My partner Mike had a team building event at his workplace where his team all took the “Strengths Finder 2.0” test. He said it really helped him/them and he suggested I take the test too. I was more curious how he and I compared in our “top 5” but also thought it might help me understand how I might boost my enthusiasm/productivity for my current job.
The test is based on a concept of working within our own strengths, rather than wasting time on trying to become proficient in areas that are deemed weaknesses. It is indeed an interesting concept; one I was not willing to shell out $25 dollars for I’m afraid. Mike purchased the book for me because I was too cheap. So I took the test.
I was weirdly…disappointed?..in my results. They all seemed so uninteresting and to be absolutely honest I felt like they were… well…kind of pretentious and obnoxious. Wow. That felt good. Confession. You can take the girl out of the catholic church but you can’t take the guilt and persecution out of the girl.
So here they are:
- 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.” (My take: I can tell you what to do, but can’t do it myself.)
- Ideation: “People who are especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.” (My take: ooh, look at the bird!)
- Intellection: “People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.” (My take: all talk, no action and me, me, me, me!)
- Relator: “People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.” (My take: you need too much external approval.)
- Empathy: “People who are especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.” (My take: the person who secretly cries in the bathroom at work.)
Refer to: http://www.strengthsfinder.com/home.aspx for the real information and for photo credit. The snarky “My takes:”s are courtesy of me and are meant to be funny not offensive. Mike and I share some traits and he will totally get my humour here (I’m even spelling that Canadian and I’d like points please).
I had an initial recoil reading through this stuff. I remember being in my very early twenties and being put through all kinds of management classes in the corporate arena. There were so many “insightful” tests which were supposed to tell you who you were, what you were good at, and whether or not you were being utilized correctly in your team or management role. This system seems very similar.
Once you get your Top 5 you then read through a more involved description. After each description they ask you to highlight the phrases or sections that stand out to you. Then you are supposed to indicate what you most want people to see in, or recognize about, you. I actually found that pretty insightful. Those two things do not always match up and maybe that is a good way of getting in touch with what you value in…well, in life I guess.
Then the wonky part; they give you some action steps. Some of them are just a little over simplified. For example, one action item instructs, “Seek a career in which you will be given credit for and paid for your ideas, such as marketing, journalism, design, or new product development.” I mean, does anyone see the big giant problem with this? I’m not even sure I have the energy to articulate it.
All of that aside, it is interesting – and slightly, narcissistically, embarrassing – information to have. I’m just not sure what to do with it. It might end up in a drawer somewhere. Too Me-centric to throw out, but too Me-centric to wave around (the irony of writing about this is not lost on me). It got me thinking though. And I am going to try to do something productive with it. I hope.