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5 August 2010

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 August 5, 2010
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Let’s start with vocabulary.

What is a strength?
A strength is something that you can visualize yourself doing repeatedly, happily, and successfully.

Talents are naturally recurring patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which make up your strengths.

Skills are the steps of an activity,

Knowledge is facts and lessons learned.

You need a system to identify your dominant talents, because talents are the aspects of you that are enduring. You can change skills and knowledge, but why not spend all of your time doing what you are best at?

Once you identify your strengths and talents, then you need a common language at your organization to describe your talents.

Why should we focus on our strengths rather than our weaknesses?

When we focus on our weaknesses, it has the effect of us looking at things we don’t do well naturally, and trying to improve on this, instead of looking at the areas we naturally do things well, and accentuating that.

Psychology is kind of half-baked. We focus on what goes wrong, and we bake that part of psychology. That’s really done. But when things do go right? We haven’t baked that part yet.

When you focus on your strengths and the strengths of others, it can make you a better manager, a better worker, and it can help you understand how to bring out your unique talents rather than chasing after doing things that don’t make you happy.

Based on a study of over 2 million people by Gallup, there are thirty four themes you may follow to discover your unique blend of strengths.

Achiever
People strong in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

Activator
People strong in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.

Adaptability
People strong in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.

Analytical
People strong in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation.

Arranger
People strong in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.

Belief
People strong in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their life.

Command
People strong in the Command theme have presence. They can take control of a situation and make decisions.

Communication
People strong in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.

Competition
People strong in the Competition theme measure their progress against the performance of others. They strive to win first place and revel in contests.

Connectedness
People strong in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.

Consistency
People strong in the Fairness theme are keenly aware of the need to treat people the same. They try to treat everyone in the world fairly by setting up clear rules and adhering to them.

Context
People strong in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.

Deliberative
People strong in the Deliberative theme are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate the obstacles.

Developer
People strong in the Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.

Discipline
People strong in the Discipline theme enjoy routine and structure. Their world is best described by the order they create.

Fairness
People strong in the Fairness theme will try to achieve balance and fairness for everyone in the company. They will feel imbalances of power the keenest, and work to rectify this.

Empathy
People strong in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.

Focus
People strong in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.

Futuristic
People strong in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.

Harmony
People strong in the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don’t enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement.

Ideation
People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.

Inclusiveness / Includer
People strong in the Inclusiveness theme are accepting of others. They show awareness of those who feel left out, and make an effort to include them.

Individualization
People strong in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.

Input
People strong in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.

Intellection
People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

Learner
People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

Maximizer
People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.

Positivity
People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

Relator
People who are strong in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.

Responsibility
People strong in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.

Restorative
People strong in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.

Self-Assurance
People strong in the Self-assurance theme feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right.

Significance
People strong in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.

Strategic
People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

Woo
People strong in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.

From “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Buckingham and Clifton.

Do you recognize yourself in several of these descriptions? Do you want to learn more? If you buy the book, they will give you an access code to take this test online and find which strengths describe you best. This access code only works once, however, so don’t buy this book used. There’s a reason it’s on sale for 1 penny on Amazon used. You really need the access code to get the most out of the book. Go to Bookfinder and find the cheapest new book you can. Bookfinder, in case you didn’t know about it, is a fabulous little tool that can help you do a meta search for books all over the world, from small booksellers as well as large ones. If you don’t want to do that, then try this.

Hopefully these descriptions will help you self-manage your career. In the next post, we’ll go into learning to manage these different types.

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