My StrengthsFinder 2.0 Results

Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

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At my organization’s last annual company meeting, the human resources manager gave each employee a copy of StrenghtsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, whose inside cover asks “Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?” [emphasis theirs].  As I took the 30-minute assessment, I found myself thinking “How the heck does my answer to this question explain anything?”  Yet here are my top five talent themes identified by the Clifton StrengthFinder 2.0 assessment test: Input, Learner, Ideation, Communication, and Significance.

  • Input – People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
  • Learner – People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
  • Ideation – People who are especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  • Communication – People who are especially talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.
  • Significance – People who are especially talented in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.

Those descriptions are standard, meaning that anyone else who takes the assessment sees the same descriptions that I did.  However, the assessment also offers personalized recommendations based on analyzing the responses of thousands of other people who have taken the assessment.  There are also 10-step action plans for each theme.  Here are some highlights from my action plans – emphasis is mine.

From Input:

Look for jobs in which you are charged with acquiring new information each day, such as teaching, research, or journalism.

From Learner

As far as possible, shift your career toward a field with constantly changing technologies or regulations. You will be energized by the challenge of keeping up.

From Ideation

Seek a career in which you will be given credit for and paid for your ideas, such as marketing, advertising, journalism, design, or new product development.

From Communication

You will always do well in roles that require you to capture people’s attention. Think about a career in teaching, sales, marketing, ministry, or the media. Your Communication talents are likely to flourish in these areas… If you enjoy writing, consider publishing your work. If you enjoy public speaking, make a presentation at a professional meeting or convention. In either case, your Communication talents will serve to assist you in finding just the right way to frame your ideas and state your purpose. You delight in sharing your thoughts with others, so find the medium that best fits your voice and message… Volunteer for opportunities to present. You can become known as someone who helps people express their thoughts and ambitions in a captivating way.

From Significance

Choose jobs or positions in which you can determine your own tasks and actions. You will enjoy the exposure that comes with independence.

I’ve never taken the Myers-Briggs assessment but did take the DISC assessment many years ago.  Honestly, I did not expect this much alignment between my career and the five talent themes identified by StrengthsFinder 2.0.

I’m grateful for how my career has developed, thankful for the friends I’ve made on the journey, and am looking forward to the future, focusing even more intensely on these strengths.

Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, Command, Communication, Competition, Connectedness, Consistency, Context, Deliberative, Developer, Discipline, Empathy, Focus, Futuristic, Harmony, Ideation, Includer, Individualization, Input, Intellection, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Relator, Responsibility, Restorative, Self-Assurance, Significance, Strategic, and Woo.  Which five talent themes best describe you?  I hope the StrenthsFinder 2.0 book gives clarity to your career path.

StrengthsFinder 2.0

Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?

At my organization’s last annual company meeting, the human resources manager gave each employee a copy of StrenghtsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, whose inside cover asks “Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?” [emphasis theirs].  This thin, 183-page career book includes an access code for the online Clifton StrengthFinder 2.0 assessment test.  The first 31 pages articulate the central thesis of the book – that “you cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.”  Instead of focusing a majority of personal self-improvement time on weakness, the book asserts that we should instead focus on developing strength.  The remainder of the book describes 34 talent themes.  The online assessment, which takes only about 30 minutes to complete, generates a personalized profile of your top five talents in Adobe PDF format (I keep mine on Dropbox).  Not only does the assessment describe your talents, but it provides a customized action plan based on the results thousands of other people who have taken the assessment (statistical analysis, anyone?).  Once you have your test results, you can finish the book quickly by only reading about your five talents.  Or if you’re like me, you’ll read about the other 29 talents to see if the assessment “got it all wrong”.

I’ll share the results of my assessment in a future post so you can decide.



Used copies can be found cheaply at bookstores like Half Price Books. But beware – the access code in the back of the book can only be used once.  If the seal is broken, the book isn’t worth purchasing. Thankfully, the book is relatively inexpensive from online booksellers like Amazon.

Highly Recommended.

Have you taken the Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment?  What did you think of the results?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

My Monster Data Quality Problem

Last week, I experienced a Monster data quality problem.

Last week, I experienced a Monster data quality problem.

I received a panicked phone call from Monster, the career web site, letting me know that I had a rogue profile with an incorrect phone number.  That number now belonged to another person that was so besieged by recruiter calls that they changed their voice mail message telling callers that they weren’t me.

So I logged into Monster’s web site for the first time in years.  Years!  Ditto for Dice. Not only was my profile “up to date” with correct information, but all of my resumes were in a “private” state. So why was anybody getting deluged with recruiter calls? And why did Monster need my approval before being helpful?

I was able to get answers once I returned the call to Monster customer service. Turns out that I had flirted with using Yahoo Hot Jobs many years ago. Monster acquired Hot Jobs in 2010 but only recently integrated its resumes into its master database. The offending profile had my correct name and home address, but an incorrect phone number and obsolete email address. So I apparently ended up with two profiles, not one, because the profiles were integrated using only the email address. I’m highly skeptical that my original Hot Jobs profile was “live” before it was integrated, so I can only assume that my Hot Jobs profile was erroneously set to active during the integration process.

Monster could have done a better job of integrating resume profiles. If I were Monster, I would have sent an email to each Hot Jobs member telling them to “opt-in” to integrating their profiles. In my case, Monster would have learned that my Hot Jobs email was invalid and could have chosen to not integrate my Hot Jobs profile. If I were part of Monster’s integration team, I would have recommended making a second pass through the Hot Jobs database looking for profiles that matched on physical address, not just email address.

My old profile? Deleted by a helpful Monster customer service representative. And my old phone number? Hasn’t been mine in over five years. While I’m sorry that somebody else is getting recruiter calls, I’m thankful that I don’t have to talk to people desperate enough to call me about a six-year-old resume.

Monster recently announced a layoff of 7-percent of their full-time work force, stating “”We are in a very confused period in terms of whether the economy will stay status-quo or improve or deteriorate further.” But I wonder if sites like LinkedIn are more directly responsible for their woes.

Do you have a Monster/Hot Jobs data quality problem? Are sites like Monster and Dice still relevant to job seekers? Has LinkedIn pushed them over the edge?

SAP BusinessObjects Resume Tips

Five tips that can improve your SAP BusinessObjects resume/CV.

Earlier this year, I shared my opinions on SAP BusinessObjects branding and said that there were steps that “BusinessObjects professionals [should] take to update their resume (known as a Curriculum Vitae or CV in other parts of the world) and their own personal brands” (see related article, Whistling Past the Brand Graveyard with BusinessObjects). I shared these steps recently for an internal company seminar on resume building and interviewing. Much resume advice is subjective, but here are five tips that I believe can improve your resume.

1. SAP-ify your resume

Prior to SAP’s acquisition of Business Objects in 2008, “Business Objects” with a space was the name of the company and “BusinessObjects” (no space) was the name of the (then) flagship reporting tool. After SAP’s acquisition, the brand became “SAP BusinessObjects”. The proper way (circa 2011) to refer to the business intelligence platform is:

SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI R2
SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.0
SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2

A similar change has taken place with Crystal Reports, which is now called SAP Crystal Reports.

Making this change has the added benefit of increasing the SAPS rating of your resume. You’ll benefit from having the “SAP” keyword on your resume even if you’ve never touched an SAP ERP application. See Dave Rathbun’s related article entitled SAP + Business Objects Skills – Do They Exist?

2. Avoid abbreviations

In a resume (or even a presentation), avoid the use of abbreviations. A pet peeve of mine is the usage of “Deski” and “Webi”. An insider knows what these terms are, but in my opinion it is better to spell them out as “Desktop Intelligence” and “Web Intelligence”. If you’re not comfortable going cold turkey on abbreviations, feel free to use the abbreviation in parenthesis the first time you use the full product name. For example:

John Doe has over twelve years of experience creating reports with Desktop Intelligence (Deski).

Used the Central Management Console (CMC) and Central Configuration Manager (CCM) to do super neato administrator stuff.

A benefit to using both the full product name and its abbreviation is that many resumes are electronically scanned and screened for keywords. Using both terms increases your resume’s chances of making the first cut.

3. Use new product names when possible

This year, several products or components were renamed as part of the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 release. Similar to my approach with abbreviations, I like to use the new name first then add the old name in parenthesis. Here are some examples:

For the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator project, Marvin created three universes using the Universe Design Tool (Designer) and 32 reports using Web Intelligence (Webi).

Created six dashboards using SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 (Xcelsius)

Created three dashboards using SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 (formerly Xcelsius)

4. Consider dropping unsupported or obsolete products

As time goes on, products are pruned from the SAP BusinessObjects product suite. You might want to consider editing your resume to remove obsolete product references from your job descriptions.  For example:

Configured Broadcast Agent 5.5 for nightly and monthly report scheduling.

might become

Configured nightly and monthly report schedules using administrator tool.

Some obsolete products that you might want to consider eliminating are Broadcast Agent, Crystal Reports Explorer, Desktop Intelligence, Performance Manager, and Supervisor.

5. Stress the business value of your business intelligence

Whenever possible, mention the value of your contributions to the business. Sometimes the value is elusive, but if your universe increased self-service reporting, say so. Perhaps your efforts automate what used to take several hours or days of tedious manual activity. Be realistic and honest – not everybody can quantify that they saved the company billions of dollars. But some of you can. And should. Check out this helpful blog article by Patrick McKenzie, Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer, for inspiration.

For Additional Reading

What resume/curriculum vitae (CV) guidelines have you found helpful?  Please share your thoughts below.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish – R.I.P. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011

He wasn’t perfect. Nobody is. But he epitomized what we all hope to be in our better moments – somebody using their brief existence to reach their highest potential.

You can read the full transcript of his 2005 Stanford University commencement address from their web site.  Here’s a quote that’s sure to be all over cable news this week.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.


Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Steve Jobs, February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011

You Can’t Get There Alone – The Power of Partners

Before there was an SAP Mentor program, Jeff was a true BusinessObjects mentor.

It happened yesterday without warning. I was coming out of the ASUG/SAPPHIRE lunch area at the Orange County Convention Center and ran into a familiar face. It was Jeff. Over eight years ago, Jeff was my manager and mentor at a midwest IT consulting firm who introduced me to BusinessObjects (version 5.1). Today he is a sales rep for SAP and I am a senior consultant and trainer at an SAP partner. I was surprised by the emotions that get stirred up when I see Jeff. Neither he or I realized it at the time, but Jeff (and another coworker Tom) would start me on a journey that totally changed my professional career. And I’m profoundly grateful for the patient help he gave me during my first BusinessObjects consulting engagements.

In his SAPPHIRE keynote on Monday afternoon, Michael Eisner spoke passionately about the partnerships that helped propel his career.  In his life, and in the examples from his book Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed, the “number 2” in the partnership often doesn’t get the attention of the “number 1”.  But the “number 1” would have never reached the same level of success without them.

I’ve been really lucky with my partnerships. First with Jeff and Tom. Then later at Integra Solutions (now Quorum Business Solutions) with Alan Mayer and Dave Rathbun. And now friends like Eric, Jamie and Greg from the Diversified Semantic Layer. Just to name the more visible ones. There are many more.

We’ve all learned a lot this week at the ASUG Annual Conference and SAP SAPPHIRE NOW. Many times, only a select few on a project team get to attend these events. And many times, our coworkers return from these events and never really bring much knowledge back into the organization. But I’m challenging this year’s conference attendees – go back to your organization and make a deliberate effort to share what you’ve learned. Call a quick team meeting. Plan a team lunch. Find a way to share what you’ve learned. Ask your team members what is needed to bring positive change. Then listen. Jim Hagemann Snabe spoke yesterday of “people-centric collaboration”. It takes more than software to achieve this – we have to be willing to share. Just like Jeff unknowingly did eight years ago, you may be making a profound impact in the lives of your coworkers.