I found taking the Gallup Press / Tom Rath / Clifton Strengths Finder 2.0 to be quite an interesting experience. The exercise was simple enough with the activation code you get from the book to complete via the website. I’ve done various personality tests and other misc executive typing drills, but this was different in that the results just returned a handful of strengths back. The instrument returns some strengths that have objective definitions and you can extrapolate from that. We are going to use it to understand the different strengths at the executive team level for the organization.
Here were my results to give people an idea of what the model looks like along with the description of what they refer to as the themes. My sense is this also can fluctuate based on the work situation you are in and that culture that affects how you need to operate to be effective in your role in that organization and culture.
Your Individualization theme leads you to be intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. You are impatien with generalizations or “types” because you don’t want to obscure what is special and distinct about each person. Instead, you focus on the differences between individuals. You instinctively observe each person’s style, each person’s motivation, how each thinks, and how each builds relationships. You hear the one-of-akind stories in each person’s life. This theme explains why you pick your friends just the right birthday gift, why you know that one person prefers praise in public and another detests it, and why you tailor your teaching style to accommodate one person’s need to be shown and another’s desire to “figure it out as I go.” Because you are such a keen observer of other people’s strengths, you can draw out the best in each person. This Individualization theme also helps you build productive teams. While some search around for the perfect team “structure” or “process,” you know instinctively that the secret to great teams is casting by individual strengths so that everyone can do a lot of what they do well.
You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered — this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences — yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”
Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people — in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends — but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk — you might be taken advantageof — but you are willing to accept that risk. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine. And the only way to know that is to entrust yourself to the other person. The more you share with each other, the more you risk together. The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine. These are your steps toward real friendship, and you take them willingly.
Your Responsibility theme forces you to take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion. Your good name depends on it. If for some reason you cannot deliver, you automatically start to look for ways to make it up to the other person. Apologies are not enough. Excuses and rationalizations are totally unacceptable. You will not quite be able to live with yourself until you have made restitution. This conscientiousness, this near obsession for doing things right, and your impeccable ethics, combine to create your reputation: utterly dependable. When assigning new responsibilities, people will look to you first because they know it will get done. When people come to you for help — and they soon will — you must be selective. Your willingness to volunteer may sometimes lead you to take on more than you should.
The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?” This recurring question helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles. Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You discard the paths that lead nowhere. You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance. You discard the paths that lead into a fog of confusion. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path — your strategy. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. This is your Strategic theme at work: “What if?” Select. Strike.
I had the honor of visiting, talking, and coding with our students at Stratford School over the week of #HourOfCode. We have put Computer Science in the curriculum for all our students as part of their normal schedule and they work on computational thinking skills everyday, but it was a treat to see the students taking on the challenge.
Here is a little video we did with some of the footage of the visits. The video is my and a GoPro and the pictures are from many different sources. Enjoy!
Much has been made of the decision by President Obama to include Congress on the decision whether or not to attack Syria after their use of chemical weapons on their own people. No matter what side you come down on around these events and choices, the one aspect for me that stood out in all the dialogue was that the House and Senate needed to travel back to Washington D.C. to get anything done. In a country that prides itself on innovation and technology, it is really sad that we don’t have a legislative body that can get things accomplished like we do because their are unable or unwilling to transact their business online.
I understand the need for face-to-face meetings and the rules of the House and Senate. I realize the tradition and protocols are there for a reason. But, in the business world around the USA and the rest of the world, so much of what we do need to do requires online technology or it would be prohibitive or impossible to actually accomplish. We often don’t have the luxury to delay for a more optimal setting or location. Because of this need, there are many services now that cater to the needs of online collaboration, communication and synchronous decision-making across large groups of teams and organizations.
If I was a VP or Marketing over at WebEx or GoToMeeting, I would be dishing-out the free accounts. Or, at the minimum, running some better commercials around the fact that your business should be collaborating better the Congress can. I would love to see legislation over at GitHub. I would love to see Congress have the ability, in a non-emergency but yet critical time-frame, to be able to do a web conference or teleconference and do up and do votes for critical legislation like companies do everyday to meet our deadlines and stay competitive.
The requirement that a physical presence is still required to get things done is no longer reality. The Internet is not just a series of tubes. What will it take to get the Congress to innovate and use effective tools to work together and deliver for those that are already collaborating in new and innovative ways? It’s time to step it up.
From Bill @ FunnyMonkey–
On Saturday, March 9th, from 10-4, at Lick Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, we are helping to run an Open Content Authoring Day. These events are working days; the goal of these days is to help create better learning resources, available under open licenses, that we and our peers can modify and reuse.
If you are a teacher who has notebooks (or hard drives) filled with work you have used in your classroom, and you want to connect with other educators to create more effective lessons, this event is for you!
If you are a technology director and work with some teachers who are looking to expand their professional networks, come, and bring some teachers – this event is for all of you!
If you want to get a jump on curriculum planning for future courses, and you don’t want to plan in a vacuum, this event is for you!
To help people get a better sense of what the day is about, and to help people prepare to make the most of the day, we created a list of pre-reqs designed to help people walk in to the day prepared. These steps are based on holding past open content events, and from presenting to varies audiences about open content. The pre-reqs are described at
Attendance for this event is capped at 45; please sign up to reserve a spot. This event is free to attend.
Notes from the Keynote and Sessions
Faculty and Administrators were able to sit-in and listen to the talk he had with the students on being aware of their design process and continuing to improve it. He spoke to what he does and gave some great examples of real projects for students and how IDEO works through their design processes to innovate. I really enjoyed it.