VIA Strengths Mural

Schoolchildren and their teacher in an art class

When Michelle McQuaid was studying the Character Strengths for her Master’s Degree in Positive Psychology, she figured out a way for her young son to learn right along with her. She created a “Strengths Mural” for his bedroom, painting pictures for each of the 24 strengths on the wall. Each night before bed, they would choose a different strength to discuss. They would talk about what the strength … [Read more...]

Applying VIA Strengths at Westin Hotels


Both Shannon Polly and Jeremy McCarthy earned Masters Degrees in Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Here, they worked together with The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa which had decided to change the way that the hospitality industry works. Over two days, they helped 100 front-of-house associates spend time focusing on their individual and collective strengths, … [Read more...]

VIA as Crochet Hook

slide 11-core values

When Carol Kauffman was approached by a client who needed immediate help relating to students, she began with the VIA Survey. Her client was at a loss – student evaluations were low; she was considered boring; her boss wanted improvement and had suggested she may want to try to ‘just be funny’. Viewing the list of strengths, Carol was able to see that humor was near the bottom, not something her … [Read more...]

Crafting Team Tasks Around Strengths

strengths to build teams

Summary: In an effort to create a stronger team, Manuela Schmid knew she would need to help her staff feel valued, engaged and energized. She relied on the VIA survey results to reach this goal. Through creative use of a visual display of everyone’s strengths, she was able to launch lively discussions about task management, develop strategies to maximize strengths and pinpoint areas where … [Read more...]

The Pyramid of Power


After introducing his 4th grade students to the VIA Character Strengths vocabulary list, teacher Jay Sharp taught them how to build a Pyramid of Power, based on their individual strengths. Encouraging them to take some time thinking about their own strengths, Jay then asked them to choose six strengths that they related to the most. These six would become the building blocks for the pyramid of … [Read more...]

Strengths-Based Leadership

leading with strengths

Interview with Megan Dalla-Camina, Director of Strategy for IBM in Australia and New Zealand, where she is also responsible for Organizational Culture and Change and Gender Diversity. Megan is Executive Sponsor of the Positive Leadership Program. 1. Why did IBM A/NZ (Australia/NZ) go down the strengths-based leadership path? We were impressed by the overwhelming research that has emerged … [Read more...]

Tips to Help Teachers Have Strength-Based Meetings and Discussions

strengths in teaching

At your next teacher meeting, try to incorporate some of these activities into the session: Share highest strengths This can involve the sharing of those strengths that were highest on the VIA Survey as well as including other strengths that the individuals believes are core to them. Share “at your best” stories Swap stories - listen to one story from a different teacher each … [Read more...]

Building Teams with VIA – Springboard Program

building effective teams

The VIA survey has become a pivotal tool for Springboard, a highly successful, multi-faceted personal development program used by Impact International in Australia. The program brings together colleagues from various Lend Lease international sites and offices to work together on a service project for four days with a local community agency. It includes the blended components of strengths-based … [Read more...]

Sustainable Strengths Camps for Kids


When Mary Judd was asked to program a summer camp for kids at a local farm/orchard, she asked herself four questions: 1. What strengths does the farm have? 2. What strengths do I have? 3. What strengths do the kids bring to camp? 4. How can I combine these strengths to create a program with the greatest impact? These questions formed the framework for a camp filled with pleasure, … [Read more...]

VIA as Velvet Hammer

strengths coaching

When leaders need to be at the top of their game, yet seem to be missing the mark, Carol Kauffman relies on the VIA Survey. She gets to the heart of her client’s issue by taking a hard look at their top VIA strengths, often finding that they are in contrast to what the client is actually doing day to day. She probes the reasons the client is choosing not to use their strengths in a productive … [Read more...]