Welcome back to the Global Experiences blog series on the four domains of human Strengths measured by the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment. We are proud to be using this highly-respected and world-renowned personal development tool for 5 years now. That means that over 2,000 young professionals have now discovered their Strengths while interning abroad! Meanwhile, over 18 million people have taken the assessment worldwide with the goal of empowering themselves to succeed!
Our partnership with Gallup Education to offer the assessment to every program participant has led Global Experiences to develop a reputation as the premier provider of International Internships and Career Readiness. Coupling knowledge of their Top 5 Strengths and professional coaching from Gallup certified Strengths coaches with the mentorship of their GE advisors, interns have the opportunity to see firsthand their best talents and skills in action in a customized global internship. Learning more about yourself and a potential career so that you can find the path you love faster is the foundationational mission of our organization.
This particular blog series delves into each of the four domains which organize the 34 different Strength themes. We have already discussed Relationship Building and Influencing strengths, and today you will learn about Executing. Stay tuned for the Strategic Thinking domain! It is always a good idea to develop a big picture view of the strengths and their domains so that you can not only capitalize on your own, but also enhance your understanding of your colleagues’ strengths. Teams who focus on strengths are more cohesive and productive. The Executing Strengths are known to help people “get things done”, and you will understand why soon enough!
Reflection Questions: What are your Top 5 Strengths? Which one is your favorite or the one that you feel personifies you the best?
The Important Balance of Gallup Strength Domains
Before we delve into several individual Executing strengths, it is important to keep in mind that a well balanced team will have individuals with strengths in each of the four domains. The different types of strengths interact with each other to ensure that the whole team and their projects are successful. There are things that you do uniquely and exceptionally better than others. Likewise, others do things better than you. Naturally, you need to play your part on any team that you are on. For example, Executors will get things done, but without Strategic Thinkers, they may be lost for a place to start, without a robust plan to achieve their goals. And, without Relationship Building they wouldn’t do it with others. Influencers will get heard, but without Executors they wouldn’t know what to speak about. When you have a better understanding of the four domains it will heighten your awareness of your need to partner with those who have strong Executing strengths when the need to get things done, with speed, precision, and accuracy is a top priority.
Learning Executive Strengths
To begin, individuals who possess Executing strengths enjoy and are talented at accomplishing tasks. They love to make lists of things to do and then cross those complete successes off of their list. When your talent themes are largely executing in nature, you are indeed highly task-oriented and are often concerned with practical things like budgets, systems, processes, rules, timelines, etc. You can always be depended upon to follow through and get the job done. The strength themes in this domain are Achiever, Arranger, Belief, Consistency, Deliberative, Discipline, Focus, Responsibility, and Restorative.
Reflection Questions: Which domain is most dominant for you? Least dominant? Are your colleagues aware of your talents and Strengths in your dominant domain?
Achiever Strength - Industriousness
Of these hard-working strengths, Achiever is actually the most common strength found in anyone who has taken the assessment. Achievers are master goal-setters with running lists of things they would like to get done in their heads and often on post-it notes around their workspace! Their to-do lists are often being added to so that they actually seem never ending. Achievers will also often work late into the night, “burning the midnight oil” to ensure a job is finished. Achievers are industrious and have incredible stamina, often being labeled workaholics. Indeed people are amazed at how much work they can get done and are bewildered by how they never seem to tire.
I have the Achiever strength as my 5th, and really put it into practice while in the role as Global Experiences’ London Program Director (Peep the picture above of my Fall 2013 London Interns and I!). When I began, there were 40 interns on the program, and when I left two years later there were 90. My goal was to not only grow the program, but at least double it. This required working around the clock with our employer partners to facilitate interviews and make the matches between the students and their internship hosts all in time before the program start date. It was a rush, and I believe that I actually gained more momentum as I accomplished more and more. Achievers are good at motivating others to accomplish more as well, which was evidenced in the organization and dedication of my teammates who worked on the London program. We were super industrious until each and every student was placed in their dream internship!
Responsibility Strength - Trustworthy
Responsibility is another Executing strength, and is the second most frequently found Gallup Strength. People who possess Responsibility feel psychological ownership over tasks and projects when assigned to them. They are committed to relationships, to work, to causes, etc., and this emotional bonds leads them to always follow through on their promises. If someone with Responsibility says they are going to do something, you can bet your house that they will do it. These individuals are known to be loyal, honest, and trustworthy.
Our Institutional Programs Manager, Kelly Holland embodies this Strength, and recently won the Global Experiences Core Value Award for “Accountability to All Stakeholders”. She sits squarely in the middle of our organizational chart and works with so many people from our university partners, enrollment coordinators, marketing team, and program advisors. In order for GE and our programs to function, she must stay very organized and cannot let any tasks fall through the cracks. It has been said that she requires very little management, which is a result of her belief in doing the right thing. Her high standard for work motivates others to similarly commit to excellence.
Restorative Strength - Problem Solvers
The Restorative strength is also very easy to recognize in others as they are the natural problem solvers of the group. They simply enjoy the challenge of analyzing a problem and generating solutions, which often seems to completely come out of nowhere to the rest of us. Instead of shying away from a difficult situation, people with Restorative jump right in. When something is broken, they actually see an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and this energized them to fix and improve things.
We had an intern with the Restorative strength who working in the fashion retail industry. She had a background sales and customer service and was quickly recognized by her supervisor as an efficient and productive worker who was very good at solving problems. On any given day, it was her job to greet and assist shoppers, oversee a given department, and rework the inventory, if needed. One day she found herself in the storeroom, where her manager and a coffee distributor were distraught. The representative responsible for presenting a new coffee maker would not be able to work that day. She quickly told her manager that she would fix this issue because she know that her manager had other things to worry about. And, she did! The supervisor was so impressed by this intern, that she wrote to us at Global Experiences praising her.
Deliberative Strength - Decision Making
The final Executing strength we will discuss today is Deliberative. These folks are very cautious individuals who walk through life with care, assessing each situation that presents itself along the way. You might think that their propensity to identify all risks first before taking action, holds them back from being effective doers, but in fact it is the contrary. They may sit quietly during an entire meeting, only to perfectly capture what needs to be done at the end. The time they take to identify, assess and reduce risk, helps them make excellent decisions. Once they make their choice, they will pursue the action steps with great stamina.
One Global Experiences architecture intern described his Deliberative strength in this way: “In regards to the coursework I have taken and my experiences abroad, I have been able to practice my hand drafting, work on AutoCAD, Sketchup, and Photoshop. I am a deliberative person, and excel in mitigating risks, double checking my work, and anticipating problems and challenges. This has helped me in my courses because I evaluate all of my options when reviewing situations and then choose and develop the best solution to the design problem.” As you can see, avoiding making common mistakes or missteps is a value. Their motto is making the correct decision is always better than making a quick decision.
Using Strengths Domains for Teamwork
In sum, looking more closely at each of the four domains of strengths can help to understand how your individual strengths interact with others’ and to build well-rounded, higher performing teams. When we know more what we do best, we can identify more readily how we can contribute to our team and find teammates who complement us. A Strengths-based approach has been proven by research to yield so many positive career outcomes, that it behooves each of us to become experts. After completing this blog series, you will be well on your way!