One of the things I like most about the results from the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test is “Ideas for Action” section. This section gives you specific things you can do with each of the five personalized leadership themes that the test reveals. You might already be taking some of the action steps, and some of them might seem beyond your power at first, but you have to remember that they are suggestions based on your strengths. I think it’s important to at least pick a couple to work on at first, and I’d like to share a few of the action steps that I plan to work on from the results of my most recent test.
- You are likely to anticipate potential issues more easily than others. Though your awareness of possible danger might be viewed as negativity by some, you must share your insights if you are going to avoid these pitfalls. To prevent misperception of your intent, point out not only the future obstacle, but also a way to prevent or overcome it. Trust your insights, and use them to ensure the success of your efforts.
- Help others understand that your strategic thinking is not an attempt to belittle their ideas, but is instead a natural propensity to consider all the facets of a plan objectively. Rather than being a naysayer, you are actually trying to examine ways to ensure that the goal is accomplished, come what may. Your talents will allow you to consider others’ perspectives while keeping your end goal in sight.
Sometimes I feel like people think that my tendency to bring up possible obstacles is just may way of trying to get out of a certain project. I need to learn to share solutions to the problems I see instead of just pointing out the problems.
- Make sure that you are involved in the front end of new initiatives or enterprises. Your innovative yet procedural approach will be critical to the genesis of a new venture because it will keep its creators from developing deadly tunnel vision.
Often times I am just given a project and I have to make it work the way someone else envisions it. While this is no problem for me, it would be a lot easier if I were a part of the planning process too. Interestingly, when I start a project on my own I try to plan ahead, but when assigned a project I tend to work out the process as I go.
- As an achiever, you relish the feeling of being busy, yet you also need to know when you are “done.” Attach timelines and measurement to goals so that effort leads to defined progress and tangible outcomes.
This sounds like the A.D.D. in me. If I’m not doing something or I don’t have something occupying my mind, I get bored or antsy. At the same time, open-ended projects tend to be left unfinished. Timelines and specific goal points would definitely help me get things done.
- Your drive for action might cause you to find meetings a bit boring. If that’s the case, appeal to your Achiever talents by learning the objectives of each meeting ahead of time and by taking notes about progress toward those objectives during the meeting. You can help ensure that meetings are productive and efficient.
I definitely find meetings to be quite boring at times. Now it makes sense to me why I might enjoy the same meeting if I were leading it because I would have the agenda laid out and know exactly where it is headed. If I get the agenda ahead of time and take notes, I’ll be less tempted to pull out my iPhone and start playing games during meetings (That doesn’t mean that’s what I do during boring meetings).
- Continue your education by attaining certifications in your area or specialty in addition to attending conferences and other programs. This will give you even more goals to achieve and will push your existing boundaries of accomplishment.
I like this one a lot because I’ve wanted to continue my education for a while now. I have a yearning to constantly be learning new things. I never really thought of continued education as a way of creating more goals though. If I can’t create new goals, I think I’d become stagnant and just maintain the status quo.
- Actively seek roles that fit your values. In particular, think about joining organizations that define their purpose by the contribution they make to society.
I think this is why I have often thought about other jobs I could have. It’s not that I don’t like where I am or that I think I would be better at something else, but it’s about passions that stem from my values. I could creatively connect what I am doing now to my values, but there are other roles that seem to match more. One of the things that has made me realize that this is the right place for me right now is the fact that I value great leadership, and I am in a role under great leadership.
- The meaning and purpose of your work will often provide direction for others. Remind people why their work is important and how it makes a difference in their lives and in the lives of others.
I am in a place of leadership over volunteers who are behind the scenes. It can be easy to lose focus on why we do what we do in the production world. By reminding my volunteers of the difference that they are making in the lives of those who come to our church, I can possibly rekindle or even start a passion in the hearts of those that are serving with me.
- Set aside time to ensure that you are balancing your work demands and your personal life. Your devotion to your career should not come at the expense of your strong commitment to your family.
Balance has always been difficult for me. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but it still requires a god bit of effort on my part.
- Don’t let others abuse your inherent flexibility. Though your Adaptability talents serve you well, don’t compromise your long-term success by bending to every whim, desire, and demand of others. Use smart guidelines to help you decide when to flex and when to stand firm.
Before working on this one, I need to understand what “smart guidelines” are. This is where having a good mentor can help. I like being flexible, but it can be wearing. Knowing how to choose my battles would help bring balance.
- Look to others for planning. People who have strong Focus, Strategic, or Belief talents can help you shape your long-term goals, leaving you to excel at dealing with the day-to-day variations.
Strategic and Belief talents are two of my other top five. Does that mean that I should look to myself for help with shaping my long term goals? If that’s all I needed to do, I would have my goals all planned out already. I’ve always known that I’ve had a struggle with time management, even though strategy is one of my strong suits.
- Avoid tasks that are too structured and stifle your need for variety. If given a list of tasks to complete, try to indulge your desire for flexibility by making a game of that list. See if you can be creative or make the tasks more fun in some way.
Most of my structured tasks are short and easy to complete. When I have a lot of structured tasks to complete, I tend to work on more than one at a time to keep variety in my tasks. It helps to be on the kind of team that I am on where there is no shortage of variety.
- Finish your thoughts and ideas before communicating them. Lacking your Ideation talents, others might not be able to “join the dots” of an interesting but incomplete idea and thus might dismiss it.
- Not all your ideas will be equally practical or serviceable. Learn to edit your ideas, or find a trusted friend or colleague who can “proof” your ideas and identify potential pitfalls.
This is a huge point that I need to work on. Inspiration often sparks my imagination and I tend to want to share those ideas with everyone before they are full developed. It’s no wonder that many of my ideas never get past the idea stage. If I spend the effort to develop my ideas better, chances are that I will be able to recognize when they are more likely to succeed.
- Schedule time to read, because the ideas and experiences of others can become your raw material for new ideas. Schedule time to think, because thinking energizes you.
I used to hate reading. I would do anything else, but picking up a book seemed too much like work. Recently, I have begun to enjoy reading, but I still struggle to make time to do it. I guess that’s where the scheduling comes in.
There are so many other action steps throughout each of my StrengthsFinder themes that I feel like I need to take. These are just a few that I am going to start on. If You haven’t taken a StrengthsFinder test, I would encourage you to pick up a StrengthsFinder 2.0 book and take the test. You won’t regret it. There’s also still time to comment on my last post for a chance to win a free copy of the book, including a code to take the test!
Results, insights, and Ideas for Action taken from my StrengthsFinder personalized results report, © 2000, 2006-2012 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.