Strengths and the Tickle Monster


“I am going to be a tickle monster for Halloween”. Now that is a confident 4 year old girl! I heard this comment this morning and it made my day! I loved that she identified such a fun character. Secretly, I was playing “Guess that strength”… self-assurance and ideation. It is true, I see strengths in everyone and in most plans, which brings me to my thoughts about a few commentaries in the PB.

After reading the two commentaries this weekend on the heart of the city committee meeting, I thought both had strengths. To be honest, the heart of the city serves residents and visitors. To believe it is one or the other lacks vision. Engaging residents and visitors to determine how to best activate the heart of the city benefits residents, non-residents and the businesses. Fortunately, RSP is leading a dreaming process that includes research with stakeholders (residents, non-residents, large-medium-small businesses, nonprofits). The plan is solid. Focusing on ways to engage more and finding common direction will result is a strong outcome. All about the strengths.

Leadership, Values and Integrity 

Last week WSU Rochester hosted a workshop with Strengths facilitators. Student services professionals from WSU Winona, WSU Rochester and shared RCTC staff participated in an intensive workshop and individual session focusing on their Strengths Finder (TM) themes. The engagement was exceptional, and the facilitators were spot on, and the time flew. To confess, I have been drinking the “Strengths” kool-aid for several years and this “strengths revival” was just the jolt I needed. 

The past several months have been an interesting combination of great challenges, disappointments, and moments of hope and joy. I have had an opportunity to reflect on leadership and how it manifests differently in everyone. It may be upbringing, training, educational preparation, values, or a combination of these areas that results in each person’s foundation. I was provided the opportunity to reflect on the challenges through a strengths lens and found myself saying out loud my principle for leadership.

“People matter,” I said, being grateful for individual sacrifice, appreciating kindness, loyalty and integrity of my colleagues and friends. Recognizing people as being important explains a lot about my decision making process. I trust people to make good decisions for themselves, which is why I practice radical transparency. I do not believe or desire to restrict honest reactions individuals have to their lived experiences. I share and discuss data, both big and small, and walk through short and long term implications of the data. It always comes back to people. Integrity, it is what I value and how I prioritize choices. 

I am so grateful for the opportunity to reflect with my strengths partners on leadership, values, and integrity. Reflecting helped me to remember that choosing to uphold my values and integrity will be challenging on some days. Holding fast to my values and integrity has been the right choice for me. 

People matter, period.