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What is Strengthscope®?

Strengthscope® ensures that everyone is able to have honest, authentic conversations about who they really are, what they love to do and how they can bring their best to work and to life, every single day.  The Strengthscope® profile report provides information on:

 

  • Your significant strengths
  • Your critical performance risks, including weaker areas and overdone strengths, and how to deal more positively with these

Who designed Strengthscope®?

Strengthscope® was designed by a team from Strengthscope, including Dr Paul Brewerton and James Brook, both occupational psychologists, as well as a design team comprising range of experts in assessment, selection, management and leadership development and psychometrics.

 

How do you define ‘strengths’?

We define strengths as ‘underlying qualities that energise you and that you are great at or have the potential to become great at’. Strengths reflect our passions and values and enable us to perform at our peak, in both good times and during tough, challenging times.

 

What model is Strengthscope® based on?

In designing the central Strengthscope® model, the design team drew on a wide range of research in the fields of personality, ability, positive psychology and They drilled down to identify the essence of strengths at work; finally selecting 24 strengths which we felt best captured performance-critical strengths in the workplace.

These strengths are broken down into four ‘clusters’ of strengths, as follows:

  • Emotional: these strengths relate to how you manage and express your emotions in relation to circumstances and people around
  • Relational: these strengths relate to establishing and maintaining productive relations with
  • Thinking: these strengths relate to the areas in which you prefer to apply your intellect, as well as how you go about gathering and using information to make decisions at
  • Execution: these strengths relate to delivering results, in terms of content and

The diagram on the following page shows the full Strengthscope® model and the areas it covers.

 

What do the numbers mean on the graph?

The graph uses a standardised scale ranging from 0-10. This is technically known as a ‘sten’ (standard ten) scale and is commonly used in psychometric testing, as an easily understandable way of charting a respondent’s scores in different areas. These numbers in themselves have no meaning (e.g. reporting a 10 on the scale doesn’t mean you have scored 10 out of 10, or 100%). The scale is simply used to show your relative position compared to others in the working population. The most important thing to focus on is the position of your strengths relative to each other in your profile.

 

My scores all seem rather low/high – what is this telling me?

Responses to the questionnaire are compared with other people’s responses in order for a rating to be produced. In some cases, this leads to a profile having generally high scores or generally low scores. Either way, it is the pattern of scores that is most important, from highest to lowest, rather than the average scores in someone’s profile.

 

How unusual is my pattern of strengths – are there common combinations?

While some strengths are more closely associated with others, the overall chances of reporting a similar profile to other people is very small.  In fact, the chances of you reporting the same top 7 strengths in the same order as anyone else is 1 in 1.3 billion. People often underestimate how unique their strengths profile is – your strengths profile can indicate where you are best able to make a unique contribution at work in areas which energise you.

 

What does a low rating on my strengths profile mean? Does it mean that this is something I am not good at?

Strengthscope® is not a measure of competence, but can give us a good indication about a person’s likely areas of greatest competence. It measures strengths, i.e. those things that energise us and make us feel positive and confident. It could be that a lower score, or non-strength, indicates something that provides little to ‘energise’ us, or it could be that a non-strength is something that is actually weakening for us if we do too much of it. It is also possible (although less likely) that one or more of the “Significant Seven” strengths are not areas in which the person is particular

competent or proficient, as they don’t have the skills, knowledge and/or experience to fully apply the strength. This is less likely because many people gain feelings of strength and energy from doing something well.

 

Does a high score against a particular strength mean I can perform well in this area?

Not necessarily, although a relatively high score on a strength is likely to indicate potential to perform well in this area. However, some people may never optimise their strengths, usually as a result of a lack of awareness about their strengths or because they don’t invest sufficient time and effort in developing them.

 

Why are there 7 significant strengths?

Seven is a bit of a “magic number” in that 7 plus or minus 2 has been identified as the approximate number of items that people can typically retain in their short-term memory, which contributed to our decision to focus your attention on the 7 strengths that you have rated most strongly. This enables you to work on what is important to your success and what really energises you, rather than trying to be good at everything.

 

Is the sequence of the “Significant 7” relevant?

No, there is no significance to the sequence of the “Significant 7” in the report, which is presented in alphabetical order rather than in order of the associated numerical score. We would also caution against drawing general conclusions that a “Significant 7” strength with a score slightly higher on the scale than another is more important, as some of these differences are too small to draw meaningful conclusions from. It is far more important to treat each of the “Significant 7” strengths as areas of potential strength and to explore these in relation to your current and future goals and responsibilities.

 

Does everyone have a “Significant 7” or is the number sometimes different?

The report presents “Significant 7” strengths for each respondent; however, for some respondents, there may be other strengths that are very close in score to the “Significant 7”, what we call ‘bubbling under’ strengths – it is sometimes worth exploring whether these too are important. For other respondents, it can be that say 3 or 4 strengths really stand out in their profile, while the others appear less important.

 

It is useful to have a view on how visible I think my strengths are but what about what other people think – is there any way I can gain the views of people whose opinions I value?

Yes, and we encourage it. Strengthscope360™ offers multi-rater feedback on your strengths as standard. It is important that you are aware of how others who are close to you view your strengths in order to determine whether they see your strengths demonstrated through your behaviours in the same way as you view yourself. What is especially important to focus on is any ‘gaps’ or ‘blind spots’ between how you view yourself and how others see you. This will generate additional insights and self-awareness, enabling you to express yourself more authentically and to build higher quality relationships based on trust and openness. We would encourage you to get additional feedback on your strengths from others who know you well (manager, co-workers, spouse or partner, friends, etc.) to confirm whether these are indeed distinctive strengths.

 

Is it possible that I might have a strength that I am not good at?

Yes, this is possible, but doesn’t occur very often. This is because we tend to be drawn to tasks and work that energises and strengthens us and avoid tasks and activities that we find draining or weakening. Over time, this process of making choices (conscious and unconscious) based on the level of interest and motivation we have for a task or activity develops our knowledge, skills and experience in that area, in other words, our strengths become more visible and powerful through additional acquisition of knowledge, skills and experience. However, it is possible to be skilled or talented in an area without you finding the task or activity energizing. This tension will ultimately result in personal dissatisfaction and demotivation with that aspect of the work, even though the person may be good at it.

 

What can I do about the areas where I don’t have a strength?

The first question you need to ask is “What is the impact of this non-strength/weaker area on my work?” If there is little or no impact on your current work or future aspirations then you probably shouldn’t invest too much time trying to develop in this area. However, if there is a negative impact on your performance or potential as result of this area, or if there is the risk of such impact, you should consider ways to make your non-strength/weaker area less relevant by mitigating or managing it. Possible approaches include:

 

  1. Finding someone else to do the work, including delegation if possible.
  2. Finding someone who can compensate for your weaker areas to partner with you to perform the work.
  3. Stopping doing the task/activity altogether where it is not creating value for the organisation. Remember that we do a lot of things that don’t add value and go unquestioned for long periods of time.
  4. Using support mechanisms (including technology) as a substitute for the lack of a strength in a particular area. For example, someone who is low on ‘Efficiency’ might use an online diary application to ensure they assume a more methodical approach to managing their time and tasks in future.
  5.  Finding a new role which enables you to play to your strengths more of the time.

 

If I am a manager, is it better for me to have particular strengths?

No, since ‘management’ roles tend to vary significantly from organisation to organisation, there is no one set of strengths that make up a ‘good manager’. Also, research has found that similar managers call on vastly different strengths to undertake their role, with equally impactful outcomes. What is important to the success of a manager is knowing one’s strengths and applying these as optimally as possible, whilst managing or minimising weaknesses to make them less relevant.

 

Is it possible to overdevelop an area of strength?

We believe that strengths have infinite development opportunity provided this is the right type of development. This is one of the things that makes them so powerful. However, a person could overuse a strength or use it in the wrong situation. For example, a collaborative person may seek others’ input to a decision even when an urgent response is called for. Similarly, someone who is particularly focused on getting tasks completed may forget about the people and relationship aspects of work.

 

Do strengths change over time, i.e. will my strengths be the same in 5 or 10 years’ time?

Research has shown that an individual’s strengths tend to be fairly stable over time, as they are a core part of who we are as individuals. However, important life events (marriage, divorce, major job change, childbirth, etc.) may bring strengths into the foreground or push them into the background for a period of time.

 

Can the results of Strengthscope® be influenced by situational factors when I answered the questionnaire, e.g. if I was particularly stressed due to a heavy workload or particularly relaxed after coming back from a great holiday?

Yes, though these factors are unlikely to distort the results significantly, as there are multiple questions measuring all 24 strengths. However, if you were influenced by a major situational factor and have reason to believe that the results are distorted as a result, it might be worth considering re-taking the questionnaire.

 

What is different about Strengthscope® from a normal personality questionnaire?

Strengthscope® identifies the unique things that ‘strengthen’ you – this is a critical distinction between Strengthscope® and a general personality measure such as OPQ or Insights for example. Strengthscope® does not describe behavioural preference (as personality questionnaires do) but instead identifies the behaviours and activities which make us feel strong, powerful and energised.

 

How is Strengthscope® different from other strengths assessments?

Strengthscope® differs in several important ways from other strengths assessments:

  1. Strengthscope® offers very good psychometric properties, guaranteeing accuracy of assessment
  2. If the multi-rater/360º option is chosen, the user receives multi-rater feedback from work colleagues and other key stakeholders on how their strengths are being perceived at work
  3. The model is intentionally more straightforward than those of other tools to make it more practical and useable

 

Is there any relationship between my ‘Significant 7’ and Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) type?

Strengthscope has conducted research to show the relationships between the Strengthscope® model and other models of behaviour and thinking, such as the ‘Big 5’ personality factors and the Myers Briggs model. To request this document, click here.

 

What differences are there between strengths and competencies?

Competencies are typically defined as characteristics and behaviours that predict successful organisational outcomes. Most organisations using competencies have focused their efforts on defining skills, knowledge and behaviours associated with success in a particular role, function or at a particular level in the organisation (e.g. leadership). Unlike competencies, strengths are related to the person and not the role, function or level. They have a strong emotional element as well as leading to valued outcomes; the best signpost of a strength is when something energizes or strengthens you. Strengths are also part of your character – things that are core to you and are fairly consistently expressed across situations. Unlike surface characteristics such as skills and knowledge, they are relatively ‘hardwired’ in our teens and are difficult to develop and fundamentally change beyond this point.

Strengthscope see strengths and competencies as relating to each other as shown in the diagram below. We believe it is at the point at which skills and knowledge (competencies) and energizers or strengths, overlap, that productive habits can be developed which lead to sustainable peak performance.

What about Strengthscope®’s reliability and validity – is it ‘fit for purpose’?

Yes. We’re very proud to tell you that Strengthscope® is the only strengths-based assessment tool to achieve Registered Test Status by the British Psychological Society. This confirms that Strengthscope®:

  • Measures the 24 strengths in the model reliably over time
  • Predicts high performance at work
  • Measures what energises and motivates people at work in order to help them discover areas where they can achieve peak performance and high engagement (in this sense, Strengthscope® differs from traditional personality measures that help to explain behaviour and preferences).

We also have an in-depth technical manual which includes background and development of the tool, its reliability, an external validation report and more. To request this document, click here.

 

I have completed Strengthscope®  more than 3 years ago, do I need to complete it again?

Strengthscope® profiles remain stable over time, so there is no specific requirement to re-complete. However, in cases where someone has experienced a lot of change and hasn’t completed Strengthscope for 3+years, we recommend re-doing it.

Additionally, if the person completed Strengthscope® before June 2010, we recommend that they re-complete it as the Strengthscope® module and report has been updated since that time.

 

Do I need Accreditation Training to use Strengthscope®?

Yes, accreditation training runs throughout each year and training takes one day. Experience has shown us that it is very important that prospective users of the instrument have the opportunity to watch demonstrations, use Strengthscope® in a live setting, and receive feedback on their approach. This is because the approach and emphasis in using Strengthscope® is different to more standard assessment tools.

  • To find out more on Strengthscope® Accreditation including dates and cost, please click here.

 

I would like to use Strengthscope® in a team context – is there any way of bringing individual results together to create a team report?

Yes. The StrengthscopeTeam™ report helps you to better understand what makes a team truly unique and how to increase positive team behaviours including engagement, productivity and inclusivity. For more information on the team report, click here.

 

What about using Strengthscope® for leadership programmes, like future leaders?

Definitely. We have the StrengthscopeLeader™ report – the only dedicated strengths-based 360 leadership profiler on the market today. It allows leaders to discover what it is that makes them truly unique and provides the opportunity to gain valuable feedback from stakeholders. For more information on StrengthscopeLeader™, click here.

 

I have some more questions which are not answered in the document – how can I get in touch with you?

We would be delighted to hear from you and will do our best to answer any and all questions you may have. Strengths Partnership can be contacted as follows:

 

Email: hello@strengthscope.com
Tel: +44 (0)20 8944 0289

 

Copyright © 2015 Strengthscope
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any other information or retrieval system, without permission in writing from Strengths Partnership, Unit L.309, The Print Rooms, 160-180 Union Street, London, SE1 0LH, tel: +44 (0) 20 8944 0289