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The Four Domains – Frequently Asked Questions

The Four Domains - Frequently Asked Questions

Sunday 15th July 2018

You may have noticed within StrengthsFinder that all of the 34 themes are often represented in different colours - red, orange, purple and blue. These colours represent the 'Four Domains of Team Strength'. The colours are -

Red - Strategic Thinking Themes
Those with dominant themes in the Strategic Thinking keep the team focused on what could be. They are constantly absorbing and analysing information and helping the team make better decisions.

Blue - Relationship Building Themes
Those with dominant themes in the Relationship Building domain can provide the glue to hold a team together. They have the unique ability to help the group become much greater than the sum of its parts.

Orange - Influencing Themes
Those with dominant themes in the Influencing domain help their team reach a much broader audience. They can sell the team's ideas inside and outside the organisation.

Purple - Executing Themes
People who are strong in the Executing domain have an ability to take an idea and transform it into reality. When the team needs someone to implement a solution, they will work tirelessly to get it done.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get about the four domains -

Do I need strengths in all four domains?

In a word, NO. Some people do have a fairly balanced representation across their top 10 themes across all of the domains and some people will be dominant in three, two or one domain. It doesn't matter where your strengths lie, it does matter how you use them. With StrengthsFinder we know that we can't do everything, which means you don't need to excel in each of the four domains. Find out what you do well and do that thing better than anyone else. That, rather than been 'balanced' is your key to success.

Does my team need strengths in all four domains?

It depends what your team is doing and if they are really a team or a group of individuals who occasionally work together. If they are a team in the truest definition of a team then here it becomes more important that we have a more equal distribution of strengths. This is because within teams we need difference in the strengths and capabilities of the individuals within that team. If we end up with a team that is very one sided in one domain or another we might face some of the following issues:

A team very strong in influencing strengths - this team loves to talk and meet about new initiatives and is great at selling their ideas to others. They may struggle when it comes to follow through and getting things done.

A team very strong in executing strengths - works hard and produces a lot however is what they are doing very though through? Are they planning together or all just working independently and pulling in different direction.

A team very strong in relationship building strengths - this team gets along with each other brilliantly and has a high level of trust. They are tight and can rely on each other to deliver. They may feel unable to challenge ideas or forge new directions when things go wrong.

A team very strong in strategic thinking strengths - they love to brainstorm and plan for the future, great at analysing ideas and data and know they can make great decisions. However all their planning leaves little time for action and plans can end up going nowhere.

A team with balance would avoid these issues by having a range of different perspectives when it comes to the day to day work. The members of a balanced team can rely on their colleagues to help them fill the gaps that they have.

I have all or nearly all my top strengths in one domain, am I ok?

Yes you are OK, in fact you are probably really great. I have worked with people who have their strengths concentrated in one domain and have found that they have risen to the top by exploiting their uniqueness and ability to be superior than others in a particular area. I have worked with a CEO with four of his top five strengths in the influencing domain. He has risen by using his rapport building skills, large network and personable nature to his advantage. I have worked with a Senior Manager with five of their top ten strengths in the Strategic Thinking domain. They had been successful through using their thoughtful approach to consider decisions carefully and create a plan for their own future and diligently implement the steps to achieving it. As a manager they applied these skills to help others consider and plan things more thoroughly.

I don't have any executing (or other domain) themes in my top 10, does that mean I can't get things done?

For this question I always turn this back on the person asking it - do you get things done? The answer is usually yes. So we examine what gives them the drive and motivation to get things completed. Chances are this drive could be coming from another domain. For example I am higher on influencing themes, so I know I am more likely to get things done when there is a decision or action that is dependent on my work. StrengthsFinder helps you identify what gives you energy. For many the completion of tasks in themselves is what givens them energy, for others it could be the learning involved with the task or the opportunity to work with others. Discover your motivation and you will discover how you like to get things done.

I am leading my company and I don't have any Strategic Thinking themes, how is this possible?

Leading a company requires many different talents, being strategic is one of them. So first, don't panic, there are other ways you can be strategic other than having strategic thinking themes! Some people might be strategic through interactions and conversations with others (communication, WOO); some people might be strategic through acting, doing and reassessing (achiever, activator) and some people might be strategic through working closely with others to achieve shared objectives (relator, empathy). There is more than one way to achieve an end result and we know that successful people all get things done in different ways!

Top Tip - Don't confuse the StrengthsFinder domain of Strategic Thinking and the StrengthsFinder theme of 'Stratgeic' with how we use the word 'Strategy' in business. The Strategic theme is about finding different routes to get to where you need to be. It is seeing the wood for the trees and planning a way forward. Strategic Thinking as a domain is a collective term for strengths that allow people to think, analyse and understand situations more deeply to make better decisions. In business we tend to think of Strategy as planning the future direction of the business - this is a responsibility that can be achieved through many different strengths.