An organization’s strength is diversity in the skill set of its employees. The StrengthsFinder test evaluates individual personality traits, and identifies themes corresponding to an individual’s specific skills (Rath, 2007). Thus, some persons will be better suited for group tasks, while others will be better suited for independent projects. No theme is inherently better than another, although specific themes might be better suited for certain tasks than others. The following decision-making process plan evaluates how employees can best be assessed according to the Strategic theme and the Activator theme, as outlined by the StrengthsFinder test.
The following scenario describes how the decision-making process might be incorporated using a Strategic person and an Activator. The primary goal is improving department sales, so it has been determined that developing a new marketing campaign will achieve this goal. An effective decision making process utilizes a series of steps that begin with identifying this primary goal. For this scenario, the goal would be finding tasks based on their strengths. The second step of a decision making process would be to gather appropriate information related to the process. The Strategic individual is characterized by an ability to evaluate potential scenarios, asking what would be most likely to happen following a certain series of events. The Strategic mind considers numerous possibilities and analyzes what would happen if each of these options were implemented. In this way, the Strategic individual is constantly looking ahead and anticipating what is likely and unlikely to occur. However, because the Strategic individual is constantly analyzing multiple scenarios, it is less likely for the Strategic individual to be spontaneous, as careful thought needs to go into every course of action. In situations where quick decision-making is necessary, the Strategic person may not be the best choice if a course of action must be both decisive and made within a short time frame. Thus, the Strategic person in this scenario would best be tasked with directing the marketing campaign, including identifying the specific branding method and delegating tasks.
Activators are characterized by their willingness to turn strategy into action. These individuals tend to be hands-on and like being involved in the process. Activations believe that although strategy may be necessary, only action can provide actual results. Thus, these individuals are best suited for performing tasks that have already been outlined beforehand. However, Activators may sometimes act impulsively or without careful consideration of all ramifications. Therefore, they would complement a Strategist in that both themes help shore up the other’s weaknesses. Based on this analysis, the Activator would best be suited toward creating the advertisements based on direction provided by the Strategist.
Following information gathering, the next step of a decision-making process is to consider consequences. In this scenario, the Strategic individual would best be suited for a management or research position. In regard to management, a person with a strong Strategic score would best be tasked with organizing a project so that it is efficiently delivered. The Strategic person might be given certain parameters, such as a deadline and limited resources, but the individual would thrive being able to come up with the best strategy for the task. Advertising strategies would benefit from these persons, as outside of the nebulous goal of increasing market presence, advertising strategies require consideration of multiple factors, such as how a message should be delivered, how a message will be perceived by the public, and what forms of advertising would be most effective.
For the Activator, the most appropriate role would be an position that actively works toward the deliverable. An Activator works best when there are clear and specific instructions and goals; the Activator does not enjoy differentiating between strategies, so therefore would be more receptive to following directions. Depending on the interests and skill set of the Activator, these tasks may differ; for instance, if a Strategic individual is chosen as the advertising director, which would be an appropriate position for that theme, an Activator might be the photographer or graphic designer: the task would be clear, and the Activator’s responsibility would be to deliver the project once a strategy has been identified.
Following the decision, an evaluation is the final step of a decision-making process. Evaluation is necessary to ensure the project is developing according to plan, or if adjustments need to be made. This might involve reallocating resources, including human resources, or adjusting goals or parameters of a project. Based on each individual’s skill set, training may also need to be incorporated further. For the Strategic person, training on how to consider various options in order to decide the best outcome might be in order; for the Activator, training on task efficiency, such as how to work more quickly, would be beneficial.
In order to most effectively develop employees, different strengths should be considered and developed according to the individual’s theme. The goal of employee development is to create tasks best suited for the individual; while addressing potential weaknesses may factor into the develop, this should not be the essential goal of employee training. Instead, employees should be given positions that will allow them to thrive; for Strategic individuals, this would be providing tasks that would be geared toward potential management or developing other business strategies, such as in advertising. For Activators, providing roles that are more active would be more appropriate; these would be positions that put strategies into action. This might involve front-line employees, or it could include persons who operate best when there is a clear set of instructions.
An evaluation of an employee according to an employee development strategy based on StrengthsFinder skills should accordingly differ based on the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Thus, it is not important to have one standard by which all employees are measured; a Strategist should naturally be evaluated on his or her ability to identify effective strategies, although an Activator would not necessarily be evaluated on this measure because this skill is not essential for the task. Thus, an employee assessment evaluation should cater toward specific requirements of the position the individual has been assigned.