Posts Tagged command and control

My top 5 strengths- redux

Posted by on Thursday, 17 January, 2013

gallup_top5Thanks to the wonders of the hive-mind, I’ve found a suitable solution to my prior post on my top 5 strengths and the difficulties I encountered when going to share them through a blog post. Previously, I’d been unable to locate any content that was shareable to provide context around my top 5 themes. From the strength finder site where I obtained my results, everything that provided this greater context and understanding of definitions was locked behind a paid and copyrighted report labeled unshareable by the terms of use.

Well, my friend and business partner @coreybowers came to the rescue and quickly located the definitions I was seeking. While still protected by copyright, I can now link off to each one in a publicly accessible way to provide that context to discussion that makes blog posts like this more relevant and valuable. I urge you to click-through and read the explanations for each term to help my own opinion and thought on the strengths become a bit more clear to you. Before I continue, I will say that I believe Gallup has some confused business strategies, or at best is not enabling the sharing of contextual information like it could from their strengths finder site and is hindering their business more than helping it. Sharing is caring, folks… make it easy to share and your content will spread. Make it difficult and only people like me who are bound and determined to share will find a (legal and ethical) way, the rest just won’t bother.

Without further ado, here are my previously identified strengths with definitions and context behind the links, and further discussion from my own perspective in the bullets below:

  • Relator: It is no surprise to me that this was the strength in the first slot. Interpersonal relationship have always been deeply critical for me and a source of nearly all of my success in business and in life. Because of this strength I am often asked my opinion, though I admittedly share it even before I can be asked in many situations. What really spoke to me, however, was the reliance on character and personality than status or job title, a trait I’ve carried with me long before I ever entered the corporate world, and one which while seen as a strength here has also likely cause me problems in advancement, or at least what others may see as problems. Sometimes labeled insubordination, I prefer to think of it as engaged discussion and collaboration between people who hold differing opinion. Still, one of my driving traits is the need and desire to help others succeed in their own goals, which is also one of the key points of this strength.

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  • Intellection: I’d be hard pressed to consider myself an intellectual, but this particular strength really calls out one of those traits in my personality that can be often misunderstood: my desire to think. Often that manifests in debate as I work to learn by talking through what I believe to be correct, and expect others to show me better ideas by supporting arguments with fact and information. As a Myers-Briggs INTJ/ENTJ, this strength also manifests during my introspective moments needed to either discover my own ideas or recharge from my more extroverted moments. While the thought process is indeed energizing at times, the constant din of thought does feel to me like constant audible conversation may feel to others. I also try to surround myself with people, friends, whom I consider smarter than I am, which also can manifest in misunderstood personality traits of others perceiving me to be haughtier than I am. Specifically I believe if I have figured out something, then surely everyone else has as well since I only surround myself with people who are smarter than I; an obvious flaw in an otherwise pleasing strength.

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  • Empathy: This is likely the one strength I may not totally agree with. I don’t think I have a talent for sensing other people’s feelings. Often I feel quite the opposite that I have no idea of what others are feeling or thinking. I do, however, think I have a good sense of being able to place myself in a consumer’s role and help see flaws in design or user experiences where others may not have thought about use cases I can see. Given the questions in the assessment, I think my business focus here skewed this result a bit towards more of a social personality trait than I actually exhibit, though I do agree that I can often hear the unasked questions and anticipate some level of need. The downside here is my inclination to not remain silent when at times I should.

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  • Command: The empathy strength noted I should partner with someone who has a strong command theme. I guess that means me 😉 The first line of this should sound very familiar to my friends, in that they all know I have little compunction with imposing my view on others. I never thought that would be seen as a strength! To me, this plays directly into my preference for open, honest, and transparent communication. And sometimes that does come off as intimidating, or so I’ve heard whisper of. Truly not my intent, but a side effect of combining a mild take-charge attitude with my inclination to use debate as a learning tool from my intellection strength. While I reel at the idea of being intimidating, holding back is even more damaging to me as I work to drive what I believe to be right.

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  • Deliberative: With empathy being the strength I doubt the most, Deliberative is the one I agree with the most. This one manifests itself as ‘negativity’ or being a ‘detractor’, when in reality it is just my strength at pointing out risks and mitigating factors that I don’t believe had been thought of. I can only smile in agreement when it is pointed out that this strength has me saying what I believe is correct regardless of potential impact upon my own reputation, all too true. In fact, it is the one instance where I likely don’t take the deliberative view and protect myself, but rather push forward for the right thing regardless of the risk to myself. And yes, I rarely dole out praise or recognition; another trait which has likely caused me issue professionally, but one I am aware of and have made deliberate strives towards changing.

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The Gallup Strengths Finder is $9.99 to take the assessment and unlock your top 5 strengths like I’ve shown above. With that you gain access to 3 reports containing similar but different information and organized for differing purposes such as action planning and full descriptions of each theme. You also gain access to their action planning tool and certificate generator. For an additional $89.00 you can unlock all 34 strengths and relative ranking which not only shows your top strengths, but your bottom strengths as well. From discussing the full report with others who have accessed theirs, it seems that the access to those bottom strengths can be just as beneficial and helpful as identifying your top 5. Personally, I’m not sold on the benefit to cost ratio of the full 34 report, but feel that the top 5 for only ten dollars was an expense well worth the professional improvement it could provide. If you opt to invest in yourself and open the top five report, I’d love to compare/contrast our results and learn more about each other.

 

My top 5 strengths; Or, how this was a completely different post until I went to write it

Posted by on Thursday, 17 January, 2013

gallup_top5Command and control attitudes and strategies don’t help protect you or you company. Instead they produce pain and frustration between your employees and clients, often to the point of causing them to simply give up and abandon the very task in which you want them to engage.

Case in point:

Today I was going to blog about my top 5 strengths as identified through the Gallup Strengths Finder assessment. I’d spent the $10 early last December to take the test and get my “custom” report based on my identified strengths. Having identified them, I was looking forward to blogging about them and what they mean, then moving on to how I can lead using my strengths. Instead, it seems Gallup is trying to prevent me from doing so. Because of their terms of use, I am wholly unable to post any of the descriptions of my 5 top strengths which renders any discussion or understanding of what these 5 terms mean to be completely irrelevant and any blog post to foster conversation a waste of time. Honestly, can you tell me what the 5 terms to the left actually mean?

I understand the need to protect intellectual property, but there comes a point when openly sharing the right information will lead to further growth and opportunity. Presently, the share and tweet buttons on their site will post my top 5 strengths as show to the left here, but the link provided takes the reader to a very generic home page where the only action a reader can take is to learn more about the overall program or purchase their own assessment. A pure marketing ploy if ever there was one. Without context and a bit more information to help the reader understand the value, I’d be shocked if Gallup ever sold a single license from this page.

Now, let’s imagine the same home page and same sales links, but with the simple addition of my top 5 identified strengths AND their descriptions. Now I have context and information to share that shows more value to you, perhaps even enough to prompt you to buy your own assessment based on how accurate you perceive mine to be (which by the by, appears to be quite accurate from my own perspective).  Simply allowing me to provide deeper context and meaning to my identified strengths would not only allow me to engage in good social conversation given a shared understanding of the terms, but it would ultimately help with Gallup’s marketing of the program by allowing it to be shared virally.

Instead, I am here telling you that my top 5 strengths were: Relator, Intellection, Empathy, Command, and Deliberative, but have no way to connect with you and show you how they really apply without breaking Gallup’s terms of service and explaining what they each mean. Rather than helping me be a great marketing vehicle for their program, they have instead made me a detractor providing negative social sentiment about the program and how it is overly controlled. (Ironically, my own Command strength has noting to do with command and control attitudes, but rather to do with taking charge of situations.)

People love taking tests like this and learning about themselves as evidenced by the glut of internet memes that are so similar in nature to these types of assessments. Imagine how different this post would have been had Gallup been just a bit more open and transparent with what they allow to be shared publicly. Their program inherently has a greater amount of trust and weight behind it given their reputation… even given the $10 price tag, I can imagine a far larger uptick in purchases would be seen if only potential customers could have some better understanding of the terms being shared by those who have taken the assessments already.

 

 *Update: 1-17-2013 at 1pm PST: Thanks to my business partner @coreybowers, it seems Gallup does indeed post the definitions elsewhere  causing more of a confusion of business strategies than outright command and control: http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/102310/clifton-strengthfinder-book-center.aspx and a PDF here: http://t.co/k6NACeRh
So, I may yet be able to make the post I’d intended to and provide some context to the terms. Time will tell as I investigate the possibility of sharing the information on either of those two sites.