Know Thyself (And Your Team)
Yesterday, at Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program, we debriefed a Strengths Profile test we made all our participants take. It’s an incredibly useful tool to not only understand your strengths and weaknesses but also use this insight in your teams.
There are, of course, numerous such tools on the market — from Gallup’s Strength Finder to Meyers — Briggs Type Indicator and much more. I am pretty fond of the tool we used for a couple of reasons: It gives you not only your strengths but also your weaknesses. Further, it distinguishes between your realized and unrealized powers (which are the strengths you have but haven’t yet fully leaned into) and learned behaviors (weaknesses you have learned to overcome) and real weaknesses. Lastly, it’s cheap — the basic version, which is what I typically use, is only £10.
The basic premise of all strengths-based tools is the same: By leaning deeper into your strengths, you can become excellent at what you do. Society typically conditions us to look at our weaknesses and work on overcoming them — which, at best, leads to mediocrity.
When taken as a team the test becomes a powerful tool to better understand and calibrate how you work with each other. A little while ago I collaborated with the founding team of a tech startup. They all took the test which we debriefed collectively — what stood out was that every single person on the ten people team had a weakness around “adherence” (which means you’re bad at taking and following orders). Knowing this, it allowed to the team to understand that they need to be very careful with the introduction of strict protocol and processes.
When debriefing the test in a group, I suggest two prompts: First talk about what stood out for you in your profile — characteristics where you feel confirmed by the results but also things which you don’t see in yourself. And then have other people talk about how they see your identified strengths and weaknesses show up for you.
Give it a try — it’s an incredibly powerful tool which leads to better self-awareness and more efficient teams.