Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I just completed the Clifton StrengthsFinder, part of the StrengthsQuest collection of self-assessment tools. My university recently purchased access to this skills inventory, and I was invited to give it a shot. Was it worth the time?

Certainly it's an interesting experience, rolling through 178 items, each composed of two distinct terms, with only 20 seconds per item to decide my relative preference for one term over the other. I tried to ignore the implications of each answer and stick with instinct.

Over the 20 minutes or so needed to complete the exercise, I recall changing less than 10-15 responses, even though quite a few items created a strange tension between choices. Harder still was the effort to avoid interpreting a pattern to the questions.

StrengthsQuest analyzed my responses and produced the following qualities, supposedly my top five. Friends who know me well won't be shocked, but I was surprised to find how much I am apparently drawn to the "life of the mind." My top five characteristics:
Input: People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.

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.

Learner: People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

Intellection: People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

Ideation: People who are especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
What's missing or under-developed, according to the assessment? Qualities like adaptability, competition, empathy, positivity, and something called "woo" (winning others over), among others - but that's typical; no one excels at everything.

I'm not yet sure what to do with this information, but I'm intrigued by the StrengthsQuest suite. At the very least, it's a useful way to recognize what I (may) bring to a group and where my weaknesses may be augmented by the strengths of others.

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