Leveraging Saboteurs and Strengths to Create Transformation

The Right Tools for Creating Transformation

When we first notice something in our lives that isn’t going to plan, we might react in a number of different ways. We might hide, distract ourselves, or even become despondent, accepting that the way things are will remain that way in the future.

At PointNorth, we believe you can design your own future – IF you have the right tools.

With a healthy mindset, we can learn to lean into the discomfort when something isn’t quite right. We can learn to leverage our inherent strengths and learned patterns of behaviour in ways that make us feel confident and empowered. 

Saboteurs: The Mental Patterns that Influence our Actions, Choices, and Reactions to Stress

One of the tools in the PointNorth toolkit is training and practicing with Positive Intelligence, a mental fitness program that allows us to partner with leaders and teams to build their capacity for improved wellbeing and high performance.

A Positive Intelligence practice begins by identifying Saboteurs, the mental patterns that influence our actions, choices, and reactions to stress. 

In our last blog, we learned that everyone- yep, even you and me- has Saboteurs. It’s not a ‘bad’ thing or something to be ashamed of. Quite the contrary, in fact. These are merely insights into how we operate and invitations to USE them to transform. 

Bringing this knowledge into our awareness can be a powerful tool for amplifying our ability to consciously choose our next actions, rather than acting from unconscious patterns.

Identifying how Saboteurs Impact Our Decision-Making

The key component to building confidence is self-awarness

Imagine a scenario in which a team’s revenue is falling short of their projections and goals. The leader of this team might react by trying to motivate the team by introducing an incentive. Or maybe she might yell or belittle. Or she might avoid the problem altogether simply to avoid conflict.

A leader less aware of his mental patterns might react the same way they always do, leading to familiar results.

A leader who has trained in mental fitness with PointNorth will have access to his Saboteurs, allowing him not only to see the bigger picture but to understand what’s going on, both internally and within his team.

Introducing an incentive might stem from the Saboteur of people-pleasing: “If my team is happy with me, they’ll work harder, and we’ll meet our goal.”

Looking for logical ways to solve the problem might stem from the Saboteur of being hyper-rational: “There is a logical, rational way to increase our revenue.”

Either of these approaches might work. But knowing which Saboteur is driving the leader’s actions will allow them to broaden their perspective of what is keeping the team from meeting their goals. New questions and actions to take will begin to reveal themselves, and the leader becomes more and more effective in handling these challenges.

Knowing Our Strengths: Building Upon Our Superpowers

Strengths-based approaches allow us to build upon what’s already working, leading to the kind of confidence that can transform your business.

At PointNorth, we use validated assessments and tools including the CliftonStrengths Assessment to discover and leverage the strengths that people bring to the table.

Whether we’re working on meeting your long-term goals, aligning your work with your personal mission and vision, or navigating a major professional shift, knowing our strengths gives us a place to stand empowered.

Working With Confidence From Our Strengths


The CliftonStrengths assessment, when used within a body of reflections and tools, identifies which of the 34 Strengths Themes describe how we can naturally do our best work. These themes fall into four categories: Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, Influencing, and Executing.

This information is invaluable to anyone working to redesign their professional lives to align to their true values. With a healthier perspective and a strengths-based plan, a point of stress that may have occurred as an obstacle becomes an opportunity for growth.

For example, an executive who knows that they have an Activator theme within their strengths might see exactly what actions need to be taken in order to turn vision into reality. Perhaps this same executive is hoping to grow the autonomy of their team. 

A PointNorth coach might guide them to create an approach that will help the team reach its desired outcome by leveraging the team’s strengths as individuals.

An entrepreneur with strengths in the Intellection theme may thrive while exercising their intellectual muscles in conversations or problem-solving tasks. This entrepreneur may need guidance with turning thoughts and visions into a strategic plan of action

Working from our strengths allows us to create our next steps with confidence.

Leveraging Saboteurs and Strengths – Together


The beauty of the PointNorth perspective is that with a holistic, birds-eye view of every habit, pattern, and history that we bring to the table, we can plan and adjust our work in the best way possible.

We begin to see how Strengths and Saboteurs work in tandem and may even mask one another. What might appear as a Strength may be a Saboteur at play, a pattern that comes from past experiences for coping or managing stress. 

Peeling back the layers of these two onions reveals a clarity and precision from which we can move forward.

We can learn to truly leverage the people power within our teams and organizations, transforming market positions and company culture. Most importantly, we are able to find and create joy within our work.

Sticking points become unstuck when we realize why they were there in the first place. We feel more powerful when we clearly see the strongest pieces of our personality in clear view. With Saboteurs and Strengths both playing powerful, transformative roles in our mental fitness, anything becomes possible.

If you’re ready to begin the journey of transforming your professional life, we’re ready to be your guide.

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