Putting your strengths to work

Gallup’s StrengthsFinder has been taken by over 20 million people.

In recent times it’s undergone something of a revival. StrengthsFinder 2.0 came out in 2007, yet you can still find it on the best-selling business book lists.

It has also been adopted by a number of large organizations as common language for development and team-building dialogues.

Yet my experience is that many people who have taken the assessment have done little with it.

I’ve used Strengths in my coaching practice for some years. Here are three ways you can extract more practical value:

1. Understand how the strengths interact

At a basic level, my strengths report describes me and gives me a way of articulating the things that I am good at. However, it isn’t quite as simple as reading the label descriptions.

One example, ‘Achiever’, one of the most common Top 5 strengths, is described as being motivated by being productive, but with a tendency to value work over people.

Yet I have a client with this strength who equally values people.

How come? In her case she also has Relator – described as working hard with friends to achieve a goal.

The lesson is: it’s critical is to understand the other strengths and how they interact with each other.

How do your strengths complement each other, relate to each other, and help you to be more productive as a team?

2.Explore the Four Domains

Have you explored the domains in which your strengths exist?

The strengths can be grouped into 4 categories:

  • Executing
  • Influencing
  • Relationship Building
  • Strategic Thinking

Armed with this information, I can look at my strengths individually and as a collective and apply them to my goals.

How do your strengths group into these domains? Are they all in just one domain, perhaps? What does this tell you?

3.Use StrengthsFinder to explore the dynamics of your team

Which domain is strongest for your team?

Which domain is weakest?

Is there a strength that almost everyone in the team shares?

Can you see the team’s dynamics in the pattern you see when you map all the strengths onto just one page?

How do your strengths complement each other, relate to each other, and help you to be more productive as a team?

I was working with a team where one of the dominant team members had Self-Assurance (a rarer strength) with a team with its strength in being Strategic. We were trying to plot the next 2 years, and it became clear that the self-assurance of this team member was actually preventing the other team members practise their strategic strengths. It unlocked the way forward for them.

Re-starting your journey

If you have taken the assessment and haven’t gone back to it recently, you can go to the StrengthsFinder site and use your email to retrieve it.

If you’d like to learn more about the journey from awareness to application within your team/organization feel free to contact me: Paul.Gaskell@red10dev.com

 

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