The Catalyst

This is me in 2017 introducing StrengthsFinder to our Sales Division for the first time

I first took the StrengthsFinder assessment in late 2013 at the recommendation of my boss.  I recall getting the results and immediately seeing myself in them.  After nearly 30 years in the workforce, it was nice to be able to label and summarize my talents so neatly.  The intensity of my interest wore off quickly as I was likely distracted with the day to day of my job at the time.  The StrengthsFinder book found itself in the same case as my DISC assessment and training materials from other courses I have taken over the years.

In 2016, I was tasked with trying to improve and enhance growth and development opportunities for team members in my workplace.  I am fortunate to work for an organization that is so focused on team member satisfaction and we identified individual growth and development as an action item.  My top 5 signature talent themes are Strategic, Ideation, Futuristic, Positivity and Achiever, so I was definitely in my "strengths zone" for this project.

I put my talents into overdrive to consider what actions to consider to apply towards helping others find growth and development in their jobs.  It was at that moment that I rescued my StrengthsFinder book from the bookcase where it had lived for nearly 3 years and started reading - again.

After revisiting StrengthsFinder I had a renewed interest in the strengths-based approach and knew that it could apply towards enhancing growth and development.  My Achiever talent theme kicked-in, and I started reading more about StrengthsFinder and listening to their web-series "Gallup Theme Thursdays" (highly recommended).  I identified a need, applied my talents towards it and then pitched my boss on a solution.  In the end, we introduced StrengthsFinder as a tool to improve growth and development within our division.  To date, we have distributed over 200 of the books.  Last year, I facilitated two internal "What Now" webinars and this year, I am conducting workshops on how to leverage talents for growth and development.

It was not until I was creating content for the workshops that I realized that my passion for StrengthFinder required a catalyst - a problem to solve.  After that, I have never looked back. 

I realize there are many people who, like me, take the assessment and then put it aside as they are distracted by the routine of their workdays.  I encourage you to find your catalyst and give your talents a little exercise.  The catalyst for gym memberships is typically that people reach a point where they commit to getting into shape.

Is your career in the best shape it can be?  If it is not, it is time to flex your talents.  Think about a need your department has or a new opportunity that you think would be beneficial to advance.  How can you apply your talents towards contributing to improvements in your work?  Put a plan of action together and talk it over with your leader.  This could be your catalyst for meaningful growth and development in your company.   

You have taken the StrengthsFinder assessment - now what?

* Name your talents; get to know your signature themes by studying the resources found in the Gallup Strengths Center website; pay close attention to the Strengths Insight and Action Planning Guide

* Claim your strengths; meet with your leader to review your top talent themes and highlight how they resonate with you - how do you see yourself in these talent themes

* Aim your strengths; find your catalyst by identifying a need or opportunity within your department and aim your talents towards making significant improvements

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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