My Strengths


About a week ago, I got the results of the StrengthsFinder exercise conducted at the office for our team. While some of the results were somewhat expected, there were some insights which took me by surprise.

Just to give a brief backgrounder, Gallup, based on 25,000 interviews with high-performing executives, has developed a timed test geared towards identifying the core themes which dominate our personalities.

The tests are based on the premise that by the age of 15, these signature themes have already been hardwired into our psyches. Other skills can be acquired over time, but the individual will most likely not be able to turn them into strengths. It’s like musical talent. If I persevered and went to IO and Redbox everyday, I’d probably learn the basics of singing but I will never progress beyond the karaoke level.

Research has indicated that people learn, change, and improve the most in those areas of the brain that already have the strongest synaptic connections. Individuals who focus on their Signature Themes — their areas of greatest talent — have the best opportunity to build strengths and become more successful

The StrengthsFinder tool does not actually measure your strengths; instead it measures you against thirty four talent themes and then reveals your top five. These five themes explain how you engage with the world, and as such they are affirming for you and useful for those trying to deal with you. But these five themes are not your strengths. It is up to you to figure out how to take these themes and cultivate them into specific activities at which you excel, and for which you maintain a strong appetite to keep learning.

Talent + Knowledge + Skills = Strength

“Individuals gain more when they build on their talents, than when they make comparable efforts to improve their area of weakness.” (Clifton and Harter, 2003)

Talents are transformed into strengths through learning experiences, acquiring skills, critical thinking, reflection and acquiring knowledge. Discovering and capitalizing on a child’s strengths results in higher levels of motivation, greater personal satisfaction and an increased level of performance.

One of the more interesting insights that I brought away for the session was how to apply it to my personal life, particularly in Andre’s upbringing.

It would be great if we could get our kids and students to start thinking about their strengths early in life, and even better if we could provide them with teachers who know how to nurture them. The traditional methods of teaching do no apply. Andre and our succeeding (if ever) children will be raised to develop their multiple intelligence so that they will be able to focus on their strengths in order to gain success in their future lives. The tricky part will be finding the balance between academics and extra-curricular activities. =)

My Signature Themes:

1. 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.
Comment: I subscribe to the hypothesis of Six Degrees of Separation. The world is getting smaller and smaller and the barriers to travel and communication are breaking down. In recent months, I’ve been able to reconnect to long lost friends through a series of freaky incidents.

2. Input. People strong in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
Comment: Yup that’s me – the packrat repository of useless information. =) I still bow down to the Master – my Mom.

3. Intellection. People strong in the intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.
Com
ment: This is why I love the CSO-brats so much. Every get-together is an exploration of self and the universe. We still haven’t discovered the meaning of life but it sure makes for great conversations.

4. 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.
Comment: Ok lang is not good enough. There has to be a WOW factor.

5. 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.
Comment: I have many people who call me friend but only a select few whom I consider to be my friends. Yikes, snob daw. =) I guess a more politically correct way to phrase this would be to say that I place a very high value on the gift of friendship and do not take it lightly. We have precious little time to devote to anything in life – and friendships require time and attention.


Recommended
Readings:

  1. Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton
  2. First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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