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StrengthsFinder is a very practical tool. After identifying your Talents, it then encourages you to develop them. One of the available tools that you can use to develop your Talents is the framework called “Name it, Claim it, Aim it.” In this post, I explain how you can use it. Read on!
Develop your Talents
People are usually a little bit stunned after they discover their talents using the StrengthsFinder tool. They don’t know how to move forward. It’s great to learn what your Talents are—but this is just the beginning. Some time ago I wrote about maturing your talents. This is one of the many ways you can develop your Talents. “Name it, Claim it, Aim it” is another interesting framework that helps you bring your talents to the next level.
Everything starts with understanding what the names of each of your Talents mean. The report that you receive after taking the test contains descriptions of your top five talents. For example, for Arranger you’ll receive the description below:
Arranger: You are a conductor. When faced with a complex situation involving many factors, you enjoy managing all of the variables, aligning and realigning them until you are sure you have arranged them in the most productive configuration possible. In your mind there is nothing special about what you are doing. You are simply trying to figure out the best way to get things done. But others, lacking this theme, will be in awe of your ability. “How can you keep so many things in your head at once?” they will ask. “How can you stay so flexible, so willing to shelve well-laid plans in favor of some brand-new configuration that has just occurred to you?” But you cannot imagine behaving in any other way. You are a shining example of effective flexibility, whether you are changing travel schedules at the last minute because a better fare has popped up or mulling over just the right combination of people and resources to accomplish a new project. From the mundane to the complex, you are always looking for the perfect configuration. Of course, you are at your best in dynamic situations. Confronted with the unexpected, some complain that plans devised with such care cannot be changed, while others take refuge in the existing rules or procedures. You don’t do either. Instead, you jump into the confusion, devising new options, hunting for new paths of least resistance, and figuring out new partnerships—because, after all, there might just be a better way.
Your task in the “Name it” step is to understand what this description means and to imagine how such a person could behave, react, and think.
The second step is to claim your talent. In this step, you want to understand how this talent has been and is currently visible in your life. You can start by highlighting the parts of the description that you feel you can identify with. Look for examples of that talent in your life. Think how you behaved when you were a kid, when you were in high school, and later as you began to develop your career. Ask your colleagues if they can see examples of the described behaviors in what you do every day. Open the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book (you have access to it in your dashboard at Gallup Strengths Center). For each of the talents, you will find a list of questions that will also help you claim your talent.
The more examples you find, the more “claimed” that talent will be and the easier it will be for you to work with it.
The last step in the framework is “Aim It.” In this step, you will use what you’ve learned in the “Name it” and “Claim it” steps. This step is all about using your talents to overcome any issues you have that may keep you from reaching your goal.
This step requires you to complete a few tasks:
- Start by defining your objective. Choose what you want to do and write it down. Writing it down is the crucial part of this step.
- Choose up to three of your talents that are the most useful in the context of your objective and describe in a few words how each of them can help you in the context of your objective.
- Define concrete actions you will take in using your talents to reach your objective.
I’ll give you an example to make this concept easier to grasp:
- My top five strengths are: Individualization, Arranger, Learner, Empathy, and Intellection.
- My objective is the following: “I want to be able to talk to strangers more comfortably.” People are interesting, and I know that by talking to them I can learn a lot and even make more friends. But I’m kind of shy, and it isn’t easy for me to talk to strangers.
- I think that the three talents of mine that may help me in reaching my objective are Individualization, Empathy, and Learner. They can help in the following ways:
- Individualization: I can observe people and find out what is unique about them. Maybe I’ll be able to use that as conversation starter.
- Empathy: I can sense the emotional state of a person. I’ll know who’s open to talking and who isn’t.
- Learner: I’ll use what I’ve learned from past conversations and use that in future ones.
- Knowing which talents can help me in reaching my objective, I can create a concrete plan of action. For example:
- Next time I’m on the tram, I’ll spot a person that seems to be in a good mood. (Empathy)
- I’ll observe that person and find something unique about him/her, such as the book he/she is reading, or his/her clothing style. (Individualization)
- I’ll use those findings to start a conversation.
- I’ll jot down what worked well in that situation and what didn’t. Then, I’ll use this knowledge in my future conversations. (Learner)
This is just an example, but the takeaway is that you can use this framework in a very practical way.
You can apply these steps in almost every possible situation. Name your talents, claim them, and then aim them in your chosen direction. Remember that by focusing on your strengths, you have the greatest opportunity to be better, to achieve your fullest potential—your near-perfect performance. What will you aim your talents at?