Exercise Ideas

A few ideas to get you started with the strengths cards

The simplicity of the strengths cards makes them incredibly flexible, so there are a host of ways they can be used. To get you started, here are a few simple exercises that you can try out. We love to hear about all the different ways the cards are being used, so let us know if there’s an exercise that works well for you.

  • solo activity

    Exercise 1: Comparing life domains

    Identify the strengths you use in different parts of your life and reflect on how to make even more of them.

    Sort through the cards and pick out the 5-10 strengths that describe you at your absolute best in each part of your life. How do the different parts of your life compare? How might you use some of your strengths in new ways to help you be at your best?

    Type:
    Individual
    Card side:
    Words
    Time:
    30 mins

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 140k)

  • solo activity

    Exercise 2: Strengths 360

    Get a more rounded picture of your strengths by asking a few of your colleagues, family, friends or customers for feedback.

    Choose 5-8 people whose perspective you would value and ask each of them to sort through the cards and pick the strengths they most value in you. Compare the different responses and see how they differ from your own choices.

    Type:
    Individual
    Card side:
    Words
    Time:
    2-3 hours, plus planning

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 137k)

    Email template (Doc, 137k)

  • group activity

    Exercise 3: Team strengths

    Help a team or class focus on what they do best by choosing a photograph that illustrates their collective strengths.

    Spread the cards out with the pictures facing up. Everyone gathers around and each person chooses the picture that represents the group at its best and explains their choice.

    Type:
    Group
    Card side:
    Photos
    Time:
    30 mins

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 136k)

  • group activity

    Exercise 4: Guess who?

    Build appreciation and respect within a group by playing a game where everyone tries to guess whose strengths are being described.

    Working in pairs, group members pick a person’s name out of a hat and then use the cards to identify the strengths that best describe them. When they share their choices the rest of the group try to guess who is being talked about.

    Type:
    Group
    Card side:
    Words
    Time:
    60-90 mins

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 137k)

  • one-to-one activity

    Exercise 5: Project successes

    Help someone draw out the positive lessons from a project or event, using photographs as a prompt. Valuable as part of a project review, appraisal or interview.

    Focusing on a particular project, ask your partner to sort through the photographs, picking out images that could represent things that went well. Ask them to sort through the words to identify the strengths that contributed to their success.

    Type:
    1-to-1
    Card side:
    Photos & Words
    Time:
    30 mins

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 136k)

  • one-to-one activity

    Exercise 6: A picture of the future

    Help someone bring clarity to life or career goals by focusing on what they want to be known for in the future.

    Imagining that it is 10 years from now, ask your partner/client to spend a few minutes reflecting on how their career/life looks and then choose 3 cards that reflect how they would like others to see them at that point.

    Type:
    1-to-1
    Card side:
    Photos & Words
    Time:
    20 mins

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 135k)

  • group activity

    Exercise 7: Strengths silhouettes

    Encourage better connections between team or class members and build appreciation for the diversity of strengths in the group.

    After drawing an outline of themselves and identifying their own strengths, group members pair up and use the strengths cards to pick the qualities they see in each other. Their choices are written within the silhouettes and the ‘results’ are discussed.

    Type:
    Group
    Card side:
    Words
    Time:
    60-90 mins

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 138k)

  • group activity

    Exercise 8: Strengths stories

    Help people explore their own strengths and also practise listening for strengths in conversations. Ideal for use in a classroom or workshop setting.

    Working in pairs, everyone chooses a picture that reminds them of a success before sharing the story with their partner. Both then identify the strengths they’ve heard and discuss them before swapping roles.

    Type:
    Group
    Card side:
    Photos & Words
    Time:
    30 mins

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 138k)

  • group activity

    Exercise 9: Quick-fire feedback

    Build mutual appreciation within a class or team by highlighting the strengths that each member is associated with.

    Focusing on one person at a time, everyone in the group takes a minute to pick out a card that they think reflects that person at their best. Work around the room asking each person to show the card they chose and explain the story behind their choice.

    Type:
    Group
    Card side:
    Words
    Time:
    15-20 mins

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 93k)

  • solo activity

    Exercise 10: Planning an approach

    Plan how you can use your strengths to tackle an upcoming challenge.

    Choose 5-8 strengths that you could draw upon to face the challenge. Reflect on each strength in turn to consider how it could be pulled on to ensure a positive outcome and visualise how you will use them.

    Type:
    Individual
    Card side:
    Words
    Time:
    20 mins

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 97k)

  • group activity

    Exercise 11: Understanding strengths

    Help young people understand the concept of strengths through a facilitated discussion.

    Spread the cards on a table and ask someone to pick one and explain what the word means to them. Pull out examples to illustrate what that strength looks like in action and identify people who demonstrate it. If appropriate, ask participants to give each other feedback in pairs.

    Type:
    Group
    Card side:
    Words
    Time:
    30 mins

    Full exercise guide (PDF, 105k)