How we helped LUMOS Pharma explore team members’ strengths for better team collaboration post-transition

Lumos Pharma is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing new therapies for people with rare diseases. Its focus is prioritized in areas where the pathophysiology is clear and medical need is highest. Lumos Pharma’s mission and strategy are to deliver safe and effective therapies to patients via time and cost-efficient drug development. 

In light of a recent merger, their human resources team wanted to explore a way to combine the two company cultures and build team unity across departments in the new virtual landscape.

“These sessions really helped us learn quite a bit about ourselves, our co-workers, and who we are as a team…we feel energized, excited, and impassioned about our work.” —Maggi Gentle, Senior Director of Human Resources at Lumos Pharma 

The Workshop

Lumos Pharma participated in a two-day teamwork dynamics workshop centered around the Clifton StrengthsFinder framework: an evaluation of 34 CliftonStrengths themes that reflect a person’s natural way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. The team completed the StrengthsFinder assessment to identify each team members’ core strengths and how they can be combined to form a healthy, productive company work dynamic. 

Identified goal: Focus on a way to help build our team unity in the virtual world we have found ourselves in. 

Day 1

We spent the first day diving deep into all aspects of the CliftonStrengths assessment results at an individual level and team level. 

The Process:

The team began with a team-building activity before diving into the work. Each team member added a picture of their favorite book in a “collective bookshelf” constructed in a MURAL template and we discussed our choices. 

Collective Bookshelf team-building activity in MURAL.

Then, we observed a Macro View of the company’s Strengths dynamics—across teams and different organizations—among the four different CliftonStrengths domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. 

StrengthsFinder Assessment results, company-wide.

Team members then created personal profiles, based on their individual results, in a collective Mural board. Each person included self-reflection stickies with helpful mindsets and things to be aware of moving forward. They placed the profiles into one of three sections that corresponded to their main CliftonStrengths theme: Execution, Influencing, Relationships, or Strategy. The Mural board serves as an evergreen, transparent resource to get to know other team members and their strengths and refer back to when needed.  

Collective MURAL board of team member profiles.

Day 2

We worked through individual and company-wide blindspots and eventually looked at all company 2020 goals through the lens of what strengths could be leveraged to best achieve those goals. 

The Process:

The workshop narrative was set up so that each person could first appreciate themselves, then others, and eventually the entire team. We identified and worked through individual and collective blindspots to ideate unique strengths recipes for company success. The team first talked about the blindspots of each person’s strengths to be more mindful of. This knowledge was then used to workshop strategic strengths combinations within teams to create effective and productive team dynamics. We were challenged to appreciate people and teams through the lens of their strengths rather than only focusing on a person’s work title.

Next, we broke into four teams to 1) Look at identified 2020 company goals 2) Ask important, high-level questions surrounding those goals. To better understand the information, we organized the questions by color-coding stickies in a Mural board in accordance with the domain they most gravitated towards. 

Goals & Critical Questions template.

The Outcome:

The Lumos Pharma team gained valuable insight into their individual strengths and their co-workers’ strengths, and by extension, they better understand who they are as a team. They have been able to assess their team dynamic more thoroughly and accurately based on who possesses which strengths.

“Are we utilizing our employees to their strengths or forcing them to work in other areas?” That is something Maggi Gentle, Senior Director of Human Resources at Lumos Pharma, says she continues to discuss with management. “I believe that the workshop helped us learn more about one another. We engaged with team members we don’t normally engage with and the discussion around goals was very inclusive. I also feel that the work around strengths was very enlightening for our management team, specifically our CEO.”

Lumos Pharma’s next step is to continue to work on company goals and the development of its mission statement and values—now better informed by team members’ strengths. 

“We learned about the strengths of our co-workers and how we might be able to collaborate with others to complement our own strength make-up. Many leaders are able to identify the strengths of their team members and play to them well. It is a very powerful tool for us as individuals to identify our own strengths. It is very empowering and affirming to name our strengths and embrace them. It is my hope that the two afternoons spent getting to know our own strengths and those of our team help in some of our exciting upcoming projects.” 

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