Input and Intellection are two themes that emerged from the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment I completed in 2007 that didn't show up in my 2012 results.
In 2012, Input and Intellection were replaced by Maximizer and Achiever. Three themes were common to both set of results: Strategic, Ideation and Leaner.
In this post I'll explore the meaning behind Input and Intellection and how I see how those two themes are reflected in my professional and personal life.
Characteristics of the Input Theme
“You are inquisitive.”
Strengths Finder 2.0, p. 125
I would sum up this theme as being driven by curiosity. I am endlessly curious. I am interested in just about everything. I was the kid who read the ChildCraft Encyclopedia to learn new things every day.
“Yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity.”
Strengths Finder 2.0, p. 125
That describes me and my view of the world almost perfectly.
The Input theme also encompasses the acquisition of things and experiences, and I'm less inclined as an adult to collect tangible things.
You collect things. You might collect information — words, facts, books, and quotations — or you might collect tangible objects….
Strengths Finder 2.0, p. 125
I do have a sizable book collection, but I've had to start downsizing it over the years. And I've moved to Kindle (or PDF) for about 80% of what I'm reading now. I have an extensive collection of “information” in various Evernote folders and I love to curate content online. I used delicious for several years for bookmarking, before moving to systems.
I used to collect “things,” but eventually the lack of storage space and headaches of moving all the things became something of a burden, so I stopped collecting new things. I still have most of my old collections but they aren't on display. They're taking up space in my extra closets.
I love to take photographs to chronicle my travels and more local explorations. The photos serve as collections to remind me of experiences, even feelings, that emerged as a result of those places.
As I learned to cook during my early adolescent years I would expand my family's food horizon by cooking dishes I found in a cookbook called Food From Foreign Lands. I think that's representative of the Input theme.
The Input theme meshes well, I think, with Ideation and Learning because the Input reflects how I acquire the information needed to learn, grow and connect-the-dots between the disparate bits of information I need to see what's coming next, which is reflected in my Strategic theme.
My application of Input as a mechanism to feed my ability to generate new ideas and develop strategic plans is supported in this explanation of the Input theme by Brian Schubring of Leadership Vision Consulting.
Characteristics of the Intellection Theme
Intellection is all about thinking, exercising mental muscles. The Intellection theme encompasses a desire to have time alone to reflect on ideas.
Intellection is not particularly complicated: It's just about thinking, reflecting, musing. And it's not about thinking on “intellectual” topics. Thinking can be highly pragmatic, as well: What's for dinner? What just happened in that meeting?
Although I'm never so “lost in thought” that I miss an exit or turn on my drive home, I do like time to reflect on my day. I almost always wake up in time to have coffee at home while I journal, blog, or do some reflective activity to prepare me for the day ahead. I hate to have to roll out of bed, jump in the shower and dash off to work.
In reviewing some of the Ideas for Action in Strengths Finder 2.0 book, I ran across one that suggests explaining to coworkers why I like to work with the door closed. That makes sense.
Noise disturbs my thinking. My current office is located on a busy portico just off a primary entrance to my section of the building. Four faculty offices open into this portico and the sounds of their conversations with students carries directly into my own office. I suspect that those colleagues know why I close my door when it's not drop-in office hours, but students and other faculty probably do not. The faculty upstairs don't get the same amount of traffic passing by their doors each day so they probably don't understand why I close the door.
I found this blog post that provides a good description of how Intellection can play out in daily life. I'm actually good at listening to a complete conversation, rather than tuning someone out while I revel in processing something they just said. But that's something that comes with practice.
As a lawyer, it's necessary to listen to every word that's spoken in a negotiation or client interview. The time to process that information comes after hearing it. A lawyer who isn't listening is likely to miss a clue to how to move the deal forward.
I suspect that Intellection was highly relevant in 2007 when I was practicing law, more necessary than in my work as a college professor teaching undergraduates. You'd think that “thinking” is a big part of life as a college professor, but it's really not, at least not in a pre-professional degree program where students have little-to-no experience in real world application of the subject matter.
Relevance of Input and Intellection Themes Today
For reasons I've touched on above, I think Input and Intellection are both fairly dominant themes in my life, but Intellection has been less prevalent on the professional side of my life since I returned to academia in 2009. The courses I've been teaching don't require much deep thinking and reflection on my part. There's a lot of prep work and grading, but not deep due to the subject matter and nature of the degree program. [That was different when I taught and mentored graduate students while at Oklahoma State.]
Input is still quite relevant in my life, but it was probably replaced by Maximizer and Achiever as dominant themes because of a need for, and desire to, gain professional recognition at an academic institution where I seem(ed) invisible.
I suspect that if I took the Strengths Finder 2.0 test today, as I embark on a new chapter of my professional life, the dominant themes would be ranked this way:
Although Achiever and Intellection might be reversed in order. In fact, it's hard for me to say where Achiever fits in the list. I do have a strong desire to do new things, start and finish new projects, but it's more of an internal drive for the most part. That said, I also have a need to “achieve” to be respected professionally, so it's not entirely internal. That, I suppose, relates to ambition and respect, which are different topics. So I digress….
Have you taken the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment? Do you think the themes reflect your true strengths and needs? Leave a comment. I'd love to connect.