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Strength Finder

25 January 2011 No Comment

I am always having to take tests at work.  As a network enginerd it is usually a technical certification type test but this month our team was after a new type of test to help us determine where the natural strength and talents were within our team.  The test and learning was from the Strength Finder 2.0 book.  I found the experience and results extremely helpful!  Not only enough to get after a post about it but I went out and purchased 5 copies for my friends and family.  This is good stuff!

The test is really just to get started understanding a bit more about what makes you tick and help identify those natural abilities that when give the time and energy will produce a lot more consistent results and satisfaction.  Sound good?  This is based off of some questions that you only have about 20 seconds to answer so you have to be pretty honest and go with your gut feeling.  Some of the questions that I had were hard to determine and I went with the neutral while others like the one below got me to laugh a bit at how obviously clear my answer would be…

This short book explained so many things about what drives me and where I put my time.  In many ways it helps explain why I am so dang happy all the time, why I always find myself focusing on balance, looking for more and the learning lesson in everything.   I am always looking for the newest technology design at work, race goal, lessons learned and love to complete the circle of learning by teaching and getting someone else going.  I feel very lucky that a lot of my natural “strengths” are a big part of what I do almost everyday.  My job allows me to take on projects and the ever changing technology and manufactures product list keep me on my toes to learn the latest and greatest.  This is supplimented by me with training and racing and my desire to always find the lesson in the process along the way.  I get a kick out of that.

The key for me is that you will also find the greatest satisfaction in performing or investing your time in these strengths.  If you are not spending the majority of your time following your natural way of thinking you are likely to not be stoked about it… and you are probably counting every minute of the clock just waiting for it to be over.  In addition, the chances are your not going to get any better spending 40 hours a week trying to get good at it.  There is a better way.  The idea behind the book is that by finding and investing in your strengths, you will be able to provide higher levels of performance when to spend your time (invest) in those things that are natural to you.   That is fun!

Of course, we are all different and unique and that is where things get good.  As much as I was laughing at the list below because it was so dead on for me I had to take some notes about the holes in balance that those items left.  This is where the team comes in.  I love making nerd graphs!  It is a combination of learning and work output or data at work but Monique hates working with stuff like that.  She does love to cook and I love to eat!  I build her training graphs and she loves to cook killer dinners.  Awesome!

Invest!  Find your strengths, find your team and crush that dream!!

Here are my top 5 in order

#1 Achiever
“Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel  as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good  about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day — workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter  how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no  matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied. You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do  more, to achieve more. After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you. As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. It does have its benefits. It brings you the energy you need to work long hours without burning out. It is the jolt you can always count on to get you started on new tasks, new challenges. It is the power supply that causes you to set the pace and define the levels of productivity for your work group. It is the theme that keeps you moving.”

Achiever Sounds Like This:

“Last year I was salesperson of the year out of my company’s three hundred salespeople.  It felt good for a day, but sure enough, later that week, it was as if it never happened.  I was back at zero again.  Sometimes I wish I was not an achiever because it can lead me away from a balanced life and toward obsession.  I use to think I could change myself, but now I know I am just wired this way.  This theme is truly a double-edged sword.  It helps me achieve my goals, but on the other hand, I wish I could just turn it off and on at will.  But, hey, I can’t.  I can manage it and avoid work obsession by focusing on achieving in all parts of my life, not just work.”

#2 Learner
You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered — this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences — yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”

Achiever Sounds Like This:

I get antsy when I am not learning something.  Last year, although I was enjoying my work, I didn’t feel as though I was learning enough.  So I took up tap dancing.  It sounds strange, doesn’t it?  I know I am never going to perform or anything, but I enjoy focusing on the technical skill of tapping, getting a little better each week, and moving up from the beginners’ class to the intermediate class.  That was a kick.”

#3 Positivity
“You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. Some call you lighthearted. Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be. But either way, people want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious. Lacking your energy and optimism, some find their world drab with repetition or, worse, heavy with pressure. You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit. You inject drama into every project. You celebrate every achievement. You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down. Your Positivity won’t allow it. Somehow you can’t quite escape your conviction that it is good to be alive, that work can be fun, and that no matter what the setbacks, one must never lose one’s sense of humor.”

Positivity Sounds Like This:

I am one of those people who loves creating buzz.  I read magazines all the time, and if I find something fun – some new store, new lip gloss, whatever – I will charge around telling everyone about it.  ‘Oh, you just have to try this store.  It is so-0-0 cool.  Look at these pictures.  Check them out.’  I am so passionate when I talk about something that people just have to do what I say.  It’s not that I am a great salesperson.  I’m not.  In fact, I hate asking for the close; I hate bothering people.  it’s just that my passion about what I say…'”

#4 Developer
You see the potential in others. Very often, in fact, potential is all you see. In your view no individual is fully formed. On the contrary, each individual is a work in progress, alive with possibilities. And you are drawn toward people for this very reason. When you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success. You look for ways to challenge them. You devise interesting experiences that can stretch them and help them grow. And all the while you are on the lookout for the signs of growth — a new behavior learned or modified, a slight improvement in a skill, a glimpse of excellence or of “flow” where previously there were only halting steps. For you these small increments — invisible to some — are clear signs of potential being realized. These signs of growth in others are your fuel. They bring you strength and satisfaction. Over time many will seek you out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that your helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to you.”

Developer Sounds Like This:

“I’m not a lawyer, doctor, or candlestick maker.  My skills are of a different type.  They have to do with understanding people and motives, and the pleasure I get is from watching people discover themselves in ways they never thought possible and from finding people who bring to the table talents that I don’t have.”

#5 Activator
“When can we start?” This is a recurring question in your life. You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real. Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, you cannot not act. Others may worry that “there are still some things we don’t know,” but this doesn’t seem to slow you. If the decision has been made to go across town, you know that the fastest way to get there is to go stoplight to stoplight. You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green. Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning. You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. This learning informs your next action and your next. How can you grow if you have nothing to react to? Well, you believe you can’t. You must put yourself out there. You must take the next step. It is the only way to keep your thinking fresh and informed. The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done. This does not frighten you. It pleases you.”

Activator Sound Like This:

“Some people see my impatience as not wanting to listen to the traps, the potential roadblocks.  What I keep repeating is, ‘I want to know when I am going to hit the wall, and I need you to tell me how much it is going to hurt.  But if I choose to bump into the wall anyway, then don’t worry – you’ve done your job.  I just had to experience it for myself.'”

Hope you find this interesting and find your own strengths.  Drop me a note or comment here and let me know your top five.  Then lets get together, invest some time and crush our own dreams!

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