Strengths and Weaknesses – How They Impact Our Worlds
Dec 15 2014

I read and took the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment back in 2011, and what it told me my Top 5 strengths were seemed to make sense at the time, although I was surprised at what they call “Woo.”  I just joined a new company where strengths are valued, and I had the opportunity to take the assessment again, but this time it was the original version: Now, Discover Your Strengths(Amazon link). It’s a useful tool to help you understand yourself and others.

Interestingly, two of my Top 5 strengths changed from the last time I took it.  The two that dropped out were Strategic and Developer and the two that emerged were Includer and Arranger.  I was kind of sad to lose the the two I did, but I think I used every bit of my Strategic strength to survive the last 5 years of huge change and transitions so I had to discover other strengths to navigate uncharted waters.  I like the Includer strength description because I hate cliques and I love including as many people as I can in my professional and social life.  As many of us know, our strengths can also be our weakness and I’ve been known to communicate a lot, try to include people who may not want to be included, and try to arrange things and people who don’t really care to be arranged. :-)

Communication

You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write. This is your Communication theme at work. Ideas are a dry beginning. Events are static. You feel a need to bring them to life, to energize them, to make them exciting and vivid. And so you turn events into stories and practice telling them. You take the dry idea and enliven it with images and examples and metaphors. You believe that most people have a very short attention span. They are bombarded by information, but very little of it survives. You want your information—whether an idea, an event, a product’s features and benefits, a discovery, or a lesson—to survive. You want to divert their attention toward you and then capture it, lock it in. This is what drives your hunt for the perfect phrase. This is what draws you toward dramatic words and powerful word combinations. This is why people like to listen to you. Your word pictures pique their interest, sharpen their world, and inspire them to act.

Includer

“Stretch the circle wider.” This is the philosophy around which you orient your life. You want to include people and make them feel part of the group. In direct contrast to those who are drawn only to exclusive groups, you actively avoid those groups that exclude others. You want to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support. You hate the sight of someone on the outside looking in. You want to draw them in so that they can feel the warmth of the group. You are an instinctively accepting person. Regardless of race or sex or nationality or personality or faith, you cast few judgments. Judgments can hurt a person’s feelings. Why do that if you don’t have to? Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect these differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same. We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve.

Woo

Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don’t. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection. Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet—lots of them.

Connectedness

Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force. But whatever your word of choice, you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it. This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities. If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves. Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system. You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life’s mysteries.

Arranger

You are a conductor. When faced with a complex situation involving many factors, you enjoy managing all of the variables, aligning and realigning them until you are sure you have arranged them in the most productive configuration possible. In your mind there is nothing special about what you are doing. You are simply trying to figure out the best way to get things done. But others, lacking this theme, will be in awe of your ability. “How can you keep so many things in your head at once?” they will ask. “How can you stay so flexible, so willing to shelve well-laid plans in favor of some brand-new configuration that has just occurred to you?” But you cannot imagine behaving in any other way. You are a shining example of effective flexibility, whether you are changing travel schedules at the last minute because a better fare has popped up or mulling over just the right combination of people and resources to accomplish a new project. From the mundane to the complex, you are always looking for the perfect configuration. Of course, you are at your best in dynamic situations. Confronted with the unexpected, some complain that plans devised with such care cannot be changed, while others take refuge in the existing rules or procedures. You don’t do either. Instead, you jump into the confusion, devising new options, hunting for new paths of least resistance, and figuring out new partnerships—because, after all, there might just be a better way.

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Personality Types and Change Management
Oct 1 2012

Organizational alignment, managing change, and/or getting ready for company growth is not easy.  Companies who spend time addressing organizational health definitely have a competitive advantage.  One way to help assess health is to help management and everyone on the team understand their strengths and weaknesses.  I’ve written on this blog several times about self analysis and assessments from Strengths Finder 2.0 to career inventory tests to reading tons of articles fiction or non-fiction based.

One tool that many companies and business schools use is Myers-Briggs.  I have taken that assessment 3 times and each time I am an ENTJ.  I recently took it again as part of a management team exercise and my T was softer (probably due to the tons of heart related work I’ve done) and my J was stronger (probably because I’ve had to rely more on my planning skills with 2 kids, working full time, consulting part time, and attempting to work on my music).

Below is an infographic on Myers-Briggs Personality Type and Social Media Usage and here are some other interesting articles having to do with how people process decisions and change:

Ten Reasons People Resist Change

7 Social Psychology Studies to Help You Convert Prospects into Paying Customers

Making Choices: How Your Brain Decides

Author: | Filed under: diversity, entrepreneurship, singing, social media, social networks, twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Management Teams, MBA Monday’s, The Crucible
Feb 20 2012

Fred Wilson has been doing a very interesting series on Management Teams for the last several weeks on his blog.  It is part of his MBA Monday series and this section was on building and maintaining the management team. They just did a wrap up post called The Management Team – Guest Post By Jerry Colonna – The Crucible of Leadership.  It’s well written and gets to the heart of the matter of what makes the difference between good and great leaders and managers.  So much easier to say than do.  I feel like I’ve been through a Crucible and I hope that I’ll get an opportunity to see what I’ve learned about the topic and practice my leadership skills.  Empowering people and getting things done are near and dear to my heart and apparently seem to align to my strengths according to Strength’s Finder 2.0.

Bottom line is that we are all different.  We aren’t Steve Jobs or Bill Gates and we shouldn’t strive to be.  We need to find that place where our passions, skills, and opportunity come together. constantly look inward and then work on it until something happens.  We need to accept and stare our demons down as we can’t fight them because the more we do, the more they stick around to haunt us.  Surrender to the demons and they will surrender to you or leave you be is what Colonna mentions in his post.

Time Is The Undeniable Constraint and if you find that rare person who has put so much into looking inward then as I said in my recent post on Leadership, Management and Unicorns, try to get a front row seat to see how they do it.

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Strengths Finder 2.0
Mar 27 2011

I recently completed the test in Strengths Finder 2.0 which can be bought on Amazon for around $12 (StrengthsFinder 2.0 – Link to Amazon).  It was recommended to me by a long time friend who works at Texas Instruments.  His team took the test at his work so I bought it for our Operations/Admin team at my work since I thought it would be a fun way for us to understand each others strengths.  I really enjoyed reading the assessment it gave of me and my co-workers.

Following are my Top 5 strengths and brief description of each.  I wonder if these are typical of entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, technology entrepreneurs, or other professions.  I know that I enjoy having roles that are not fully defined and where I can try new things.  I thought these described me fairly well and it was nice to have a way to put in words some of my strengths.  It was eye-opening for me as I didn’t fully realize there were others who thought like me or articulated themselves like me, but when I read some of the quotes from people who had the same Top 5 strengths, I recognized myself in some of the things they said.

Strategic

People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.  “Chances are good that you periodically identify problems others fail to notice.  You might create solutions and find the right answers.  Perhaps you yearn to improve certain things about yourself, other people, or situations.”

Connectedness

People who are especially talented 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. “Driven by your talents, you occasionally sense you are part of something bigger or more important than yourself.  Maybe this conviction influences choices you make in life.  By nature, you may be guided by the notion that no one can live life without some help from others.”

Woo

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. “By nature, you may share a lot of information about yourself with certain people.  You might make individuals comfortable enough to candidly talk about themselves.”

Communication

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. “Instinctively, 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.  Chances are good that you may help others understand you as a person.”

Developer

People who are especially talented in the Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements. “Instinctively, you repeatedly go out of your way to support, inspire, motivate, or embolden various individuals.  You likely regard this task as worthy of your effort and time.  Driven by your talents, you inspire your teammates with words that bolster their confidence.  You repeatedly remind them they have the abilities needed to attain their goals.”

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