Ep 010 – Uncover Hidden Strengths: How to Identify Talent in Your Landscape Team

Home / Episode / Ep 010 – Uncover Hidden Strengths: How to Identify Talent in Your Landscape Team

What if your landscape company could tap into untapped potential by harnessing the power of individual strengths? Join host Tommy Cole in this eye-opening episode of "Roots of Success" as he explores the transformative impact of identifying, understanding, and leveraging individual strengths within your business. Learn why focusing on what's right with people, rather than what's wrong, can take your team from ordinary to extraordinary. Discover practical strategies to find the right people, assign them the right roles, and cultivate a culture of success. Get ready to unlock the true power of your landscape company.


Embrace individual strengths for better team dynamics

Key Moments:

[03:12] Exploring the process of assessment and the importance of understanding and debriefing the results.

[07:45] Discussing the benefits of recognizing and appreciating each other's lenses and work approaches for effective collaboration.

[12:20] Highlighting the significance of setting ground rules based on individual strengths to create a harmonious team dynamic.

[18:00] Introducing the four domains that categorize the 34 talent themes, and the speaker's natural inclination towards the executing domain.

[24:15] Sharing the speaker's curiosity about people's strengths and their fascination with identifying and appreciating others' unique abilities.

[30:35] Detailing a successful intervention with a team needing a balance between relationship building and strategic thinking.

[37:10] Describing the coaching approach of asking deep questions to help clients uncover their own solutions and excel at work.

[42:45] Emphasizing the necessity of understanding different lenses and values for improved workplace relationships and communication.

[49:20] Highlighting the importance of hiring individuals who align with their talents and strengths for enhanced productivity in uncertain times.


    1. What is the importance of understanding individual strengths?
    2. How can coaching help team members find their best?
    3. What are the key steps for effective talent assessment?
    4. How can understanding different styles improve team dynamics?
    5. What strategies can be used to avoid conflict and promote collaboration?
    6. What are the benefits of focusing on strengths in employee development?
    7. What are some creative approaches to tackle hiring challenges
Episode Transcript
Megan & Tracy John: [00:00:00] The Roots of Success podcast is for the landscape professional who's looking to up their game. We're not talking lawns or grass here. We're talking about people, process, and profits. The things deep within the business that need focus to scale a successful company from hiring the right people and managing your team to improving your operations and mastering your finances. We've got a brain trust of experts to help you nurture the roots of a successful business and grow to the next level. This is The Roots of Success. Tommy Cole: Welcome to another episode of the Roots of Success podcast. I'm your host, Tommy Cole, and today we have Megan Parker and Tracy Wallingford, both certified Gallup strengths coaches. Today we'll be talking all about Clifton strengths assessments from honing your leadership skills to building better team communication. That Clifton strengths can help inform team values and visualize the relationships and responsibilities of your team members. To build a successful business, you have to [00:01:00] know your strengths and how to lead with them. It's going to be a great episode. Let's dig into it. Introductions Tommy Cole: Megan, Tracy, you guys are professional business coaches What is that like? What does that mean? Are you like a football coach yelling, scream, or, or consultant? Like what is that? Help me out. Tracy Wallingford: Sure. So I often say that I sort of vacillate between being a head coach and a head cheerleader. So sometimes I'm cheering you on and sometimes I'm kicking you in the butt trying to hold you accountable. And really both Megan and I are ICF certified coaches. Which means we've had hundreds of hours of training and even more hundreds of hours of coaching experience, and we really partner with you to help you find the ways to be your best at work. And we'll talk a little bit about more about that in terms of strengths. Megan, what else do you wanna share with them about the coaching process? Megan Parker: You know, when I think about the difference between coaching and consulting, I think oftentimes when there's an issue or a problem that bubbles [00:02:00] up, I think about coaches as asking deeper questions to help you uncover. A solution that works for you versus where if I'm in consulting mode, I'm potentially sharing my opinion, giving you advice, and I might sort of gently suggest that as a coach. But really what I wanna do is help you uncover, ask the right questions to help you uncover what's gonna work best for your business. Tommy Cole: Yeah, you're, you're peeling the you're peeling the onion back, right? As they say in the layers of that, to, to find the, sort of the root cause of, you know, what's going on in their business or their, or their leadership skills. Right. Megan Parker: That's a great analogy, Tommy. Gallup Strenghts Tommy Cole: we've got some great things that you guys have been working on with the McFarlin Stanford team and, and clients. And, and, and a a lot of your, your own clients, this thing called Gallup Strengths maybe a lot of us don't know that's listening what that is. A lot of the McFarlin, Stanford Grow Group clients know what [00:03:00] that is now cause they've talked about it and worked together. But I thought it was some sort of test cuz when I took it, I'm like, oh gosh, I'm a terrible test taker. It's probably gonna evaluate me saying how bad I am, but, Fast forward. Here we are. I actually love it. I think it's one of the greatest things ever. Megan, what, what is Gallup strengths? Megan Parker: Yeah, so Gallup is the organization that facilitates an assessment called the Clifton Strengths Assessment, and Gallup many of you have heard of. It's the same organization that you know and love that does a lot of the polling. The thing that Tracy and I love about Gallup is that there's so much research that goes behind it. So. No matter what your personal opinion is of these personality assessments that, you know, you might take online and on, maybe on, you know, Facebook or Instagram or something there's a little bit more science behind it. In fact, there's decades of research that goes into it. And so what they have done is the founder of this assessment, Don Clifton, they, what [00:04:00] they've done is they have identified. Behaviors and patterns that people naturally do in their day-to-day lives, and they've grouped those into 34 different talent themes. Those talent themes are measured scientifically through this assessment, and it is, it is not a test. It's not pass or fail. So this is one test you can't fail, Tommy. Tommy Cole: Woo. Yeah. Tracy Wallingford: There is literally no wrong answer. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Tracy Wallingford: There's no wrong answer. Megan Parker: Yeah. And so the strengths philosophy essentially is one that values everybody's skills and contributions. So the beautiful thing about it is that the philosophy behind it is that everybody has talents to. To contribute to a team and to be your best self at work, you just need to leverage those things that you naturally have talent for and invest in every day. And so one of the things that Tracy and I love about it is that our job as coaches is to help people uncover that, to really unlock their potential and to in a team setting, what that means is working better together. Strenghts vs Lesser Strenghts Tommy Cole: Yeah. You [00:05:00] know what? I always find myself, especially being in the landscape world and me being very critical, I'm always quick to point out weaknesses or things that are wrong, right? And I think that's just a natural thing that we all have, Tracy. That's not what Gallup strengths finder is, right? It's finding the weaknesses people, it's finding the strengths in them. As Tracy mentioned. What, what, what do you say about people that are sort of going, oh my gosh, I, that's all I do is point out weaknesses. How can something like this help them? Tracy Wallingford: Well, if you think what's really powerful about Clifton Strengths, and that's really Don Clifton's philosophy when he started this, back when was, you know, what if we stopped focusing on what's wrong with people and start focusing on what's right. So one of the ways I like to think about it is, You know, if you're working on a scale from zero to a hundred, right? So that's our scale and you have 10 to invest. So think about it, $10, $10,000 for training, [00:06:00] 10 hours, 10,000 hours if you're a Malcolm Gladwell fan and know that's what it takes to be an expert. So if you're investing 10, do you wanna invest 10 in something that you're a 10 at or you're a zero at to take you from zero to 10? Or 10 to 20, or do you wanna invest in someplace that you're already naturally talented and strong and go from 80 to 90 or 90 to a hundred? Think about the impact to your organization. So this is really about, look, we need to understand where we don't naturally go, right? So I like to call them lesser talents versus weaknesses, but I, I think 'em as lesser talents, you know, and what Clifton strengths helps you uncover is where do you most naturally go? What do you lead with? What are your natural places that you're going to, in ways you're going to approach the world? And we'll probably talk a little bit cause it's our favorite subject about your lens on the world. And it's 34 talent themes that [00:07:00] it's really ranking an order based on the answers you're giving to the assessment, and if you think about it right, that gives you this really amazing, almost dna like picture of who you are and how you approach the world. So, I know, I know where I'm, I know where I'm leaning first. I look at those middle third. I have access to those, but that may not be where I naturally go. And I think of those lesser talents as where I'm really not going to go unless I'm forced or I'm gonna find another way around it. So where is my, the way I don't naturally. Approach the world and what do I do to make up for that? Do I have a system? Do I have a buddy? You know, what kind of ways? And that's really a lot of ways. We help leaders and we Tommy Cole: Yeah, Tracy Wallingford: think about how they use all of their talents and strengths. Tommy Cole: could you say, you know, say I'm strength heavy in this sort of section over here. [00:08:00] But yet maybe you know, a, a future business partner or a right hand person, or you're coaching someone up to take the next level to take your spot. Potentially there's a sort of balance between those two. Is that something that you guys can kind of work with and see Mostly. Tracy Wallingford: that's really one of the powers of this assessment, and we've really seen this at work in with our landscaping clients. So if you think about it, if the whole concept is you as an individual don't need to be well-rounded, So sit with that. This is a really different way of approaching the world. You know, I have a teenager. We are looking, you know, working on college applications and I remember going through that process that it was all about are you well-rounded? And this is a really different philosophy. You listening to this podcast, no longer have to be well-rounded. You don't have to be all. [00:09:00] You actually want to lean into what you bring to the table and then work with your teams to round you out. So you want to be well-rounded as a team, but you no longer have to think about being well-rounded as an individual. Tommy Cole: Love it. Love it. That's a great analogy. I think people strive to be good at a, a bunch of everything. Right? I think early in my career I was always trying to do it at all . and you're like, man, I'm also a kind of a perfectionist to, and, and then you get frustrated because you couldn't handle those things that are less strengths. Right? Tracy? And so Tracy Wallingford: exactly. Tommy Cole: was a struggle for me for a long time to where now you start to figure out, I'd say when I took the assessment a few years ago, I'm like, okay, cool. I'm significant and competitive. Okay, no shock. But now I start to know where my career is, where I'm very strong in, and working with people close to [00:10:00] me where I can provide really good value. So Eye-opening experience Tracy Wallingford: Think about you hosting this podcast, right? I mean, significance means you like to work on things that have impact and importance. So this is it. And then competitive. You can actually look at your numbers and see how many people are listening and does that go up, right? So this to me, really speaks to your talents and strengths, right? And I think that's really the power of Clifton strengths is understanding what those are, and then thinking about how you can naturally bring those to work. We want you to enjoy work. And you know, I always say, look, life's an 80 20 rule. There's gonna be some things that you're not necessarily good at that you have to do. Right. Mine's expense reports and billing. Not good at it, not not my strength. That is literally down, you know, the, you know, the bottom of my my lesser [00:11:00] talents is consist. That's not, that's not my gift. I partner with people who are better at that and bring more of that and are better at that tracking. Discipline is also in my bottom, so that's really what this is about. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Tracy Wallingford: Megan can probably tell you that. She helps me on the Well Rounded Team Tommy Cole: Yeah. So I know where you're going with this, Tracy. I know, cuz I know the relat you guys are such have a great dynamic boldness to both of you. Work well really together Megan, explain why you guys work well together. Because you know Tracy's strengths, but you know your strengths. And oftentimes those two form together a, a really good dynamic team. Megan Parker: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. So there's an activity that we do that illustrates us pretty well, but essentially what it boils down to is, You know, all of our 34 talent themes sort of roll up into one of four different domains. So they're all, all of them sort of roll up and [00:12:00] we all have a natural propensity towards one of those specific domains. Mine tends to be an executing domain, so I like to get things done, check things off the list, schedule bill, like all of those task oriented things that makes me feel good about checking those things off the list. Now, on the other hand, and that's why Tracy talked about how that, how we're a good partner. To each other. Now, on the other hand, things that I don't really enjoy doing, Tracy happens to be fantastic at, right? So she's a great relationship builder. People naturally love her and enjoy talking with her and working with her. She's a great strategically minded person. So she leads with strategic thinking. And that is really helpful when we think about the long term, the future of game plans. So when we're making plans down the road, I tend to live in the moment, right? And Tracy tends to do more of that, that strategic thinking. Tommy Cole: Yeah, it's, it's such a great, it's almost like, you know, a business partner, what I was saying earlier, or you're right hand person [00:13:00] to balance each other out. And when you have those, those aligned, the amount that you guys could accomplishes, Is a lot. Right. Which is great. You know, as I'm sitting here with my, on my desk, my, you know, my little tent card here that's always here. And I always look at it and my top five are this significance, competition, focus, consistency, and futuristic. So I, I'm like the, I'm like a little more of like a Megan Parker, where it's like we're just knocking stuff off the list and executing and thinking the future a little bit. But anyways. I love, I love that Tracy. Tracy or Megan how does, how does just a manager, how does a. A leadman in the field. How does an account manager or project manager, anything in that landscape field, are they able to, to [00:14:00] use something like this with their team? And, and maybe, maybe that manager has, has unlocked the 34 and studied it, but yet maybe their direct report doesn't know anything about that. Right. So paint that perspective as our audience are predominantly, you know, in the landscape field. How, how that would work. Megan Parker: You know, one of the sort of aha moments or takeaways that we like to share with people is your 34 report. Is essentially the lens that you see the world with. So the lens that you see the world with is really based on your talent themes and understanding that everyone else has a different sort of DNA report, a different lens on the world that they're looking through all of a sudden that does so much for you and your relationship. It helps you understand where they're coming from, the lens that they're looking through, and it helps them [00:15:00] understand the lens that you're looking through. And if you can align to a common goal and each look through your own lenses, you can make so much more progress. So that start, you know, for a manager that starts with sharing your report, what does your lens look like? What, what things are important to you? What values what do you value in the workplace? I really value, I have high responsibility. Tracy and I share this theme, I value when someone tells me they're gonna do something or when I ask for their help on something and they say, yes, they commit to that, I wanna know that it's gonna be taken care of because I, Val, that's how I would respond in that situation. If someone's leaning on me for something, I'm not, I'm not gonna let that person down. And I value that in other people and. But the flip side of that is that if someone breaks that trust and they don't follow through, it's really difficult for to earn that trust back in that relationship. And so knowing that is important to me, the power in someone who I'm working with, if they understand [00:16:00] how important that is to me, then we're on the same page with expectations. So another little nugget that I like to talk about is conflict is the result of unmet expectations. Conflict is the result of unmet expectations. And so when you think about it, right, whenever there's a rub, it's generally because I expected one thing and you delivered something different. Now, the question I would ask you as a coach is, were you both clear on those expectations, upfront And so if someone knows the lens that you're looking through, then they will understand your expectations as a result. Tommy Cole: Yeah. I, I've seen there's a, there's a handful of companies that you guys have worked with where they'll put these, these top five or 10, you know, in front of their door or office or their desk. And the entire team sees it, and now there's a sense of, oh, I see [00:17:00] Tracy's lens, right? So now, but my lens is this. And having that out and open in front of everyone to see, just sort of understands their lenses and your lens. And so oftentimes, you know, I'm, I'm pretty bad at this. I always thought like, It should just be the Tommy way. Like just get it done. Like what's the holdup, right? I, we need more, we need more like me because I just want to execute and get things done. But like, that's not the Tracy lens. So if I keep attacking her, right, going get this done, look, let's go. Like, what's the holdup? And she's going like, it's just frustrating. And then what happens if Tracy's my direct report, right? Tracy's gonna be like, whoa, whoa, whoa. This is not working out. Like potentially causing conflict potentially. I'm out the door cuz I can't deal with Tommy at all. Right. you see that a lot in, in businesses. Tracy Wallingford: Oh yeah. We see it. We see it a lot with activators and strategic thinkers. So, [00:18:00] Tommy Cole: okay. Tracy Wallingford: think about your business and think about a meeting, for example. So you go into a meeting as the owner and the leader, and you have this new idea and you are ready to go. And we see this a lot with our, with our activators. And you know there are no, another key message here is that there's no right or wrong set of talents for any particular role. We love when we get our peer groups together and map out. All of their, our CEOs and our founders and our leaders talent themes, they're all different. They're all different. They're all different. They are all sorts of combinations of the 34. They have different things they lead with. There are certainly some things that we see more often. So for example, of all the 30 million people who've taken this assessment, we tend to find that CEOs and leaders influencing skills tend to be more prevalent in that population even though they're less prevalent in the population overall. For example, Tommy Cole: [00:19:00] interesting. Tracy Wallingford: So a lot. So you see some of those go, go, go big ideas, those kind of things. So imagine, go back to our meeting. You're walking into your meeting, you have this new idea, you are ready to go. Like, okay, we are going to start this whole new division. We're going to do Christmas decor, you know, you know, we're really kind of quiet at Christmas. We wanna employ our people more. So all this good thinking. And he says, all right, everybody, let's sign up and imagine you have. Could be anybody on our team, but let's say the finance person, right, who is a strategic thinker and doesn't go, go, go. Who wants type of process? Who wants to think about the future? Who wants to think about what's the investment necessary? What does that mean? What does that mean for our hiring? So wants to really think through that and is literally staring at you stony faced in the meeting. Right, because they can't process in the moment, and you as a leader are like, all right, come on. Is everybody on board? Let's get an agreement here. So think about how powerful that is. [00:20:00] To know that if you know your leadership team and know that you've got a couple people who lead with strategic thinking, you might know that you wanna brief that they're not gonna make a decision in a meeting and they're not gonna be supportive. And they might be, to your point, Tommy, in the beginning, your naysayer who points out the 16 things that are wrong, because that's their natural reaction is I can't. I can't process this. Now, all I can see are potential pitfalls because I'm a strategic thinker. So we help teams mitigate those sort of situations. What could you do in that situation? Now I'm gonna tell you the answer because we're on the podcast, but in a coaching session, we would actually ask you that question. Well, how could you, what could you do? Okay, so you're frustrated, she's looking at you stony faced or he's looking at you Stony face. What could you do? And they might come up with ideas. Well could I brief them before? Could I actually send them an email the night before? Could I tell them [00:21:00] the, you know, before the meeting,Right? But there's really power in knowing. That it's not you, it's not a personality conflict. It's not that someone's a downer, it's that they may just have a different lens on the world and how they approach thinking about something that doesn't allow them to jump on board with you in the moment. And honestly, as a leader, think about that. You want that, you, you want. Right. You know, you want that person who's partnering with you to say, okay, well had you thought about this? Or, you know, a lot of our crew takes off to go see their families in December and you know, that could be really difficult. And do we really wanna hire a temporary group? I mean, all those kinds of things you could think about. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Makes sense. You know, and I, I, I would assume that a very good leader would know all those strengths of their team because they need to be approached differently, right? So the finance [00:22:00] guy may need a little prep talk or he may need to research it a little bit, or he may write or, versus the other ones are like, let's go man, I'm on board. Someone else may need a different lens to see that and how they're approached. And if so, that, if that leader understands their, let's say, five direct reports or management team and, and he approaches 'em a little bit differently based on strengths. I mean, oh my God, that's like. An amazing leadership and company like that you want to a Megan Parker: part of Mm-hmm. Absolutely. In fact, Tracy and I, one of the teams we worked with really closely the entire team had. Led their primary domain led with strategic thinking skills and their leader, who was the VP of their division led with relationship building themes. And so, you know, at an offsite that we were facilitating for them, the vision for that offsite was very different, right? So one person has the vision of this is gonna be a [00:23:00] great time to bond and get to know each other and really understand each other. And the rest of the team is thinking, we have a goal that we need to meet a revenue goal and you're our leader and we need to know what the strategy is. And those are two very different goals. And there is a way that both of those goals can be met. And one of the things that we talked about, luckily this leader is smart enough to realize that if you don't lead with strategic thinking skills, like some I need, they might need to enlist some help with with that strategy. Right. And that's where Tracy and I came in. Now the, the sort of aha moment for that leader was, this is a, an actual foundational need that my team has. It is really hard for my team to go out and do their job every single day when they don't see a long-term strategy that they're striving for. They need to have clearly defined goals and a plan to help achieve those goals in order for them to do their best work. And when they don't see that in their [00:24:00] leader, Then it's very difficult for them to get on board and vice versa for their leader. Right? So that was one team that Tracy and I were able to go in, help them map out that strategy, but also get some one-on-one relationship building time with them, with each person as well. So that worked out really well for them. Tommy Cole: God vision, man vision. That's why we coach to write the mission, vision, key values that state. In your office, it's practice within your organization daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, so that those leaders and people in onboarding new, new team members understand that sort of long-term deal cuz people get caught up in the day-to-day Strengths with Mission Vision and Core Values Tracy Wallingford: Yeah, and if you, if you think about. Think this strengths concept really ties into that mission, vision, and values, right? You know, we're all working towards this goals. We can all work towards the same goal, but bring our individual talents and strengths and [00:25:00] lenses. To the world. We have a, we had a really great example with another landscaping group we were working with where if you remember a couple years ago, kind of, you, you know, in the Covid era you all were going gangbusters and hiring was a huge challenge and we actually helped this team. Really creatively attacked that problem, right? Everyone was dealing with it. So we looked at, looked at the direct report team that reported to the leader and we realized that two of the direct reports led with relationship building themes and two of the direct reports read with led with strategic thinking. Now think about the power of knowing that you could actually create partnerships to go, come up with ideas to problems in all sorts of ways. We can, you know, we can create teams that are actually super balanced in this case. We put the relationship buildings together in one room. We put, well, it was Covid, so it was Zoom, but you know, we put the relationship builders together in one, you know, one virtual room. And we put the strategic [00:26:00] thinkers together in another virtual room. And it was amazing to see. And we said, okay, the challenge is hiring. You all have sold more business. Yay you, than you know what to do with, how are you gonna go find people to do the work? And it was fascinating to see how it came back to us Tommy Cole: Wow. Tracy Wallingford: Our strategic thinkers came up with really long-term. I, I mean, one of their ideas was, well, we're just gonna go acquire another landscape company. And so like an acquisition strategy, really thinking through kind of that piece And then our relationship builders were, hey, you know, we know a lot of our crews go to the same church. We could set up a table outside of that church and hand out, I don't know breakfast tacos after church and talk to people and have our team who goes to church there saying what a great place we are to work for. And so, Think about that and the power of that and [00:27:00] having this really diverse set of ideas to come to the table. And that's where you really see this in action. And what was great was they were able to actually implement both, right? So by knowing that we actually got, and you know those people by putting them together like that, right? The relationship builders fed off of each other. The strategic thinkers fed off of each other. But it could have just as easily come up with a whole different set of ideas had we put them together. There's just real power in knowing and understanding. And I wanted to address a question you asked earlier, which is, what do you do? You know, me, Megan, and I walk around and ask people what their strengths are, but obviously 30 million people have taken this. Not everyone has. So there are some clues. We do a really fun exercise in our group workshops, you know, where we say, you know, raise your hand. So, you know, raise your hand if you have a neat and organized closet. And I do not raise my hand. Megan does you know, raise your hand. So think about your [00:28:00] you're out driving with your crew, heading to a job, you know, does your driver. Is he like looking at the person on, you know, next to him on the road and like revving his engine and like trying to be the first one to take off from the red light. Maybe that's someone with competition. So you can also kind of, if you know the themes and understand the concepts you can watch out for tells that, give you an ideas. Now we're always gonna say invest and, you know, give the Chris Clifton strings assessment Tommy Cole: Yeah. Tracy Wallingford: really lean into it. But there are some clues for new. New folks that you you know, you might be able to pick up on. Tommy Cole: Yeah, that's, once again, this is just fascinating to sit here and listen what, what people, what everyone's strengths is. You know, I wish everyone had it. Do you find yourself like walking around or like at the grocery store or having conversations with your friends over a happy hour going. Wow, this person is this, you know, I had [00:29:00] a conversation the other day and we were at baseball practice and put, they're putting in a new sports field and, and where my son plays and, and it's, it's, it's turf on the infield, but grass in the outfield. And I literally had a conversation yesterday and I'm like, okay, that's cool. But there's one big issue, and I'm sitting here analyzing that grass that's supposed to be going in, and I'm like, it looks absolutely terrible. And it, it kills me because I'm that guy that goes, I'm criticizing the landscape, right? Because that's just what I do. I, I drive around and I'm like, oh, that makes me sick, or that looks beautiful, or whatever. And then I'm talking to this lady and she goes, yeah, that's your industry. And the lady that I was talking to goes. Yeah, I'm in the what's the men's apparel business where I, you know, you know, provide them, you know, combinations of shirts and sh shorts and, and, and business attire. And so she's walks around, she goes, well, that guy has bad taste. Like [00:30:00] which is kind of funny cuz I feel like Tracy, me walked around or be in a conversation and go, man, their strength is this. Like it is dominating becau and. That to me is fascinating a little bit cause like how I am with landscape and construction. Pretty crazy, Megan Parker: Yeah, I would say that's true. I do. I mean, sometimes it. And I think the, you know, get, Tracy and I are trained in this, right? So we are certified and so some of it is, we've trained our brains to think that way to some extent. But yeah, I think that people's talents are naturally obvious and there are lots of ways to be successful. But yes, we do see that. Coaching through Pain Points Tommy Cole: That's funny. That's good stuff. Tracy or Megan coaching that you guys are, are doing these days? You know, we're kind of in a, you know, a somewhat awkward economy, you know, recession, maybe not recession. You know, whatever. What, what's some of the [00:31:00] things that, some pain points that clients are discussing with you, that you guys are working through? You know, as a business owner, as a manager what's out there that you could provide our audience going, oh man, you know, that's, that's quite interesting. Tracy Wallingford: Well, we touched on hiring and I think that's always a challenge, and our leaders often ask us, is this a hiring assessment? And it indeed is not. Right? As we talked about, there's no right set of talents or strengths for any specific job. It's, can you lean into your talents and strengths to do your job well and are you surrounded by people? And certainly we do see that you can shift duties. We, for example, we had a, we had a client, we you know, worked through, we did the strengths assessment. We asked some questions about their job and what they did. And one of the cool things that we can do is once we do a team, once we work with a team, as they onboard new members, they'll have them do the assessment and then do a [00:32:00] debrief with us. And it was interesting because we worked with one team where they literally had assigned the social media to the office manager because they, you know, and it was literally just, well, she's sitting here at a computer so she can do that. This was not her talent or her gift. She really was struggling. So all of the hallmarks of being able to lean into your talents and strengths, ease, enjoyment at work and excellence, she had none of them. This was not, she was not a relationship builder. She was not the one, she was much, she was doing the spreadsheets. She was making sure the office supplies were ordered. She was making sure people were paid. All super important. She was not the person who interacted with the. Cruz to kind of find out right, who was going on, are you sending me, you know, sending in snaps from the field. And we were able to identify that and help them get the right person. And we, you know, hear this, the concept of do you have the right people in the right seats? And I think that's [00:33:00] so key, especially as we start to go into what seems a bit shaky as far as you know, what is the world look like, what are our sales gonna look like? Having people in the right seats and feeling good that people can be really productive is super important. The last thing you wanna feel like as a leader is, wow, I'm not sure that I'm getting the best out of any employee. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Well, and I think you hit something very good there. You know, if you've got an employee, well, you know Bob, Bob, we'll take Bob for instance. And you start assigning things to Bob cuz Bob's right, right there. Like, why and not knowing Bob's strengths. You're sort of burying Bob whether he can do it or not, and you're like, oh, Bob's just not the right person. I mean, come on, Bob. Like you, you just can't figure it out. You know, if, if I had a business right, I would, I would get the strengths, like [00:34:00] step one. I I would want to know all of this information. You know, and, and people you, you mentioned something, you know, you know, is it a hiring tool? No, it's not. You know, you gotta hire on based on, you know, a lot of, you know, culture and there's a lot of other things, but there's always a person in your organization that can do well. You just got to align their strengths with the job description and responsibilities have to tie together. Correct. Megan Parker: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Tommy Cole: The, go ahead Megan. Who can you partner with? Megan Parker: Well, I was gonna say, and if you're missing that, then you need to figure out who in your organization can you partner with. Right. So the leader that I spoke about earlier who didn't have strategy, although he was a VP of a department, I mean, is that a needed area of expertise for him? Absolutely. Is it, does that mean that he shouldn't be in that role? No, not at all. So, but knowing your strengths and also the areas where you don't naturally go, then you need to know who to [00:35:00] partner with. I would argue that relationship building is probably one of the most important things you need as in a, in a sales role, right? And so he has that. But in order to be an effective leader, he also needed to have the strategy and the ability to. To think long term for that. And so he just needed a, a good partner for that. Right? So I don't know that there's, like Tracy said earlier, there's not necessarily one. Magic set of strengths. If you look at some of the leaders their, their profiles are readily available on the Gallup website. But if you look at strong leaders throughout, you know, time, they're, they all have a different profile and they're all exceptional leaders. And so I think part of the danger in subscribing to one specific type of leader, there might be somebody that you really admire, but trying to emulate that person's. Style might not necessarily be possible, right? So the thing I love about strength is that it shows you your authentic profile and allows you to be you. [00:36:00] There might be somebody that you admire that doesn't necessarily mean that you have the same sort of profile as that person, and you can admire somebody because they do something that maybe you're not so good at, and that's fine. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Yeah. Makes sense. So if I'm a client of, of you guys and we've, you know, done the assessment and we've got all these, you know, cool little cards here that's got our strengths and, and you unlock these 34 strengths You know, like what happens after that? Like, what's the next step that I, I would guess you guys would come in and, and sort of coach them on scenarios. You know, I, I think, Megan, you brought up a really good point with, you know, the VP of, of a department. You know, do they have to, you know, oftentimes business owners will go, oh, you're just not the right person. Right. And you're, and you move on. I mean, I bet, I bet. Everyone that's listening to us, a business owner has probably fired people that. Probably shouldn't [00:37:00] have because they're just in the wrong seat. So what happens after all this assessment is done and you're working? I Is it, are you, are you trying to, you know, help them make those decisions or they, you know, encourage and ask a lot of questions to say who's your match? Who's your partner? Like, who's your buddy? Like, there could be someone in the field, like a crew of four guys, and if you knew their strengths working together. They can buddy up with someone else in the field to sort of help that out on a, in a different scale. Right. So what's your, what's your next step after all of this is figured out? Coaching Steps Megan Parker: That's a good question. So, I mean, I think, you know, yes. Step one is taking the assessment. I think, you know, step two, which I think is step one only is helpful if you have step two, right? So step two is really understanding the assessment. Debriefing that together, working through a process. Tracy and I have a process that we take teams through. [00:38:00] Individual coaching can also be transformational. So you might just have, maybe your whole team doesn't, you don't necessarily want it for your whole team, but you want it for an individual. Maybe they're struggling with confidence, maybe they're struggling in their role and they're trying to figure out what aligns and what doesn't. I personally went through that journey where I just felt like, you know, I was good at my job, but I wasn't necessarily. It wasn't aligned to the things that provided me ease, excellent, and enjoyment. And so I had to make a shift and we actually, we helped another company where, and the, the best case scenario is that the person that that person intrinsically knows that this might not necessarily be a good fit for them. They just need help seeing what is it. That aligns well for me. What are the areas that aren't aligning and how can I maybe partner or do, is there a different role I need to be in? And sometimes that is the case, but the best case scenario is that that person realizes it for themselves. And that's [00:39:00] never a goal that we're striving for, right? Like we don't go into a coaching engagement hoping that this person just has this epiphany. But what we're hoping is that the person is able to. Be, we will help them be strategic about what fits, what doesn't fit, and how can we help you partner more effectively for the betterment of the organization. Tracy Wallingford: Exactly, and, and I think Megan touched on a really important point that step one doesn't, isn't, isn't re, isn't really helpful without step two. So the amazing thing about Gallup is you can take, you know, once you take your assessment and we help companies and get the codes and help facilitate that, there's tons of information that you get directly from Gallup about you. The challenge is, You now have that about you and what do you do with it? And that's really what the step two facilitation. And then it's sharing it. Because what you realize is that, you know, I really understand my top five really well. I know you know exactly [00:40:00] what learner means. It means I ask a lot of questions. It also can mean for someone who doesn't see the world from a learner lens that they think I'm second guessing them or I don't believe them, or, Tommy Cole: Yep. Tracy Wallingford: Like micromanage. And I saw, I saw that in my career that, you know, I, because I lead with learner and responsibility, I'm really expecting you to get something done. And if you're not keeping me apprised that it's done, that it's getting done, you don't give me milestones. Then I'm gonna ask you a lot of questions and sound like a micromanager. Now think about someone who. Those are their bottom downs. They're not curious at all. They're just thinking like, Hey, I'm just doing my job. Go away. Really can be a lot of conflict. So there's real power in then coming together and we really work to help people understand. What these lenses mean, that again, you know it's not, it's not you, it's actually me. This is how I approach the world. So to work with [00:41:00] me as a leader or a colleague with learner responsibility, you probably need to update me along the way. It doesn't need to be a fancy status report spreadsheet. You just need to tell me. Hey, I'm on it. Or Hey, you know, I'll have an answer for you, or whatever that might be, and think about how powerful it is for the team. If you can set up some of those ground rules early because you understand how people work. Huge. Tommy Cole: love it. Tracy Wallingford: Hugely, Hugely, powerful. And then we've gone back, we've actually worked with several companies now for years where we go back and we do dig deeper. So we dig deeper into how does this for a management team, how does, what's your, how does, what does strengths, how do they affect your management lens on the world? We just did an amazing session with a team Powerful Partnerships because as you know, some of our landscapers are set up where they have kind of people selling and then people. Leading due, so the production teams, and sometimes there's a little bit of a disconnect in what's sold. Tommy Cole: of times there is Tracy. Yeah, [00:42:00] yeah, Tracy Wallingford: And what happens, right? So we're finding, so we're doing some powerful partnership sessions based on, they already know each other's strengths, but they're not thinking on how to use them and how to think about what they might need to do on that communication, for example. So we have been working you, this is a living, breathing thing, a one-time assessment. Is helpful perhaps to an individual and know yourself a little bit better, but it's really living it. Living it as part of the mission, vision, Tommy Cole: Yeah, Tracy Wallingford: that We at McFarlin think is so important that makes the difference. Tommy Cole: I, I love that part.You know, it's like main, it's like landscape, right? You can install the landscape day one, but you, if you just walk away, not it's gonna turn bad. You know, that you've, you've seen the landscape, you guys have landscape at your house, all that. And it requires maintenance, right? It requires the seasonal [00:43:00] changes, the constant adjustments, the attitudes, the landscape gives you the weather, pat, like. It's no different than the strengths. You take the task or assessment and you learn and you're like, okay, cool, sounds good. And you, you walk away. Now there's a whole maintenance period involved to keep you on the path of learning those and becoming a, a great leader. Closing Tommy Cole: You know, a as we start to close things up on, on this discussion, you know, one of the things I, I sort of got from both of you and I'll, I'll give you a chance to both speak. But what I got out was this concept of you got this talent, you know, you think it, feel it, you know, whatever. You got this Tommy talent, and then you take that and you, you invest time. That's your maintenance, right? You, you practice it, you develop it. You understand it extremely well, and then [00:44:00] the equal side of that is what the strength is, right? And, and it's a consistency of the strength, right? And now I've developed that over the course of learning what you guys, you know, teach me. But that's the value here that we're, that I wanted to stress is it's not a one and done deal. It's the, that times the, that, that equals the strength. Any, any sort of feedback or last nugget as we sort of put a bow on this thing you know, and what it means to, to you and your, your clients. Tracy Wallingford: Well, I I wanna clarify that it's talent times investment equals strength. And so you get an A plus Tommy for you know, taking that from the session. So talent. Tommy Cole: so you're gonna have to put that in my little Tracy Wallingford: yes. I'm giving you, I'm giving you the gold star. So talent, that's exactly right. Talent times investment equals strength. So what the assessment is [00:45:00] measuring is your natural talents, your natural way you approach the world, the, you know, the gifts that you were given and investing in those talents versus trying to. Fix something that's a lesser talent. Investing in your talents is what's going to allow you to bring their best to work and bring the best to the world. Tommy Cole: Love it. The great stuff. Megan, any final thoughts? Megan Parker: Well in true coaching fashion, Tommy, I'm gonna turn this. Question over to you. So you've been through this process, know, with the McFarlin Stanford team. What is, what has been the impact on you that you've seen and on the team? Tommy Cole: The impact on, it's a twofold deal. It, the impact that I have is knowing what, what I am, like self-aware of what my strengths are and so that I don't get frustrated or bogged down on my perfectionism on other things that I have a less strength of. [00:46:00] It's been a eye-opening experience for me personally more than anything else. And then when my wife took it in Italy, I'm like, oh, wow. Like, I, I totally understand this now. And we, we have differences, but we're a team, which is great. But it's also been great to see all the clients take the assessment and see where they're coming from, because I'm the driver, get it done. Shut up. Okay. Relationships to the side, like, and, and I'm like, I'll give 'em a grade of, of A or f where they did that or not. And that wasn't, that's not fair. And so it was it's an eye open experience. Tracy Wallingford: That's, that's great and I'm glad you, I'm glad you mentioned family, cuz we can do a whole nother session on this. The Tommy Cole: Yeah, yeah, Tracy Wallingford: a workplace tool and the impact, especially we see this with some of our husband and wife team owners, right. Tommy Cole: yeah. Very, [00:47:00] very much. Tracy Wallingford: Standing and understanding that. And when we do that session, we'll talk teenagers too. Tommy Cole: Nice. Well Megan and Tracy, I feel like now I can run through a brick wall because I've, I've talked to two professional leadership coaches and, and Gallup professionals. Because both of you're very motivating and it's been a pleasure working with you so far and for more years to come. But I'm super glad to have you both on our podcast and hope you've enjoyed it. And we're gonna have to do this again. We'll, we'll have to do a more deep dive on the next one. So Tracy Wallingford: Well, that's our favorite thing to do. Thank you, Tommy. We love being part of Roots of Success. Tommy Cole: Ready to take the next step? Download our free Profitability Scorecard to quickly create your own baseline financial assessment and uncover the fastest ways to improve your business. Just go to McFarlinStanford.com/scorecard to [00:48:00] get yours today To learn more about McFarlin Stanford our best in class peer groups and other services go to our website at McFarlinStanford.com And don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. See you next time on the Roots of Success.