Analytical Strength: Get Known For Your Talent
I hear a lot of reflections about how to apply your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Analytical to your career.
In this series, you get one strength per post so that you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make an even stronger alignment between your current job and your strengths.
- If you’re exploring this concept as a manager, use this series for career development ideas and even new clues about responsibilities you could give a person with this talent theme so that they can show up at their best.
- If you’re exploring this concept for yourself, use this as a chance to build a reputation for your strengths so that you’re more likely to be given assignments that live in your strengths zone.
Today, the episode talks about the Analytical strength.
You’ll get three layers to chew on:
1. Career Branding
2. Red Flag Situations At Work
3. Fresh Application Ideas
Career Branding For The Analytical Strength
You probably already have a reputation for what you know. Think about your personal resume, CV, or your LinkedIn profile, I bet it's full of “the what,” which are things like job titles, skills, knowledge, expertise, or the degree you earned. What’s missing is usually "the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live.
Chances are good that you are a lot like my StrengthsFinder training clients, where you don’t physically see your teammates and customers every day. So many of us work on remote teams. That’s why LinkedIn has become so important for career branding. It’s how your teammates, customers, and vendors go look you up before a meeting - to see who they’re about to talk to. And rather than only telling them what you know, you should also give them a peek at how it is to work with you.
Here are a bunch of adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts and your LinkedIn profile when you lead through the Analytical strength:
- Numbers Oriented
- Level Headed
- Deep Thinker
Red Flag Situations When You Lead With The Analytical Strength
These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that might feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the Analytical strength. They could even make you want to quit the team if they get really bad. So I’ll give you a couple of these to be on watch for — because if they fester, you might become detached or disengaged at work.
Here are a couple of Red flags for the Analytical strength (talent theme):
- Drama. If you lead through the Analytical strength and you feel surrounded by constant drama on the team, it might suck the life out of you. Of course, workplaces have humans, so you’re going to have conflict and hurt feelings from time to time. At the same time, if you feel that decisions are continuously swayed by a heart-led focus that discounts the facts, you’ll be drained. If you have to work with a teammate who is highly emotional at every meeting, you might suspect that they’re unable to do the critical thinking necessary to do the job well. These high-drama situations will likely frustrate the heck out of you.
Trust The Process Decision-Making. Imagine leading through Analytical and going through a big merger at work. You’re analyzing all of the angles, trying to figure out what the job will be in the future, and whether you’ll even have a job. Your leader keeps telling you “have faith.” The concept sounds simple, yet that likely won’t fly with you. Any version of, “just trust us” or “just do what I say” or “just believe us when we tell you we’ve thought about it from every angle.”…well, that won’t cut it for people who lead through Analytical. You will often need to see the sausage-making that people are trying to buffer you from. You want to know the ugly underbelly so that you can weigh the real facts rather than the sound bites. In fact, it can be helpful to communicate this need with your leader during tough times - that even when the underbelly is ugly, if you know the decision points and assumptions, you can get settled in the same way as the people who are comfortable with blind faith. It’s counterintuitive to many people, so this is an important red flag to explore and discuss with your leader.
3 Fresh Application Ideas For The Analytical Strength
These are ways to apply the Analytical strength at work , even when the job duties on the team feel pretty locked in. If you’re exploring this concept as a team manager, be sure to have a conversation around these ideas. You’ll both be able to come up with places to apply them.
For someone who leads through the Analytical strength, put the talent to good use with one of these options:
Poke Some Holes. You’re optimistic about something, but it’s high stakes. You want to be sure you’ve thought through all of the assumptions, downsides, risks, and objections. As a leader, this is the perfect time to bring in your team member who leads through Analytical. They can poke holes, be a skeptic, and give you watch-outs that you’d never think of. And in this context, it feels great because they’re doing it as a contribution rather than as a negative nelly.
Deeper Insights. If you have a mound of data, and you don’t know what story it should be telling you, hand it off to someone who leads through Analytical. Ask them to bring back their top 3 insights. Besides allowing them to have fun swizzling the data in pivot tables and charts, you’ll get a new lens on an otherwise overwhelming pile of numbers.
Level-Headed View. Imagine a situation where you need to make a go / no-go decision about a service you currently offer your customers. Most of your team is emotionally attached to this service because it’s the one that allows them to have tight relationships with customers. The simple mention of a go / no-go decision puts the team in a frantic, emotional state. This is the perfect task to give to someone who leads through Analytical. Ask them to provide the qualitative and quantitative data that will allow you to make a level-headed decision about this service. Come up with a rubric that is grounded in logic. With a scorecard and analysis in mind, this person will be able to put their personal preferences aside and get you a well-reasoned dissection.
Here's Your Personal Branding Homework For The Analytical Strength
- Go take action on your LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the About section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work.
- Then think over the red flags to see if there’s anything you need to get in front of before it brings you down. You might decide to make the situation mean something different, or pre-plan a reaction for the next time it comes around.
- Volunteer your talents through the application ideas. If you’re a manager, have a conversation with your team members about which of these things sound like something they’d love to have more of.
- Dig into the Analytical strength all the way. You can really nerd out on the nuances on the Analytical Talent Theme Page.
Here's A Full Transcript Of The 15 Minute Episode
You're listening to Lead Through Strengths, where you'll learn to apply your greatest strengths at work. I'm your host, Lisa Cummings and I got to tell you, it's tough to find something more energizing than using your strengths every day at work.
I hear a lot of enthusiasm about how to align your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Analytical. So, you're getting this series and you're getting one strength broken down per episode, so that you can add to the insights that you already have from your StrengthsFinder report. And then you can go deeper on this episode to make a better and better match between your job and your strengths. So, if you're listening in as a manager, as you go through this series, just think of it as a way to identify tasks and responsibilities that would appeal to people on your team who lead through Analytical.
If you personally lead through Analytical, be thinking about how do I want to build my career brand? What kind of words and phrases and thoughts as I go through are going to help me mold my job so that I can get known for what puts me at my very best, because when you get known for it, you get assigned more of that, and when you get assigned more of that, you spend more of your day in the zone of genius. It's a highly efficient way to go about life.
[1:25] So you're going to get three layers to think about today. One is career branding. The second is red flag situations. And the third is application ideas.
So, let's talk about career branding. First, you've probably built a solid reputation around what you know. I bet you have a reputation for your knowledge area. You might have a subject-matter expertise, a functional area at work, or even job titles often or things that people have built their career brands around. Like, imagine if you're an accountant, or if you're a software engineer, those are the kinds of words and phrases that maybe lead through Analytical and that's part of your career brand. And it seems fitting for Analytical.
So, you think, “Hey, I'm golden.” Well, you're partly golden, but you're missing out the ‘how’. So, the other half is the ‘how’. This tells people what it's like to work with you. How do you think? How do you interact? How do you make decisions? How do you get things done? Imagine how cool it would be if you could get known for how you work and because of that, work feels more easy, enjoyable and excellence is easier to achieve. That's pretty good. That's efficient way of building a career.
So, I'll give you a bunch of adjectives to consider using in your career branding efforts, so you can add the ‘how ‘to round out what you're already known for in your ‘what’.
Alright, here we go. Numbers Oriented. Truth-Finder. Data-Driven. Systematic. Coherent. Evaluator. Questioning. Rigorous. Level Headed. Deep Thinker. Researcher. Inspector. Well-Reasoned. Methodical. Logical. Diagnostic. Reasoned. Scientific. Observer. Factual. Meticulous. Rational. Pragmatic. Measurer. Ooh, so of those, yeah, you might have to rewind, listen back a couple of times, pick one, that when you hear it, you think, - “Oh, yeah, I would love to be known as being that person.” Pick that one and then just make a goal of using it in your conversations and in your actions this whole month.
So, for example, if you pick the word scientific because that really would rock your career, and you would love to be known as somebody who is a scientific thinker, or uses the scientific method, then you could do things like drop this into conversation where you say, - “Well, if I get a little more scientific about it, here's how I would break down the reasoning.” And literally just use it in a sentence, then people start to think of you as scientific. It's seriously that simple.
If you start to use these in conversation, where you say, - “Well, when I put my researcher hat on, or if I want to come at this with a well-reasoned approach…”
So, you get the idea there. I just use them in sentences. And the more you do that, even though it will sound to you like you've sent it 200 times to other people, they don't catch on to the fact that you're dropping this word in there. And it takes a long time for it to seep into their consciousness. So, it's a really great exercise for branding and then also is a good way for you to frame up how you show up in a room. If you want to show up as the diagnostic logical person, well just frame that up in your head so that as you're speaking, you're modeling it and it gives you a way to remind yourself that you want to show up that way.
Alright, now let's talk about red flags situations. These are cultures, interactions or situations that are going to feel like soul-sucking drudgery to you. And if they fester and they are amplified, these are the kind of things that might give you the urge to quit or become detached if they really get out of hand. So, be on watch for them and be thinking about how you manage through these situations.
Here's number one, drama. If you lead through Analytical and you feel surrounded by constant drama on the team, it's probably going to suck the life out of you. Of course, workplaces have humans. So, you're going to have conflict, you're going to have hurt feelings. You're going to have emotion. It's just going to happen because you have humans around you. But at the same time, if you feel like decisions are constantly swayed by a heart-led focus that goes so far to the heart, that it discounts the facts, you're going to be drained.
If you have to work with a teammate who is highly-emotional at every meeting, you might suspect that they're unable to do the critical thinking necessary to do the job well. So, you might not trust that person. These high drama situations are likely going to frustrate the heck out of you. So be on watch for those and be thinking about how you can productively manage your reaction to that situation, and how you can reframe some of those so that you can balance out some yin and yang between the facts, and the data and the emotion.
What I always recommend to people who lead through Analytical is instead of hating on emotion, instead, think of emotions as data points. They're just a different kind of data point and it makes them at least a little more interesting and tolerable if you'll consider them that way.
Alright, number two, trust the process of decision-making. What does that mean trust the process type of decision-making? Well, imagine leading through Analytical and going through a big ‘ol merger at work. You know, mergers and acquisitions are very commonplace but they're big deals when they happen. So, when it happens to you, and it's going to affect your team, you're analyzing all the angles you're trying to figure out.
Well, what do you predict your job will look like in the future? What will the teams look like? What will the customers look like? Will you even have a job in the future as everything unravels, as you do reorg, and all the things that come along with it? And your leader keeps telling you have faith. And this concept sounds simple, yet, it's probably just not gonna fly with you.
If you have the Analytical talent theme in your top 5 or top 10, any version of, “just trust us”, or “just do what I say, and you'll be fine”, or, “just believe us when we tell you we thought about it from every angle”, well, that isn't going to cut it. For people who lead through Analytical, you will often need definitely a want, but you might even need to see the ugly sausage-making stuff, the things that happen behind the scenes, the things that people are trying to actually buffer you from. Often, they don't want you to have to go through all the muck and the mess. They just kind of bring you the synopsis later, so you don't have to go through the gutter of all these decisions. But you want to know the ugly underbelly often when you lead through Analytical, so that you can weigh the real facts rather than the sound bites, so that you can have the same inputs that they had to come up with your own well-reasoned conclusions.
In fact, I think it can be really helpful to communicate this need with your leader, when you're going through tough times, telling them that, “hey, even when the underbelly is really ugly, if you know the decision points and the assumptions that, it can really help you get settled”, in the same way that other people are totally comfortable settling in with blind faith.
They hear the sound bites, they feel good about the future vision this cast, it's different for you. It's counterintuitive to many people so it's an important red flag to explore and discuss with your leader because it really isn't the average person who would say hey, “I want to know all of the things that you can tell me about their all the decision points and assumptions and all the upsides and downsides like that. Clarity, and information, just having the facts can really help you feel relaxed about the situation that's coming up, even if it's going to be a bad news situation.
So, you don't always get the information you want. It's not like you can always get the sausage-making details, but expressing that they're helpful to you and how they allow you to have more of the vibes of faith that they're asking for, can lead to some really productive conversations.
I've had a lot of leaders be surprised by that kind of request and say, “Okay, well, I've been trying to keep you guys out of all the muck so that you don't have to deal with what I've been hearing, so I can just give you the good stuff after it's worked out.”
Alright, let's move to fresh application ideas for you. These are ways to apply the theme, even when the job duties seem pretty locked in. Now, if you're listening for yourself, you can think about potentially volunteering your talents in this way, asking your leader for the opportunity to play this role, potentially when they see scenarios where it might work.
And then if you're a manager, of course, just be thinking about these situations, and how you could assign these situations to someone on your team who leads through Analytical.
So, the first one is called poke some holes. So, let's say as a manager, you're optimistic about something. But it's really high stakes, and you want to be sure that you've thought through all the assumptions, all the downsides, all the risks, all the objections, and you know, that your thinking is going to be limited. So, as a leader, it's the perfect time to bring in your team member who leads to Analytical. They love to poke holes, be a skeptic, give you watch outs that you wouldn't think of. And in this context, it feels great, because you're doing it as a contribution you're asking for, rather than putting them in a frame where they're getting viewed as a negative Nelly. This is a really great way to highlight this talent in this way of thinking that is so valuable to the organization and put it to productive use.
Second thing, deeper insights. If you have a mound of data, let's say you're a leader, you're getting inputs from a lot of different people. Now you have a mound of data and you don't know what story it should be telling you. It just looks like a lot of work. And you don't even know where to start, hand it off to someone the leads through Analytical. Ask them to bring back their top three insights. Besides the fun they're gonna have swizzling the data, making pivot tables making charts, you'll get a totally different lens on an otherwise overwhelming pile of numbers that you may have ultimately ignored, because you didn't have time to process through it, and they had a great time processing through it.
Number three, level headed view. Imagine a situation where as a leader, you need to make a go/no-go decision. You know, one of those times when you're deciding, “do we cut this program?”, “do we keep this program?”. Let's say it's a go/no-go decision about a service that you offer your customers today. Most of your team is totally attached to this. They are emotionally invested in this service, because it's the one that allows them to have tight relationships with the customers and they love loving on their customers as well. The simple mention of a go/no-go decision about the service that they love offering it totally put your team in this frantic emotional state.
Well, this is the perfect kind of situation where you give this task to someone with Analytical strength. Ask them to provide qualitative and quantitative data that will allow you to make a level-headed decision about whether this service continues. You could come up with a rubric together, something that's really grounded in logic, and then they have a scorecard and an analysis in mind.
And this person is going to be able to put their personal preferences aside. It's one of the superpowers of Analytical. It's so cool. It really doesn't matter how they personally feel about it. They're so good at being able to table their personal preferences and get you the well-reasoned dissection of the thing. Even if they find the conclusion doesn't support what they had wished for. It's something that's so cool about the Analytical talent theme.
So, there you have it, a quick tour for building a career, the talent theme of Analytical.
So, the homework. Number one if you lead through Analytical, go take action on career branding. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the About section of LinkedIn that captures how you collaborate as a teammate at work. Try to use one of those words, one of the adjectives that resonated with you.
Number two, think over those red flags. See if there's anything you need to get in front of before it drags you down. Remember the drama and the trust the process kind of thing.
And then the third thing, we're into volunteering talents through the application ideas. And if you're a manager, be sure that you have a conversation around this with your team member who leads through Analytical so that you know which one really sounds like something they would love to have more of, because depending on what other talent themes it's combined with, their answers could look a little different.
With that, I'm your host Lisa Cummings from Lead Through Strengths. If you're thinking about doing some team building to kick off your strengths-based culture in your workplace, just head over to leadthroughstrengths.com/training , and see if our current offerings are a good fit for you. With that, until next time. Thanks for being part of this powerful strengths movement that helps people unleash the awesomeness they already have inside them.
Deena Silverman is the Director of Customer Experience at Lead Through Strengths, where she helps teams improve their productivity by focusing on their natural talents. Deena helps leaders pull off seamless strengths-based events that change the culture of their company. One of her greatest joys is studying human behavior and helping others achieve their goals. When she’s not using her organizational strengths to create awesome events, you can find her running around with her two special boys and her unique dog, Ranger. Or she might be hunting for Gary, her repeat-escapee hamster with a top talent of persistence. Her Top 5 StrengthsFinder Talents are: Individualization | Achiever | Learner | Input | Activator.