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HR for the Heart

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You had reserved one of the many conference rooms for your group discussion and presentation, and you arrived early to make sure that everything was set up appropriately. Earlier, you had finished compiling the StrengthsQuest results, making sure to print out copies for each of the Avengers.

At a little before 1pm, they began to trickle in.

Ever the punctual one, Natasha appeared first with Clint in tow. They took a seat, and you made small talk with them until Steve appeared. Then Bruce, and Thor, and lastly, Tony.

"Welcome, everyone," you said as you began passing out your handouts. You had found the StrengthsQuest description for each of the themes that the Avengers had been assessed with, allowing yourself to customize each copy for each Avenger. Along with that, you had provided a brief introduction to the StrengthsQuest assessment and everything that it entailed. "Thank you for sending me your results so quickly. I know it was kind of a last-minute assessment that I had you take."

They began flipping through the papers, scanning their own results.

Tony did not even bother looking through the entire document. Instead, he said, "Did you get my message about taking your job too seriously? Because I think you're swimming in the paperwork ocean right now. It's a dangerous place to be, the paperwork ocean."

"You said it yourself -- I should keep Fury happy, and he seemed to approve of my presentation." You took a seat at the head of the conference table.

"The man's not difficult to please. You just have to bring him his favorite triple shot espresso and make sure baddies don't break Lady Liberty's face."

"Shut up, Stark, and let her present." Natasha sent him a glare, and he said no more.

You mouthed her a 'thank you' before you continued. "What you have in front of you is a document that I've compiled for each of you, containing information on the themes you scored highest in. According to StrengthsQuest, there are 34 themes total. Now, it's important to understand that just because a certain theme is not in your top five, does not mean that you lack it. For example, 'empathy' is one of the themes. None of you had 'empathy' in your top five. This does not mean that you don't have the capacity to understand the emotions of others -- it just means that, according to the assessment, it would not be placed among your top five."

"So what are they then?" Clint asked, his eyes focused on the five descriptors. "Are they what we're best at?"

"Good question. I was just going to address that. StrengthsQuest is based on a theoretical foundation. Your top five should be regarded more as... potential strengths as opposed to what you're best at. According to those who developed this tool, they say that strengths are natural talents (talent being "a naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior") that have been further developed. These 'strengths' are not necessarily inherited, but they start as innate talents, tendencies really. These tendencies to do something well can be nurtured into something great.

"On the other hand, it's entirely possible that one of your top five themes is a strength that is already in the process of being developed. You may feel that your top five describes you very well because these are themes you value."

Thor smiled and said, "I think my five are accurate. I am surprised that such an assessment would define me so well."

You were pleased with his response. "It's a very popular tool for businesses and universities... I would imagine that it is backed by years of research. Any other comments on your top five?"

"What are the other 34 themes, if I may ask?" Natasha said.

"I can send those to you, if you'd like. For now, I think it's best of we discussed the themes that you six bring to the table. I say that because you're a team, and as cheesy as it sounds, you have to work together. In order for your work to be effective, you're going to have to complement one another, which may or may not happen depending on how these strengths are addressed.

"Now, let's take a look at Tony and Clint, for example. Among both of their top five, they have 'competition.' If they were to, say, use their 'competition' solely as motivation to be better than the other, then your teamwork would quickly crumble. However, if they used 'competition' to their advantage and spurred each other to their utmost potential, then there may just be positive effect on your teamwork."

Steve nodded. "I see. This is all very interesting to me. I would assume that our differing strengths could also complement one another."

"Correct," you said. "In the end, each strength has a weakness, and in order to overcome that weakness, you have to be ready to pool in your collective strengths in hopes of finding the best solution." You searched through your paperwork for an example. "Let's see... ah, let's use this one. One of your themes, Steve, is the 'activator' theme. This means that you are always asking the question, 'When can we start?' You want to move forward, you don't like sitting around and discussing things -- you like to do, you like to see the results of your labor. While this is a strength by itself, let's think about a potential weakness--"

"--irrationality," he said.

"Perfect. Now, Bruce has 'deliberative' as one of his themes. This means that he's cautious. He thinks through things carefully before making a decision. He likes to plan, likes to consider all possibilities before taking action. This 'deliberativeness' could potentially save someone with the 'activator' theme by slowing them down, opening their eyes, and asking them to take certain aspects of a mission into consideration."

"Likewise," Bruce added, " the one with the 'activator' theme could encourage the 'deliberator' to actually move forward with a plan of action, especially if the situation were time-sensitive. They complement each other, as _____ was saying. Individually, there are both weaknesses and strengths in every theme, but collectively, ultimately, they create a strength."

"Exactly." They were understanding your reason for implementing this StrengthsQuest training. "I think you're all getting the hang of this. This is a really brief presentation, I know, but I'd like to open up the floor for discussion on how you think these themes could be applied."

"Oh good. Allow me to share my 'intellection' with you all, so we can 'maximize' our 'idealist' 'learning' opportunities... 'competitively.' That sound right?" Tony said, sitting up and announcing his top five themes in one sentence. "

You shook your head as you exhaled in a brief laugh. "If anything, Tony, I think your 'intellection' is getting in the way. Maybe go to Natasha for some 'strategic' advice." You did not think you were being terribly funny, but you managed to get a chuckle out of everyone.