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love + work

Fifteen years ago, I met Marcus Buckingham. Well, when I say "met," I mean I was in the same room with him... and about 1200 other Hampton general managers. We had all discovered our strengths, and were assembled in a ballroom in Orlando to learn how to develop our unique talents as hotel managers. We had completed our assessment prior to the conference, and had just been handed our results (Maximizer, Strategic, Individualization, Futuristic, Arranger for me). When Marcus took to the stage to help us understand our strengths, I just KNEW, as hotel managers, we would all have the same ones.

Only, we didn't. I stood up and cheered when the Maximizers were called, fully expecting the entire crowd to rise to its feet. They did not! In fact, some were in their seats looking up at me with the same look of confusion that I'm sure was on my face. The Achievers were called, then the Relators. It was all so confusing to me. And then came the WOO. Oh, my word, the Woo.

Individuals with the talent theme of Woo are exceptionally skilled at Winning Others Over. They love the challenge of meeting new people and getting others to love them. They rarely find strangers intimidating. The Woo leaders didn't just rise out of their seats when called, they levitated! The room was filled with the kind of frenetic energy that challenges my introverted side. How could this be? (For the record, Woo is like, 29th on my list of 34 strengths.) We were all hotel GMs, doing the same work, and yet, we were not the same at all.

I tell you, my entire universe was reordered by the end of that conference! I LEANED IN to the concept of developing my strengths before leaning in was even a thing. I learned to celebrate that there was no prescribed strength profile that made a successful leader. I was set on a path that would mold the trajectory of my career as a leader, and of my life as a mother. When Marcus then introduced the StandOut roles, no one was surprised in the least that I showed up as Stimulator/Equalizer. (Listen, before you say it, I promise you that a Stimulator does not have to have Woo. I'm living proof.)

A few years ago, as part of an amazing leadership program with Hampton by Hilton, I had the unique opportunity to be trained as a workshop facilitator in partnership with The Marcus Buckingham Company. At a conference a decade past that first gathering in Orlando, I stood at the front of a room full of Hilton executives and hotel owners and shared my passion for facilitating workshops and empowering hotel teams. Seriously, this is how I showed up for that moment. Talk about feeling GOOD!

And look who was there!

You guys, it's MARCUS.

The following morning, in perhaps the most surreal moment of my life, I found myself in a conversation with Marcus. (Still riding that high from the night before, I saw him talking with a friend, and promptly made a beeline to them and inserted myself into the conversation. Ahem.) And he said to me, "People really lean in and listen to you when you speak. That's great." And then I melted.

I was an early adopter of Love + Work, Marcus' most recent contribution to leadership development. "How to Find what you Love, Love what you Do, and Do it for the Rest of Your Life" is an incredible roadmap for engagement. I recently received a Love + Work Leadership Designation from Marcus and Harvard Business Review, and now I have the incredible chance to put my strengths to work and facilitate a Love + Work Leadership Circle! I'm sending you all an invitation right now, becasue you do not want to miss this! More info to come! I'm going to make you proud, Marcus.

Marcus & I. Yep, total fangirl!

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Michael Flanagan
Michael Flanagan
Jun 29, 2022

What a wonderful personal story Eleanor - thank you for sharing.

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