"What’s our main goal?"
People with Focus in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results enjoy zooming in on the task that sits on top of their priority list and working at it. They need a clear goal or outcome to perform at their best. For some, the StrengthsFinder Focus theme is about intense and frequent goal-setting so that they are able to achieve their goals daily, monthly, or however long a time period they may have.
For people with the Focus theme, they often experience tremendous joy and satisfaction when they are able to set their mind to a task and complete it without succumbing to distractions. The Focus theme allows the individual to get a lot of work done within an allotted amount of time. They possess a powerful ability to filter out the non-essentials and the distractions.
The genius of the Focus talent theme is in their intense concentration on one task. The single-mindedness enhances the speed and quality of the individual’s performance. Focus as a talent theme is seen as the most powerful in the area of task execution and is categorized under the Executing Domain of the StrengthsFinder 4 Domains of Leadership Strengths.
Some people might label those with the Focus theme as one-dimensional, as they can often neglect the needs and wants of team members because of the need to finish their own work. Others think they are too narrow-minded in their processing abilities and they often miss the moments of opportunities that come up.
While all the above behaviours can present themselves when the Focus theme is in the infancy stage, it is more important to know the real deal. People with Focus have a laser-like precision, zooming in on the outcome they want to achieve in order to be more productive and effective in what they do. They are the ones who often stay on track and help others do the same. Many people with the Focus theme can concentrate on their work or studies without being distracted by phone messages or conversations by others. In meetings, people with the Focus theme need the discussions to stay on track towards the set agenda, and are often irritated when discussions veer off course.
Ryan Thomasz, a student whom Strengths School™ interviewed, has Focus in his top 5 StrengthsFinder results. His friends call him a "crazy studying robot" -- he can easily study for 5 hours at a time. One time, during one of his exam revision periods, he studied 12 hours at a go, stopping only for toilet breaks. Using his Focus theme, Ryan became one of the top Economics students in the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.
How can a person with Focus turn this talent into a Strength?
1. UNDERSTAND WHAT TRULY MATTERS
On the surface, it often seems that the StrengthsFinder Focus theme is about filtering out distractions and maintaining their attention on a particular task for long periods of time. Counterintuitively, however, what is of utmost importance is the ability to cultivate the awareness of what truly matters.
This natural ability to prioritize and act can also be brought beyond tasks and into people development. The person with Focus can develop a great ability to be self-aware and identify key areas to grow in.
Daniel Goleman, author of “The Focused Leader,” writes that a person needs to develop in three areas of focus in order to have a greater propensity in leadership development: an inward focus, a focus on others, and a focus on the wider world. The first two help to build emotional intelligence, while the third area of focus helps in remaining relevant in a fast-changing global landscape. When those with Focus are constantly zooming into one of these three areas of personal development, they grow in their insights into what truly matters.
2. KEY SKILLS TO DEVELOP
While it is natural for people with Focus to have an intense level of concentration, it is not necessarily natural for them to start off on the right track. One of the key skills for those with the Focus theme to pick up is the ability to start with clear outcomes in mind and select the right path. For those with Focus, the danger of starting on the wrong path can often result in a great loss of time and opportunities. The ability to have deep concentration, unfortunately, also often leads to tunnel vision, and they can fail to quickly recognize when the wrong path has been taken.
To build on the above, it might be inevitable that people with Focus set up a personalized system to review at regular intervals, to concretize the needed actions in order to keep going towards the goal.
3. SEEK COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIPs
Partner those with Adaptability
People with Adaptability enjoy dynamic environments and react very well to changes. They are also known to be people who are “present.” In contrast, people with Focus may often be slow to respond to the sudden needs of others because of the need to focus on getting tasks done. Such a partnership allows the person with Focus to be sharpened the same way that iron sharpens iron.
Partner those with Arranger
Arrangers enjoy dealing with multiple variables, especially in highly complex projects. They are always looking to find the best configuration for a productive outcome. Because of this, the Arrangers are often said to be able to multi-task and juggle many different work demands found in complex projects. In contrast, people with Focus tend to be single-minded and prefer to zoom into one area to be most productive. Such a partnership is very powerful in complex projects, as both are able to team up and juggle the variables while retaining a laser-like focus on the key outcomes.
Partner those with Connectedness
People with Connectedness enjoy zooming out to try to see the larger picture to understand as well as try to connect the dots. They seek to understand how ideas are linked or how integration and cooperation between certain groups of people can yield better results. In contrast, people with Focus prefer to zoom in and focus on prioritising the important tasks, as work demands often portray most tasks to be urgent and important. People with Focus prefer to filter out the not-so-important tasks in order to quickly complete the important ones and achieve the desired outcome. Such a partnership generates discussions in which both the macro factors are considered and priorities are identified in order to reach the desired outcomes.
Concluding thoughts: People with Focus bring a much-needed ability to concentrate on the right things to achieve the intended goals. While sound bites are now commonplace and the average person has a much shorter attention span, people with Focus stand out because of their natural ability to concentrate deeply and be single-minded. They can be counted on to use their laser-like precision to help teams stay on track and move towards the team goals.
Written by Victor Seet
Activator • Communication • Strategic • Self-Assurance • Command
As a Gallup certified Strengthsfinder coach, Victor is passionate about strengths engagement and now runs his own training company, Strengths School™ (strengthsschool.com). He has been actively giving Strengthsfinder leadership and team building workshops to businesses and schools in Singapore as well as Hong Kong, China (Shanghai) and India.
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