Saturday, August 8, 2009

Strengths Quest Saturday: The Tortoise and the Hare

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November 2007, we moved into a house I had never stepped foot in and that did not have a pool.  It was part of my strategy.  I've never been completely hung up on what house I live in, because I've always felt that home is what you make it, not so much about bricks and mortar.  A pool though, is an amenity I knew I did NOT want in my house.  Two kids under five made the idea of a pool far more work (and stress) than it could ever be worth. 

Richard, on the other hand, grew up in Miami and considers a pool as essential as a refrigerator or, more appropriately, locks on your doors.

My strategy... concede on the house unseen, in a location Richard wanted, but stand my ground on NO pool.  That was November 2007.  Remember, my StrengthsQuest themes are: Strategic, Focus, Achiever, Input, and Ideation.

August 3, 2009, 1:00 p.m. Robertson's Pool Service was measuring our backyard and working up an estimate for a pool installation.

Have I mentioned what my husband's themes are?  Richard's themes are: Competition, Strategic, Command, Communication, and Significance.  Apparently he had a strategy all his own.  Get me in the house of his liking, let me experience summers of 100+ degree days, and give the kids time to grow up and learn to swim.  Then, revisit the notion of a pool.

It's true.  The idea of a pool is looking better these days than it was almost two years ago.

Here's where the fun of StrengthsQuest comes in...

Remember... the beauty of StrengthsQuest is understanding the unique combinations of our strengths and how those combinations influence the way we go about living life.

Combine Strategic, Input, and Ideation.  Here's what it looks like.  Mill over the idea of a pool for a long time.  Slowly warm up to the possibility.  Mill some more.  Begin developing a strategy for the who, what, where, when, and why.  Peruse brochures to get ideas about pool selections, gather information to understand the ripple effect this will have on landscaping in our backyard, invite a landscaper to our house for his/her insights, discuss and develop a savings plan, consider and reconsider whether a pool is a good idea after all.  My emphasis?  A strategic plan based on ideas (ideation) and information (input).

Combine Richard's Strategic with Command.  Here's what it looks like.  Hear "pool" uttered from Claudia's lips.  Promptly call three pool companies in two days to provide estimates.  Arrange financing through Dawn at Citibank.  The emphasis here is on strategically spotting an "in" and immediately taking charge (command). 

I'm counting on my achiever theme and his communication theme to get us through this one.

So how about you?  Remind us of what your five themes are and then tell us... 

What's going on in your house, or with your friends, these days?  What influence do you see your StrengthsQuest themes having on the course of things?

Also, let's welcome our resident experts, Jess, Melissa, and Marcy.  They are all back from vacation and will hopefully check in sometime Saturday and/or Sunday.  

I'll check back...


Heather said...

The timing of our StrengthsQuest Saturdays is somewhat uncanny because we just did StrengthsQuest on Wednesday at our division retreat.
My strenths? I share 2 with Richard and we have the same Myers Briggs type...Claudia, I still swear we are married to the male version of each other. Nevertheless mine are Communication, Competition, Adaptability, Includer and WOO.
How do these play out?
I'll have to leave you hanging because I hear Lily crying for me from her crib...sorry.

Kat said...

I have to be brief this morning, but this is what I came up with.
We are still getting used to living many hours away from all family and settling into our community (building relationships). My first way of dealing with all of this was to try to find a church that we love. Church is very important to my husband and I, plus we knew that we could find like minded people there to form new connections with. It think that this is where my Connectedness comes in. It has been a slow process and now that I know that one of my strengths is Individualization, it make so much more sense. I tend to make one friend at a time and really invest in them. Responsibility and Deliberative have come into play when looking for other connections within our community. I really feel the responsibility to find friends for Max to play with and try to figure out how to make that happen. I go to the park, library, or other "kid" places specifically looking for parents and kids that we might click with. It's like dating all over again! I don't know how Input plays a role in all of this, but it is very interesting to see how my strengths have helped me find my place in our town.

Kat said...

Ok, maybe that wasn't so brief!

Claudia said...

Nice analysis, Kat. Richard and I have moved a fair amount and we maintain that it takes about three years to really feel like you belong in a place.

if your Input plays a roll at all, maybe it is your instinct to scan your community for involvement opportunities. I'm wondering if you learn about opportunities and then weigh the pros and cons before jumping in and participating. Input + Deliberative.

Cheryl said...

I am Adaptablility, Empathy, Positivity, Consistency, Developer.

There's not a whole lot of change going on in my life right now which could be due to my Consistency but that's not to say that there are constantly changes going on at work, at home, with friends. I think that my Adaptability and Positivity work hand in hand in my life because though sometimes change isn't easy it is inevitable and I usually find the good in it.

Let's see... I can empathize with Richard wanting a pool in Texas. It was a MUST HAVE in my house search 2 years ago. I've only lived in my house for 2 years! I feel like I've lived here forever. What I'm having trouble visualizing is CLAUDIA!!!! uttering the words pool in her backyard when she can't stand to be in a bathing suit oh! but wait... One of my reasons for wanting a pool was that I could be in my bikini and not care what anyone else thought because 99% of the time it's just me and my boys! Is that Empathy?

Peggy said...

Top 5 themes :

I'll focus on Responsibility and family today. Having a 16 year old learning to drive is a constant for practicing what I preach, being accountable for your results... if we don't practice with him and teach him HOW TO DRIVE correctly, he will not learn how to drive properly, thus becoming another idiot on the road who tailgates, doesn't use turn signals and runs red lights!

Having 2 high schoolers is a constant test to my strengths. As a teen, I was given more responsibility as I showed that I could accomplish it, it highlights the value of honesty and loyalty that I hope to give my children.

PS: I agree with Claudia... it takes about 3 years in a new place to find where you belong... it's been three years, this time around, I feel like moving on ...

Chaotic said...

Connectedness, Relator, Arranger, Stategic, Input

My house is open to all. When we purchased it (almost) 2 years ago, I wanted a place where I felt at home AND a place where my friends would feel at home, feel Connected. I’d never had that place so it was time. The Relator brings in my friends from various backgrounds and times of my life and the Arranger is how I blend those different friends into a united & cohesive circle. The Input & Strategic strengths work together to help me take a little bit of everything and mix it all into something that works for everyone. I was told my ‘talent’ is to bring people together from all sorts of backgrounds by giving them a particular common thread and then weaving them into one group working for a common goal.

Right now, we are gearing up for our 17th annual festival in the Hill Country. I use my strengths to get women involved in the planning and behind the scenes work, pulling them in based on what I know they can do. I facilitate our weekly meetings because I can keep them pointed in the direction we intend (rather than wandering off-topic). I get women interested in coming to the Festival by showing them the part of it that will interest them, knowing other things will as well, once they get there. Opening minds is a huge thing for me… I want everyone to try everything, at least once.

maureen said...

OK so I dont have the book YET! I guess today is as good a day as any to get my rear over to Barnes and Nobles and get one LOL

Claudia.... I must say that having a pool since birth it was more important to me to have one in my yard than grass LOL

It has kept my kids together summer after summer when all the others were at summer camp. They played for hours in the pool and we as a family thoroughly enjoyed it... Now that they are older it isnt used as much but when it is you hear nothing but laughter and giggles LOL

Have a great day HLA and I WILL get my book today!

heather said...

Okay I'm back after tending to Lily, a quick breakfast and a 7 mile walk.

My strengths played out today "competition" everything in my life is a competition with myself so I HAD to do longer on the walk than we had before and I LOVE to talk to people, work with people hang out with people so when I saw the signs for the walkers club that meets every weekend day I thought Bal and I should do it.

Claudia said...

Oh, Maureen.. I hope you do get the book. I will be very curious to see what you top five themes are.

Also, Brian... you mentioned you were going to get the book. I am anxious to hear about yours as well.

Our greatest strengths, when taken to an extreme, can become a limitation. Can anyone see that playing out in their family, with one of their themes?

BeeKayRoot said...

So, I bought my book two days ago, just took the test and my results are:

My Top 5 Strengths

Obviously, the biggest thing in my life right now is my upcoming move to Virginia. It's the first time in my entire life that I'll have lived outside of western Pennsylvania.

I need to think about this some more in terms of applying these themes to what's goin on in my life right now. It's deep stuff!

Claudia said...

Congratulations again, Brian,on your move to Virginia. It will be a terrific adventure and in such a cool part of the country.

On the face of it, it seems your adaptability will come in great handy as you get acclimated to a new place.

Anyone else want to weigh in? Knowing what you know about moving to a new place, how can Brian use his strengths to make his transition as smooth as possible?

Katie K said...

Brian, I feel like a great deal of your strengths will help you with this new move. I wish I had more of an arranger skill in me right now...just in terms of physical arrangement of my apartment! With the arranger strength you "can organize, but you also have the flexibility that complements this ability. You like to figure out how all the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity." I think this will not only help you with a new living arrangement, but also finding your place within a new staff.

You are also a developer and "they spot the signs of small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements." I think you will fit well in a new office and bring a fresh perspective to an office. You will develop it with your strength, but also have the other strengths to be adaptable to others ideas as well.

I think you are well suited for your move.

Katie K said...

As for strenghts are:

My major change going on right now is that my new student staff just arrived last night and today is our first day of training together. I feel like I am doing a much better job this year than I did last year with my staff. I think this is in part because I have spent some time focused on my strengths over the past year. My top strength comes out as learner and I agree 100% with that. It also works perfectly for me with a new group of students. I am learning about them, both personally and in their job as a RA. I am learning how I will cater my supervision style to meet their needs. I am learning what programming styles they will take with their residents, etc.

At the same time, for me, I take great responsibility in making sure they are trained correctly and will perform well in their role as RA.

Speaking of which, I'm off to some more training sessions! Happy weekend, HLA!

Robin said...


We're just home form vacation. The kids had fun. I enjoyed watching them but I'm not sure you could call what I did fun.

My life is in turmoil at the moment, a great cross roads, to make it sound a bit more romantic and exciting.

I guess my ability to see ppl as individuals is good when it comes to the kids and forming strategic alliances. Though I am also impatient. I get upset when people don't want my pairings, specifically my kids. I keep thinking, 'I put THOUGHT into this... these are not random assignments!' My husband would just haphazardly through everyone in a plane and not think about it. I want to consider who will be frightened and need support and who might need assistance and who can provide it...

It's all so frustrating these days. I can't wait to pick a fork and move on...

maureen said...

I just took the test and heres my results


I wasnt really surprised by any of them. I do however feel my strongest theme is responsibility and my weakest is achiever.

I think that I have the biggest problem with the Harmony theme. I try so hard to make everyone happy with each other here at home that I sometimes downplay things that I shouldnt just to keep peace. I feel like certain lessons arent necessarily being learned by my kids because I try to create harmony instead of letting them figure things out for themselves.... OH well I guess one day I will get a grip on it.

Claudia, knowing me all these years I dont think you will find any of these themes a "surprise"..... or do you?

Have a good day HLA

Mel said...

Positivity, Adaptability, Arranger, Achiever, Responsibility

Because your strengths are pieces of you, in all you take one, whether big or small, your strengths will come in to play. Even things as small as waking up on time for work or as large as buying/remodeling at house, your strengths are with you.

For those maybe not reading the book, a strength is a combination of talent, knowledge, and skills. You were all born with some talent in the areas surrounding your themes. Through the years and your many experiences, you have gained knowledge and skills in these areas and viola, you have a strength. It’s important to realize that depending on the situations of your life, your signature themes may change. You probably use your top 10 themes on a daily basis. Even though you don’t have a full list of how your strengths rank, my guess is you can look at all of the themes and figure out what is probably in your top 10, and even your bottom 10. A good way to think about the themes is in 3 tiers. Here’s an analogy where your strengths are a red pen:

The first tier: If someone asked you for a red pen, you could open the top drawer of your desk and pull it out without any effort because you use it on a daily basis and know exactly where it is.

Your second tier: If someone asked you for a red pen, you would open your top drawer, do some digging, and eventually find it. You know you have one, you just don’t use as often.

Your third tier (your lesser strengths. . .some say weaknesses): You knew you had a red pen once, but you have no idea where you would find and you don’t want to waste time looking for it so you suggest using a blue pen.

I don’t like to use the term weakness when thinking about your bottom tier of strengths and here’s why. Because of the trainings I’ve gone through with Gallup, I have a rank order list of all 34 themes. My last 2 are Discipline and Focus. I would like to think I have both of these in me or I wouldn’t be at the point in my life I am. I am sure the same is true, if you knew your bottom strengths. Instead, I use what I do have in my top 5 – 10 themes to compensate for these lesser strengths. Don’t ever feel like you can’t do something. Take what you know you have and make/do something not only good, but great!

Have a good week.

Melissa M.

Claudia said...

Melissa... the explanation of your lesser strengths is the epitome of Positivity!

Has anyone else noticed that quite a few of our community members seem to share the theme, Responsibility?

Is Highlowaha a platform allowing you to use that strength? Wait. Hold that thought a few more weeks!

Jess said...

So sorry for not being able to check in earlier, but I am in the throes of Orientation Leader training. It looks like we have a wide range of strengths going on around this place. I was surprised to see how many folks share the strength individualization. I promise to offer more next week. Thanks to Melissa for sharing some great insight.

Marcy said...

It's great to tune in to HLA! Wonderful dialogue ... I am looking forward to hearing how Brian puts his talents/strengths to work on his move! For me, that's an ideal way to understand more about my strengths...that is, looking through the lens of a major undertaking. When I first became acquainted with this strengths-based work, I began to understand more about me when I would review a project and see how my strengths were at work.

Another way to learn more about our strengths is an exercise which Gallup suggests...that is asking people who know you to describe you...then seeing if you can match their descriptors with your strengths.

Claudia said...

Hopefully our readers will tune back in some time this week to keep this dialogue going. The continued dialogue is helpful and is a sure fire way to channel your strengths.

I love Marcy's suggestion to have someone you know describe you and see if you can identify which themes they might be noticing in you.

I've known Maureen for quite some time, so this gives me a chance to reply to, in a way, reply to the question she posed earlier.

I view Maureen as loyal, reliable, and generous. Reliability and consistency are two of her themes that jump out at me. Maureen, what do you think of that? Does my description of you seem reflective in your themes?

I'm going to ask that question of some people I know throughout the week and maybe I'll post my findings. How about doing the same?

maureen said...

Claudia, as corny as it sounds at the end of the day if I get those same feelings across to everyone I meet... I have done a great job. I do like that I have these qualities although they do get in the way some times... You know all the boring details LOL

Jessica N said...

I am teaching a college 111 class this semester and our big focus is on strengthsquest. They take the strength finder in the beginning of the semester and I help to develop their strengths over the course of the class....I LOVE IT!! It really helps students to get involved on campus

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