A common misconception about Strengths is that they show up in the same way for everyone. If two people share the Theme of Competition, you might assume they both love to win no matter what but this is not always the case. Leadership Vision has written in depth about how certain behaviors may point to a Strength, but we caution against broad statements that prescribe a Strength to always show up through specific behaviors.
Here is what I learned:
My StrengthsFinder™ Theme of Competition
My StrengthsFinder™ Theme of Competition pairs most often with my Themes of Discipline and Individualization. These two Themes make my Competition Strength sound structured and personalized. Externally, Brian described my Competition + Discipline this way,
“You compare systems, structures, and expectations to other options that are outside of those structures and objectives,,” he said, “You compare which is better and you go for it. This may take time or it may happen quickly.”
When I partner with Brian to create materials, he will often turn to me, hold up a sheet of paper, and start pointing to where he wants specific words, lines, logos, etc. I immediately grab a piece of paper and begin to map out a structure. As I sketch it out, I’m checking back with him, ensuring I’m aware of the expectations so I know if I’m meeting the standard. Once the general outline is approved, I create the new materials.
My Disciplines creates the structure, but my Competition looks at how this new piece compares to other pieces we have curated. I picture my Discipline as a house full of details, each room holding specific information. In moments like this, my Competition flips on the lights in particular rooms that contain relevant information and compares what’s there to create the new piece of material. Depending on how quickly my Competition can find these comparisons or how many it targets influences the time it takes for me to execute.
If I am working with a different co-worker to create new materials, I tailor pieces of my approach and feedback to meet their needs and within the structures and expectations of that relationship. This is closely connected to my Theme of Individualization.
Logan’s Strength of Competition
Logan’s Competition most often pairs with his Themes of Ideation and Command. Logan’s Ideation is continuously swirling from information gathered via a TED talk, article, podcast, event he attended, etc. and his Competition ranks that content based on any number of factors. When he extroverts his thinking on an important topic, you’ll hear his Command and Competition making a declaration valuing specific information over others. This can come across sounding arrogant, but you haven’t seen all the behind the scenes work of his other Strengths.
As I interviewed Logan, I discovered his thought process shifts and grows based on what content is coming in. Think of a funnel; as Logan takes in information, his Competition is at work sifting through the data, determining what’s essential and what’s not. Once his Ideation is satisfied, his Competition gives the signal to release the information which he speaks out through Command. I found this fascinating in comparison to my preferred thinking style which is structured, separated, and linear!
Brian’s Strength of Competition
To add yet another way that the StrengthsFinder Theme of Competition can look, I interviewed our President, Brian Schubring. Brian’s Competition pairs most often with his Themes of Connectedness and Intellection.
Brian needs his Connectedness to land, and then his Intellection can anchor. To me, I picture Brian’s Strength of Connectedness as tentacles that extend from him to specific people and places. For my Competition to engage fully, I need structure; Logan needs to gather information; Brian needs points of connection.
Brian’s points of connection could be a couple of days with everyone in the office and not out on a job, having a good weekend with his wife and daughter, running a marathon and winning his age group, or having a firm grasp on his future. Whatever it is that day that makes Brian’s Connectedness land, is also what anchors his Intellection and signals which idea to polish and fine tune.
It’s in these moments with Connectedness landed and Intellection anchored that Brian will speak from a place of Competition. This is when he turns to me, holds up a piece of paper and speaks out what he needs me to create. “This language, not that language, this way not that way, this size not that size.” The cadence of his language signals to me his Competition is firing and setting standards for my Competition, and then we are off and running!
What Does Your Competition Look Like?
Strengths are incredibly dynamic. They play off of each other and are influenced by all of your life experiences. The way Competition shows up for Logan, Brian and I is similar in some ways. All three of us like to win, we are all athletes, and we want to know the rules of the game we are in. These are all talents of the Strength of Competition that we all resonate with. But, we hope that even though there are similarities, these interviews gave you an idea of how differently Strengths show up for each individual.
You may share the same Strength as someone else, and it may cause you to see the world in similar ways, but a multitude of factors will influence how that Strength shows up in each of you. By taking the time to pause and consider which Strengths are pairing together in yourself and other individuals, what life circumstances have influenced your and their worldview, you’re able to see the beauty and brilliance of each individual better.