Friday, March 11, 2011

Bring on the Woo!

I had dinner tonight with a friend that I served on a community board with a couple of years ago. It was great to visit with her about work, she is on the physician recruitment side at the other large health system in town, and I am on the physician clinic operations side at our health system. We had a great time catching up on personal and professional topics, and it was nice to be able to "talk shop" with someone about the challenges and rewards in health care, particularly now that I'm in a new position within our system. I was talking about being the "newbie" in my area, and my struggles of learning just how and where I fit on the team. My comment was that I bring a lot of interpersonal strengths to the team but I am definitely learning about the finance and technology portions of clinic operations management. My background and inherent strengths are more geared towards team building, employee satisfaction, and communication.

Her reply was "Yes, but you bring the 'woo' to the team, remember!?" When she and I served on the board together a couple of years ago, one of the first things the president coordinated was a team building exercise based on the book "Now, Discover Your Strengths", by Marcus Buckingham. As we prepared for our year of leadership, we each took a strengths profile, and learned how our different personality types interacted with others in our group.

After my dinner with my friend tonight, I came home and pulled out my book to review it. I've taken a couple other personality profiles during my years in leadership, and all of them have profiled me in a similar fashion. This particular profiling system had 34 key strengths, and out of these my five core strengths were:

  • Communication - you like to explain, describe, host, speak in public and write. This is your Communication theme at work.
  • Empathy - you can sense the emotions of those around you. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily agree with their perspective, but you ancipate the need... you help people find the right phrases to express their feelings... for all of these reasons other people are drawn to you.
  • Input - you are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information- words, facts, books and quotations, or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, etc. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories, but to add more information to your archives.
  • Positivity - you are generous with praise, quick to smile and always on the lookout for the positive in a situation. Some call you lighthearted. Others just wish that their glass was as full as yours seems to be. You inject drama into every project, celebrate every achievement, find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital.
  • Woo - "woo" stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them, want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport.

I had to laugh, because so much of this is unequivocally ME! From a personal standpoint, Dave always likes to tease me that I'm "all about the party" - I love meeting people and talking to them. We initially discussed the option of just renting a house with our friends in Honduras, but he knows that I'm all about the resort life, meeting new people and connecting with them. And I am definitely an "information gatherer", both in work and in my personal life. I don't collect tangible items, it is the intangible information that intrigues me... give me some good non-fiction or a night of music trivia and I'm thrilled! (Garry Dykes, you're still the man, I aspire to be half the music trivia guru you are!)

But from a professional perspective it was also nice to review all of this tonight, and find some encouragement in these positive traits and strengths that I bring to my new job... it has been a long and exhausting week, with many things that were challenging for me. I had a couple of financial discussions with physicians, and numerous other obstacles to tackle this week, and I'm so glad it is Friday, and I'm looking forward to a couple of days of relaxation with my family. TGIF, people!

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