A CliftonStrengths Theme Spotlight
"People exceptionally talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act." -The Gallup Organization
The Talents of People High in Focus
People high in the Focus theme are goal-setters and go-getters. There is a future-orientation to their thinking which propels them forward, but their deepest strength lies in their ability to prioritize and filter the tasks of today to align with the future target. In fact, they are often described as single-minded in their pursuit of a goal. They are capable of consistent concentration that most people only hope to achieve in a rare moment of "flow".
They thrive when given ample space and time to get "in the zone" and they need to be able to work without interruption or distraction to truly leverage their Focus theme. When given this space, they are typically some of the most productive and efficient individuals in a workplace because they will keep their heads down and persevere until the goal is reached.
While others become distracted and demotivated during intense periods of work, those high in Focus seem unfazed. In fact, many people high in Focus report losing all track of time while working. Listen to how a friend with Focus describes it:
"When I'm dialed-in, it's like I don't hear anything happening around me. My husband could be calling my name repeatedly and my kids could be burning the house down and I don't hear any of it. Once I get some traction on a project, time flies and I'm finished."
When working in teams and groups, people high in Focus are often perceived as disciplined, precise, and purposed. They are driven to identify goals and prioritize their actions in light of the direction of the team. This ability positions them to help others establish and reach goals as well. It isn't surprising then, that teams often look to people high in Focus to be the point-person.
The Temptations for People High in Focus
Because people high in Focus are single-minded in their pursuit of a goal, they can sometimes struggle to adjust or adapt when the goal needs to change. Their laser-like approach can inhibit their ability to see the entire picture, which sometimes results in missed opportunities or ill-advised plans.
Similarly, this single-minded pursuit can result in a lot of stress for the person high in Focus. Sometimes they struggle to relax and have fun along the journey because they are so driven and get to the destination. In light of this tendency, it makes sense why they are often perceived as "too intense" or "too absorbed in work."
As mentioned earlier, those high in Focus need long periods of uninterrupted time to work best. Unless others understand and value this need, they might perceive their coworker or manager with Focus as unapproachable and rude. We spoke with a manager once who had just learned he had a Focus theme. He laughed as he read through some of the common perceptions of leaders with this theme. He referenced an experience he had when he was a young manager learning how to lead a team:
"I would walk through the halls thinking about a project or a conversation I was going to have and completely tune-out everyone and everything else. I didn't even realize I was doing it, but when I got my first 360 review back, there were several comments about how I didn't greet employees in the halls. I had to learn that one the hard way, but now they know that I'm just in the zone a lot."
Here are a couple of quick ideas to get you thinking about how to leverage and self-regulate if you've got a dominant Focus theme:
Look for opportunities to help others set goals. This comes so naturally to you that you likely don't realize it can be very overwhelming for others to prioritize activities based on a target goal. But you can easily set others up for success and increase efficiency and productivity on your team.
Don't forget to leverage this powerful talent in your life outside of work. Your ability to set and reach goals can and should be aimed at your relationships, your hobbies, and your free-time.
When leading a team or working with others, make sure you communicate about your Focus theme. Ensure your team knows that they are more important than the goal you are trying to reach together.
At ROI Talent Development, we try to help people fall in love with every single talent theme, even if it isn't dominant in their own theme sequence. Because when we all take the time to understand and appreciate one another, we build happy and healthy workplaces where employee talents are valued and developed.
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