Developer: Medium Rare

Like the Doneness scale for steaks, the application of your talents can range from raw (blue)  to mature (well done)

My StrengthsFinder story begins in late 2013 when my boss quite casually introduced the book to me at a going away party for one of my own direct reports.  Truth be told, I am not big on going away parties.  Perhaps is is because Context (looking back to the past) is one of my lowest talent themes.  Don't get me wrong, I respect retirement celebrations and can endure a party for someone moving out of state.  However, celebrating the departure of someone who deliberately leaves the company after only a few years of service for their own local greener pastures is not my thing.

What I realize, now 5 years later, is that this casual recommendation of StrengthsFinder in that crowded bar may not have been that casual at all.  As many of us have heard before, studies show that when an employee leaves a company, they are often leaving their manager and not their organization.

The relationship between manager and team member is critical to optimize engagement and minimize turnover.  Engagement is the emotional attachment that employees have to their job and company; pride, sense of value and accomplishment, confidence in themselves and their leaders and their organization.

People with Developer as a dominant talent theme have a predisposition to drive engagement by investing in the growth and development of their assigned team members.  They have the innate ability to recognize potential in others and are drawn to people for this reason.  They love to introduce experiences that permit people to grow and achieve success.  Contributing to the progress of others is what fuels individuals with the talent theme of Developer. 

Developer ranks as my #7 talent theme and globally it is #12.  In the vernacular of StrengthsFinder, talents can be "Raw" and "Mature".  "Raw" Developer identifies what is missing in a person and can be critical and inpatient.  "Mature" Developer identifies the potential in a person and is compassionate and patient.  I was clearly "Raw" back in 2013.

Measuring my own progress using the "Doneness" scale for steaks, I'd say I am now Medium-Rare to Medium.  Somewhere in the middle of Raw and Mature.  StrengthsFinder has provided me valuable insights into myself and others.  The tool has helped me name and discover the unique talents of my team members, allowing me to leverage my other dominant themes to craft work experiences to optimize engagement.  In addition to knowing everyone's top 5 talent themes, I am working with each person to "aim" their talents towards stretch goals at work and look forward to celebrating their accomplishments.

Not yet "Well-Done" but we are on our way.

If Developer is a top talent theme for you or a member of your team, here are some ways it can be "developed" in the workplace;

* Ask people with Developer to identify how others around them (their reports or peers) are growing in their jobs.  They will likely spot small incremental growth that others may miss.  Encourage this person to layer in praise and recognition when they spot growth and improvement in others.

* People with dominant Developer talents make great mentors or on-the-job trainers.  Fuel their passion to help others flourish by placing them in roles where they can help others leverage their own talents and facilitate growth. 

* Help them invest in their own development by deepening their learning and practice of conducting training.  Also, allow them to focus on leveraging their other dominant StrengthsFinder talent themes through special projects.

Dan is currently serving 20 years to life as the Sr. Director of Destination Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort.  He prefers white-water rapids over data lakes and lists Ideation, Futuristic and Positivity amongst his signature talents.    Find him on Twitter @dpddonovan 


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