Last time in The Entrepreneur in You, I talked about understanding your strengths in order to leverage them for business success. I explained that not only should you choose a business in which you can best leverage your strengths, but that you should consider partnering up to compensate for your weaknesses. I talked about the four general entrepreneurial strength systems: the head, the heart, the hands and the voice. This week, I’d like to talk more about “the head.” These strengths make up the strategic thinking component of an enterprise.
While all entrepreneurs are opportunists and all entrepreneurs employ planning and strategy; strategic thinkers are always thinking in terms of possibilities and potential: what could be. Strategic thinkers are future-oriented: they’re constantly absorbing and analyzing information to open pathways to growth and are the originators of a company’s vision.
The Gallup Strengthsfinder themes associated with strategic thinkers are:
These themes describe innate talents that people have.
For instance: people strong in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation. If you have this talent; you’re always questioning and challenging assumptions and ideas, always searching for patterns, connections and root causes. You want to know how things combine and generate certain outcomes and you question wishful thinking in order to refine true vision.
If you are naturally an Arranger; you’re something of a rapid-fire, trouble-shooting puzzle organizer. You take every piece of information—sales figures, trends, consumer preferences, even crises—and juggle everything to see the best, the most profitable and most productive way forward. New products, new projects, new partnerships…the arranger is like the conductor of an ever-evolving orchestra. They’re agile thinkers and thrive in rapidly-changing environments.
Connectedness gives you insight into how all things are related: you see the big picture and the reasons for doing everything. If you have Connectedness as a talent; your faith helps you to build bridges and inspire others to see the higher purpose and relatedness of what you’re doing. You know everything happens for a reason and link your business goals to a higher purpose.
Those with Context as a strength know that nothing occurs in a vacuum. They look to the past to understand the future. You understand why things are as they are now because of original origins. Looking back gives you insight into understanding both the present and the future in terms of avoiding mistakes and seeing opportunities.
Consistency is a strategic strength because it is about fairness and cohesion. If you have this talent; you know what rules, themes and principles will keep your business on track and you’re adamant about creating a predictable and level playing field for everyone in your company. You can help your business avoid going off in tangential directions and keep your business brand and reputation consistent and growth-oriented.
The Deliberative talent is about reducing risk and making best decisions. Those with this strength anticipate obstacles, identify and analyze risks, and determine the best route forward. Some people may view you as a naysayer but you provide a way to avoid backpedaling in the future.
If you are Futuristic; you have great ability to always see a better product, a better team, a better way for everyone and everything. You can see possibilities that others may not and can inspire them with visions of the future.
Ideation describes a talent to see connections between seemingly disparate phenomena. If you have this talent: you’re naturally creative and fascinated by ideas. You provide new perspectives and new angles. You’re able to find important links, insights and new concepts for your business.
People with Input as a talent are collectors of information. They are a valuable source of data and provide unique insights into possibilities because of everything they know about a wide variety of topics. No matter which way your business grows; you’ll have information that is relevant in some way.
Intellection is about thinking. If you have this talent; you love to think, problem-solve, develop ideas and stretch your intellectual muscles. You require introspection on a regular basis and may be considered an introvert. You like to think about things before leaping into action.
The Learner is about continual improvement. The process of learning itself is energizing to you and you can add much to the grand plan or project at hand with your efforts. Whichever area you need to know more about in order to plan your business path; you’re the person that will be the leader and teacher.
Finally, some people are naturally Strategic. They’re always looking for the best way forward, even through minefields, and can quickly determine what is most relevant to consider. If you have this talent; you see patterns where others see confusion and are great at thinking through different scenarios much like a chess player would. You quickly analyze and dismiss the paths with the most risks, the most obstacles and find the way forward that is the path of least resistance.
These strengths aren’t relegated to the “Head” alone: they can play out in beneficial ways in the “Hands”, “Heart” or “Voice” too. But if you have more than one of these strengths, if you naturally gravitate towards many of these activities; then it’s likely that your most productive role lies in the strategic thinking part of your business and the business you choose to launch should be based on these strengths.
Even if you need to start out playing all of the roles; it’s best if your business plan includes a scheme that will leave you operating in the strengths systems that you’re best suited for.
Well-rounded doesn’t really apply to entrepreneurial success in terms of you—the individual. If you try to wear the leader’s hat in terms of all of these entrepreneurial strengths systems—the Head, the Hands, the Heart and the Voice—it’s unlikely that you’ll do well over the long run.
Identifying your natural talents helps you to identify your primary role in your business and allows you to see what you need to delegate or search out in others. While none of us can be everything and do well; a successful business overall, the business team, does need to be well-rounded.
Who can you team up with? Who do you need to hire? What responsibilities do you need to outsource to ensure that all four systems are functioning well to make your business a thriving enterprise?
Oksana Tashakova, founder of Wealth Dynamics Unlimited, is a personal branding expert, wealth creation strategist and entrepreneurial educator.