May 19

How to use personal formation to define yourself (or team)


By Chuck Coker

When people leave school and enter the workforce they are rarely prepared psychologically. The only thing they can relate to is some sort of schooling, which may have brought them personal satisfaction within their studies. For many individuals, it brought about a level of dissatisfaction with the people they encountered during their studies. This is why you find cliques, clubs, fraternities and sororities, associations and support groups.

People find ways to “hide” with people like themselves because it provides them with a sense of security and belonging. When they arrive at your company’s front door those feelings do not change unless you take the steps to do something about it. Let’s look at a solution the organizations we work with have found is highly successful, as well as how to integrate it into your culture.

Personal Formation is the process of defining individuals to themselves and others. It requires that the person’s identity include a sense of uniqueness from others, continuity in their life path, and some sort of affiliation with which they can identify.

Normally educations teaches specific knowledge, but without the benefit of how it can help you interact with others in a corporate environment or how it establishes your uniqueness. Once your individual uniqueness is established, the knowledge and skill sets can be applied with freedom and joy.

It does not matter whether you are a 5- or 5,000-person company. People everywhere ask the same questions, regardless of where they live or what their calling is in life:

  1. “Will I be accepted for who I am?”

  2. “Is there a path for me that will allow me to use what I have to offer?”

  3. “Will I be a part of something bigger than me that matters?”

When any of these questions go unanswered there are holes in a person’s psyche. The greater the holes the higher the level of dissatisfaction and the greater propensity to turnover. Let us look at the Personal Formation steps and how they can be implemented with the data you have gathered.

Setting the stage for personal formation

After an employee is hired, they are ready for the LifeThrive on-boarding process. During this time you will schedule a preliminary session for them to meet with other new employees who are also new or relatively new. If you are a small company this can be done with the entire employee base (if the process has not been previously conducted) or the employee can meet with the facilitator of this process. During this time you want to help them understand that the process of the personal formation will provide them with the following information:

  • With the information, they will need (through validated assessments) to help them achieve more and gain greater satisfaction with their work.

  • That the assessments are NOT designed to “weed people out,” but rather to help them develop shortcuts to success.

  • The assessments will help each person understand and clarify their corporate culture, which includes your skills, your values, and your attributes.

  • Individualize time will be provided by a facilitator to debrief you on your results and how they benefit the company.

  • How you will be trained to use these assessments for your own, as well as with your fellow employees, personal formation and professional development.

The data produced by these assessments will form a basis for your communication and interaction with others to expedite everyone’s growth and development as an organization. We will also use this information to build team chemistry and increase your capacity to grow and develop, both personally and professionally.

Likewise, your objectives established during this process will help us help you achieve those objectives as well as set appropriate performance expectations.

As mentioned earlier, some individuals may be test-adverse. Though you have results in hand, this anxiety may still exist. Once you see the value in how this will help your success patterns, you will want to dismiss that anxiety as you see how the process is helpful, not harmful. Once this concept is established, all employees should be ready to embrace personal formation.

About the author 

Chuck Coker

For more than 30 years, Chuck has focused his career on people's development. He has implemented proprietary Personal Formation, Human Capital, Talent Management, and incentive-based programs across a broad scope of Fortune Companies, regional organizations, and educational institutions.


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