Monday, January 29, 2018

Hit More Targets With Strengths Based Goal Setting

Where are you on the path towards what you really want?”
~Oprah Winfrey

The next few posts are about setting up authentic goals, targets, outcomes or destinations. I use these terms and others interchangeably throughout the series for reasons I will explain later.                 

For the last two months Ive been sifting through goal-setting programs from about a dozen of the top success movement researchers, authors, trainers and coaches. Much of the information is based on classical goal setting strategies that have been popular for the last 50+ years, Be specific, put your goals in writing, make the goals big, make them realistic and set a deadline.

We have a lot of training programs on this subject and still 92% of us will fail to reach our goals by year's end. By early February, 80% will have quit trying. I believe the reason is simple. Most of us are really striving to reach goals set by someone else. Often our goals come from the culture. Our parents and teachers set most of our goals when were young. Peer pressure moves into the driver's seat as we move into the teen years. As we move to the university classroom or the corporate boardroom, we still have other people setting most of the goals for us.

If you want to change the game and start reaching your targets with consistency, you must begin setting goals that flow from your strengths. You must pick, plan and pursue goals that are connected to your natural passion, potential and personality. Most people who are not as successful as they’d like to be, have established targets that are disconnected from their strengths. They are aiming at goals that are not authentic. The strength and target disconnect is the biggest reason most people fail to reach their destinations.

We are all naturally very target oriented. My nine month old granddaughter just left our Beach Place loft. She is already setting goals and reaching them. She has goals to get fed. She has goals to get changed. She has goals to be held. As much as she loves her grandma and grandpa, she has goals to get back in her mommy and daddy’s arms. Although she has a ways to go, she is vocally communicating and working on forming words. She is crawling, standing up and will soon be working on faster means of cross-the-room transportation.

Goal achievement is the most natural thing in the world. We are teleological beings who are directed toward an end and shaped for purpose. In a USA Today interview, subjects were polled,  “What would you ask God if you got a direct meeting?” By far, the majority of responses were to ask about purpose. “Why am I here?” Or, “What am I here to do?”
Do you struggle with setting goals?
Do you hate setting goals?
Do you fail to reach many or most of the goals you set?
For most of us, the reason is that our goals are not strengths-based…

Our Gifts have been severed from our Goals.
Our Aims are not Authentic.
Our Targets have been disconnected from our Talents.
Our Purpose has been detached from our Passion.
Our Vision has no connection to our Values.
We must forever give up the idea that most of our goals should be very hard and oriented around forcing ourselves to do things that we don’t want to do. I’ve watched people struggle with setting goals for years. I’ve struggled with it myself. Targets, to be the most effective, must be formed around your strengths. In the middle of every bulls-eye, should be a heart to represent your passion and a star to represent your natural talents.

Some people claim they have no goals… but even living in the moment without a goal is a kind of goal. It’s similar to the “psychotics dilemma”. Some people go into a fetal position to indicate they don’t want to communicate. But what are they doing? They are communicating. It’s the same with goal setting. To have no goals, is a goal.

See You On the Path!


Dale Cobb is the co-founder of SUCCESSPATH CAREER DEVELOPMENT. This post is based on material in his book,THE STRENGTHSPATH PRINCIPLE and The Strengthspath Time Manager. Copyright © 2018 Dale Cobb.Image Used with permission.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Where Do YOU Want To Go?

Historically, the Boy Scouts have been known for their good deeds. The following is one of my favorite stories...

There were 3 Boy Scouts who had helped an older woman across the street. Noticing this the Scout Master asked the Eagle Scout why it took 3 of them… The Scout answered, “It Was Because She Didn’t Want To Go!”

Many of us are trying to go places we really don’t want to go… The culture… our parents, professors, partners, peers, pastors and professional advisors have told us that we should want to go… but we don’t. The goals we often set are not authentic. They are not based on our strengths but instead on the default bias of the culture.

Many of us in management and even in the coaching profession, are trying to help other people go places they really don’t want to go...


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Strengths Discovery Questions

Workshop (10 Minutes)

Here are 5 question sets. They spell out the word S.I.G.N.S. as in signs you may have a strength.

Strong? – What activities or topics make you feel strong? What are the activities and topics that generate strong positive emotions? World’s Greatest Investor, Warren Buffett says he tap dances to work every morning… What are the activities that make you want to dance?

Intense Interests? What was your favorite subject in school or hobbies outside of school? Indicators include the magazine and book sections you’re drawn to, How you spend your money or discretionary income after the bills are paid, how you spend time after work and what takes up space in your home or garage… other than the basics. What are you always thinking about?

Growth? What areas do you grow or get better quickly? What activities seem to come easy or more effortless?

Needs? What do you “Need” to do. What’s inside, that has to come out?

Success? What areas have you experienced the most success, achievement and results? What kind of problems do you solve?

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Strength Nobody Wants

The Strength Nobody Wants from Dale Cobb on Vimeo.

Workshop (10 Minutes)

List every defeat, disaster and difficulty that you have survived and gone on to overcome. Consider each a WIN and a STRENGTH you can use to ad value.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Strengths Summary I

Strengths Summary I from Dale Cobb on Vimeo.

Workshop (10-15 Minutes)

Pull together a preliminary "Strengths Summary" with brief notes on yourself. Remember your strengths are any internal or external resource that helps you ad value or make a contribution in the marketplace.

My Discovered (Natural) Strengths:

Passions (Intense Interests)

Talents (Innate Abilities)

Personality (Traits and Temperament)

Values (Priorities and Motivations)

Learning Style (Reading, Listening, Discussing, Hands On)

My Developed  (Acquired) Strengths

Skills (Steps and Methods)

Knowledge (General Vocabulary, Professional Terminology, Regulations)

Resources (Tools and Technology I own)

Education (Diplomas, Degrees, Certificates, Certifications)

Experience (Work History, Volunteering, Accomplishments)

My Decision Based Strengths

Character (Integrity, Dependability, Courage)

Attitude (Mindset, Thought Patterns)

Appearance (Clothing, Grooming)

Mission (Goals, Direction, Destination)

Location (Proximity to Work, Nashville Principle, Geography of Success)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Decision Based Strengths

Decision Strengths Overview from Dale Cobb on Vimeo.


Look at the decision based strengths below:

Character Choices including integrity, honor, morals, ethics, standards of right and wrong. Employers are concerned with dependability, attendance and promptness. They are also concerned with honesty and keeping your commitments. Courage which means the willingness to do something while you’re scared is also a character strength. These all involve choices.

List your Character Strengths:

Mission and Goals including focus, direction and planned destinations. You will attract more people when you have a clear direction and are focused on a specific destination. It may sound noble to walk into a job interview and tell the hiring manager you’re willing to do anything. Being willing to start at the bottom and work up is one thing, but as a rule, managers hire and promote people who know where they’re going!

Describe your Career Direction or Destination:

#3. Attitude, Mindset or Thought-Choice is a powerful strength. Examples included gratitude, humility, optimism, serving, generosity, cooperation and Action-Bias. While in one sense, attitudes are developed over time, in another sense, you can choose anyone of these in any given moment. Every thought you and I hold has 3 results or consequences. 

There is a physical result. Positive thought choices produce positive chemicals like endorphins and serotonin. There is an emotional result that produces positive feelings. And there is the Vibe result that impacts everyone around you. This is why companies will hire for thought choice, mindset or attitude.

List your Positive Thought Choices, Mindsets and Attitudes:

#4. Appearance, Dress or Look is the next strength you can choose immediately. Employers hire and promote candidates and employees who represent their desired brand image. Always manage your appearance. Dress and appearance are very powerful forms of non-verbal communication.

On a scale from 1-10 how affective is your appearance and wardrobe?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

#5. Geography or Location is the last Chosen Strength I’m going to talk about with regard to your career. I often refer to this as the “Nashville Principle”. That means if you want to become a star in Country Music, you need to move to Nashville!  If you’re not yet 18, do what Taylor Swift did and convince your parents to move with you. There is a unique “Geography of Success” that goes with many positions and roles. If you want to be a Broadway performer, you need to move to New York. There is an optimal environment for your career choice. 

List the optimal locations for your Dream Job:

In future sessions we’ll be looking at your discovered or natural strengths, your developed strengths and these decision based strengths individually using indicators or worksheets that will help you with both the job shaping and job search aspects of career development.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Developed Strengths Overview

Workshop ( 10 Minutes)

#1 Skills are Mastery, Proficiency and Competency with Methods, Steps, Sequences, Tool Use and Technology) Skills are developed through deliberate systematic effort, intentional practice and often supported by training and coaching. You want to focus on developing skills that compliment or build on your natural talent. For instance, one example of a natural talent is rhythm. Complimentary skills might be dance or drums. Another natural talent is 3 Dimensional Visualization. Complimentary skills might include architecture drafting, computer graphics animation, construction trades or automotive repair.

List some of your skills:

#2 Knowledge including General Vocabulary, Professional or Industry Specific Terminology, Rules, Regulations, Laws, Principles, Theories, Information, Facts and Understanding. You want to focus on developing knowledge in areas that compliment or synergize with both your natural talents and the subjects you’re passionate about. If I wanted to become a professional baseball player, I should get at least basically acquainted with the rule book and arm myself with an understanding of sacrifice bunts and sacrifice flies.

List some of your knowledge:

#3 Education including reading, attending lectures, classes, coursework, degrees, certifications and certificates. You’ll want to structure your education around gaining talent based skills, passion based knowledge and your education should ideally correlate with your natural Learning Style.

List your education:

#4 Experience including informational interviewing, job shadowing, internships, volunteer projects or other free work and part-time jobs. Try to get experience related to the career you’re passionate about pursuing but, really, your experience strengths include almost any goal oriented work that includes collaboration, taking direction and working harmoniously with other people. That job at McDonalds gave you experience:

Working with the public.
Learning to be responsible.
Showing up on time.
Working under deadlines and adverse conditions
Handling irate customers.
Solving problems 
Working as a team member.
Being accountable to a supervisor
Using repeatable systems
Working efficiently

List your experience:

#5 Resources including Tools, Equipment, Technology and Machines. I’m writing and recording this material on a MacBook Pro. I have lighting and backdrops. You will probably need to have a set of tools even if it’s just the right clothes or wardrobe to get the job and transportation to get there.

List your Tools:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Discovered Strength Dimensions Overview from Dale Cobb on Vimeo.


After watching the video above think about the strength definitions below. As you go through each one, list any strength you think you might claim as your own. In later segments you will have the opportunity to dive deeper into each strength with indicators and assessments.

Contribution (Result, Benefit, Added Value, Difference Maker, Better Service, Deliverables, Increased Profit, Reduced Expenses, Performance, Solving Problems, What You’re Paid For) Contribution is something you give that helps attain an end result.  t’s the positive change that happens when you walk in the room, when you join a business unit, team or organization.

Contributions I've Made:

Passion (Intense Interests, Enthusiasm, Desire, Ambition, Love, Fascinations, Magnificent Obsession, Energy, Excitement, Activities That Make You Feel Strong, Willingness to Sacrifice and Suffer)

Passions I Have:

Values (Priorities, Motivation, Beliefs, Ideals, What’s Important To Me) Company culture is made up of the combined values of individual employees. Many companies are looking closely at candidate values before hiring.  Examples of values include Beauty, Independence, Control, Altruism and Individuality:

Values I Have:

Personality (Temperament, Preferences, Style, Nature, Disposition, Traits, Person)
 Personality is the organization of an individual’s distinct traits and temperament. Many employers give pre-employment personality assessments based on a belief that individuals have traits that will make them more successful. Examples of personality include shy or outgoing, structured or flexible and people focused or task focused.

Personality Traits I Have:

Talents (Natural Ability, Aptitude, Gift, Knack, Flair, Bent, Instinct, Genius, Inclination, Brilliance, Forte, Aptness) Innate ability makes performing and excelling at specific tasks easier.  It also makes developed strengths like skill and knowledge acquisition easier.
Talents include Aptitudes like the ability to Visualize in 3D, Number Facility and  Finger Dexterity.  Talents include Approaches like Thinking, Relating, Influencing and Executing.

Talents I Have:

Learning Style (Perception, Organization, Retention and Response to Instruction Methods, Optimized Pattern of Acquiring and Processing Information) Examples of learning styles include Reading, Listening, Discussion and Doing.

My Learning Style Preferences Are:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What's Trying To Get Out?


What's inside of you that needs to be expressed?

Is it represented in one or more specific activities?

Is it mental-intellectual, physical, relational....or some combination?

Monday, March 14, 2016


“The Truth About You Video - Your Secret To Success” 
   (23 Minutes)

Growing Up...

There were subjects in school that you were ___________________________.

There were classes where time went by _______________________________.

There were certain situations, certain people, and certain times when you were at 

your ________________. 

Like the young boy in the story, you have something inside of you that is trying to 

get _________.

Marcus Buckingham’s definition of a strength is “an activity that makes you feel 


Myth As I grow older, my basic personality and core talents change.
Truth:  Your talents won’t change.  You can make the biggest changes by developing the talents you were born with.  

Myth:  Strengths are simply what I’m good at and weakness are simply what I’m bad at.
Truth:  Your feelings are also an important clue to what your strengths are (Matt Borden Example)

Myth: I will grow most in my areas of weakness.
Truth:  You will grow most and become successful by focusing most of your attention on your strengths.  (Deficit Attention Disorder)

Myth: The best team players do whatever it takes to help their team win

Truth:  You may occasionally need to work in an area of weakness.  But your biggest contributions to a team or employer will come when you contribute your talent and strength.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Awareness & Authenticity


How aware are you when it comes to your strengths?

Try to list your 4 or 5 top strengths?

How authentic or aligned are you with regard to your strengths?

How many hours a week are dedicated to using your strengths?

How many hours use a weakness?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Duck to Water


List a time at work, school or volunteer opportunity when you felt like a duck on the desert or fish out of water.

What aptitude or natural ability was lacking?