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Great British Strengths


The Story

The Rugby World Cup is on. England are on winning form, but arguably making it difficult for themselves. I feel that we always make it difficult for ourselves in any sport, look at our football team, look at our top tennis stars.

I wonder whether there is something culturally inherent that means we're a little bit embarrassed to be triumphant. Why could that be the case? I'm not sure. Perhaps it's because England, and Great Britain in general, historically colonised a lot of the world and now feel a little bit guilty about it? Perhaps we feel, culturally, that we need to make up for this past dominance by being super-nice, and super-politically correct? Perhaps we're so concerned about not being seen to be better than anyone else, we do what we can to make sure we're not giving that impression?

The thinking

So far, so opinionated. Some agree with me, some don't (I'm interested in your thoughts so please do comment) – but I had no real evidence. Until that is, the fabulous people at CAPP shared some research they'd done on strengths in the UK population. A 'strength' is more than just a competency, it's what individuals are great at, but also what truly energises them, and it's often innate. For more on our strengths session see here.

CAPP have developed a brilliant tool (we use it in our training) that measures individuals' strengths. Over 65,000 people have taken it across the world. Analysis of over 1,000 people in the UK showed some interesting clusters that appear to support my thoughts. 68.5% of people have a strength in 'Humility' (letting others take the limelight), and 33.1% of people showed a weakness in 'Competitive'. There's an interesting Learned Behaviour too, which represents something someone is good at, but that drains them of energy. 48.4% of people have a learned behaviour of 'Unconditionality' (accepting all people, whoever they are).

I found this absolutely fascinating. As yet, CAPP haven't done more analyses on clusters in different cultures and countries – they're on the case though. I love the way that these clusters, at least for the UK, seem to represent some of our cultural values. This makes sense, if strengths develop in childhood then culture is clearly going to have an impact. How much it is doing so remains to be seen.

The full list of the 'British Profile'* is below and an explanation of the parts of the model can be found here. Would love to know what you think.

Realised Strengths: Improver (74.4%), Pride (73.8%), Esteem Builder (70.9%), Resolver (68.4%), Humility (68.5%)

Unrealised Strengths: Legacy (26.8%), Innovation (26.3%), Connector (22.9%), Mission (22.4%), Enablers (21.6%)

Learned Behaviours: Work Ethic (62.2%), Detail (53.4%), Unconditionality (48.4%), Adherence (46%), Personalisation (44.1%)

Weaknesses: Adherence (35.2%), Competitive (33.1%), Courage (28.3%), Scribe (19.8%), Detail (19.6)

*Research copyright, CAPP


+1 #1 Ed Toll 2011-10-11 08:38
Very interesting blog Jen, the 'British' strengths and weaknesses certainly seem to stack up with your thoughts around why we struggle to produce world class teams/sports people (accept for the cricket team at the moment of course!). However, I think it's more about the facilities available. Take tennis for example, in France there isn't a town or village (no matter how small) without a tennis court in it. Trying to find one in/around London is like mining for gold. Plus I think that most outside of Britain actually view us as quite arrogant, rather than humble. May be the fact that we see ourselves as scoring highly on the Humility scale actually makes us anythng but!

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