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 »

One Person’s Common Sense Is Another’s Quantum Physics
Dec 27 2011

Bullet Train - China

How many times have you wondered why someone does not see what you see or get what you get?  How many times have people questioned you when you didn’t do something the way they might do it?  Just as you’ve wondered why certain people are clueless, people have probably wondered the same about you.

I’ve had the opportunity recently to take some career assessment tests.  They are like those tests you took in high school with a career counselor that told you that you should become a nurse, a teacher or you had no worthwhile skills at all.  Well fortunately or unfortunately, I happen to have some skills/talents but some of them seem to be opposing.  In other words, I have an unusual mix of abilities that can cause internal angst (surprise!).  Most of them label me as someone who can do multiple things (Jill-Of-All-Trades) or in other words…shudder…an entrepreneur.  This means I can be a geneticist, a trial lawyer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a recruiter, a coach/counselor, sports writer (I have no clue about professional sports) or even a barista at Starbuck’s as long as they let me rearrange the entire operations at the coffee shop.

I did the Kolbe Career Index A with business coach & friend Michelle Ewalt.  She gave me things to think about and questions to ask about potential career opportunities.  I did the Affini-T assessment with a new Austin company called Affintus, and that one tested my math problem solving skills that I’d half forgotten since taking Algebra many moons ago!  Earlier this year, I did the Strength’s Finder assessment.  All presented similar results but presented them in very different, unique ways.

I think the most important takeaway for me was that we are all so very different in how we view and approach the world, our responsibilities, and careers.  I have more understanding of someone when they don’t “get” how the things they do or say (or don’t do or say) can profoundly affect others, they don’t speak their mind, they can’t connect with people to form networks, or they get stuck and stay stuck instead of looking for alternative paths (common sense to me).  I hope to develop more patience with myself & others when I or they aren’t able to research something completely, execute to completion, or build a magnetic based bullet train (quantum physics to me – ouch that hurts my brain).  If we as parents and managers appreciated the differences and strength’s in people and let them do what they do best, we would create and build better, more sustainable businesses.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, networking | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Something wonderful is about to happy
Apr 17 2011

No, that’s not a typo.  The fortune from the cookie from Twin Lion Chinese Restaurant said “happy” not “happen.”  For those who have followed my blog for a long time, you may recall my numerous fortune cookie posts.   My last one was based on a fortune that said Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

It’s been quite some time (3 weeks) since my last post on the Strengths Finder book, which surprisingly garnered several comments.  Time has flown between work, kids, my consulting work, homework (my kids and mine), housework, planning the summer camp schedule, birthday party planning, taxes, driving, friends, food poisoning (not from Chinese food), attempting to sleep, oh and eating!

A couple of other fortune cookie fortunes I received are “Happiness is not a reward, it’s a consequence.” and “Financial prosperity is around the corner.”

So until I have a chance to post something of more substance, may something wonderful “happy” to you!

 

Author: | Filed under: Just For Fun, random stuff | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »