Thanks to one of my blogroll (I forget who and can’t reconstruct) I found the VIA Signature Strengths survey. It says my strengths (in order) are:
- Self-control and self-regulation. I self-consciously regulate what I feel and what I do. I am a disciplined person. I am in control of my appetites and my emotions, not vice versa. 100th percentile.
- Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness. I expect the best in the future, and I work to achieve it. I believe that the future is something that I can control. 97th percentile.
- Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness. Thinking things through and examining them from all sides am important aspects of who I am. I do not jump to conclusions, and I rely only on solid evidence to make my decisions. I am able to change my mind. 90% percentile.
- Creativity, ingenuity, and originality. Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who I am. I am never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible. 80% percentile.
- Curiosity and interest in the world. I am curious about everything. I am always asking questions, and I find all subjects and topics fascinating. I like exploration and discovery. 75% percentile.
This is indeed pretty much me, and it dovetails with how other personality typing methodologies describe me. My percentile rankings (i.e., I scored as high or higher than that percentage of the other people who have taken this survey) seem to support the other personality typing surveys’ indications that there aren’t very many other people like me running around the world. (Which my friends and family would probably say is a good thing! <g/>)
The last page of the survey has you rate your top five highest ranking strengths on things like “A sense of ownership and authenticity (‘this is the real me’)”. I didn’t know how to answer most of these. “This is the real me”? Yes, but isn’t that what the survey is meant to extract? “A rapid learning curve as the strength was first practiced”? These are fundamental parts of my personality, not things I have purposely learned and practiced. “A feeling of excitement while displaying it”? Um, no. But it’s what I do/who I am. “Continuous learning of new ways to enact the strength”? Yes, but not because it’s a strength of mine but rather because I’m constantly trying to make better use of all of my tools.
Management often wants you to work on your weaknesses. Becoming a well-rounded person is always a worthy endeavor, but remember your high school physics: just as it takes much less energy to make a moving object go faster than it does to get it moving in the first place, it takes much less effort to get from good to great than will be necessary to move from mediocre to decent. Also, becoming great in an area has a much bigger impact than becoming just OK in another. Knowing my strengths helps me understand the likely benefits of focusing on one area or another, which is vital information as I decide what to do in the coming year.
What are your strengths? What are you doing to make them stronger?
*** Want a fun job on a great team? I need a tester! Interested? Let’s talk: Michael dot J dot Hunter at microsoft dot com. Great coding skills required.