Joe (bostonsteamer) wrote,

StrengthsFinder 2.0

As part of PMBA, I paid to take this online StrengthsFinder test (actually I paid for a book that gave me a free code to take the test online, but the book is essentially the access code plus instructions about the test).

The questions were timed, 20 seconds each, which was unfortunate because I wasn't able to answer many of them in time. I understand the concept of wanting people's gut responses but having the system automatically pass over questions and never return to them only guarantees less accurate results.

Also, the questions themselves were often frustratingly poor. They were all in the form of "which statement do you agree with more", but many of the choices weren't opposites or dichotomies of each other. Many were downright vague, like "I motivate people" vs "I coach people"...???

Four of the five resulting talents are things I already know about myself, but the descriptions contain a bunch of insight and ideas for personal growth. The remaining talent (Woo) came out of left-field so I should probably learn more about to see if it's a hidden talent of mine.

My top 5 themes:

  1. Learner
  2. Woo
  3. Input
  4. Analytical
  5. Communication

Each talent has a "shared theme description", what everyone with this talent has in common, and a "personalized strengths insights", what the test somehow gleaned from my answers as unique among those with this talent.


Shared Theme Description

People who are especially talented 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.

Your Personalized Strengths Insights - What makes you stand out?

Instinctively, you may see some value in continuous education. Perhaps this reflects your interest in particular topics. Sometimes you are fascinated with the process of acquiring knowledge or skills. It’s very likely that you occasionally buy books or check them out of the library because you enjoy reading. Your investigative mind may sometimes be a bit restless until you have collected enough information to produce answers. Maybe you read about topics of personal or professional interest. These might range from history to science, from politics to mathematics, from entertainment to sports, or from art to law. Because of your strengths, you may enjoy reflecting on what you already know or want to know. At times, your concentration leads you to major or minor discoveries. Maybe you need ample quiet time to examine new information, theories, concepts, or philosophies. Perhaps your mind cannot rest regardless of where you go or what you do. To some extent, you ponder what you have observed. Occasionally you pose never-before-asked questions. Perhaps thinking deeply about certain things is a necessity for you. It might not be a luxury. It might not be an option. Driven by your talents, you sometimes rely on reason to determine how an event, decision, or condition led to a specific event. Perhaps you desire to understand how things converge to produce the final result.

Learner sounds like this:

Annie M., managing editor: "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."

Ideas for Action:

  • Refine how you learn. For example, you might learn best by teaching; if so, seek out opportunities to present to others. You might learn best through quiet reflection; if so, find this quiet time.
  • Develop ways to track the progress of your learning. If there are distinct levels or stages of learning within a discipline or skill, take a moment to celebrate your progression from one level to the next. If no such levels exist, create them for yourself (e.g., reading five books on the subject or making three presentations on the subject).
  • Be a catalyst for change. Others might be intimidated by new rules, new skills, or new circumstances. Your willingness to soak up this newness can calm their fears and spur them to action. Take this responsibility seriously.
  • Seek roles that require some form of technical competence. You will enjoy the process of acquiring and maintaining this expertise.
  • As far as possible, shift your career toward a field with constantly changing technologies or regulations. You will be energized by the challenge of keeping up.
  • Because you are not threatened by unfamiliar information, you might excel in a consulting role (either internal or external) in which you are paid to go into new situations and pick up new competencies or languages quickly.
  • Research supports the link between learning and performance. When people have the opportunity to learn and grow, they are more productive and loyal. Look for ways to measure the degree to which you and others feel that your learning needs are being met, to create individualized learning milestones, and to reward achievements in learning.
  • At work, take advantage of programs that subsidize your learning. Your organization may be willing to pay for part or all of your instructional coursework or for certifications. Ask your manager for information about scholarships and other educational opportunities.
  • Honor your desire to learn. Take advantage of adult educational opportunities in your community. Discipline yourself to sign up for at least one new academic or adult learning course each year.
  • Time disappears and your attention intensifies when you are immersed in studying or learning. Allow yourself to "follow the trail" by scheduling learning sessions during periods of time that will not be interrupted by pressing engagements.


Shared Theme Description

People who are especially talented 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.

Your Personalized Strengths Insights - What makes you stand out?

By nature, you may exhibit a genuine fondness for all types of people. Some newcomers and/or outsiders might intrigue you to such a degree that you start talking with them. Occasionally you are the person who puts them at ease with a smile, an encouraging word, or a compliment. Chances are good that you occasionally exhibit the behavior of an extrovert. Perhaps your sociable nature impels you to exert a bit more effort now and then to get certain people to like you. Driven by your talents, you may have an easy time talking about yourself with strangers. Now and then, your openness draws newcomers and/or outsiders into casual conversations or serious discussions. Perhaps some of these individuals risk being totally ignored if you fail to introduce yourself to them. It’s very likely that you sometimes enjoy socializing. Maybe you are stimulated by the company of particular individuals. Interestingly, you might be just as comfortable spending time alone thinking through things.

Woo sounds like this:

Anna G., nurse: "I think I am a little shy sometimes. Usually I won't make the first step out. But I do know how to put people at ease. A lot of my job is just humor. If the patient is not very receptive, my role becomes that of a stand-up comedian. I'll say to an eighty-year-old patient, ‘Hi, you handsome guy. Sit up. Let me get your shirt off. That's good. Take your shirt off. Whoa, what a chest on this man!' With kids, you have to start very slowly and say something like, ‘How old are you?' If they say, ‘Ten,' then I say, ‘Really? When I was your age, I was eleven' -- silly stuff like that to break the ice."

Ideas for Action:

  • Choose a job in which you can interact with many people over the course of a day.
  • Deliberately build the network of people who know you. Tend to it by checking in with each person at least once a month.
  • Join local organizations, volunteer for committees, and find out how to get on the social lists of the influential people where you live.
  • Learn the names of as many people as you can. Create a file of the people you know, and add names as you become acquainted. Include a snippet of personal information -- such as their birthday, favorite color, hobby, or favorite sports team.
  • In social situations, take responsibility for helping put reserved people at ease.
  • Find the right words to explain that networking is part of your style. If you don't claim this theme, others might mistake it for insincerity and wonder why you are being so friendly.
  • Partner with someone with dominant Relator or Empathy talents. This person can solidify the relationships that you begin.
  • Your Woo talents give you the ability to quicken the pulse of your surroundings. Recognize the power of your presence and how you open doors for an exchange of ideas. By simply starting conversations that engage others and bring talented people together, you will take performance up a notch -- or several.
  • The first moments of any social occasion are crucial to how comfortable people will be and how they will remember the event. Whenever possible, be one of the first people others meet. Your capacity for meeting and greeting new people will help to quickly put them at ease.
  • Practice ways to charm and engage others. For example, research people before you meet them so you can talk about your common interests.


Shared Theme Description

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

Your Personalized Strengths Insights - What makes you stand out?

Driven by your talents, you sometimes sit down with a book simply because you are eager to discover new ideas. Through the printed word, you have made the acquaintance of some very interesting fictional characters and real people. It’s very likely that you like certain types of systems or rules. Sometimes they produce the uniform, consistent, and predictable results you want. This might be useful when individuals have to perform the same task in the same way over and over again. You might be an organized thinker. This may partially explain why you occasionally give step-by-step presentations about the inner workings of complicated procedures or regulations. Chances are good that you periodically enjoy sharing ideas, exchanging information, or trading stories. During conversations, you might be the person who simplifies complicated details. Maybe you help individuals better understand intricate procedures, theories, regulations, or plans. By nature, you might gather ideas and information from reading publications that keep you up to date on particular types of current events. What you choose to peruse -- that is, examine studiously -- may reflect some of your personal or professional interests.

Input sounds like this:

Ellen K., writer: "Even as a child, I found myself wanting to know everything. I would make a game of my questions. ‘What is my question today?' I would think up these outrageous questions, and then I would go looking for the books that would answer them. I often got in way over my head, deep into books that I didn't have a clue about, but I read them because they had my answer someplace. My questions became my tool for leading me from one piece of information to another."

Ideas for Action:

  • Look for jobs in which you are charged with acquiring new information each day, such as teaching, research, or journalism.
  • Devise a system to store and easily locate information. This can be as simple as a file for all the articles you have clipped or as sophisticated as a computer database.
  • Partner with someone with dominant Focus or Discipline talents. This person will help you stay on track when your inquisitiveness leads you down intriguing but distracting avenues.
  • Your mind is open and absorbent. You naturally soak up information in the same way that a sponge soaks up water. But just as the primary purpose of the sponge is not to permanently contain what it absorbs, neither should your mind simply store information. Input without output can lead to stagnation. As you gather and absorb information, be aware of the individuals and groups that can most benefit from your knowledge, and be intentional about sharing with them.
  • You might naturally be an exceptional repository of facts, data, and ideas. If that's the case, don't be afraid to position yourself as an expert. By simply following your Input talents, you could become known as the authority in your field.
  • Remember that you must be more than just a collector of information. At some point, you'll need to leverage this knowledge and turn it into action. Make a point of identifying the facts and data that would be most valuable to others, and use this information to their advantage.
  • Identify your areas of specialization, and actively seek more information about them.
  • Schedule time to read books and articles that stimulate you.
  • Deliberately increase your vocabulary. Collect new words, and learn the meaning of each of them.
  • Identify situations in which you can share the information you have collected with other people. Also make sure to let your friends and colleagues know that you enjoy answering their questions.


Shared Theme Description

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

Your Personalized Strengths Insights - What makes you stand out?

Because of your strengths, you may notice that some people tell you about their innermost thoughts or feelings. Why? They might sense you can help them sort through things or pinpoint relevant facts. Perhaps you are known for your intelligence and your sensitivity. It’s very likely that you may be described as level-headed. Perhaps you use reason to determine which activities need to be done first, second, and third. Sometimes you are eager to finalize your plan so you can start working. By nature, you may approach your work, studies, or other activities in a levelheaded manner. Perhaps your common sense allows you to produce good results in certain types of situations. Driven by your talents, you use precise, well-documented data to guide your thinking and dictate what you do. You refuse to rely on hearsay, unnamed sources, or abridged -- that is, short summaries of -- books, published articles, scholarly research, or historic records.

Analytical sounds like this:

Jack T., human resources executive: "If I make a claim, I need to know that I can back it up with facts and logical thinking. For example, if someone says that our company is not paying as much as other companies, I always ask, ‘Why do you say that?' If they say, ‘Well, I saw an ad in the paper that offers graduates in mechanical engineering five grand more than we are paying,' I'll reply by asking, ‘But where are these graduates going to work? Is their salary based on geography? What types of companies are they going for? Are they manufacturing companies like ours? And how many people are in their sample? Is it three people, and one of them got a really good deal, thus driving the overall average up?' There are many questions I need to ask to ensure that their claim is indeed a fact and not based on one misleading data point."

Ideas for Action:

  • Choose work in which you are paid to analyze data, find patterns, or organize ideas. For example, you might excel in marketing, financial, or medical research or in database management, editing, or risk management.
  • Whatever your role, identify credible sources on which you can rely. You are at your best when you have well-researched sources of information and numbers to support your logic. For example, determine the most helpful books, websites, or publications that can serve as references.
  • Your mind is constantly working and producing insightful analysis. Are others aware of that?
  • Find the best way of expressing your thoughts: writing, one-on-one conversations, group discussions, perhaps lectures or presentations. Put value to your thoughts by communicating them.
  • Make sure that your accumulation and analysis of information always leads to its application and implementation. If you don't do this naturally, find a partner who pushes you from theory to practice, from thinking to doing. This person will help ensure that your analysis doesn't turn into paralysis.
  • Take an academic course that will expand your Analytical talents. Specifically, study people whose logic you admire.
  • Volunteer your Analytical talents. You can be particularly helpful to those who are struggling to organize large quantities of data or having a hard time bringing structure to their ideas.
  • Partner with someone with strong Activator talents. This person's impatience will move you more quickly through the analytical phase into the action phase.
  • You may remain skeptical until you see solid proof. Your skepticism ensures validity, but others may take it personally. Help others realize that your skepticism is primarily about data, not people.
  • Look for patterns in data. See if you can discern a motif, precedent, or relationship in scores or numbers. By connecting the dots in the data and inferring a causal link, you may be able to help others see these patterns.
  • Help others understand that your analytical approach will often require data and other information to logically back up new ideas that they might suggest.


Shared Theme Description

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

Your Personalized Strengths Insights - What makes you stand out?

It’s very likely that you may enjoy participating in give-and-take dialogue with people who can offer their insights into the future. Perhaps you are more intrigued by the next decade's or century's possibilities than today's realities. By nature, you occasionally feel comfortable telling certain individuals stories about your personal habits, qualities, experiences, or background. Your forthcoming nature might enable some people to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Instinctively, you may feel complete when you are surrounded by people who like you. Perhaps you long to be with friends you have not seen for a while. When they are not with you, you might feel a bit empty. Because of your strengths, you sometimes enjoy being the person who gets people talking. When outsiders or newcomers have little or nothing to say, you might find a way to involve some of them in the dialogue.

Communication sounds like this:

Sheila K., general manager of a theme park: "Stories are the best way to make my point. Yesterday I wanted to show my executive committee the impact we can have on our guests, so I shared this story with them: One of our employees brought her father to the flag-raising ceremony we have for Veterans Day here at the theme park. He was disabled during World War II, and he now has a rare form of cancer and has had a lot of surgery. He's dying. At the start of the ceremony, one of our employees said to the group, ‘This man is a World War II veteran. Can we give him a hand?' Everybody cheered, and his daughter started crying. Her dad took off his hat. He never takes off his hat because of the scars on his head from the war and the cancer surgery, but when the national anthem started, he took off his hat and bowed his head. His daughter told me later that it was the best day he's had in years."

Ideas for Action:

  • You will always do well in roles that require you to capture people's attention. Think about a career in teaching, sales, marketing, ministry, or the media. Your Communication talents are likely to flourish in these areas.
  • Start a collection of stories or phrases that resonate with you. For example, cut out magazine articles that move you, or write down powerful word combinations. Practice telling these stories or saying these words out loud, by yourself. Listen to yourself actually saying the words. Refine.
  • When you are presenting, pay close attention to your audience. Watch their reactions to each part of your presentation. You will notice that some parts are especially engaging. Afterwards, take time to identify the moments that particularly caught the audience's attention. Draft your next presentation around these highlights.
  • Practice. Improvisation has a certain appeal, but in general, an audience will respond best to a presenter who knows where he or she is headed. Counterintuitively, the more prepared you are, the more natural your improvisations will appear.
  • Identify your most beneficial sounding boards and audiences -- the listeners who seem to bring out your best communication. Examine these individuals or groups to learn why you are so good when you speak with them or to them, and look for the same qualities in potential partners and audiences.
  • Keep getting smarter about the words you use. They are a critical currency. Spend them wisely, and monitor their impact.
  • Your Communication talents can be highly effective when your message has substance. Don't rely on your talents alone; take your communication to the level of strength by developing your knowledge and expertise in specific areas.
  • You are gifted in fostering dialogue among peers and colleagues. Use your Communication talents to summarize the various points in a meeting and to build consensus by helping others see what they have in common.
  • If you enjoy writing, consider publishing your work. If you enjoy public speaking, make a presentation at a professional meeting or convention. In either case, your Communication talents will serve to assist you in finding just the right way to frame your ideas and state your purpose. You delight in sharing your thoughts with others, so find the medium that best fits your voice and message.
  • Volunteer for opportunities to present. You can become known as someone who helps people express their thoughts and ambitions in a captivating way.
Tags: long, me, pmba

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