Recently, I took the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment for the second time. I first experienced StrengthsFinder in 2015 as a student of a leadership development program at work. Now in 2018 I’ve taken the test again, this time to serve as a mentor for the aforementioned leadership program. The results? Well, at least I’m consistent.
My top five talents in order are: Strategy, Significance, Futuristic, Command, and Ideation. At least this is the 2018 set. This isn’t much of a deviation from 2015, however, which were: Strategic, Intellection, Futuristic, Ideation, Action. Although, I may have placed the last of those three in a slightly confused order.
Now, none of this means anything or matters to you. What will resonate with you is that you’re reading the blog of a business person with a particularly strange lineup of talents (StrengthsFinder is said to measure talents, not actual strengths). Admittedly, my traits look ideal for business, but the combination of these desirable talents sometimes create really strange side effects.
Most noticeably with me, I alternate between action and significance. This means I oscillate between the extremes of needing to put things into motion and the need to feel central to the process. In all honesty, the truth is likely that I fell the need to be in the center of an in-motion process, but depending on my feelings of accomplishment at any moment that I take the StrengthsFinder test, this may manifest in different talents.
Also, for me, Intellection fell out of my Top 5, but I’m not particularly disparaged as it’s still near the top of my talents and its place in the Top 5 was occupied by something that I’ve long sought after, Command. This seems like a fairly common story for male business people in the western world. I say that nobody took me seriously until I turned 30 and then a switch flipped in other people without any changes in my own behavior. Upon relaying this observation to family one day, my mom said that my dad (a small business owner through most of his working years) had the exact same observation in his 30s.
So what do my results have to do with anyone else?
First, take my discussion of these topics as an endorsement of Gallup’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 test. It won’t solve any of your problems or cure your personal or Professional woes, but it is a tool of understanding that can be deployed along your journey towards self awareness. Second, I encourage anyone who has, or will, take the StrengthsFinder test to really buy into the whole purpose of the process: to build upon your strengths instead of continually trying to improve your weaknesses.
I fully agree with the creators and curators of StrengthsFinder that trying to improve your weaknesses is possible, but it is a completely misguided approach to improvement, and one that often leads to really mediocre results in life and possibly a negative ROI in business.
So, go out and find the talents that help identify your strengths. Then, if you’re ever in need of the classic “thinking” type with Futuristic, Strategic, Ideation, and Intellection talents… well, you know how to reach me. Meanwhile, if your particular talents align with Action or Woo, then know that I’m looking for you and you should certainly take some action and message me.