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People enjoying the Strengthify Live 2023 event
10 Nov 20234 min read

Strengthify's First 'Live' Event & Discovery Workshop

Wednesday, 8 November 2023 marked the inaugural Strengthify event and the first time we could expose a larger group of people to our enthusiasm and passion for ‘strengths’.

The room was predominantly made up of higher education attendees (many of which I’ve known for a very long time - so that also meant we had a good spattering of ex-higher education; either moved on or retired!) and a good handful of NHS attendees (who were just interested in the event).

Just before I walked up onto the stage in Manchester, I had a sudden realisation that this was the same room and venue (the Lowry Hotel) where some 11+ years ago we had ‘introduced’ PCI DSS to the higher education sector (for which some may still not have forgiven me!). That event in 2012, and the enthusiasm of many of the ~200 attendees, led to a remarkable journey over the following decade with the HE/FE PCI DSS Special Interest Group (SIG) which, at its height, had well over 100 universities and colleges pooling resources and making a financial contribution to working together to address their ‘shared challenges’. I’d also highlight the countless relationships and friendships which this helped bring about within, and without, the sector as people came together to discuss challenges, develop best practice, share knowledge and implement PCI DSS within their institutions.

Luckily for everyone, including myself, this time around we weren’t getting together to talk about PCI DSS but something even more important and which applies to everyone universally, irrespective of role, seniority or experience. I set out my personal journey around ‘strengths’, and the positive impact I had seen this have on me and the people that worked with/for me (even though, in hindsight, there was plenty we should have done differently), and some of the research we’ve already been able to conduct to ‘verify’ some of the bigger picture challenges that are specific to higher education (compared to other sectors).

A key question asked of the audience early on was “are there any fans of positive psychology?” (little or no hands raised). I think by the end of the day you would have been pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t have raised their hand.

The main intent and focus of the day was to help people ‘discover’ their own strengths and we ensured everyone had been given access to a CliftonStrengths assessment. The majority of the day was therefore a ‘workshop’ format which included working with the person next to you, the people on your table and even a good amount of ‘speed dating’ with people from all around the room.

I have no doubt, reinforced by what I could observe and hear on the day, that the best way to get people excited about the potential of positive psychology and a ‘strengths-based’ approach to themselves, their teams and their organisation, is to let them actually ‘experience it’ in this type of environment.

I won’t therefore try to go into any further detail as it just wouldn’t do the potentially transformational nature of this environment (outside of the office) and with a group of your peers (rather than just colleagues) justice. However, I’m more than happy to share some of the incredibly positive feedback we’ve received.

How valuable did you find the event?

Chart showing 72% extremely valuable, 24% very valuable, 4% somewhat valuable

Would you recommend a similar Strengthify workshop to a friend or colleague?

Chart showing 68% extremely likely, 28% very likely and 4% somewhat likely

Would you recommend a strengths-based approach to a friend or colleague?

A chart showing 80% extremely likely, 16% very likely and 4% somewhat likely

Obviously we’re very happy with the feedback we’ve received, and we feel we’ve more than validated the ‘appetite’ for more learning and support in this area. While attendees left with a personal ‘to do’ list and lots of ideas, the opportunity is clearly to help develop, refine and (above all) share practical ways of harnessing your unique strengths. We then want to build on this to help individuals become a better manager who is able to help their team understand and harness their own strengths both individually and collectively.

Watch this space; helping you ‘harness your strengths’ is the challenge we’ve chosen to take on and this is exactly what we’ll be focusing our efforts on, working collaboratively with anyone who wishes to raise their head above the parapet, to develop the best possible solutions for higher education and aligned sectors.

And if you missed this event, look out for more dates and venues (or sign up for our newsletter) as we look to ensure that as many people as possible are able to take this ‘first step’ on their strengths journey.

We’re also, as always, more than happy to set up a call or meeting to explain more about how we believe strengths can help you, your teams and organisation flourish.

Strengthify event testimonials

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