Printed report with notes

The good, the bad and the ugly – [Talent Profile]

After learning that I’m prone toward Analysis Paralysis and a bit of a loner in the first section of the Talent Profile, it’s time to learn about my good and bad points in some concise lists. Let’s start off with the good by looking at the ‘Qualities and Strengths’ revealed by my answers to the Octogram(R) test.

qualitiesQualities and Strengths

This section deals with the main strengths of Richard. When Richard is in a function that plays to these strengths, there will be a greater chance for engagement, positive motivation and quality of results.

The following qualities are very strong for Richard

  • Brings structural problems into the light and makes the need for change obvious
  • Shakes up the status quo
  • Encourages others to look at the bigger picture
  • Provides insights and vision
  • Makes policy
  • Finds effective solutions to fundamental problems
  • Aware of the latest information that is important for an organization
  • Makes information accessible to others
  • Is committed to making sure data is accurate and of high quality
  • Concerned with security and maintaining control of information privacy
  • Realistic
  • Practical
  • Prevents others from living in a fantasy land and grounded in facts

Well, I guess that answers the interview question, “What are your strong points?” I don’t have a lot to say about this list, I mean, for the most part it seems to be in line with what the first section was saying about me. The only entry that doesn’t mirror my day-to-day reality is the one that says, “Makes information accessible to others”. I have a bad habit of making updates to projects and releasing them without asking for quality control checks, which drives the quality control team insane. It’s just that, when I make something new or fix a problem, I want to get it out there, to the clients, as quickly as possible.  .  . oh.

The next section gives me a list of words and short phrases that should fit nicely on my business card


In this section, the most important strengths of Richard are expressed as keywords.

The following keywords are very strong for Richard

  • Independent
  • Deliberate
  • Course-setter
  • Objective
  • Future oriented
  • Analytical
  • Unbiased
  • Visionary
  • Logical
  • Scenario thinker
  • Helicopter view
  • Methodical

Those all seem complimentary to me. These keywords are based on my high scores, but if I look into the Appendix of the report, I can see what other keywords exist that don’t apply to me. For instance, if I had high scores on the Helper trait, I could have put things like ‘Empathetic’ or ‘Attentive’ on this list. Alas, I am not especially good at either of these things unless I really work at it. I can do those things, it’s just not natural for me and require extra effort from me.

My Networker score is just average, so the keywords associated with a high Networker score such as “Extrovert”, “Fanciful” and “Expressive” are not on the list. But I am really good in front of a crowd, I can speak to large groups in an engaging and entertaining way and hold their attention. Unfortunately, that kind of behavior is a huge drain on my reserves, afterwards I have to go off by myself for hours to recover from my ‘extroversion hangover’.  So, again, we are not talking about skill level here, the report is talking about “comfort zone”.

The next section is hard to read, it’s confrontational because it highlights my weak points. It’s time for:


Experience has shown that some qualities can be expressed so strongly that they become negative points and that developing skills opposed to these super-strong characteristics can take an incredible amount of energy and time. This section was created to help Richard be aware of these potential pitfalls so that they can be guarded against.

These are high risk potential pitfalls for Richard

  • So focused on facts that insufficient attention is paid to other important factors
  • Susceptible to information overload and decision paralysis
  • Difficulty seeing the forest because there are so many trees in the way
  • Difficultly making decisions where all information is not known (or knowable)
  • Too quick to ignore opposing opinions
  • Hold to personal ideas and plans too tightly and reject the plans of others if they conflict
  • Can be a touch pedantic, pushing the idea even if it is removed from reality and common sense

Based on the strengths of Richard, there is an above average level of risk for these pitfalls

  • Expects others to have the same level of energy
  • Sets ambitious goals, always raising the bar
  • Burnout risk
  • High self-expectations
Printed report with notes

My printed report and my notes on what it says

I’m 44 years old, I have had enough feedback and life experience to know a lot of these things about myself. The one about ‘holding onto ideas too tightly’ is right on the money, especially in stressful situations, I develop a kind of tunnel vision. Experience has added a very important phrase to my internal mantra, “What if I am wrong?” Sometimes that just increases the stress level, but more often, it makes me step back and look for alternatives. I have been through that cycle enough times to recognize that when the tunnel vision kicks in, when I start ignoring or discounting other view points, it’s diagnostic of the fact that I am not as sure of my ideas as I would like to be. Kind of like sticking your fingers in your ears because you don’t want to hear bad news :)

Another aspect of the ‘being 44’ thing is that I need to keep a sharp eye on the line about being a ‘Burnout risk’. In the article on this site “Burning Out: The 7 Stagnation Indicators”, I share a list of early warning signs that I pay attention to in myself and in the people around me. When those indicators start showing up, I know it’s time to take my foot off of the accelerator, take a break and get some perspective.

Each section of the report comes with an area for personal notes. The ‘Pitfalls’ section really got my attention. I worked through the points and tried to identify when each of them would be triggered, warning signs to look for and an action plan in case I noticed any of those signs cropping up. Many sections of the report are dealing with bigger questions, general notes on career direction and focus. This section is something I intend to keep close to the top of my consciousness.

The Talent Profile is available on the website.