StrengthsFinder Theme Dynamics: What Talents REALLY Look Like
Time: 7:52 minutes
- What Talent Themes REALLY Look Like
- Common Mistakes about Talent Themes
- Theme Dynamics
- Example of Theme Dynamics
- Experimenting with your Talent Themes
What Talent Themes REALLY Look Like
People get their results and think that their Talent Themes look like this (5 pure colors).
The truth is that they’re more like this (wall of paint samples).
Let’s talk about Theme Dynamics!
This is my absolute favorite topic in working with the Gallup StrengthsFinder Test Results. Let me note here that StrengthsFinder has been re-named to CliftonStrengths, so I may use the 2 terms interchangeably.
Common Mistakes about Talent Themes
See, people get their CliftonStrengths Reports – whether their Top 5 or the full 34 – and see each of these Themes as independent silos.
So they think that if you have 2 people with let’s say with the Adaptability Talent Theme in their Top 5, then Adaptability will look the same in both of those people – almost as if they were interchangeable.
But that’s not how that works
People mistake Talent Themes for computer programs – where they think that the test’s results can practically predict human behavior.
But people aren’t robots.
The test looks for patterns of prominence in your thinking, feeling, and behaving, but they’re not exact matches.
Even if you found two people with overlapping Talent Themes, those Talent Themes would express themselves differently in each person.
This is where Theme Dynamics comes in. Theme Dynamics is the combination of multiple themes.
So each of your Themes don’t just work independently.
They’re influenced by and work in combination with your other Talent Themes.
Going back to the color analogy, your Themes don’t just look like solid red, yellow, or blue.
They could express themselves as shades of reds, yellows, blues and even oranges, greens, and purples.
And even when they combine, they’re not always going to be the same shades. Sometimes, they’ll be lighter, other times darker – sometimes leaning more towards one color than the other.
And Theme Dynamics aren’t just the combination of two Talent Themes, it can be influenced by more too.
Example of Theme Dynamics
I remember when I was learning more about my Talent Themes.
I was discussing an example of how Adaptability shows up in my life.
I have Adaptability as my #5 and Arranger as my #6.
When I think of Adaptability, I immediately think about my ability to re-arrange my plan and my schedule to accommodate whatever comes up.
I very much use Arranger in conjunction with Adaptability to re-shuffle tasks, plans, and my schedule.
The gentleman I was speaking with came in with an example from a completely different angle.
He was talking about how he uses Adaptability to do impromptu speeches, discussions, and presentations. He uses his Adaptability by being spontaneous in his speaking.
This blew my mind! At the time, in my previous career as a Product Manager, I used to do a lot of presentations, but I never really thought of them as spontaneous.
I had to prep for product demonstrations or customer visits. That required set up and testing for me.
Of course, he had both Adaptability and Communication in his Top 5 Talent Themes. It made sense that his example was a combination of those themes for him.
So, one way his Adaptability expressed itself for him was in his ability to be spontaneous in his Communication.
For me, one way my Adaptability expresses itself is in my ability to be accommodating by being able to re-arrange how and when I do things.
I hope you’re starting to wonder how your themes work together – in how they express themselves or how they influence each other.
Experimenting with your Talent Themes
Once you get feel for how you’re using your Talents, including which ones usually work together, now you can take deliberate action to experiment with them.
It’s healthy to switch it up and get yourself out of Automatic Pilot mode. Using different Talent Themes or different Talent Theme combinations to address challenges will increase your options and Stretch your Strengths.
Referring back to an example I used in this video on How (and Where) to Use your StrengthsFinder Results. I was working with someone whose #1 Talent Theme Achiever dominated over her other themes.
She was somebody who was used to excelling by getting a lot done. But she had completely changed careers and was starting from the bottom. This also coincided with the start of COVID so progress was extremely slow.
In her case, if you imagined her Achiever Talent as let’s say Blue… her Talents all looked like they had some blue mixed into them – so they looked like variations of purples, greens, and grays.
But she was at a point in her life work-wise where her Achiever Talent couldn’t help. In fact, it was frustrating her and working against her.
When working together, we experimented with tackling her challenge with her other Talent Themes. That means temporarily putting Achiever in the backseat for this topic and letting other Themes like Learner take the spotlight.
She used her time to learn resources and tools and develop new processes to help her and her co-workers.
This also gave her a chance to develop her other Talent Themes and expand her portfolio of Strengths.
Working with your Talents and Strengths is more than just identifying what you’re doing with them today. It’s an opportunity to dive deeper, experiment, and grow further. Theme Dynamics is additional topic for you to explore.