23 Jun In this module, you have been asked to complete the Strengthsfinder Survey. This survey is one of many rigorously tested, well-known personality profile surveys in the m
In this module, you have been asked to complete the Strengthsfinder Survey. This survey is one of many rigorously tested, well-known personality profile surveys in the market and provides an opportunity for you to consider some of the strengths that you bring to your career next steps. This survey is one tool to support your process of self-understanding. It is not exhaustive and does not provide a full picture of who you are.
Please reflect on your Strengthsfinder results, which detail a number of character strengths that are unique to you. In this journal, please reflect on the following questions:
- Were you surprised by the strengths assigned to you? Which strengths seemed particularly accurate? Which strengths (if any) seem incorrect?
- Briefly describe a time at NLU that you may have used one of the strengths assigned to you by the survey.
- Are there other strengths identified in the Strengthsfinder 2.0 book that were not assigned to you today that you would have used to describe yourself? In what way have you demonstrated that strength?
- Your journal should be approximately 300-350 words in length and should address each question in the assignment directions.
- Please refer to the rubric associated with this assignment for detailed guidance about expectations and grading.
- Please submit this assignment according to the directions on your syllabus.
Thank you for purchasing the Kindle edition of StrengthsFinder 2.0. To take the Clifton StrengthsFinder® 2.0, visit www.strengthsfinder.com. Select the StrengthsFinder 2.0 option, then sign in using your unique access code.
Your unique access code to the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment and Website has been delivered wirelessly to your Kindle, subject: Your unique access code to the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment and Website
A record of this code has also been delivered to Your Media Library at www.amazon.com.
STRENGTHS FINDER 2.0
GALLUP PRESS 1251 Avenue of the Americas 23rd Floor New York, NY 10020
Library of Congress Control Number: 2006938575
Copyright © 2007 The Gallup Organization All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, Gallup Press™, Q12®, StrengthsFinder®, and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of The Gallup Organization, Washington, D.C. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
The Q12 items are protected by copyright of The Gallup Organization, 1993-1998. All rights reserved.
This book is dedicated to the Father of Strengths Psychology, Dr. Donald O. Clifton (1924-2003),
from all of us at Gallup who have learned so much from this trailblazing thinker and scientist.
StrengthsFinder: The Next Generation
PART I:Finding Your Strengths—An Introduction
PART II:Applying Your Strengths
The 34 Themes and Ideas for Action
VFAQ (VERY Frequently Asked Question)
STRENGTHSFINDER: THE NEXT GENERATION
In 1998, I began working with a team of Gallup scientists led by the late Father of Strengths Psychology, Donald O. Clifton. Our goal was to start a global conversation about what’s right with people.
We were tired of living in a world that revolved around fixing our weaknesses. Society’s relentless focus on people’s shortcomings had turned into a global obsession. What’s more, we had discovered that people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.
Based on Gallup’s 40-year study of human strengths, we created a language of the 34 most common talents and developed the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to help people discover and describe these talents. Then in 2001, we included the initial version of this assessment with the bestselling management book Now, Discover Your Strengths. The discussion quickly moved beyond the management audience of this book. It appears that the world was ready to have this conversation.
Over the past few years alone, millions of people have participated in StrengthsFinder and learned about their top five themes of talent—and Now, Discover Your Strengths has spent more than five years on the bestseller lists. The assessment has since been translated into more than 20 languages and is used by businesses, schools, and community groups in more than 100 nations around the world. Yet when it comes to creating strength-based families, communities, and workplaces, we still have a lot of work to do.
Over the past decade, Gallup has surveyed more than 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement (or how positive and productive people are at work), and only one-third “strongly agree” with the statement:
“At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”
And for those who do not get to focus on what they do best—their strengths—the costs are staggering. In a recent poll of more than 1,000 people, among those who “strongly disagreed” or “disagreed” with this “what I do best” statement, not one single person was emotionally engaged on the job.
In stark contrast, our studies indicate that people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.
Fortunately, our research also suggests that having someone at work who regularly focuses on your strengths can make a dramatic difference. In 2005, we explored what happens when managers primarily focus on employees’ strengths, primarily focus on employees’ weaknesses, or ignore employees. What we found completely redefined my perspective about how easy it may be to decrease the active disengagement, or extreme negativity, that runs rampant in organizations. If your manager primarily: The chances of your being actively disengaged
are: Ignores you 40% Focuses on your weaknesses
Focuses on your strengths 1% As you can see from these results, having a manager who ignores you
is even more detrimental than having a manager who primarily focuses on your weaknesses. Perhaps most surprising is the degree to which having a manager who focuses on your strengths decreases the odds of your being miserable on the job. It appears that the epidemic of active disengagement we see in workplaces every day could be a curable disease…if we can help the people around us develop their strengths.
What’s New in StrengthsFinder 2.0?
Our research and knowledge base on the topic of human strengths have expanded dramatically over the past decade. StrengthsFinder 2.0 picks up where the first version left off, and it is designed to provide you with the latest discoveries and strategies for application. The language of 34 themes
remains the same, but the assessment is faster and even more reliable. And, the results yield a much more in-depth analysis of your strengths.
Once you have completed the online assessment, you will receive a comprehensive Strengths Discovery and Action-Planning Guide that is based on your StrengthsFinder 2.0 results. This guide features an in-depth dive into the nuances of what makes you unique, using more than 5,000 new personalized Strengths Insights that we have discovered in recent years.
Going far beyond StrengthsFinder 1.0’s shared theme descriptions, which can be found in Part II of this book, these highly customized Strengths Insights will help you understand how each of your top five themes plays out in your life on a much more personal level. For example, even though you and a friend may both have the same theme in your top five, the way this theme is manifested will not be the same. Therefore, each of you would receive entirely different, personalized descriptions of how that theme operates in your lives. These new Strengths Insights describe what makes you stand out when compared to the millions of people we have studied.
You will also receive 10 “Ideas for Action” for each of your top five themes. So, you will have 50 specific actions you can take—ideas we culled from thousands of best-practice suggestions—that are customized to your top five themes. In addition, the guide will help you build a strengths-based development plan by exploring how your greatest natural talents interact with your skills, knowledge, and experience. And the new website includes a strengths discussion forum, an online action-planning system, group discussion guides, and several other resources.
While learning about your strengths may be an interesting experience, it offers little benefit in isolation. This new book, assessment, website, and development guide are all about application. If you want to improve your life and the lives of those around you, you must take action. Use the personalized development guide to align your job and goals with your natural talents. Share this plan with your coworkers, boss, or closest friends. Then help the people around you—at work and at home—develop their strengths. If you do, chances are you will find yourself in a much more positive and productive environment.
FINDING YOUR STRENGTHS—AN INTRODUCTION
THE PATH OF MOST RESISTANCE At its fundamentally flawed core, the aim of almost any learning program is to help us become who we are not. If you don’t have natural talent with numbers, you’re still forced to spend time in that area to attain a degree. If you’re not very empathic, you get sent to a course designed to infuse empathy into your personality. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to our shortcomings than to our strengths.
This is quite apparent in the way we create icons out of people who struggle to overcome a lack of natural talent. Consider the true story of Rudy Ruettiger, the 23-year-old groundskeeper at Notre Dame’s stadium, who was the protagonist of the 1993 movie Rudy. At just 5'6" and 165 pounds, this young man clearly didn’t possess the physical ability to play big-time college football, but he had ample “heart.”
Rudy worked tirelessly to gain admission to Notre Dame so he could play football there. Eventually, after being rejected three times, he was accepted at Notre Dame and soon thereafter earned a spot on the football team’s practice squad.
For two years, Rudy took a beating in daily practices, but he was never allowed to join his team on the sidelines. Then, after trying as hard as he could for two seasons, Rudy was finally invited to suit up for the final game of his senior year. In the last moments of this game, with a Notre Dame victory safely in hand, Rudy’s teammates lobbied their coach to put him in the game. In the final seconds, the coach sent Rudy in for a single play— and he tackled the opposing team’s quarterback.
It was a dramatic moment and, of course, Rudy became an instant hero. Fans chanted his name and carried him off the field. Ruettiger was later invited to the White House, where he met President Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, and football legend Joe Montana. While Rudy’s perseverance is
admirable, in the end, he played a few seconds of college football and made a single tackle…after thousands of hours of practicing.
The inspirational nature of this story actually masks a significant problem: Overcoming deficits is an essential part of the fabric of our culture. Our books, movies, and folklore are filled with stories of the underdog who beats one-in-a-million odds. And this leads us to celebrate those who triumph over their lack of natural ability even more than we recognize those who capitalize on their innate talents. As a result, millions of people see these heroes as being the epitome of the American Dream and set their sights on conquering major challenges. Unfortunately, this is taking the path of most resistance.
A Misguided Maxim?
“You can be anything you want to be, if you just try hard enough.”
Like most people, I embraced this maxim at a young age. Along with thousands of other kids, I spent a good chunk of my childhood trying to be the next Michael Jordan. Every day, I practiced shooting hoops for three to four hours. I went to basketball camps each summer and tried in every way possible to be a great player. No matter how hard I worked at it, though, becoming an NBA star simply wasn’t in the cards for me. After giving 100% of my effort for more than five years, I couldn’t even make the junior varsity team.
Embracing the “You-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be” maxim isn’t something we outgrow. Similar scenarios play out in the workplace every day. A star salesperson thinks she can be a great sales manager with enough effort. She interviews other managers to gain insight, reads every book on management she can find, and stays late every night trying to get the job done—at the expense of her family and even her health. Then, a few years into the job, she realizes that she doesn’t have the natural talent to develop other people. Not only is this a waste of her time, but chances are, she could have increased her contribution even more if she had stayed in the sales role —a role in which she naturally excelled. Yet if we want additional income, status, or responsibility, most organizational hierarchies force us into a very
different role—instead of allowing for an entire career of progression within a specific role that fits our talents.
What’s even more disheartening is the way our fixation on deficits affects young people in the home and classroom. In every culture we have studied, the overwhelming majority of parents (77% in the United States) think that a student’s lowest grades deserve the most time and attention. Parents and teachers reward excellence with apathy instead of investing more time in the areas where a child has the most potential for greatness.
The reality is that a person who has always struggled with numbers is unlikely to be a great accountant or statistician. And the person without much natural empathy will never be able to comfort an agitated customer in the warm and sincere way that the great empathizers can. Even the legendary Michael Jordan, who embodied the power of raw talent on a basketball court, could not become, well, the “Michael Jordan” of golf or baseball, no matter how hard he tried.
This might sound like a heretical point of view, especially for those of us who grew up believing the essential American myth that we could become anything we wanted. Yet it’s clear from Gallup’s research that each person has greater potential for success in specific areas, and the key to human development is building on who you already are.
The following real-life example from Gallup’s economic development work in Puebla, Mexico, provides a basic yet powerful illustration of what can happen when people focus on their natural talents.
Hector had always been known as a great shoemaker. In fact, customers from such far-off places as France claimed that Hector made the best shoes in the world. Yet for years, he had been frustrated with his small shoemaking business. Although Hector knew he was capable of making hundreds of shoes per week, he was averaging just 30 pairs. When a friend asked him why, Hector explained that while he was great at producing shoes, he was a poor salesman—and terrible when it came to collecting payments. Yet he spent most of his time working in these areas of weakness.
So, Hector’s friend introduced him to Sergio, a natural salesman and marketer. Just as Hector was known for his craftsmanship, Sergio could close deals and sell. Given the way their strengths complemented one another, Hector and Sergio decided to work together. A year later, this
strengths-based duo was producing, selling, and collecting payment for more than 100 pairs of shoes per week—a more than threefold increase.
While this story may seem simplistic, in many cases, aligning yourself with the right task can be this easy. When we’re able to put most of our energy into developing our natural talents, extraordinary room for growth exists. So, a revision to the “You-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be” maxim might be more accurate:
You cannot be anything you want to be—but you can be a lot more of who you already are.
THE STRENGTHS ZONE Over the past few decades, Gallup has studied how talent can be applied in a wide variety of roles, from housekeepers to chief executives and from clergy members to government officials. We’ve researched almost every major culture, country, industry, and position. The good news is that we have found great examples of heroes who are soaring with their strengths in every single role. Across the board, having the opportunity to develop our strengths is more important to our success than our role, our title, or even our pay. In this increasingly talent-driven society, we need to know and develop our strengths to figure out where we fit in.
That being said, across all areas we have studied, the vast majority of people don’t have the opportunity to focus on what they do best. We have surveyed more than 10 million people on this specific topic, and approximately 7 million are falling short.
What happens when you’re not in the “strengths zone”? You’re quite simply a very different person. In the workplace, you are six times less likely to be engaged in your job. When you’re not able to use your strengths at work, chances are that you:
dread going to work
have more negative than positive interactions with your colleagues treat your customers poorly
tell your friends what a miserable company you work for
achieve less on a daily basis have fewer positive and creative moments
Beyond the world of work, there are even more serious implications for your health and relationships if you’re not in the strengths zone. And Gallup’s research has shown how a strengths-based approach improves your confidence, direction, hope, and kindness toward others.
So why isn’t everyone living life with a strengths approach? One big problem is that most people are either unaware of, or unable to describe, their own strengths…or the strengths of the people around them.
YOUR THEMES OF TALENT “Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong…. And yet, a person can perform only from strength.”
—Business guru Peter Drucker (1909-2005)
In the mid 1960s, my late mentor and the Father of Strengths Psychology, Don Clifton, realized that we already had countless “languages” for describing what’s wrong with people. In addition to the informal labels used by the people around us, the field of psychology has the DSM-IV, a manual of disorders described by one leading psychologist as “a bloated catalogue of what’s wrong with people.” The world of business has myriad competency models, most of which are oriented toward describing what isn’t working (even though these labels are often veiled as “areas for improvement”).
To initiate more conversation about what’s right with people, in 1998, Clifton assembled a team of scientists and set forth the ambitious goal of developing a common language for talent. This team wanted individuals and organizations to have very specific terms for describing what people do well. So we mined our database, which at the time contained more than 100,000 talent-based interviews, and looked for patterns in the data. We examined specific questions that had been used in our studies of successful executives, salespeople, customer service representatives, teachers, doctors, lawyers, students, nurses, and several other professions and fields. Through this process, we were able to identify 34 themes of talent that were the most common in our database. We then developed the first version of the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to measure these distinct talents.
These 34 themes represent our best attempt at creating a common language or classification of talents. By no means did we capture
everything. There are hundreds of even more specific themes we did not include in this classification. However, we wanted to keep this language manageable so it would be easy to use with work teams, families, and friends.
What StrengthsFinder actually measures is talent, not strength. As an aside, we named it “StrengthsFinder” instead of “TalentFinder” because the ultimate goal is to build a true strength, and talent is just one of the ingredients in this formula. The assessment doesn’t ask about your knowledge—there are no questions about your formal education, degrees, or résumé. Nor does it ask about your skills—whether you’re able to perform the fundamental steps of driving a car, using a particular software package, or selling a specific product. While these are important, we have discovered that knowledge and skills—along with regular practice—are most helpful when they serve as amplifiers for your natural talents.
When you take the assessment, you have just 20 seconds to respond to each item. It’s quick because we found that instinctual, top-of-mind responses are more revealing than those you’d give if you sat around and debated each question. Essentially, the instrument is attempting to identify your most intense natural responses, which are less likely to change over time.
A Recipe for Strength
Although people certainly do change over time and our personalities adapt, scientists have discovered that core personality traits are relatively stable throughout adulthood, as are our passions and interests. And more recent research suggests that the roots of our personality might be visible at an even younger age than was originally thought. A compelling 23-year longitudinal study of 1,000 children in New Zealand revealed that a child’s observed personality at age 3 shows remarkable similarity to his or her reported personality traits at age 26.* This is one of the reasons why StrengthsFinder measures the elements of your personality that are less likely to change—your talents.
Knowledge, skills, and practice are also important parts of the strengths equation. Without basic facts in your mind and skills at your disposal, talent can go untapped. Fortunately, it’s also easier to add knowledge and skills to your repertoire. You can always take a course on
understanding basic financials, just as you can always learn how to use a new software application. Building your talents into real strengths also requires practice and hard work, much like it does to build physical strengths. For example, if you are born with the potential to build large biceps, but you do not exercise these muscles regularly, they will not develop. However, if you do work equally as hard as someone without as much natural potential, you are likely to see much greater return.
But adding raw talent is a very different story. While it may be possible, with a considerable amount of work, to add talent where little exists, our research suggests that this may not be the best use of your time. Instead, we’ve discovered that the most successful people start with dominant talent—and then add skills, knowledge, and practice to the mix. When they do this, the raw talent actually serves as a multiplier.
This brings us back to Rudy Ruettiger, a classic example of hard work offsetting a lack of natural talent to reach a basic level of competence. While Rudy might have scored a perfect 5 on a 1-5 scale for investment (the time he spent practicing and building his knowledge and skills), let’s assume he was a 2 on the talent scale. So his maximum potential for building strength in this area was only 10 (5 x 2), even when he scored as high as possible on the investment scale. And it is likely that Rudy had teammates for whom the inverse was true—they were a 5 on talent and just a 2 on time invested, which is clearly a waste of talent. And once in a while, you see a player like former Notre Dame great Joe Montana, who had abundant natural talent combined with hard work and the right developmental opportunities. This combination of a 5 in both areas—which
yields a total score of 25, compared to Rudy’s score of 10—is what can elevate someone to an entirely different level.
Even though we recognize that everyone is different, all too often, we give only surface attention to this crucial insight. It is relatively easy to describe our acquired expertise, but most of us struggle when asked to describe our natural talents. If you find it difficult to name all of your talents, take a step back, and you’ll see that talents often have something in common—a theme—that connects them. Some talents—like natural tendencies to share thoughts, to create engaging stories, and to find the perfect word—are directly connected to communication. That’s what they have in common—their theme. So to begin thinking and talking about them, we can call them Communication talents. Other talents—such as natural dependability, sense of commitment, and avoidance of excuses—have a responsibility theme, so we identify them as Responsibility talents. This theme language gives us a starting place for discovering our talents and learning even more about our potential for strength.
In any occupation or role, it’s helpful to know your areas of lesser talent. That’s especially true if the demands of your job pull you in that direction, as your lesser talents can lead to weakness. As you study the descriptions of the 34 themes, see if you can identify a few areas in which you are clearly lacking in talent and have little potential to create a strength. In many cases, simply being aware of your areas of lesser talent can help you avoid major roadblocks.
Once you’re able to acknowledge, for example, that you are not great at managing details, it opens several doors for working around that lesser talent. The first question to ask yourself is whether it’s necessary for you to operate in your area of lesser talent at all. If it’s possible for you to simply avoid doing detail-oriented work, by all means, move away from this area. Of course, most of us don’t have the luxury to simply stop doing necessary tasks just because we aren’t naturally good at them. When you must attend to details, you might need to establish systems to manage your lesser talent and keep things on track. If maintaining your daily schedule is a detail you dread, there are several options, ranging from a day planner to an electronic calendar.
Another strategy is to partner with someone who has more talent in the areas in which you are lacking. For example, the Includer theme is an area of lesser talent for me. People who have this talent are great at making sure that everyone feels involved and part of any team effort. On the contrary, I will rush to assemble a group without considering everyone involved, and in many cases, this results in people feeling left out. So I have learned to partner with my colleague, Amanda, who leads with her Includer. She helps me think about including people I would not have otherwise considered. In several cases, this has helped us uncover people’s hidden talents and build a stronger team.
It is also essential to try to become more conscious of any “blind spots” that are caused by your talents. For example, those of us with strong Command may not realize the damage left in our wake as we are pushing to get things done each day. Or people with dominant Consistency talents might focus so much on keeping the steps uniform that they ignore the overall outcome or goal.
So while our talents primarily serve to keep us on track, they can at times derail our pursuits. In Part II, you will find 10 Ideas for Action for each of the 34 themes. Many of these action items will help you when you are on the lookout for blind spots that can result from your dominant talents. The key is for you to be aware of your potential and your limitations.
The New Assessment, Website, and Development Guide
Analyzing millions of StrengthsFinder interviews has allowed us to refine the assessment into an even faster and more precise second version. We’ve also been working to glean more advanced insights from the hundreds of items we collect as you take the assessment.
Even though the 34 themes help us describe a great deal of the variation in human talent, they do not capture many nuances of unique personalities. While you and a few friends may each have Learner among your top five themes, the fine points of those talents and how they are expressed vary a great deal from person to person: One of you may learn from reading several books each month, while someone else learns
primarily from doing, and yet another learns from an insatiable curiosity and Googles everything.
To help you think about your own talents at a more specific and individualized level, we have added more than 5,000 Strengths Insights in StrengthsFinder 2.0. Based on unique combinations of your individual item responses during the assessment, these insights will give you an in-depth analysis of how each of your top five themes plays out in your life. Unlike the shared theme descriptions from StrengthsFinder 1.0, which are the same for everyone, the descriptions in your StrengthsFinder 2.0 report will be customized to describe your personality.
To create these highly tailored theme descriptions, we compare all of your responses on these 5,000-plus Strengths Insights to our massive database and then build your theme descriptions based on what makes you stand out the most. Unlike your top five themes of talent, which are likely to overlap with people you know and serve an important purpose in providing a common language, the Strengths Insights are all about what makes you unique.
Once you have completed the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment, you will receive a comprehensive Strengths Discovery and Action-Planning Guide that includes:
Your top five theme report, built around the new Strengths Insight descriptions
50 Ideas for Action (10 for each of your top five themes) based on thousands of best-practice suggestions we reviewed A Strengths Discovery Interview that helps you think about how your experience, skills, and knowledge can help you build strengths
A Strength-Based Action Plan for setting specific goals for building and applying your strengths in the next week, month, and year
You also will find these resources on the new website:
An online option for customizing your strengths-based action plan
A strengths discussion forum A tool for creating customized display cards of your top five themes
A strengths screensaver with rotating descriptions and quotes for all 34 themes that you can download
A quick reference guide to strengths basics An overview and detailed summary of Gallup’s research on strengths- based development and the technical underpinnings of the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment
An overview of each of the 34 themes, including brief and full descriptions
A team strengths grid for mapping the talents of tho