Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: UROC

StrengthsQuest

This month I was able to be a part of a wonderful professional (and personal) developmental opportunity at UROC.  StrengthsQuest is a professional and personal development curriculum that is spreading through the University of Minnesota.  It is being used with students, faculty and has even gotten to the professional staff.  The underlying idea behind the curriculum is that everyone has certain talents that they are naturally inclined towards.  Rather than focusing on improving our weaknesses, we could focus on building these raw natural talents into solid strengths and identify and appropriately utilize those around us who have different strengths.  I have to admit, I am in love with this model of thinking.

To begin the quest you take the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment online.  It produces a list of your top five talent themes and lengthy explanations of how each theme can play out in life.  I know that some people don’t put as much weight behind the results of assessments like this but I enjoy them simply because they give me the words to explain the way I think and my style of completing tasks.  When an entire office utilizes a professional development tool like StrengthsQuest, it opens up the door to conversations with co-workers and team members about how we work in similar and different ways and how we can more effectively accomplish tasks.  The assessment identified “Ideation” as my top talent theme and I feel like it really fits me well.  I love ideas.  I love theories and I’m constantly thinking “what if we…”  I can spend hours brainstorming and creating different plans.  Having a ton of ideas can sometimes conflict with tasks like making decisions or executing a plan and I need to keep that in mind as I work with others (and work with deadlines).  As I’m looking at finding a job after my service term, these talent themes can help me choose one that I will love and be successful in.

Here comes the plug (no, I’m not getting paid by anyone to write this).  If you’re interested in this kind of assessment, StrengthsQuest is aimed at education institutions; but, the book Strengths Finder 2.0 (http://strengths.gallup.com/110659/Homepage.aspx) contains access codes to the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment and it is chalked full of insights about taking a strengths-based approach to life.  Just don’t buy a used book because someone may have already used the code.

– Amanda Quiner, TNVNet AmeriCorps VISTAUrban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center

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