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Destination Unstoppable with Maureen Monte – A Journey of Strengths

Source | SocialGlamor

On 28th July 2011, almost 5 years ago, I got an email from a lady, asking me to remove a link from IBM Manager Community – a place for all IBM People Managers, across the globe. I was the community manager then. It was 12:10 AM, India Standard Time and I was surprised – why would someone ask me to take down anything from a community I manage! The sender was Maureen Monte – someone I have never seen, never met, spoken to only once on a call with few other people.

Her point was valid – Why should we restrict the learning to a special set of people, when we can make a bigger, larger, more astounding impact. We did exchange few emails back and forth and we both knew, we are heading towards something brilliant.

We both joined hands and ran. The result of our partnership was the ‘biggest’ virtual learning event in IBM till date – from attendance: over 7000 people enrolled and attended the webinar sessions. Greater than 90% of the responses indicated that the workshops were valuable and should be shared with other IBMers.

I checked the replay data today: Our five webinar recordings have been downloaded over 12,500 times, accounting for 40% of all the downloaded recordings since June, 2011 (There are total 72 recordings).

By the time we finished what we started, we felt more excited, never tired and more in love as friends and professionals. I requested Maureen to mentor me and she gladly accepted – she has been a guiding star for me. I remember when I was in Colombia – as a part of IBM Corporate Service Corps member, where my work included proud contribution to social and economic reintegration of the demobilized people from the Organized Illegal Armed Groups (OIAG), I had to deal with a really menacing situation, I called her and she helped me out.

And here we are today, Maureen is a published author, a celebrated coach and a reliable professional, who is living her world of success consulting, in her #LifeAfterIBM phase, which to me is yet another example of how she has taken control of her situation and has come out with stupendous success.

I caught up with her and I am sharing with you some excerpts of our discussion on her journey and new book:  Destination Unstoppable: The Journey of No Teammate Left Behind

What motivates you as a professional?

I build winning teams. As I say that, I can hear warning bells going off in the minds of some people. That’s because competition often has a negative connotation, particularly for those who are not competitive by nature. That is unfortunate because competition is neither good nor bad. It is an “energy force” that, when used properly, drives people and teams to achieve things they wouldn’t have achieved otherwise. Also, winning has many facets. There are metrics like management and business controls, or sales targets. I am all for including those hard measurements in the success statement I build with my clients, but we don’t stop there. We talk about the how and why. Respect. Trust. Refusing to let one another fail. Those are examples of winning metrics associated with the human side of teams, and that is my playground. My only requirement is that the team be willing to work hard to get there.

Why did you decide to pursue the ‘path of strengths’? Where did the idea come from?

I was exposed to the Clifton StrengthsFinder in my Masters program for Leadership and Business Ethics in 2006 and I was instantly hooked. I’ve used it to help hundreds of teams and thousands of individuals achieve their best. It offers a deep dive into a person’s potential because it is holistic in nature. It measures how we think to solve problems (and I can’t watch you and see what’s happening inside your head!), how we execute tasks, how we influence others, and how we build relationships. It puts people’s strengths under a microscope which honors the uniqueness of individuals (we are all different from one another) and helps us describe our value proposition in detail that was previously unavailable to us. I’m a leadership and team consultant and the Clifton StrengthsFinder gives me data to build a performance strategy for individuals and teams. When teammates understand each other, judgment and conflict decrease. Performance and collaboration increase. These changes improve hard metrics like employee engagement, profitability, productivity, but they also improve well-being and happiness. It’s a win for employees and it is a win for the organization. It’s not an easy journey, but it is a worthy journey.

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