learned everything I don’t want us to become.

We had  a team away day on Friday in Brighton. We did a lot of different team exercises and brainstorm sessions. Together we were shaping the vision and culture of what we want to feel and be. The pride and ownership is probably why I’ll always be working within small organisations unless I went in as Intrapreneur in a corporate company.

How we grow and how our company culture evolves with time will be an interesting development but one thing I do know is that we will always be bold. 

Sunset in Brighton



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