Input: Collecting and Dispensing Information

A CliftonStrengths Theme Spotlight

"People exceptionally talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information." -The Gallup Organization

The Talents of People High in Input

People who are high in the Input theme are naturally curious and have a great mind for details. They typically have an excellent memory and know a little bit about a lot of topics. Their desire to collect information means that they are often known as great resources and "resourcers" in their teams and workplaces. In fact, we sometimes describe people high in Input as "information sponges" who love to absorb and then dispense knowledge to others.

You might hear them say things like:

"I read a great article I think you would like to see. I'll send it over."
"I was just looking over the most recent data. I can speak to that."
"Have you ever heard of.........? I'll send you a link."
"That got me thinking about..........which led me to discover........"

Sometimes those high in Input collect information, but sometimes they collect physical objects instead. One client collects WWII memorabilia and has developed a system for recording the value and significance of each object so that he can pass everything down to his children one day. Another client with Input is also very strong in Relationship Building themes. She sees her Input show up in that she has a strong desire to collect more and more information about people she meets. She keeps the information in her Notes app on her phone so that she can access it later when she's going to interact with the individuals.

In teams and workplaces, those high in Input keep the group on the cutting edge because of their quest for more knowledge and information. They retain information quickly, therefore increasing productivity and efficiency on their teams. They are valuable members because of their curiosity and their willingness to be a great resource to others.

The Temptations for People High in Input

Because people high in the Input theme love to collect and archive information or objects, they can sometimes struggle to stay organized in their workplaces. They often report that their natural craving to know more can result in a cluttered space or a cluttered mind. For example, they might be labeled a "pack rat" because of their desire to hold on to things that might prove useful later.

Sometimes those high in Input can also be tentative to move forward or make a decision because they sense that there might be more information out there about the issue or topic. They want to understand it all and aren't satisfied with conducting mediocre research. While this thorough approach is of great value in the workplace, sometimes it can frustrate those who are already satisfied with the information they have in their possession.

When working with others, those high in Input also run the risk of overwhelming the team with information or resources. If they aren't deliberative about what they bring to the team, they can hamper productivity as a result. Sometimes those who work closely with a person high in Input will report that they don't always understand the nature of the information being distributed. One leader we know said it this way:

"After I learned I had this Input theme, one of my direct reports said, "This is why we always get so stressed out when you send us so many random articles or reports to read. We don't know if you want us to do something specific as a result or if you just think we'd find it interesting. Are we supposed to synthesize the information? Save it for later? It's too much information. This is especially hard on newer employees who don't know you well."

Action Steps for the Person with Input

Here are a couple of quick ideas to get you thinking about how to leverage and self-regulate if you've got a dominant Input theme:

  1. Look for opportunities to help team members gather resources and information to reach their performance goals and objectives. Your ability to synthesize large amounts of information will prove useful as you determine next steps throughout a project.

  2. Consider partnering with someone high in an Executing theme such as Discipline or Arranger. These individuals can help you devise a system for organizing and archiving your information so that you can find what you need when you need it.

  3. When leading a team or working with others, make sure you communicate clearly about the "why" behind the information you distribute. What is your purpose in sending this article or resource? What do you hope your team members will do with the information? Giving others a clear picture of your motives and intentions will help them work with you more productively.

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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