"This might come in useful someday!"
People with Input in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results love to do research and collect ideas, quotes and useful articles. They might also collect tangible objects such as cards, books or photographs.
Whether it is collecting information or objects, those with Input generally do it for two key reasons. One is their natural curiosity for the countless ideas the world presents. The other is the desire to share their different discoveries with others. The genius of Input talents is in their active and resourceful curiosity, which leads those with Input to become a storehouse of knowledge.
People with Input often absorb all the data they can find about the subject matter they are concerned with. Friends sometimes see them as Wikipedia in human form. They know the little intricacies of different topics, particularly if it's an area they're passionate about. The vast amount of information they accumulate empowers them to be a great resource, and their knowledge is a great value-add to any team they belong to.
There are times people with Input might be labelled hoarders or junk collectors because of the large number of items they have accumulated. Some are seen as ‘bookworms' for the enormous number of books they have read - and kept. Many do not understand that people with Input thrive on collecting powerful resources they deem useful, and at the appropriate moment, they enjoy pulling things out to help others who need it.
One of the remarkable people I have met who has the Input talent was a man who used to work at the National Cancer Centre in Singapore. Even though he wasn’t a doctor by profession, his Input talent motivated and empowered him to research and absorb the vast amounts of data connected to the different kinds of cancer. Many often mistook him to be a doctor because of how much he could share with others about cancer. He often took time to educate people about cancer and in living a healthy lifestyle. This is what it means to use the Input talent productively - to share with others the knowledge gained so as to make a difference in the lives of others.
How can a person with Input turn this talent into a Strength? Here are a few suggestions.
1. GATHER REGULAR FEEDBACK
One of the valuable things worth collecting for those with Input is usually feedback from people. Getting feedback from people not only presents greater opportunities for learning, but it also creates an avenue for blind spots to be discovered and tackled. This leads to personal growth.
We can intentionally ask for feedback from people we work closely with or people we have lots of interaction with. The more frequent the feedback, the more productive a person with Input can become. In a team, Leaders with Input will also do well to gather feedback before proceeding in key decisions. Gathering feedback and making sure people are heard is a powerful way for leaders with Input to build a trusting relationship with others.
One way to get good feedback is to learn to ask good questions. Good questions help to draw out critical data and insightful feedback from people, so that the information gained is relevant and helpful. This way, learning is maximized.
2. DEVELOP A STORAGE SYSTEM
People with Input would do well to sharpen their ability to store their collections. One of the worst feelings for people with Input is knowing they have a particular resource to share, but realising they are not able to find it! One of the key abilities or skill sets to pick up is the ability to store and organize information such that the resource is always ready to be shared. Make use of technology to help. A person with Input can leverage on powerful tools such as Evernote, which allows data storage, note-taking, and filing.
One thing to note is that even with good storage systems, people with Input can still find themselves drowning in clutter. This clutter can be in the human mind or in a physical storage space. Part of the reason for the clutter is simply the massive amount of collection and absorption that takes place every day. A good discipline for those with Input is to set aside regular time to clear the clutter.
3. SEEK COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIPS
Partner people with Focus
People with Focus have the ability to stay on track towards a goal amidst distractions. Partnering people with Focus allows those with Input to determine key areas of priority that they can invest in. Working with Focus helps those with Input to stay on track and become an expert on a particular subject matter. People with Input gain a lot of credibility by directing their research into a particular focus and becoming a knowledge expert in that field.
Partner people with Connectedness
People with Connectedness desire to network and to share with others. They also have an innate ability to connect the dots. Partnering people with Connectedness allows those with Input to explore different networks and groups where the resources gathered can be channelled and shared to benefit a greater community.
When the Input talent is in its infancy, it tends to result in lots of hoarding without any productive use of the resources. The idea of hoarding without sharing will ultimately lead to a standstill, like a sponge. It reaches its limit when everything that is absorbed is not squeezed out. By partnering those with Connectedness, people with Input can become more mindful of those who can benefit from the knowledge that they have gathered, and generously share with these people.
Partner people with Empathy
People with Empathy have the innate ability to understand how others feel and make sense of the emotions. By partnering people with Empathy, people with Input are able to take the feedback collected from teammates or subordinates and better understand how they feel and why they feel certain ways. This allows those who lead with Input to strengthen bonds and create trust by exploring actionable steps that address both the practical and the emotional concerns of a team.
Concluding thoughts: People with Input process large amounts of information and store useful data to share with others. In a world where knowledge is highly valued, these people empower their teams to soar by their ability to quickly collect, process and share resources.