Consistency Strength: Get Known For Your Talent
I hear a lot of reflections about how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Consistency 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 an even stronger 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.
Today's episode talks about the Consistency strength.
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 Consistency 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. So many of us work on remote teams. 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.
We often see two distinct "flavors" of the Consistency talent theme. You may have one. You may have both. One is fairness in the treatment of people. The other is standardization for processes.
Here are a bunch of adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile when you lead through the Consistency strength:
- Rule Enforcer
- Guardian of Equality
- Promise Keeper
Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Consistency Strength
These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that might feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the Consistency strength. They could even make you want to quit the team if they get really bad. So I’ll give you a couple of these to be on watch for — because if they fester, you might become detached or disengaged at work.
Here are a couple of Red flags for the Consistency strength (talent theme):
Constant Customization. If you lead through the Consistency strength, you might prefer stable routines and clear guidelines. If you do, you could feel very drained at work if all processes seem to be up for negotiation and tweaking. You have a keen eye for standardization and ways it could serve your team or customers better. If you feel like you constantly have to battle people to get them to follow the guidelines, it could be a real soul-suck for you.
Special Favor. If you lead through the Consistency strength, you might have more of the people-fairness variety of the theme. With this, you believe that people should be treated equally. If you observe a team or a person getting unfair advantages or special favors, it will annoy you. If you see a specific person getting an unfair disadvantage, you might even find yourself taking action as their advocate. If you’re in this environment and it feels unfair to you, you would likely feel drained by the culture because it runs counter to your personal values.
3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Consistency Strength
These are ways to apply the Consistency strength 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 Consistency strength, put the talent to good use with one of these options:
Document Things. If you like the process side of Consistency, document processes so that they can be referenced by new hires or people new to that task. That way, the likelihood of inconsistencies goes down because they’re following your steps rather than loose verbal instructions that Emma-down-the-hall mentioned.
Stabilize After Change. After a re-org or merger or team shake up, you’re likely going to create new norms, routines, and standards for yourself. It would be something that you naturally do because you want to get back to a routine that feels normal again. This is a great time to offer your processes to the team. Imagine how a standard operating procedure guide might help others find some calm in a sea of chaotic change. Even if you make something as simple as the “who does what” list, it will help people figure out the new norms.
Rules Role. Look for responsibilities that allow you to establish or enforce guidelines. Even in knowledge worker roles, I’ve seen people become the creators of the team manifesto or the “keeper of the brand promise.” It’s a way to help the team keep standards, even when they’re inconvenient. Get an ISO 9000 certification. Become a Six Sigma black belt. Volunteer for compliance-related responsibilities.
Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Consistency Strength
- 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.
- Then think over the red flags to see if there’s anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down. You might decide to make the situation mean something different, or pre-plan a reaction for the next time it comes around.
- Volunteer your talents through the application ideas. 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.
- Dig into the Consistency strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Consistency Talent Theme Page.
Here's A Full Transcript Of The 11 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 something more energizing than using your natural talents every day at work.
Now, I hear a lot of enthusiasm about how to align your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Consistency with your job. So, in this series, you're seeing one talent theme broken down per episode. That way you can add to the insights that you already have from the StrengthsFinder report, and make a tight match between that and your strengths.
Now, if you're listening as a manager, use this series for career development ideas, or even to get clues about responsibilities that you could offer each person or that person with that talent theme so that they can show up at their best.
Now, if you're listening for yourself because you lead through the talent theme of Consistency, use this as a chance to build your strengths so that you're more likely to be given assignments in the future that live in your zone of genius, that live in your strength zone.
Today, as you've heard, the talent theme of the episode is Consistency, and you're going to get three layers to think about. One is career branding. The second is red flag situations at work. And the third is application ideas.
So, let's dive in with career branding. Now, this section is all based on how you think, how you interact, how you make decisions, how you get things done. Imagine how great it would be to be known for these ways of working that feel easy and enjoyable for you, not only to be known for your knowledge and skills. So, here are a bunch of adjectives that you can consider using in your career branding efforts.
Policymaker. Operations Focused. Rule Enforcer. Compliant. Systematic. Even-handed. Standardized. Practical. Reliable. Pragmatic. Equitable. Efficient. Steady. Guardian of Equality. Unbiased. Fair. Justice Maker. Egalitarian. Impartial. Promise Keeper.
I think it's important to note, in Consistency, you've probably got a vibe on that for a couple of different flavors. And I see this quite often in events where people are like, -
“Yeah, there's this real fairness vibe on how people are treated, and that really resonates with me. But the operational side of it, the Rule Enforcer, the Compliant, the Systematic, that's not so much me.”
Or the reverse, there'll be like, -
“Yeah, I'm totally the ops person and I work in Compliance and I love all of that. But the fairness for people part isn't as much calling me.”
And so that's something that I see commonly, and that may be the case for you. In that case, just narrow down those adjectives to consider to the ones that actually resonate with you. And then get it down to one or two, and find what really resonates with something for you that you would want to be known for. Just pick that one or two and then make a goal of using that in conversations and actions this month. And the more you use it with that specific intention, the more you get known for that at work. And once you're known for it, then you start to get assignments that align to that naturally.
Let's move into the second thing, the red flag situations for Consistency. Now, what is a red flag at work? In my opinion, these are the cultures, the interactions, the situations that feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Consistency. They might even make you want to quit the team if they got out of hand for you, or they were to present and you didn't actively manage the fact that they were going to drain you. That's why I call them red flags, because they're red flags that you want to get a handle on before they make you feel detached at work or give you that urge to get away from that sort of situation, or do the whole fight or flight thing in either direction.
So, two red flags for Consistency. One, I'm going to call it constant customization. So, if you lead through Consistency, you might prefer stable routines, clear guidelines. And if you do, you could feel really drained at work if all the processes seem up for negotiation and tweaking all the time.
If you have a keen eye for standardization, and ways that the standardization could serve your customers better by continually striving towards standardization, well, if your team around you seems to be striving toward customization all the time, that can be a push pool that feels uncomfortable and potentially, in a bad way. If you feel like you constantly have to battle people to get them to follow the guidelines, it could be a real soul-suck for you.
Second one, I'm going to call it special favor. Now if you lead through Consistency, this is the one that's more on the people fairness side. So, if you have that people fairness variety of the theme, you believe that people should be treated equally. And if you observe a team or a person getting an unfair advantage or getting special favor, it will likely annoy you. And if you see a specific person getting a distinctive, unfair disadvantage, you might even find yourself taking action as their advocate.
And even watching this, whether you're the one getting treated unfairly, or someone else getting that unfair disadvantage, if you're in that environment and the environment feels unfair, then you would likely feel drained by that culture, even if it's not you being the one that's getting treated that way. And that's because this would likely run counter to your personal values.
So, watch out for those two red flags: a culture of customization or a team that you're on, or project that you're on. It's all about customization, where you might be all about standardization, or the special favor situation where you're going to feel like your values are insulted.
Let's move to application ideas. These are ways to apply the talent theme of Consistency at work, even if you think your job duties are pretty locked in. If you happen to be listening in a team manager capacity, then be sure to have a conversation around these ideas because not every action item sounds awesome to the person with this theme. Usually, there will be 1 out of the 3 that they go, - “Yeah, that totally sounds like me.”
Now if you're listening for yourself, then just think about which one of these actions you could go assign yourself or allow yourself to plan over the next month.
Okay, first one, document things. If you like the process side of Consistency, then document processes so that they can be referenced by new hires or people who are new to that task. That way, the likelihood of inconsistencies is going to go down because they're following your steps rather than the loose verbal instructions that, you know, Emma down the hall mentioned, or the tribal knowledge that gets passed around sort of thing. This way, you're able to help create standardization and make the lives of new hires or new people simpler and easier. Meanwhile, you don't have to be in enforcement mode as often, because it's naturally getting followed.
Number two, stabilize after change. So, one thing that I see all the time in organizations is reorgs, or mergers or a team shake-up, meaning who's on the team and who they report to, and what projects are assigned to. The matrix organization can make things ever changing. So, if that happens, you're likely constantly creating new norms, new routines, new standards for yourself, just because if you lead through Consistency, it feels good to have those habits and routines and standards for yourself. Well, if it's something you naturally do, because you want to get into the routine to feel normal again, then it's a great time to offer those processes to people on the team.
Imagine how a standard operating procedure guide might help others find some calm in a sea of that chaotic change. Now, not everybody that you offer this thing to is going to love the idea of an SOP manual. So, you may not call it standard operating procedure, but you could call it checklist or the whatever process “how to”, just something that feels very helpful to them. And the way that you frame it to them, even if it's something as simple as the ‘who does what list’, they can help them figure out who the people are, who they would go to in this new situation and what the norms are for that.
Number three, I call this rules rule. So that is, look for responsibilities that allow you to establish or enforce guidelines. So even in knowledge worker roles, I've seen people become the creators of a team manifesto, or the keeper of the brand promise. So even if you find yourself in a situation where you don't have a very process-oriented role or team, there are still plenty of ways to help the team keep standards or keep promises, especially when they're inconvenient to keep because people are in all different countries and roles and places and they each do the job in their own way.
But sometimes there are specific things that really matter in order to give the customer the experience you've promised. So, depending on the industry you're in, or the role you're in, also consider in this rules rule focus. Maybe you would enjoy doing professional development to get an ISO 9000 certification or become a Six Sigma Black Belt, or volunteer for compliance-related responsibilities. It's not going to call out to everybody who leads through Consistency, but these things are often unfun to many people on the team, the whole standardization focus, whereas they could really be energizing for you. So, it's a great way to serve the team in that concept of one person's trash is another person's treasure.
So, there you have it. It's a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Consistency. Shout out to Joe Darren for content contributions, and to Andrew Kroeger, sound engineer superstar for making these sound good to your ears.
So, here's your homework.
Go take action on career branding. Challenge yourself to write at least one sentence in the about section of LinkedIn, something that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.
Then, think over the red flags to see if there's anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down.
And then finally, volunteer your talents through some of those application ideas, or at least one of them. And if you're a manager, have a conversation with your team member who leads through Consistency about which of these things sound like something they'd love to have more of.
So, with that, I'm your host, Lisa Cummings from Lead Through Strengths. If you're thinking about doing a virtual or in-person event to kick off your strengths-based culture, head over to offerings are a good fit for you.
Until next time. Thanks for being part of this powerful strengths movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness already inside them.