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Experts at Gallup state that with few exceptions (like Japan) Gallup have found that Strengths frequencies are consistent around the world. Gallup has pulled reports of the frequency of Strengths results that occur in different languages. E.g. Frequency for everyone who took the assessment in Latin American Spanish found the same results as the rest of the world.
However, it is important to note that these samples are not representative of a nation of people. The countries that are dominated by people who have taken the assessment using a Strengths book have a lot of Achiever and Learner (Teacher in Stand Out). But think of who would be drawn to a book/assessment about self improvement and how to treat people differently! For countries where many people have taken Strengths assessments as a corporate client, the sample may be a little more random, but it will only people who are employed at large companies. That suggests a certain level of education / socio-economic status. That said, when you look at the Strengths results of a country (Hofstede/Trompenaar / Hall definitions of entire countries), you could find it somewhat valid to make sweeping generalities about a whole country. If a countrywide value is to “be well rounded” and that is praised in media and schools then do you strive to be like everyone else or are you anti-establishment? Who instilled that value in you? What was their relationship to you? Everyone’s situation is a different.
Our external influences are incredibly powerful when we are young. Family, community, organizations and culture play some role in shaping the authentic individual human. As parents of a Montessori school raised son, my husband and I learned the incredible influence of the environment (including our “first parenting” blunders!) between the ages of zero and eighteen.
At the end of the day you create your Strengths assessment results. You and you alone get to answer the questions. At times we can have a pre-occupation and an over-emphasis of the continued role that that external factors play in shaping who we become. If something external plays a key role in determining who we are, then it is real. We often talk about the culture of a country or people as if it is a simple, uniform phenomenon, when in reality within most countries there are likely to be variety and diversity of cultural forms. Human beings are very complex creatures and our desire to sometimes simplify the complexity of human society means we can over- generalize. The Strengths-based approach to personal development values and measures individual uniqueness, but that doesn’t mean we have to value independence over interdependence. Communities, organizations and cultures need to be diverse and well rounded, but individuals do not.
The bottom line …….If you are wondering if your culture or where you were raised is affecting your results then yes it likely is, simply because it affected who you are! If you expected a different result to what you got, then that is a different question. Please remember that one Strength is not better than another. You are unique and your greatest opportunity is to maximize the best of you. We can certainly discuss this more to help you “claim and aim” your excellence during our coaching conversations. I strongly suggest looking back at your successes to see how your talents have helped your success over time. Ask those who know you well to read your results and see if it sounds like you is also a good test.
Remember sometimes we are too close to our natural talents to appreciate them. That is part of the value of a Strengths program; greater self-awareness and application of our authentic potential.
We hope that this article provides you value. If you need more help for you and your team please do not hesitate to reach out to us using the contact details in the footnote or by email at info@ChurchillLeadershipGroup.com
Regards, The Churchill Leadership Group Team