, identify an activity within the workplace, and an activity out with the workplace that will provide an opportunity for development.

Strengths Case Study – Professional Management Practice Nine months ago, you joined a small software studio based in Stockholm as a business analyst. The company was an amazing, if slightly chaotic, place to work. There was a broad project plan for the development of their recently-launched indie game ‘Mort’s Tower’, but the laid-back team meetings didn’t really discuss the constant slippage from plan. Instead, the CEO would enthusiastically discuss the technical challenges of delivering his vision of the gameplay over coffee and cake, or on every second Friday… beer. The person you report to had been at university with the CEO, and as the game launched her role as product manager had taken on a greater emphasis on revenue generation and customer satisfaction. Despite proving somewhat unstable, the game really took off. The rising issue-log concerned your boss, but the CEO seemed disinterested, and the developers became quite dismissive of her insistence on resolving coding errors. In some ways it came as no surprise when the firm was sold to a larger German software house, and while the CEO stayed in post, the new owner’s insistence upon formal project plans, revenue targets, and the reporting of key metrics, soured his mood. There was no more coffee and cake meetings, and increasingly it was your boss who led the discussion. Beer-Fridays became evenings outside of work where the CEO and a few longserving developers left early to socialize and complain about the new regime. You can see that the situation in your work team is deteriorating. The developers are becoming hostile to those testing the product, and the business analysts trying to advise on where revenue can be increased. Your boss looks tired, stuck between the requirements of the new owners, and those who create the software. You are sure that things are coming to a head, and the last thing you want to see is your boss leave. Task 1 Go around your group, and explain the top 3 talents you identified from either the: Clifton Strengths Finder Questionnaire; High 5 Test; or Strengths Spotting Tips (or all three). Make a shared list of these. These are the talents of “you” in this exercise. You may find that some talents appear more than once, and if so, the more this talent appears, then the stronger this talent. Now consider the situation. You know many of the team personally, but how would you employ your talents to improve things? Is there a way your behavior can provide an example to others, can your talents indirectly influence how people respond to each other, or will your interpersonal abilities allow you intervene directly? Create a four-point plan detailing the following points: what talent is being used, whom it is targeted to influence, how this will be done, and where this influencing will be exercised. The inevitable has happened. The CEO has left the organization, together with a few of the original game developers. Your owners have introduced a more formal structure, with your boss now appointed as Product Owner who now reports into the Head Office in Stuttgart. They have also sent over a Project Manager to run the programme, and a Software Architect to coordinate and control the developers and testers. Your old boss has met with every team member, and it is clear that those who have been supportive are being pushed forward for quick advancement. You are nervous when you enter the Product Owner’s office, but her ready smile reassures you. She says she saw what you were doing to help, and that she would like to find the right path for you. She doesn’t feel you are quite ready for a promotion yet, but she would like to send you on a six-month secondment to Stuttgart to deepen your knowledge, and as a way to show your talents to senior management. She will organize a conversation between you and the training manager to discuss technical training, but she wants to discuss how you can build upon the strengths you showed (in task 1). How will you build on your strengths to mark you out for promotion on your return to Stockholm? This is an important question, as it will decide the work assignment that your boss finds for you. You are very excited by this opportunity. The software house is world renowned, and working with a structured development team using leading-edge management and software techniques will expand your knowledge hugely. But you need to think about your softskills, not the technical side of things. What should you say to your boss? Task 2 The object of this exercise is to plan activities that will develop and evidence your strengths. Six months isn’t a long time, so you need to target no more than three areas. Return to the original list of strengths, and your plan from task 1 and discuss which of the list you believe deserve more development. For each of these, identify an activity within the workplace, and an activity out with the workplace that will provide an opportunity for development. To ensure these activities can help you at interview, try and ensure that they are SMART. • Specific (simple, sensible, significant). • Measurable (meaningful, motivating). • Achievable (agreed, attainable). • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based). • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

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