As part of a recent initiative at my institution, we are working to administer the Gallup StrengthsQuest assessment to all faculty, and all students over the coming years.
StrengthsQuest is a tool that provides you with the opportunity to develop strengths by building on what you do best – the way you most naturally think, feel, and behave as a unique individual. Over a secure connection, StrengthsQuest presents 177 questions to the participant. Each question consists of a pair of potential self-descriptors, such as “I read instructions carefully” versus “I like to jump right into things.” The descriptors are placed as if anchoring polar ends of a continuum. The participant is then asked to choose from the pair the statement that best describes him or her, and also to what extent that chosen option is descriptive. The respondent is given 20 seconds to respond to a given pair of descriptors before the system moves on to the next pair.
After completion of the inventory, the results are calculated and the participant is provided with a list of their Top 5 Themes based on their answers. You can review all of the potential themes here. It is believed that learning about these themes will help you excel in one’s personal, academic, and professional life by revealing ways to help capitalize on skills and talents that come naturally to them.
You can take the StrengthsQuest assessment by yourself for $9.99. Alternatively, you can purchase codes for a group or department…which is also $9.99 each.
In this post I’ll share the results of my StrengthsQuest report. I’ll also close some of my reflections on the experience at the end of this post.
My Strengths Insight Report
My top five themes are as follows. I also included information that was shared as part of my “insight report.” This is all copy/pasted from the report…I didn’t write it. 🙂
Strategic – People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
It’s very likely that you are known for your ease with language. This ability serves you well when you need to talk with newcomers or outsiders. Your vocabulary probably allows you to tell stories or express your ideas with great clarity. Chances are good that you select the right combination of words to convey your ideas or feelings. In the middle of discussions, your vocabulary provides you with precise phrases and terminology. You probably express yourself with ease and grace. Instinctively, you may generate numerous ways to enhance, upgrade, revise, correct, or revamp certain processes, action plans, or itineraries. Sometimes your suggestions influence how a project will unfold in the coming months, years, or decades. You might find fault with your own or another person’s talents, skills, or knowledge. To some extent, fixing people or things ranks in the top half of your list of favorite activities. By nature, you may see solutions before other people know there is a problem. You might start formulating answers before your teammates, coworkers, or classmates understand the question. Sometimes you generate numerous ideas before sorting to the one that makes the most sense in a particular situation. Because of your strengths, you may feel wonderful when people value your innovative ideas. Perhaps you help them envision what can be accomplished in the coming months, years, or decades.
Futuristic – People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.
By nature, you invest considerable time creating the future of your own choosing. You frequently share your ideas about what will be possible in the coming months, years, and decades. You probably capture people’s attention whenever you describe in vivid detail what you imagine. Driven by your talents, you periodically devote your energy, intellect, or time to making improvements in yourself or in what you do. Perhaps you concentrate on your shortcomings. Maybe you feel this approach increases your chances of reaching certain goals in the future. Chances are good that you occasionally work seriously at something when you have defined the specific objective you want to reach in the near term or the long term. Remember, your other talents might influence how far into the future you can push certain goals and still give them your undivided attention. Because of your strengths, you sometimes yearn to know more about the thoughts of certain visionaries. Perhaps in their presence you begin to see how some of the inventions and ideas they propose might affect your life. Instinctively, you periodically envision what you can accomplish tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, or in the coming decades. Your goals and aspirations might motivate you to keep moving forward. Perhaps the tension you feel if a deadline is fast approaching forces you to concentrate on the right activities, discard irrelevant information, or not waste time on intriguing distractions. Your one aim might be reaching your objectives.
Ideation – People who are especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
Driven by your talents, you sometimes are sensitive to what certain individuals think of you. This sensitivity might motivate you to do certain things better than you have in the past. By nature, you occasionally figure out how to get ahead and stay ahead of others. You usually generate more new ideas than anyone else in the group. Sometimes your brainpower gives you the advantage you need to succeed. Because of your strengths, you may have a knack for generating innovative ideas for
certain types of projects. Perhaps you are attracted to endeavors in which things need to be made better or upgraded. Instinctively, you sometimes are aware of the views specific people have of you. This partially explains why you keep expanding your vocabulary to include elaborate terminology and complicated words. You might argue that your use of language causes certain individuals to think well of you. It’s very likely that you occasionally contrive innovative ideas. Perhaps the art of invention stimulates your mind. You may spring from one original thought to an entirely different one. Now and then, you find ways to link two or more unique concepts.
Restorative – People who are especially talented in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.
By nature, you may help others understand you as a person. Occasionally this involves revealing some of the things you would like to do better, more completely, or more perfectly. Driven by your talents, you occasionally wait for situations or problems to arise, rather than plan in advance. If something or someone unexpectedly blocks your progress, you might easily find ways to adjust. Perhaps sudden changes force you to consider upgrades or tactics you had not thought of earlier. Chances are good that you spend some of your time examining problems, malfunctions, or glitches. If you experience a personal or professional loss, make a mistake, or suffer a defeat, you might investigate. Perhaps you feel restless until you have answers to your basic questions: What? How? When? Where? Who? Why? It’s very likely that you periodically think about what you need to upgrade or do better. What you discover may help you determine the number of things you can handle simultaneously. Perhaps you produce some of your finest results when you have more than one thing to do. Instinctively, you sometimes ponder what you could do better. You may find some new ways to deliver on the commitments you have made to certain individuals. Perhaps keeping promises is one way you might enhance the quality of your work.
Activator – People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
By nature, you might pause to celebrate some of the accomplishments and successes of individuals or groups. You may compliment them. Your enthusiasm may energize people and make them eager to tackle the task at hand. Perhaps you say or do things that re-invigorate their minds, bodies, and spirits. Because of your strengths, you may find that you easily energize people. You might be determined to generate enthusiasm about projects, events, or activities. Driven by your talents, you periodically issue direct orders to certain individuals. Some may feel you are overstepping the bounds of your authority or are being a bit bossy. Perhaps this is just your way of influencing some people to apply their time or energy to the task at hand. Chances are good that you might generate in your friends some of your passion for moving ideas from the talking stage to the action stage. Perhaps your dedication to projects rallies individuals to work alongside you. It’s very likely that you may want people to like you. This partially explains why you speak candidly about yourself. Perhaps you are willing to risk being vulnerable now and then.
Reflection on my report
I reviewed the results of my StrengthsQuest assessment with a group of academics in small groups and as such, there was plenty of critique as we discussed the tool. Our first responses all centered on the validity and reliability of the assessment. Many of my colleagues indicated that the results were no better than a horoscope.
We then spent some time close reading the report I shared above and highlighting specific lines or details that resonate for us. Our facilitator indicated that the tool prepares individual reports for each person. In reading through my report, I identified a lot of elements that were dead on in detailing my personality and behaviors. It also provided some good laughter as I reviewed the details with my Wife that night.
I’m not sure how I would use this information in an instructional context. As this initiative continues, as course instructors we will be able to utilize this data set at the individual and group level. I’m not sure how much I’ll factor in how these strengths are spread across my group of students. I think professional development is needed to help instructors identify ways to teach and assess using this information.
My key takeaway from this assessment and the data provided focused on getting to know myself a bit better. In my classes, I indicate that assessment is primarily to provide feedback on the instructor. I reviewed the five identified themes and thought about the ways in which these behaviors might support/challenge colleagues and students in my classes. According to our facilitator, these are meant to be strengths and we need to be aware of them, and maximize their potential.
I’ll post these five themes on my office door, and have asked that my colleagues share theirs as well. I’m also sharing this information here on my blog as a way to share more insight into my workflow and processes. Please consider sharing your insights as well.
Also published on Medium.