Futuristic Strength: Get Known For Your Talent

I hear a lot of curiosity about how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Futuristic to your career.

In this series, I break down one strength per post so that you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make a better alignment between your current job and your strengths.

- If you’re exploring this concept as a manager, use this series for career development ideas and even new clues about responsibilities you could give a person with this talent theme so that they can show up at their best.

- If you’re exploring this concept for yourself, use this as a chance to build a reputation for your strengths so that you’re more likely to be given assignments that live in your strengths zone.

You’ll get three layers to chew on:

1. Career Branding
2. Red Flag Situations At Work
3. Fresh Application Ideas

Career Branding For The Futuristic Strength

You probably already have a reputation for what you know. Think about your personal resume, CV, or your LinkedIn profile, I bet it's full of “the what,” which are things like job titles, skills, knowledge, expertise, or the degree you earned. What’s missing is usually "the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live.

Chances are good that you are a lot like my StrengthsFinder training clients, where you don’t physically see your teammates and customers every day. That’s why LinkedIn has become so important for career branding. It’s how your teammates, customers, and vendors go look you up before a meeting - to see who they’re about to talk to. And rather than only telling them what you know, you should also give them a peek at how it is to work with you.

Here are a bunch of adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile when you lead through the Futuristic strength:

  • Visionary
  • Imaginative
  • Creative
  • Inspiring
  • Energetic
  • Vivid
  • Forward-Looking
  • What-If Thinker
  • Anticipator
  • Dreamer
  • Futurist
  • Predictor

Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Futuristic Strength

These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Futuristic. They might even make you want to quit the team. So I’ll give you a couple of these to be on watch for — because if they fester, you might get the urge to quit the job or become detached and disengaged at work.

Here are a couple of Red flags for the Futuristic strength (talent theme):

  1. The “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” Culture. Imagine the situation where the status quo is a good thing. You might work with a teammate who wants to steadily maintain the current excellence on the team. Yet you see standing still as shrinking into the past. You look ahead. You see a vision of “what can be” in the coming months and years. And you like to step forward toward that vision (even if they are baby steps). Yet if you encounter a work culture or colleague who constantly tells you to leave well enough alone, you might feel stifled.

  2. The “We Already Tried That And It Didn’t Work” Culture. Think about this scenario. You have a great idea for a process improvement. It’s big and bold and it requires some action-taking from others on the team. When you present your ideas, they quickly shut you down because they tried that two years ago and it failed. If this is a common experience for you and you lead through Futuristic, you will likely get frustrated with how they’re stuck in the past. You know that two years ago, things were different. The team was made of different people. The technology wasn’t ready. The implementation didn’t get followed up on. There are a hundred variables you can see that make it different today, and it would be maddening to the Futuristic talent theme to be dismissed because of dated ways of viewing the work.

3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Futuristic Strength

These are ways to apply the talent theme of Futuristic at work , even when the job duties on the team feel pretty locked in. If you’re exploring this concept as a team manager, be sure to have a conversation around these ideas. You’ll both be able to come up with places to apply them.

For someone who leads through the Futuristic strength, put the talent to good use with one of these options:

  1. Visualization. Encourage your Futuristic team member to spend 30 minutes each week thinking about the future of your department. Encourage the person to be extra concrete and visual with the vision for the future. Tell them to imagine what is already true and good and possible on the team - and then to project those good things into “what could be” 1-2 years out. The more vivid and concrete these ideas become, the more compelling they'll be to other people as well.

  2. BHAGs and Dreams. If someone on your team leads through the Futuristic strength, let them in on your BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). Tell them about your career dreams. Ask them about their life dreams. This person thinks a lot about the future, and giving them space to marinate on those inspirational futures can be an energizing headspace for them. Many leaders will hesitate to share visions or ideas that are not fleshed out enough - they don’t want to lead people on. Yet those who lead with the Futuristic strength can help you do just that. They can help you turn those dreams into realities.

  3. Early Adopter. If you have a major change, and you know people will resist, consider enlisting the help of a team member with the Futuristic talent theme. For example, let’s say you’re implementing a new CRM system and your existing Customer Relationship Management system has been in place for 12 years. The changeover will undoubtedly cause some people pain for a few weeks, yet you know the new features are going to wow the team soon after. Someone with the Futuristic talent theme can see from here to there. They will not get mired down in the switching costs and how much extra work it will cost them over the next few weeks. Enlist them as an early adopter and promoter of the new change.

Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Futuristic Strength

  1. Go take action on your LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the Summary section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.
  2. Then think over the red flags to see if there’s anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down.
  3. Volunteer your talents through the application ideas. And if you’re a manager, have a conversation with your team members about which of these things sound like something they’d love to have more of.
  4. Dig into the Futuristic strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Futuristic Talent Theme Page.

 

Here's A Full Transcript Of The 14 Minute Episode

You're listening to Lead Through Strengths, where you'll learn to apply your greatest strengths at work. I'm your host, Lisa Cummings, and I got to tell you, it's tough to find anything more energizing than using your natural talents every day at work.

Well, I get a lot of questions about how to do this when it comes to aligning your CliftonStrengths reports with the work that you do at work and lining it up with your career. So today, we're going to talk about the talent theme of Futuristic and how to line that up with your career. I'm breaking down one strength per episode so that you can add to the insights that you already have from the StrengthsFinder report, but really make that match that closer tie to your actual role at work.

Now, if you're listening as a manager, think about using this series for career development purposes. It'll give you ideas and even clues about responsibilities that you could assign to each person with a given talent theme. It'll certainly give you ideas for what to talk about in one-on-one so that you can make a really good match about what lights each person up so that they're bringing their A game and their best contribution to the office, every day through those great matches that you make.

If you're listening for yourself, use this as a chance to build a reputation for your strengths. So, you're more likely to be given assignments that live in your strength zone.

Today, the talent theme of the episode is Futuristic. Now you're going to get three layers to chew on. One of them is career branding. The second one is red flag situations at work. And the third one is application ideas.

So, let's talk career branding. Now, you probably already have spent some effort branding your career around what you know. Things like the skills you've acquired, the knowledge areas, your expertise, and your LinkedIn profile or your resume probably have things about the degrees you've earned, or the companies you've worked for, or even your skills and knowledge get indicated in your job titles. Well, this is all what do you do.

Where most people forget to do the career branding efforts is around how they operate. Imagine how much more this opens up, how you think and how you make decisions and how you relate to people, how you get things done. There are so many ways you could brand yourself around the how, and StrengthsFinder tells you more about how it is to work with you.

So, assuming that you're like most people, I'll give you some adjectives so that you can think about branding yourself with these other words. These are literal adjectives that you can put in your profile or keep top of mind so that you can think, “I'm going to show up this week and use these three words so that I can get known for being this.”

So, people who lead through Futuristic are often visionary. They're imaginative. They're creative. They're inspiring. They're energetic. They're vivid - is an interesting one, isn't it? They could…because they can paint such a clear picture of the future. And they're forward looking. They’re ‘what if?’ thinkers. They're anticipators. They're dreamers. They're futurists and they're predictors.

Now, of course, your unique flavor of that is colored by our other talent themes. So, pick one of those that really stood out for you. It just really resonated as you, something that you want to be known for and describes you uniquely. Once you've picked that, make it a goal of using one of those words in your conversations this month, because the more you use it, the more you'll get known for it.

So, imagine saying, “okay, I put my futurist hat on, and this is what I see”, or, “as I'm forward looking, this is what I'm thinking of”. And so begin to build this stuff into your language because it colors how people view you and view your performance and view the angles through which you see the world.

[4:07] 

Let's talk about red flags, situations next. These are the cultures, the interactions, the situations that are going to feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone who has the talent theme of Futuristic. Now these, if they're taken to a great extent, they might even make you want to quit the team. And so, it's important to be on watch for these because if they fester, it might give you the urge to detach at work, become disengaged, or feel like your talent themes are getting insulted every day at the office.

So here are two of them for Futuristic.

The first one, I'll call it, “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” kind of culture. Now imagine a situation where the status quo is considered a good thing. So, if you worked with a teammate who wants to be a steady maintainer of something, they believe that they're at a current level of excellence. And that is their goal to keep that current level of excellence. And that is a goal for some companies and some teams.

But if you have Futuristic, you're not going to be satisfied with the status quo. You're always moving forward. You probably see standing still as shrinking into the past. You look ahead, you see a vision of what else can be out there in the coming months and years. And as you step forward toward that vision, even if they're baby steps, you're always moving forward. And if you encounter a work culture, or a colleague who just is consistently telling you to leave well enough alone, or they're saying,-

“It's not broken, I'm not going to fix it.”

“It's good enough, I'm not going to mess with it.”

“There's nothing to fix here. We're trying to solve problems that don't exist.”

If you hear those kinds of things, that really is an insult to your Futuristic talent, so it can really wear you down.

And a second one is the kind of culture, I'll call it, we already tried that, and it didn't work culture. Think about the scenario. You have a great idea, and it's for a process improvement. It's big, it's bold, it requires some action taking from you and other people because it's big enough that it requires a team effort.

But when you present your ideas, your teammates shut you down, and they shut you down because they tell you we tried that two years ago, and it failed. Now, this is a common experience for people in general in the office. And for some, they would say, “oh, it didn't work, tell me more, you like the idea done.”

But if you have Futuristic, you might get frustrated that they're stuck in the past because you know, two years ago, things were different. The team was made of different people. The technology wasn't ready. The implementation didn't get followed up on. There are 100 variables that you can see that make it different today than it was that day when it didn't work and it would be maddening to you with the Futuristic talent theme to be dismissed because of dated ways of viewing the work or dated ways of considering ideas.

Okay, now we’re done with career brand and a couple of red flags. Here are three application ideas that you want to consider if you lead through the Futuristic talent theme.

Now imagine, application ideas that are specific to your talent theme are going to allow your talent theme to be on display, which then helps you build a reputation for that talent theme, which then means you get more of that type of work. How great is that?

For someone who leads to Futuristic, you can put this talent theme to good use with visualization. So that's action item number one. If you're a manager, imagine encouraging a Futuristic team member to spend 30 minutes a week, thinking about the future of your department. Encourage the person to be extra concrete and visual with this vision for the future. Tell them to imagine what is already true and good and possible on the team. And then to project those good things into what could be 1 to 2 years out if you use them in high leverage.

The more vivid these ideas become, the more compelling they will be to other people and the more other people on the team will believe that they are possible. So that would be likely a fun exercise for someone who leads through Futuristic. And even if that's not a weekly activity, just to do it as a one-time project would be a quite a fun project for many people who lead through Futuristic.

And the second one is I'm going to call it, B HAGs and dreams. Now someone on your team leads to Futuristic. Let them in on your B HAG. If you have no idea what I'm talking about when I say B HAG, that stands for big, hairy, audacious goal. Tell them about your career dreams. Yes, it doesn't matter if you're their manager. Ask them about their life dreams. See, this person thinks a lot about the future and giving them space to marinate on those inspirational futures, it's a really great headspace for someone to live in who leads through Futuristic.

[8:59] 

Instead of seeing that as a risky thing to disclose to someone, help them paint a future picture together with you. Both of your career futures, you can look 5, 10 years out into the future make one that doesn't feel scary. Some leaders would say, “no way I'm going to share a career goal that I have 1 year from now because other people on the team are going to learn about it and get nervous that I'm leaving.

Well, then just go further out into the future or at least ask them about their future because they likely spend a lot of time there anyway. They will naturally be thinking about the future constantly. Those who lead through Futuristic can also help you create that headspace for people on the team. So, if there's somewhere you're trying to lead not just career goals for the individual, but talking about team goals, it can really help turn those dreams into realities because they can get from here to there.

Number three, early adopter. Now the first two are pretty similar but the number one was a little bit more focused on the team. Number two is a little more focused on the individual's dreams. But the third one this is totally different. It's called early adopter. Now if you have a major change in the organization, and it's one of those changes where you know, people are going to resist, or you know that there's a lot of time cost or opportunity cost, or just switching costs with getting up to speed on this new thing.

And so, you're expecting that people aren't going to love the change, consider enlisting the help of a team member with the Futuristic talent theme. Okay, let me give you an example. You're implementing a new CRM system and your existing CRM, by the way, customer relationship management system if you're not familiar, it's been in place for 12 years. And this changeover is going to cause some people some pain for a few weeks, because you can imagine all of the data that needs to get transferred over, all the fields that need to be mapped, all the learning that needs to happen to understand how you do that thing we used to do in the old one, and the new one, all those sorts of things that come up when you're in new software.

You know though, you know that the new features are going to while the team as soon as they get comfortable in the new space. And as soon as they get over the switchover, someone with the Futuristic talent theme can see from here to there. They're not going to get mired down in the switching costs the way that other people do. They may be aware of the extra work that will cost them but they can really help you with these change efforts. Imagine what it would be like instead of you being the only champion for the thing, if you had someone who is sitting on the team, when other people are complaining in the lunchroom about, - “Oh, here we have to do this thing.”, you have someone saying, “Oh, I'm pretty psyched about it, because it's gonna let us do this and this and this and this.” And then suddenly, it takes off the kvetching and it takes off the negative vibe that this change is bringing to the team and people are a little more willing to try it on.

So, this is a really great one. Bring your Futuristic team members in as early adopters. Now, of course that takes some craft, you can't just say, “Hey, will you please be my cheerleader?” Obviously, you have to bring them into the fold. Maybe they could be data testers. You have to think through how will you get that person excited so that they can spread the excitement.

So, there you have it. It's a quick tour for building a career through the talent theme of Futuristic. I want to give a special shout out to Deena Silverman and Joe Darren for content contributions on this one, and to Andrew Kruger because he made the sound good to your ears. And, boy oh boy, have we had a slew of problems: electrical issues, a bad preamp, you know. These podcasts are things that you don't want to know about but stuff that's been bringing us down and causing a lot of rework.

And you know, I love it. A Maximizer talent theme loves that we can keep the quality high for you. So, moving on to your personal branding homework.

Number one, go take action on career branding. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the summary section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work. And remember, this is focusing on the how you think, how you operate, how you get things done, how you relate.

Number two, think over those red flags. See if there's anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down. Or if you're a manager be thinking, “Ooh, do we have a culture like that that I need to get in front of before we bring someone else down?”

And finally, volunteer your talent themes through those application ideas. And if you're a manager have a conversation around those ideas to see which things sound like something they would love to do more of and if you have a specific application ready to go then pitch it in your next one-on-one.

And with that, I'm your host Lisa Cummings from Lead Through Strengths. Now, if you're thinking about doing a virtual or in-person event to kick-off your strengths-based culture, head on over to leadthroughstrengths.com/training to see if our current offerings are a good fit for you.

Until next time. Thanks for being part of this powerful strength movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness that is already inside of them.

About Deena Silverman

Deena Silverman is the Director of Customer Experience at Lead Through Strengths, where she helps teams improve their productivity by focusing on their natural talents. Deena helps leaders pull off seamless strengths-based events that change the culture of their company. One of her greatest joys is studying human behavior and helping others achieve their goals. When she's not using her organizational strengths to create awesome events, you can find her running around with her two special boys and her unique dog, Ranger. Or she might be hunting for Gary, her repeat-escapee hamster with a top talent of persistence. Her Top 5 StrengthsFinder Talents are: Individualization | Achiever | Learner | Input | Activator.