My Strength Deployment Inventory

I had another opportunity recently to take another assessment test.  This one was the SDI (strength deployment inventory), which (according to the official materials) “helps people identify their personal strengths in relating to others under two conditions: 1) when everything is going well, and 2) when they are faced with conflict.  It is an inventory for taking stock of motivational values.”  In this one you answer a series of complex questions about how you act/react in specific scenarios.  For me, there were no clear cut answers.

The premise is that there are 3 primary motivations: altruistic nurturing; assertive-directing and analytic-autonomizing.  As you would assume, the altruistic nurturing motivation relates to the needs of others, always wanting to help, being open, supportive and compassionate.  The assertive-directing ones relates to leadership, opportunity, immediate action, innovation, accepting challenges and risk-taking.  Lastly, analytic-autonomizing relates to objectivity, practicality, controlling ones emotions, logic, reliability, and thinking things through before acting.  There is also a notion of a hub which equates to flexible-cohering, where one is open minded and willing to adapt, likes to be known as flexibly and can foster consensus-building.  The SDI is modeled in a way that there are also blended areas with unique attributes including assertive-nurturing, judicious-competing and cautious-supporting.

I have a pretty good sense of who I am and aligned pretty closely with that in the SDI – I walk the line of analytic-autonomizing and assertive-directive, centered in the flexible-cohering hub.  I thrive on innovation, willing to ask the hard questions, am open to opportunities (life is an adventure), but also am logical, reliable, organized and methodical in my decision making process.  I like to believe that one of my strongest points is my ability to be flexible and rise above the chaos to continue to fulfill my responsibilities and duties.  My blended SDI motivational value system is judicious-competing and describes someone who “provides rational leadership that can assess risk and decisive and proactive..challenge opposition through thoughtful process and strategy.”  A rewarding environment for this person is “strategic, determined, planning..complex, challenging tasks requiring expertise…environment that offers recognition for achievement…opportunities to lead and develop winning strategies.”

The second part of the SDI focuses on how you act in conflict.  Interestingly for me, I do not act that much differently in conflict than I do regularly.  My conflict sequence is described as “a person who first tries the analytic, logical and reserved response to conflict followed by an assertive, forceful attack based on logic and strategies.”  The last resort of this would be to surrender.  I blame it on the stubbornness I inherited from my dad.


I’m “A”, the little dot in the bottom right of the center circle.  B was the assessor and is included as a comparison to yourself.

While I wasn’t surprised by the results, I did learn a lot through the experience.  I could associate with the assessment and quickly retrieve examples that fit the different scenarios.  It reinforced the environment that I thought best suited me, and highlighted some insights into how those motivations and reactions are viewed by others.  There is a fine line for all of these motivations and you can quickly be misinterpreted: from confident to arrogant; persuasive to abrasive; competitive to combative; persevering to stubborn; reserved to cold; flexible to wishy-washy; open to change to inconsistent.


When the best option is no reaction!

I recently found myself in a situation where I felt I had acted in the best interest of a group, but received criticism because a few did not feel as if they were properly informed and did not give permission.  It was a little bit baffling as the specific thing was something I had been asked to do.  I had actually taken the initially idea and expanded it to apply to all parts of the organization, rather than just 1 or 2.  As I went down the path of explaining my decision, first as simply as stating who made the original request to diving into more detail about the progression of the conversation, I saw that it could very easily go down the path of finger pointing and justification.  I chose not to follow the path.

I realized as I was reading the longer, more elaborate explanations for why I was “out of line” that I was getting frustrated with the email strings.  At that moment I chose to step back and not respond. While I did feel that the people who were involved in the initial conversations should have stepped up and participated in the conversation given that they were there to support both parties.  That did not happen.  However, I did use that time to take a step back and think about the situation.  I realized that the best course of action was just not to respond.  The other party’s piece was said and I had responded with all I had to give, which was really what my intent had been all along.

I had never before interacted with the person who engaged me in this conversation.  I do not know if she was having a bad day. I do not understand the pressures of her position in the group or even if this was a first grievance of this nature or if I was just the last straw of frustration. There was nothing gained by me to continue the conversation.  I could only deliver on what I had set out to deliver.  So I walked away.