Design for Strengths: How to Apply Design Thinking to Individual and Team Strengths | Ep. 156

Why do employees perform poorly? 80% of the time, it’s just because they’re in the wrong position, and unable to leverage their strengths. 

Our returning guest today, John K. Coyle — is one of the world’s leading experts in Design Thinking, and an Olympic silver medalist. At a young age, John was able to identify his strengths and use those strengths to his advantage.

I’ve invited John to join us today to talk about the following topics:

• Why we’re so obsessed with our weaknesses,

• How should we separate our ego from reality in defining our own strengths,

• How to define our strengths, and

• How we should be building our activities around our strengths.

Stop trying to fix your weaknesses, and start designing on the strengths you already possess in today’s episode.

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Discussion Points:

• 0:00 Introduction

• 2:25 Why it’s crucial for leaders to stop fixing weaknesses and start designing for strengths

• 4:06 Identifying your strengths and communicating it to other people

• 6:43 Maximizing your own strength to do your job

• 7:56 John shares his story of how he figured out his own strength

• 10:55 Translating John’s experiences into your role as a leader or for construction companies

• 12:33 Identifying your superpowers: Should you trust personality assessments?

• 14:45 For construction companies, how do you group people according to their strengths and build teams?

• 17:27 Team configurations can change from project to project

• 19:07 Being able to differentiate between ego from actual strength

• 21:22 Characteristics that beginners and seniors should possess to be able to maximize their strengths

• 22:42 Poor performer doesn’t instantly equate to bad employee

• 23:36 When you’re good at something but don’t have the confidence to step up and do something about it…

• 25:38 The 5 step design thinking process

• 27:37 About John’s book Design for Strengths

About the Guest:

John K. Coyle is one of the world’s leading experts in “Design Thinking” and Innovation. A highly sought-after speaker and lecturer, John is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in Engineering – Product Design (Design Thinking) and Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of business with an MBA in organizational behavior, marketing and entrepreneurship. A former head of innovation for a Fortune 500 wireless telecom, John has also been the SVP of innovation for a leading strategy consultancy. John is a world class athlete in two sports (cycling and speedskating) and an Olympic silver medalist, as well as an NBC Olympic Sports analyst, and a guest lecturer on Innovation at several leading universities (Kellogg, Marquette, CEDIM). John is a two time TEDx speaker, and an award-winning author of two books, including the (2018) best seller: Design For Strengths: Applying Design Thinking to Individual and Team Strengths. John is also a thought leader in the field of “chronoception” – the neuroscience and psychology of how humans process time. Learn more at his website


• Design for Strengths by John K. Coyle ( and (

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