What strengths does a software company owner need in order to function successfully?
I recently had the opportunity to take the Gallup Strengths Finder assessment in conjunction with an interview I did with Keith Baldwin of Baldwin Success Coaching. You can listen to the podcast from this link: Baldwin Success Coaching Podcast.
Have you ever taken the strengths finder assessment? It’s a really interesting exercise to find out what your strengths are. You can take the strengths finder assessment at the Gallup Strengths Center.
The assessment consisted of 172 questions which gave the choice between two situations from which you choose which situation appeals to you more. I was surprised how accurate the assessment was and also enlightened by my top five strengths.
My top five strengths are:
Here’s a description of each of my strengths:
You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the “muscles” of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions. This need for mental activity may be focused; for example, you may be trying to solve a problem or develop an idea or understand another person’s feelings. The exact focus will depend on your other strengths.
On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus. The strength of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think. Unfortunately, too many times, my thinking lacks focus.
You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. (Doesn’t this describe most software developers?) You are introspective. In a sense you are your own best companion, as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound. (Can you say introvert?)
Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.
I think this strength is prevalent in those of us called “geeks”. It really fits in to the toolbox well for software company owners.
This doesn’t mean software developer. It means that you see the potential in others. Very often, in fact, potential is all you see. In your view no individual is fully formed. On the contrary, each individual is a work in progress, alive with possibilities. And you are drawn toward people for this very reason.
When you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success. You look for ways to challenge them. You devise interesting experiences that can stretch them and help them grow. And all the while you are on the lookout for the signs of growth—a new behavior learned or modified, a slight improvement in a skill, a glimpse of excellence or of “flow” where previously there were only halting steps.
For you these small increments—invisible to some—are clear signs of potential being realized. These signs of growth in others are your fuel. They bring you strength and satisfaction. Over time many will seek you out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that your helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to you.
This strength is helpful for a software company owner who hires and trains others to help in the business.
The Achiever strength helps explain your drive.
Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day—workdays, weekends, vacations.
No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied. You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more. This is especially true for a company owner.
After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you.
As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. It does have its benefits. It brings you the energy you need to work long hours without burning out. It is the jolt you can always count on to get you started on new tasks, new challenges. It is the power supply that causes you to set the pace and define the levels of productivity for your work group.
It is the theme that keeps you moving.
I believe anyone starting their own business has to have the achiever strength. There has to be a deep down need to achieve that drives you.
“Wouldn’t it be great if . . .” You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow.
While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests—a better product, a better team, a better life, or a better world—it will always be inspirational to you.
You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you.
Sometimes it’s hard to rein this in and remember to live in the present. For me, it means that we live on the “bleeding edge” when it comes to adopting new technology.
They can energize others, too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future. They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits.
You can paint it for them. Practice. Choose your words carefully. Make the picture as vivid as possible.
People will want to latch on to the hope you bring.
A company owner needs to have vision. You have to be able to view into the future and make plans for how your company will get there.
If you possess a strong Belief theme, you have certain core values that are enduring. These values vary from one person to another, but ordinarily your Belief theme causes you to be family-oriented, altruistic, even spiritual, and to value responsibility and high ethics—both in yourself and others.
These core values affect your behavior in many ways. They give your life meaning and satisfaction; in your view, success is more than money and prestige. They provide you with direction, guiding you through the temptations and distractions of life toward a consistent set of priorities.
This consistency is the foundation for all your relationships. Your friends call you dependable. “I know where you stand,” they say. Your Belief makes you easy to trust.
It also demands that you find work that meshes with your values. Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you. And guided by your Belief theme it will matter only if it gives you a chance to live out your values.
I believe that this strength is the anchor for all the other strengths. You must have strong values which guide you in all your decisions.
Key Take Aways
The strengths you possess don’t determine how successful you will be but how you leverage your strengths definitely has a hand in how successful you’ll be.
Sometimes your strengths work hand in hand and sometimes they are opposed.
My strengths of achiever and developer sometimes butt heads because my need to achieve sometimes makes me decide to do something myself instead of delegating it to someone who needs to learn.
What are you strengths? You should leverage your strengths instead of trying to improve your weaknesses. The return is so much greater.