"We are so much more than we think we are." – Kate Maloy
At some point in each person’s journey to mature their talent themes into strengths, the question invariably comes up, "Which talent themes do I need to be successful?"
That's actually a very easy question to answer. But to set the stage, we should define terms:
Talent: The naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling, and behavior that can be productively applied
Strength: The use of talents to achieve consistent excellence (strengths can be viewed as maximized talents)
Now let me be more specific. Which StrengthsFinder talent themes do I need to be successful?
This question reflects the age-old mentality, “If success seems to elude me, I must be missing something. So let me identify that and figure out how to get more if it.”
That idea, though it may sound logical, runs counter to strengths-based development. Rather than identify what’s wrong with us and then spend our time trying to remediate our weaknesses, Don Clifton espoused the positive psychology that would have us scientifically identify and study what is right about ourselves. He further asserted that individuals gain far more when they build on their greatest talents.
The Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment is used as a starting point for self-discovery. It identifies our top five (out of thirty-four) talent themes. It is in these “Signature Themes” that the greatest potential for our distinctive success lies. And while we may all suffer from "talent envy" from time to time, wishing we had a different talent theme in greater intensity, the answer to our opening question remains profoundly simple:
Q: Which talent themes do I need to be successful?
A: The ones you have.
Each of us possesses unique talents that, when developed, can be true super powers. By honing your talents into powerful strengths, you can achieve things that no one else can.
Jeremy Hart is the director of IT Professional Effectiveness at the First American Corporation. He has more than a decade of hands-on experience implementing best practices in a Fortune 500 financial organization. In 2013, Jeremy founded the IT University at First American and has instituted numerous initiatives to ensure the IT staff have the skills needed to meet the ongoing needs of the business.