Is Your Company Designed Around Your Strengths?

Is Your Company Designed Around Your Strengths?

Most of us have an idea about what our character strengths are. A few years back, a scientist named Christopher Peterson developed a global list of 24 strengths that all humans have. These break down into the following six major categories:

Wisdom and Knowledge: Creativity, Curiosity, Judgment & Open-Mindedness, Love of Learning, Perspective
Courage: Bravery, Perseverance, Honesty, Zest
Humanity: – Capacity to Love and Be Loved, Kindness, Social Intelligence
Justice: Teamwork, Fairness, Leadership
Temperance: Forgiveness & Mercy, Modesty & Humility, Prudence, Self-Regulation
Transcendence: Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, Gratitude, Hope, Humor, Religiousness & Spirituality

The science objective was interesting. Since Chris was a psychologist and most psychologists focus on nasty diseases like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and the like, I could see how he could get pretty sick of working with sick people. There was a brand new field emerging called positive psychology, which strangely enough, studied how to get us normal people from, well, just being kind of normal or not sick to a higher form of wellness called thriving where we were not only healthy but having a satisfied, meaningful, engaged, and happy life.

The 24 character strengths are a way to measure how we can tap into our natural character and leverage our best traits to become even better. The fun part is you can take a free test to see what your top five strengths are.

Millions of people have taken this test already. You can go online here, register for free, and get your scores immediately: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx
The test you want to look for is the VIA Survey of Character Strengths, under the Engagement Questionnaire section.

Now what does this have to be with your work day? Everything. I’ll share with you my top five strengths:

1. Creativity, ingenuity, and originality.
2. Curiosity and interest in the world.
3. Gratitude.
4. Love of learning.
5. Leadership.

If you know me at all, you are probably nodding your head right now. I use my strengths every hour of the day. From helping my clients think of new revenue lines and new ways to help clients (creativity) to the “I appreciate your business” and “thanks” lines that I put in almost every email (gratitude) to running a group training program (leadership and love of learning), I “walk my strengths.”

Take the test. Then see how you can change your perspective to see your daily routines through the eyes of each strength you have. For example, if your key strength is curiosity (actually the most common #1 trait for people), are you always wondering how things are working, how you can do something better, or asking why? Doing more of that will fulfill you even more, and when you can do that in light of improving the client’s condition or your boss’s condition, then you have harnessed your strength for the good of your workplace.

The next step, once you become aware of your strengths and how you are currently using them, is to tap into them even more. How can you begin to use your strengths more throughout your day in the work you do and at home? You may want to write each of your top five strengths on your calendar, one per week, until the end of the year, so you can have fun with leveraging their usage.

It’s so refreshing to focus on the positive aspects about ourselves for a change instead of the negative. Give yourself the gift of knowing your strengths and using them more and more each day.

Let me know what yours are; you can post them right here on my blog. You know I’m curious to find out, of course!

2 Comments
  1. I was interested in taking this survey, but disappointed when I actually started going through the questions. The survey basically asks you if you’re: smart, brave, creative, etc. So the results are only based on your self-esteem.

    I’m sure that many people will get a good idea of their strengths, but a person who normally tips 10% often “thinks” he’s generous, for instance.

    • Hi Beth,

      Thanks for this comment. True, a good level of self-awareness will help the accuracy of the results. One thing you can do is to ask 5-10 of your top clients to select the top 2-3 traits of the list of 24 they feel are your best strengths and compare it with your self-assessment. That will add an element of marketability, but it could also fall short if you are performing services you don’t really like.

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