Top Ten Talent Themes

The following is a report from my Clifton StrengthsFinder (CSF) assessment. It is one of many reports available when you take this assessment. I provide it as an example, and so that you can see the talents that I bring to an engagement with you.

Relator

Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships.  In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know.  You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people – in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends – but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends.  You are comfortable with intimacy.  Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship.  You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours.  You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk – you might be taken advantage of – but you are willing to accept that risk.  For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine.  And the only way to know that it is to entrust yourself to the other person.  The more you share with each other, the more you risk together.  The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine. These are your steps toward real friendship, and you take them willingly.

Relator Action Items

  • Find a workplace in which friendships are encouraged.  You will not do well in an overly formal organization.  In a job interview, ask about work styles and company culture.
  • Deliberately learn as much as you can about the people who you meet.  You like knowing about people, and other people like being known.  In this way, you will be a catalyst for trusting relationships.
  • Show people who you trust them and they will be more likely to trust others.  You can be an important role model in this area.
  • Let it be known that you are more interested in the character and personality of others than in their status or job title.  This is one of your strengths and can serve as a model for others.
  • Let your caring show.  For example, find people in your company to mentor, or help your colleagues to know each other better, or extend your relationships “beyond the office.”
  • No matter how busy you are, stay in contact with your friends.  They are your fuel.
  • Be honest with your friends.  True caring means helping the other person be successful and fulfilled.  Thus, giving honest feedback or encouraging your friend to move out of a role in which he or she is struggling is a caring act.
  • Forgive a close friend.  When someone lets you down, you take it seriously, and might become skittish about renewing the relationship.  Honor this reluctance, but don’t’ let it stop you from extending trust again.

How to Manage a Person Strong in Realtor

  • Tell this person directly that you care about her.  More than likely this language will not sound inappropriate and will be welcomed by her.  She organizes her life around her close relationships, so she will want to know where she stands with you.
  • She will enjoy developing genuine bonds with the people with whom she works.  These relationships take time to build, so don’t place her in a role that uproots her frequently from her colleagues and customers.
  • Help her know the goals of her colleagues.  She is more likely to bond with them when she knows their goals.
  • Trust her with confidential information.  She is loyal, places a high value on trust, and will not betray yours.
  • Ask her to build genuine trusting relationships with the critical people who you want to retain.  She can be one of the human ties that bind good people to your organization.
  • Pay attention to her other strong themes.  If she also shows strong evidence of Focus or Arranger or Self-assurance, she may have the potential to manage others.  Employees will always work harder for someone whom they know will be there for them and who wants them to succeed.  She can easily establish these kinds of relationships.
  • Generosity is often a talent of hers.  Draw attention to her generosity and show her how it helps her impact and connect with those around her.  She will appreciate your noticing, and thus your own relationship will be strengthened.

Strategic

The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route.  It is not a skill that can be taught.  It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large.  This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity.  Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened?  Okay, well what if this happened?”  This recurring question helps you see around the next corner.  There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles.  Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections.  You discard the paths that lead nowhere.  You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance.  You discard the paths that lead into a fog of confusion.  You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path – your strategy.  Armed with your strategy, you strike forward.  This is your Strategic theme at work:  “What if?” Select.  Strike.

Strategic Action Items

  • Take the time to fully reflect or muse about a goal that you want to achieve until the related patterns and issues emerge for you.  Remember that this musing time is essential to Strategic thinking.
  • You can see repercussions more clearly than others.  Take advantage of this ability by planning your range of responses in detail.  There is little point in knowing where events will lead if you are not ready when they do.
  • Talk with others about the alternative directions you see.  Detailed conversations like this can help you become even better at anticipating.
  • Trust your intuitive insights as often as possible.  Even though you might not be able to explain them rationally, your intuitions are created by a brain that instinctively anticipates and projects.  Have confidence in these intuitions.
  • When the time comes, seize the moment and state your strategy with confidence.
  • Find a group that you think does important work and contribute your Strategic thinking.  You can be a leader with your ideas.
  • Learn how to describe what you see “down the road.”  Others who do not possess a strong Strategic theme may not anticipate often or well.  You will need to be very persuasive if you are to help them avoid future obstacles, or to exploit the opportunities you have seen.
  • Partner with someone with a strong Activator theme.  With this person’s need for action and your need for anticipation, you can forge a powerful partnership.

How to Manage a Person Strong in the Strategic Theme

  • Position this person on the leading edge of your organization.  His ability to anticipate problems and their solutions will be valuable.  For example, ask him to sort through all of the possibilities and find the best way forward for your department.  Suggest that he report back on the best strategy.
  • Involve him in organizational planning.  Ask him, “If this happened, what should we expect?”  “If that happened, what should we expect?”
  • Always give him ample time to think through a situation before asking for his input.  He needs to play out a couple of scenarios in his mind before voicing his opinion.
  • Recognize this person’s strength in the Strategic theme by sending him to a strategic planning or futurism seminar.  The content will sharpen his ideas.
  • This person is likely to have a talent for putting his ideas and thoughts into words.  To refine his thinking, ask him to present his ideas to his colleagues or to write them for internal distribution.
  • When you hear or read of strategies that worked in your field, share them with this person.  It will stimulate his thinking.

Intellection

You like to think.  You like mental activity.  You like exercising the “muscles” of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions.  This need for mental activity may be focused; for example, you may be trying to solve a problem or develop an idea or understand another person’s feelings.  The exact focus will depend on your other strengths.  On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus.  The theme of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think.  You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection.  You are introspective.  In a sense you are your own best companion, as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound.  This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that your mind conceives.  Or this introspection may tend toward more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later.  Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.

Intellection Action Items

  • Consider beginning or continuing your studies in philosophy, literature, or psychology.  You will always enjoy subject matter areas that stimulate your thinking.
  • Thinking can be energizing for you, so schedule times for thinking.  Use these times to muse and reflect.
  • List your ideas in a log or a diary.  These ideas will serve as grist for your mental mill, and might yield valuable insights.
  • Take time to write.  Writing might be the best way to crystallize and integrate your thoughts.
  • Find people who like to talk about the same issues you do.  Organize a discussion group that addresses subjects of interest to you.
  • Deliberately build relationships with people you consider to be “big thinkers.”  Their example will inspire you to focus your own thinking.
  • Explain to others why you need your time for introspection.  Although it might seem to others that you aren’t doing anything, introspection allows you to refine your ideas; thus, for you it is productive behavior.
  • Allow others time to think through your new idea after you have presented it for the first time.  Realize that they might not immediately understand this new idea because they have not spent as much time as you have pondering it.

How to Manage a Person Strong in Intellection

  • Capitalize on the fact that thinking energizes this person.  For example, when you have a need to explain why something has to be done, ask her to think it through for you and then provide you with the perfect explanation.
  • Don’t hesitate to challenge her thinking.  She should not be threatened by this.  On the contrary she should take it as a sign that you are paying attention to her and be stimulated by it.
  • Encourage her to find a few long stretches of time when she can simply muse.  For some people pure thinking time is not productive behavior, but for her it is.  She will have more clarity and self-confidence as a result.
  • When you are faced with books, articles, or proposals that need to be evaluated, ask her to read them and give you a report.  She loves to read.
  • Have a detailed discussion with her regarding her strengths.  She will probably enjoy the introspection and self-discovery.
  • Give her the opportunity to present her thinking to other people in the department.  The pressure of communicating her thinking to others will force her to refine and clarify her thoughts.
  • Be prepared to partner her with someone strong in the Activator theme.  This partner will push her to act on her thoughts and ideas.

Ideation

You are fascinated by ideas.  What is an idea?  An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events.  You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are.  An idea is a connection.  Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection.  An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges.  You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle.  You love all these ideas because they are profound, because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary, because they are bizarre.  For all these reasons you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you.  Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart.  Perhaps you are all of these.  Who can be sure?  What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling.  And on most days this is enough.

Ideation Action Items

  • Seek work in which you will be paid for your ideas, such as marketing, advertising, journalism, design, or new product development.  Find work in which you will be given credit for your ideas.
  • Yours is the kind of mind that bores quickly, so make small changes in your work or home life.  Experiment.  Play mental games with yourself.  All of these will help keep you stimulated.
  • Seek brainstorming sessions.  With your abundance of ideas, you will make these sessions more exciting and more productive.
  • 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.
  • Discuss your ideas with other people.  Their responses will help you keep refining your ideas.
  • Finish your thoughts and ideas before communicating them.  Lacking your Ideation strength, others might not be able to “join the dots” of an interesting but incomplete idea, and thus might dismiss it.
  • Partner with someone with a strong Activator theme.  This person can push you to put your ideas into practice.  This kind of exposure can only be good for your ideas.
  • Partner with someone with a strong Analytical theme.  This person will question you and challenge you, therefore strengthening your ideas.

How to Manage a Person Strong in the Ideation Theme

  • This person has creative ideas.  Be sure to position her where her ideas will be valued.
  • She will be particularly effective as a designer, whether of sales strategies, marketing campaigns, customer service solutions, or new products.  Whatever her field, try to make the most of her ability to design.
  • Since she thrives on ideas, try to feed her new ideas that lie within the focus of your organization.  She will not only be more excited about her work but will also use these ideas to generate new insights and discoveries of her own.
  • Encourage her to think of useful ideas or insights that can be shared with your best customers.  From Gallup’s research it is clear that when a company deliberately teaches its customers something, their level of loyalty increases.
  • She enjoys the power of words. Whenever you come across a word combination that perfectly captures a concept, idea, or pattern, share it with her.  It will stimulate her thinking.
  • She needs to know that everything fits together.  When decisions are made, take time to show her how each decision is rooted in the same theory or concept.
  • On those few occasions when a particular decision does not fit into the overarching concept, be sure to explain to her that this decision is an exception or an experiment.  Without this explanation she may start to worry that the organization is becoming incoherent.

Maximizer

Excellence, not average, is your measure.  Taking something from below average to slightly above average takes a great deal of effort and in your opinion is not very rewarding.  Transforming something strong into something superb takes just as much effort but is much more thrilling.  Strengths, whether yours or someone else’s, fascinate you.  Like a diver after pearls, you search them out, watching for the telltale signs of a strength.  A glimpse of untutored excellence, rapid learning, a skill mastered without recourse to steps – all these are clues that a strength may be in play.  And having found a strength, you feel compelled to nurture it, refine it, and stretch it toward excellence.  You polish the pearl until it shines.  This natural sorting of strengths means that others see you as discriminating.  You choose to spend time with people who appreciate your particular strengths.  Likewise, you are attracted to others who seem to have found and cultivated their own strengths.  You tend to avoid those who want to fix you and make you well rounded.  You don’t want to spend your life bemoaning what you lack.  Rather, you want to capitalize on the gifts with which you are blessed.  It’s more fun.  It’s more productive.  And, counter-intuitively, it is more demanding.

Maximizer Action Items

  • Seek roles in which you are helping other people succeed.  In coaching, managing, mentoring, or teaching roles, your focus on strengths will prove particularly beneficial to others.  For example, because most people find it difficult to describe what they do best, start by arming them with vivid descriptions.
  • Devise ways to measure your performance and the performance of your colleagues.  These measures will help you spot strengths, because the best way to identify a strength is to look for sustained levels of excellent performance.
  • Once you have identified your own strengths, stay focused on them.  Refine your skills.  Acquire new knowledge.  Practice.  Keep working toward mastery in a few areas.
  • Develop a plan to use your strengths outside of work.  In doing so, consider how your strengths relate to the mission in your life, and how they might benefit your family or the community.
  • Study success.  Deliberately spend time with people who have discovered their strengths.  The more you understand how marshaling strengths leads to success, the more likely you will be to create success in your own life.
  • Make your weaknesses irrelevant.  For example, find a partner, devise a support system, or use one of your stronger themes to compensate for one of your weaker ones.
  • Explain to others why you spend more time building on strengths rather than fixing weaknesses.  Initially, they might confuse what you are doing with complacency.

How to Manage a Person Strong in Maximizer

  • This person is interested in taking something that works and figuring out ways to maximize its performance. She may not be particularly interested in fixing things that are broken.
  • Avoid positioning her in roles that demand continual problem solving.
  • She will expect you to understand her strengths and to value her strengths.  She will become frustrated if you spend too much time focusing on her weaknesses.
  • Schedule time to discuss her strengths in detail and to strategize how and where these strengths can be used for the organization’s advantage.  She will enjoy these conversations and offer many practical suggestions for how her strengths can best be used.
  • As much as possible, help her develop a career path and compensation plan that will allow her to keep growing toward excellence in her current role.  She will instinctively want to stay on her strengths’ path and thus may dislike career structures that force her off this path in order to increase her earning power.
  • Ask her to lead a task force to investigate the best practices within your organization.  She is naturally inquisitive about excellence.
  • Ask her to help design a program for measuring and celebrating the productivity of each employee. She will enjoy thinking about what excellence should look like in each role.

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 our faith is strong.  It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life’s mysteries.

Connectedness Action Items

  • Consider roles that ask you to listen and to counsel.  You can become adept at helping other people see connection and purpose in everyday occurrences.
  • Schedule time for meditation or contemplation.  Reflect upon: how your religious beliefs affirm your sense of connection to others; how your sense of connection gives you stability through your faith in people, the role of coincidences in your life.
  • Make a list of the experiences that support your sense of connection.
  • Explore specific ways to expand your sense of connection, such as starting a book club, attending a retreat, or joining an organization that puts Connectedness into practice.
  • Within your organization, help your colleagues understand how their efforts fit in the larger picture.  You can be a leader in building teams and helping people feel important.
  • Help those around you cope with unpredictable and unexplainable events.  In particular, you can help people find meaning in even sickness and death.  Your perspective will bring comfort.
  • Partner with someone with a strong Communication theme.  This person can help you with the words you need to describe vivid examples of connection in the real world.
  • Don’t spend too much time attempting to persuade others to see the world as a linked web. Be aware that your sense of connection is intuitive.  If others don’t share your intuition, rational argument will not persuade them.

How to Manage a Person Strong in the Connectedness Theme

  • This person will likely have social issues that she will defend strongly.  Listen closely to know what these issues are.  Your acceptance of these issues will influence the depth of relationship you can build with her.
  • She is likely to have a spiritual orientation and perhaps a strong faith.  Your knowledge and, at the very least, acceptance of her spiritual position will enable her to become increasingly comfortable around you.
  • Encourage this person to build bridges to the different groups in your organization.  She naturally thinks about how things are connected, so she should excel at showing different people how each relies on the others.  Properly positioned, she can be a team builder in your company.
  • She may be very receptive to thinking about and developing the mission of your organization.  She likes to feel part of something larger than herself.
  • If you are also strong in Connectedness, share articles, writings, and experiences with her.  You can reinforce each others focus.

Learner

You love to learn.  The subject matter that interest you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning.  The process, more than the content of the result, is especially exciting for you.  You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence.  The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered – this is the process that entices you.  Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences – yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes.  It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one.  This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential.  The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”

Learner Action Items

  • Seek roles that require some form of technical competence.  You will enjoy the process of acquiring and maintaining this competence.
  • As far as possible, shift your career toward a field with constantly changing technologies or regulations. You will be energized by the challenge of keeping up.
  • Because you are not threatened by unfamiliar information, you might excel in a consulting role (either internal or external), in which you are paid to go into new situations and pick up new competencies or languages very quickly.
  • Refine how you learn.  For example, you might learn best by teaching; if so, seek out opportunities to present to others.  You might learn best through quiet reflections; if so, carve out this quiet time.
  • Find ways to track the progress of your learning.  If there are distinct levels or stages of learning within the discipline or skill, take a moment to celebrate your progression from one level to the next.  If no such levels exist, create them for yourself (e.g., reading five books on the subject, or making three presentations on the subject).
  • Honor your desire to learn.  If you can’t fulfill this need at work, take advantage of the adult educational opportunities in your community.  Discipline yourself to sign up for at least one new academic or adult learning course each year.
  • Be a catalyst for change.  Others might be intimidated by new rules, new skills, or new circumstances.  Your willingness to soak up this “newness” can calm their fears and spur them to engage.  Take this responsibility seriously.

How to Manage a Person Strong in Learner

  • Position this person in roles that require him to stay current in a fast-changing field.  He will enjoy the challenges of maintaining his competency.
  • Regardless of his role, he will be eager to learn new facts, skills, or knowledge. Explore new ways for him to learn and remain motivated, lest he start hunting for a richer learning environment.  For example, if he lacks opportunities to learn on the job, encourage him to take courses that interest him at the local college or association.  Remember he doesn’t necessarily need to be promoted; he just needs to be learning.  It is the process of learning, not the result, which energizes him.
  • Help him track his learning progress by identifying milestones or levels that he has reached.  Celebrate these milestones.
  • In the same vein encourage this person to become the “master of trade” or “resident expert” in this field.  Arrange for him to take the relevant classes. Be sure to recognize his learning with the appropriate certificates and plaques.
  • Have this person work beside a master who will continuously push him to learn more.
  • Ask him to conduct internal discussion groups or presentations.  There may be no better way to learn than to teach others.
  • Help him secure financial support to continue his education.

Empathy

You can sense the emotions of those around you.  You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own.  Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective.  You do not necessarily agree with each person’s perspective.  You do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicament – this would be sympathy, not Empathy.  You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand.  This instinctive ability to understand is powerful.  You hear the unvoiced questions.  You anticipate the need.  Where others grapple for words, you seem to find the right words and the right tone.  You help people find the right phrases to express their feelings – to themselves as well as to others.  You help them give voice to their emotional life.  For all these reasons other people are drawn to you.

Empathy Action Items

  • Appreciate your gift for getting in touch with the thoughts and feelings of others.
  • Practice naming the feelings you experience and those you observe in others, and then help others name their feelings.  People who can name their feelings seem to work better with other people.
  • Build trust with others by letting them know that you know how they are feeling.
  • Help your colleagues be aware of the feelings of the persons with whom they work.
  • Identify a friend who has strong Empathy and check your observations with him or her.
  • Sometimes it is important to be silent.  You have the talent to, without talking; let other people understand that you know how they are feeling.  Over time, refine your non-verbal communication skills.
  • Act quickly and firmly if a person is behaving in a way that is unhealthy for that person or for those around him or her.  Understanding someone’s emotional state does not mean that you must excuse this behavior.  Be aware that when your empathy turns to sympathy, others might see you as a “bleeding heart.”
  • Partner with someone with a strong Command or Activator theme.  This person will help you to take needed action, even though people’s feelings might suffer as a result.

How to Manage a Person Strong in the Empathy Theme

  • Ask this person to help you know how certain people within your organization are feeling.  He is sensitive to the emotions of others.
  • Before securing his commitment to a particular course of action, ask him how he feels and how other people feel about the issues involved.  For him, emotions are as real as other, more practical factors and must be weighed when making decisions.
  • Pay attention but do not overreact when he cries.  Tears are part of his life.  He may sense the joy or tragedy in another person’s life more poignantly than even that person does.
  • Help this person to see his Empathy as a special gift.  It may come so naturally to him that he now thinks everyone feels what he feels, or he may be embarrassed by this strength of feeling.  Show him how to use it to everyone’s advantage.
  • Test this person’s ability to make decisions instinctively rather than logically.  He may not be able to articulate why he thinks that a certain action is right, but he will often be right nonetheless.  Ask him, “What is your gut feeling about what we should do?”
  • Arrange for him to work with positive, optimistic people.  He will pick up on these feelings and be motivated.  Conversely, steer him away from pessimists and cynics.  They will depress him.
  • When employees or customers have difficulty understanding why an action is necessary, ask him for help.  He may be able to sense what they are missing.

Futuristic

“Wouldn’t it be great if…” You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon.  The future fascinates you.  As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow.  While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests – a better product, a better team, a better life, or a better world – it will always be inspirational to you.  You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions.  When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you.  They can energize others, too.  If fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future.  They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits.  You can paint it for them.  Practice. Choose your words carefully.  Make the picture as vivid as possible.  People will want to latch on to the hope you bring.

Futuristic Action Items

  • Choose roles in which you can contribute your ideas about the future.  For example, you might excel in entrepreneurial or start-up situations.
  • Take time to think about the future.  The more time you spend considering your ideas about the future, the more vivid your ideas will become.  The more vivid your ideas, the more persuasive you will be.
  • Seek audiences who appreciate your ideas for the future.  They will expect you to make these ideas a reality, and these expectations will motivate you.
  • Motivate your colleagues with things that can be done in the future.  For example, include some Futuristic ideas in each of your group meetings, or write your vision for the future and share it with your colleagues.
  • Find a friend or colleague who possesses this theme.  Set aside an hour a month for “future” discussions.  Together you can push each other to greater heights of creativity and vividness.
  • When you have an opportunity to describe the future in a speech, an article, or a presentation, use as much detail as possible, because not everyone can intuitively fill the gaps like you can.
  • Partner with someone with a strong Activator theme.  This person can remind you that you do not discover the future; you create it with the actions that you take today.

How to Manage a Person Strong in the Futuristic Theme

  • When you have career conference or performance meetings with this person, keep in mind that she lives for the future.  Ask her to share her vision with you – her vision about her career, about our organization, and about the marketplace/field in general.
  • Give her time to think, write about, and plan for the products and services needed in the future.  Carve out opportunities for her to share her perspective in company newsletters, meetings or industry conventions.
  • Send her any data or articles you spot that would be of interest to her.  She needs grist for her futuristic mill.
  • Put her on the organization’s planning committee.  Have her present her data-based vision of what the organization might look like three years hence.  Have her repeat this presentation every six months or so.  In this way she can refine it with new data and insight.
  • Stimulate her by talking with her often about what could be.  Ask lots of questions.  Push her to make the future she sees as vivid as possible.
  • When the organization needs its people to embrace change, ask her to put these changes in the context of the organization’s future needs.  Have her make a presentation or write an internal article that put these changes in perspective.  She can help others rise above their present uncertainties and become almost excited as she is about the possibilities of the future.

Belief

If you possess a strong Belief theme, you have certain core values that are enduring.  These values vary from one person to another, but ordinarily your Belief theme causes you to be family-oriented, altruistic, even spiritual, and to value responsibility and high ethics – both in yourself and others.  These core values affect your behavior in many ways.  They give your life meaning and satisfaction; in your view, success is more than money and prestige.  They provide you with direction, guiding you through the temptations and distractions of life toward a consistent set of priorities.  This consistency is the foundation for all your relationships.  Your friends call you dependable.  “I know where you stand,” they say.  Your Belief makes you easy to trust.  It also demands that you find work that meshes with your values.  Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you.  And guided by your Belief theme it will matter only if it gives you a chance to live out your values.

Belief Action Items

  • Clarify your values by thinking about one of your best days ever.  How did your values play into the satisfaction that you received from your best day?  How can you organize your life to repeat that day as often as possible?
  • Don’t be afraid to give voice to your values.  This will help others know whom you are and how to relate to you.
  • Actively seek roles that fit your values.  In particular, think about joining organizations that define their purpose by the contribution they make to society.
  • Express your values outside of the workplace by volunteering for a hospital board or a school board, or by running for an elected office.
  • Actively cultivate friends who share your basic values.  Consider your best friend.  Does this person share your value system?
  • Partner with someone with a strong Futuristic theme.  This person can energize you by painting a vivid picture of the direction in which your values will lead.
  • Accept that other people might have values different from your own.  Having strong Belief does not equate with being judgmental.

How to Manage a Person Strong in the Belief Theme

  • This person will have a passion about something.  Discover her passion and tie it to the work to be done.
  • She will have some powerful permanent values.  Figure out how to align her values with those of the organization.  For example, talk with her about how your products and services make the lives of people better, or discuss how your company embodies integrity and trust, or give her opportunities to go above and beyond to help colleagues and customers.  In this way, through her actions and words, she will make visible the values of your organization’s culture.
  • Learn about her family and community. She will have made rock solid commitments here.  You will need to understand, appreciate, and honor these commitments, and she will respect you for it.
  • Realize that she may place more value on opportunities to provide greater levels of service than on opportunities to make more money.  Find ways to enhance this natural service orientation, and you will see her at her best.
  • You do not have to share this person’s belief system, but you do have to understand it, respect it, and apply it.  If you cannot apply her values to either your goals or your organization’s, you should perhaps help her find a different work situation.  Otherwise, major conflicts will eventually erupt.

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