I get a steady stream of questions about how to align your CliftonStrengths talent theme of Strategic to your career. In this series, I break down one strength per episode — so that you can add to the insights from your StrengthsFinder report and make a better match between your job and your strengths.
– If you’re exploring 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 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.
Career Branding When Strategic Is Your Strength
Today, the talent theme of the episode is Strategic. You’ll get three layers to chew on:
- Career Branding
- Red Flag Situations At Work
- Fresh Application Ideas
You probably already have a reputation for what you know. If you imagine your resume 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. Now, what’s missing in most of them is “the how,” and this is where your StrengthsFinder talent themes live. This is an overlooked use for tools like LinkedIn, which is not just for job seekers.
I bet you are just like my StrengthsFinder training clients, where you don’t see your teammates and customers every day. 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. To that end, here are a bunch of adjectives you can use in your career branding and your LinkedIn profile.
People who lead through Strategic are often:
- Fast Decision Maker
- Culler of Lists
- Vetter of Ideas
- Creative Strategist
- Anticipator Who Sees The Downstream Impact
Red Flag Situations For Strategic
These are the cultures, interactions, or situations that might feel like soul-sucking drudgery to someone with the talent theme of Strategic. They might even make you want to quit the team. So I’ll give you a couple of these to be on the watch for — because if they fester, you might get the urge to quit the job or become detached at work.
Here are two Red flags for Strategic:
- A culture of slow decision making or analysis paralysis. If you have Strategic and you’re stuck in status quo while you can already see the clear path ahead, you will likely spend your days at work in extreme frustration.
- Micromanaging your decision process after trust and credibility are built. If you have Strategic and you’ve already built credibility, yet you’re still being questioned deeply and constantly about your decisions, it will impact you beyond the lack of trust. It will hit you at the core because you like moving into the future. If you have to justify every detail, you’ll likely be counting the wasted minutes you could have been using toward progress, which is a serious drain on your psyche. Instead, you’re probably at your best when you can sort quickly and take action.
3 Fresh Application Ideas for Strategic
These are ways to apply the talent theme of Strategic at work, even when the job duties on the team feel pretty locked in. If you’re reading this 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 Strategic, put this talent to good use with one of these action items:
- Put this talent to use when you need a workaround. Sometimes, the long-term solution to a problem is in in the works…and meanwhile you need a bandaid-type solution to also cope in the short-term. Usually, someone with the Strategic talent will be able to sort all of the options quickly and get into the workaround-action on the same day.
- When there’s a topic on the team that seems confusing and overly complex to everyone. Get a whiteboard in front of the person with the Strategic talent and see if they can simplify the complex in a way that helps everyone nod their heads in agreement that they’re looking at the same thing. This could be drawing a contextual model or framework. This could be dissecting a problem. Or even getting everyone to agree on what the problem is that you’re solving.
- Use this person for collaboration insight. When you’re hearing that stakeholders are not getting consulted or that people are frustrated that your process changes have a negative impact on their work, get someone with Strategic talent involved. They’re great at seeing the handoffs between steps in the process. And they can predict what consequences will come from small upstream changes by the time they get to the 3rd or 4th person down the way.
So there you have it. It’s a quick tour for building your career through the talent theme of Strategic.
Here’s Your Personal Branding Homework
- Go take action on your LinkedIn profile with the career branding section. Challenge yourself to write one sentence in the Summary 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.
- And finally, volunteer your talents through the application ideas. And 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.
Andrew’s Top 5 StrengthsFinder Talent Themes are Strategic, Futuristic, Learner, Relator, and Ideation