I want to introduce you to Pete and Mary

Let me tell you a story about Mary and her boss Pete.

Mary had worked for Pete going on six years now. She knew how he operated, and felt privileged to be working for him. Pete was a real go-getter! He was an achiever, and was always given the big projects due to his dependability and loyalty to the company. For Pete, his time was like gold! Every second of his day was occupied reviewing charts, attending board meetings, sending emails and returning business calls.

Some even referred to him as a “workaholic!”

Over their six year relationship, Pete and Mary rarely had issues with missed deadlines or mistakes found within their department’s reports. From the outside, they operated like a well-oiled machine, a seemingly infallible duo extremely focused on timeliness and quality.

But if you were able to listen closely to Mary’s inner thoughts, you would know that this perception was completely false.

When we choose to look at a working relationship through the magnifying lenses of Strengths, we can begin to identify spurs in the cogs. Like a well-tuned watch, gears are cut with precision to ensure accurate time is kept and maintained throughout the life of the piece. At first glance, a fast tick here, and a slow tick there is virtually invisible. But given a month or so, you’ll start to notice that it becomes a minute too fast, or maybe two too slow. Soon the watch is rarely dependable, and you find yourself searching for an alternate time source.

Mirroring that same concept, let’s replace the spurred cog with Mary, the second hand with Pete as the watch with the organization. The spur will represent something missing from Mary’s professional life. A chipped piece of titanium that occurred after six years of an offset rotation within the machine.

Mary is a communicator. She needs verbal interaction daily in order to maintain focus on her given tasks. She doesn’t like experiencing a day absent of direct one-on-one communication with her boss. But she’s not greedy! All that Mary requests of Pete, is five minutes of his time first thing in the morning to review the daily agenda, scheduled tasks and to ask a few questions that might have surfaced outside of normal business hours. If she fails to catch him after his morning visit to the coffee pot, she knows that her chances of speaking to him that day are slim to none. As a result, she’s left guessing. This frustrates her to no end, but knowing that Pete is a busy man, she refrains from expressing her need for his time.

In her head, she has the script all laid out!

“Sir, I need to speak with about my work. In order for me to be at my best, to be most productive, I’m going to require just five minutes of your time at the beginning of the day to get my tasks in order, and ask you a few questions. On the days where I am unable to meet with you, I feel lost. I know what I am supposed to do, but I hate not knowing how I should prioritize, or even if what I am doing is something you want me to focus on. I don’t need my hand held, but I realize that given just five minutes, I can be more efficient, and that betters not only our department, but the entire organization.”

But Mary, though a great communicator, is hesitant about approaching her boss in this manner. She dosen’t think he will become angry, but is concerned that he’ll respond with a remark about how there’s “just not enough time in the day.” So she keeps quiet and struggles every day to make do with the time she has.

As stated earlier in Mary’s mental script, something as simple as withholding someone five minutes of your time can be detrimental to the entire organization. You see, Pete is not going to notice that Mary is having a difficult time. His Strengths provide him with intense laser-like focus, and a burning desire to simply get the job done! He’s never going to be distracted enough to recognize her needs.

He’s a man on a mission!

And for Pete, that’s fine. But for Mary, this simple oversight could cause her to experience a downward spiral resulting in negativity towards the company, degradation of service or even permanent removal from her position. Mary, a once stellar employee, and given enough time like the cog on the watch, will eventually fall out of sync and suddenly stop working.

So how do we ensure that all of our needs are not only being met, but are easily communicated to the ones who have the power to make the necessary changes?

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is not just an assessment. It’s a tool that has been used for many years to expose and unearth the hidden wants and needs of millions of professionals within the work force.

But my guess is that there aren’t nearly enough leaders out there aware of its intense power.

Given the opportunity to understand what both your employees and yourself, need to be at their very best is similar to harnessing a super-human power! This insider information will result in a massive spike of productivity.

And I’m sure you’re smart enough to realize that an increase in productivity simultaneously boosts profitability.

After taking the StrengthsFinder assessment, Mary was comfortable sharing her unique results with Pete. A Strengths-aware conversation was born, and Mary was given the chance to express her need for his time. After reviewing her dominant themes, and the included action report, Pete understood why this was so important to her. He reacted by blocking off fifteen minutes out of every morning to meet with Mary and discuss their day fact-to-face.

Since that day, Mary and Pete have operated at seemingly unreachable levels of productivity. Their department is constantly lauded as a top performer within the organization.

The CEO even makes special stops by their office just to say “Nice job!”

Mary and Pete’s success story is not uncommon, but without a catalyst to revealing conversation like StrengthsFinder, these needs are often left mute and ignored. It’s kind of funny how something so simple can make such a massive impact.

I’ll wrap this post up by posing a single question…

“Do you know what your team needs to be at their best?”


P.S. For more information on StrengthsFinder, and to enlist the services of a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, fill out the FREE consultation request form on the top right hand corner of this page.

StrengthsFinder is not just another assessment, it’s the most effective business tool in existence! ~Andy Sokolovich, Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach

photo credit: wbaiv via photopin cc



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About The WOO Warrior

Andy is a GALLUP-Certified Strengths Coach, and the owner of UnleashStrengths. He lives with his wife, Marlana, and two children, Adelyn & Drew, in the small Midwest town of Clinton, Iowa. he can be reached at [email protected] View all posts by The WOO Warrior


3 Comment(s)

  1. July 3, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Excellent post! I enjoyed seeing how Mary and Pete redefined their relationship to make it better!

  2. Bill

    July 4, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Nice article Andy.
    My first thought was what type is Mary? Is she an ISFJ which would lend itself to her behavior of not risking or interrupting her boss. I think what you are really sharing though is that Strengthsfinder is a great tool that becomes a safe place to share conversation from. When you are able to add type and talents together you break down barriers even faster.
    Thanks! Bill

    • Andy

      July 6, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      Awesome guys! Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings 🙂 I hope that the message of Strengths is spread both far and wide!! Keep checking back for more content, and I am always looking for guest posts. ~Andy

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