Learner: Old Dog, New Tricks

I can pin-point the moment that I officially started my evangelism for StrengthsFinder.  I was in a meeting with my Senior Vice President leveraging my talents of Strategic (#1), Ideation (#2) and Futuristic (#3) brainstorming about how to help team members focus on their growth and development.  I recalled taking the StrengthsFinder assessment 3 years earlier and thought the theories might apply.  I pulled the book off a shelf which also housed my DISC results and other self-help resources.  I blew off the dust and then took a second look.  That's when I began to discover more about myself and others and how to leverage talents for professional growth and development - and success, enrichment and happiness.  I was hooked.

This old dog was about to willingly learn some new tricks!

I have seen this happen to other people.  There are people who are exposed to certain programs, products or teachings and become zealots with seemingly endless appetites to learn more.  For example, a former team member of mine was introduced to the SalesForce CRM platform and then became so masterful at it, he became what I would consider a "black-belt".  Meanwhile, I have a working knowledge of the SalesForce platform, but would certainly not consider my interest in learning as insatiable.

Both my interest in StrengthsFinder and my direct report's interest in SalesForce is driven, in part, by the StrengthsFinder Talent Theme Learner.  People with Learner have a great desire to learn more and want to continuously improve.  It is often the process of learning that excites them, versus the outcome of what they learned.  People with Learner love mastering a new skill and are thrilled when they discover new facts or insights.

Learner is actually the #2 most popular StrengthsFinder talent theme with almost 30% of all people taking having that in their top 5.  There is a theory that early adopters of the assessment were by nature "learners" and gravitated to StrengthsFinder as a tool to discover more about themselves.  This may be the reason that Learner is #2 globally.

For me, Learner is on the low-end -  #20 out of 34.  I believe that my Signature and Dominant Talent Themes  significantly influence my interest in the StrengthsFinder subject matter, as generally I am not a voracious reader.  In StrengthsFinder, I have discovered a tool that is helping me to guide people - and myself - to become better versions of themselves.  In doing this, I am able to exercise my top talents - which is why I can't get enough. 

My interest in learning as much about StrengthsFinder as possible is leading me to attend the Clifton Strengths Summit in Omaha Nebraska.  I look forward to summarizing my experiences with you in a future post.

Surprise, people with Learner love to learn.  Here are some ways to keep them happy;

* People with Learner might learn bets by teaching.  If that is the case, they should seek out opportunities to instruct or on-board others.

* When your office or department is tasked with learning a new or updated technology or process, get the Learner involved to soak up the information and share their knowledge with the rest of the team.

* Regardless of their roles, Learners like to learn new things.  Make sure they are able to attend available Talent Development classes within your organization, or that they seek out external continual learning opportunities.

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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