Connectedness – 5. Individualization in Connectedness


Individualization: Intrigue with the unique qualities of individuals.

“All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.”
Albert Einstein   

“Your Individualization theme leads you to be intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. You are impatient with generalizations or ‘types’ because you don’t want to obscure what is special and distinct about each person … This Individualization theme also helps you build productive teams. While some search around for the perfect team ‘structure’ or ‘process,’ you know instinctively that the secret to great teams is casting by individual strengths so that everyone can do a lot of what they do well.”
– StrengthsFinder 2.0 – Individualization                                                          

Picture31Have you ever tried to light a sugar cube on fire?

It won’t work.

Ever try to light a pile of ash on fire?

You won’t have much luck with that either.

But if you rub the ash onto the sugar cube, guess what? You can light it.

Sometimes when you put things together, amazing stuff can happen. This includes putting people’s strengths together.

What we’re going to do in this section on Individualization is combine the 4 Domains and specific 34 strengths from StrengthsFinder with the 7 Habits from Stephen Covey’s book and plot them along the Tree of Life diagram at 4 levels of existence.

By adding these specific human traits, creating a grid of individual qualities, we will add another dimension to our understanding. Picture71

First, let’s look at the 7 Habits by name. If you are not familiar with Covey’s work, take the time to google some ‘cliff notes,’ or better yet, get the book – it is an amazing work – not only in and of itself (it is a classic) but also because it unwittingly parallels kabbalistic teachings on the Middot – the lower seven Sefirot. Not just mildly either.

With but a few changes in terminology, the book might be attributed to some great sage or modern rabbi, the teachings are so precise. What is interesting is that Covey was a Mormon who did not study or teach Kabbalah. This of course corroborates what he taught regarding the 7 Habits being ‘eternal principles.’

The diagram to the right is not one found in Covey’s work but a simple rearrangement of the 7 Habits in the normative structure of the Tree of Life diagram for the Middot. They are listed in the order Covey presents them, beginning with Chesed.  (See dual diagrams just below.)

Some of the extraordinary similarities are:

  • There are six precise habits in one group. The seventh is considered taking these and renewing them regularly. This resembles the idea of the six Sefirot of Zeir Anpin pouring into the passive Sefirah of Malkhut and our day-to-day existence.
  • The six are further broken down into two groups, the first three focused on taking us from dependence to independence.  The next three from independence to interdependence. This mirrors the same grouping and function with ChaGaT (Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet) and NeHiY (Netzach, Hod, Yesod)
  • The first and fourth habits are proactive and fall on the right side at the points of Chesed and Netzach. The second and fifth are more reactive and fall on the left side at Gevurah and Hod. This exactly corresponds to the functionality of the right (proactive) and left (restrictive) sides of the tree.
  • The other three habits fall in the middle and correspond to Tiferet, Yesod and Malkhut in their respective essences of; harmony, connectivity and practical application.

Comparing the 7 Habits to the 7 Middot and a couple of characteristics of each:


The Habits and Middot line up as follows:

  • Habit 1 is at the Sefirah of Chesed which is associated with pro-activeness and expansion
  • Habit 2 is at the Sefirah of Gevurah which is associated with restriction and judgment
  • Habit 3 is at the Sefirah of Tiferet which is associated with balance and harmony
  • Habit 4 is at the Sefirah of Netzach which is associated with initiative and persistence
  • Habit 5 is at the Sefirah of Hod which is associated with dedication and surrender
  • Habit 6 is at the Sefirah of Yesod which is associated with connectivity and procreative power
  • Habit 7 is at the Sefirah of Malkhut which is associated with humility and relationship


“Balance renewal is optimally synergetic. The things we do to sharpen the saw in any one dimension they have positive impact in other dimensions because they are so highly interrelated. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People create optimum synergy among these dimensions.”
– Stephen Covey

That quote will take on new meaning in a moment.

Going back to the Introduction to this study, when I first heard we were going to go through this StrengthsFinder assessment, I read through the book and its details about the 4 Domains and the 34 Strengths it presented. Each of the 34 Strengths is given a description with examples. I found that these descriptions closely matched the way that Covey explained the 7 Habits and that it was possible to take each one of the Strengths and assign it to a corresponding Habit. Most of these were clear ‘matches.’ There were a few Strengths that could have been aligned with a couple of different Habits – for these I chose alignment with the one I felt it more closely resembled.

We will begin by taking the four Domains of Leadership, the four Level of Existence & Covey’s four Dimensions of Renewal, as we did in a previous section, and next creating a “grid” by intersecting them with the 7 Habits as follows:



Next, we will align each of the 34 Strengths with its corresponding Habit.

To the right again are the 34 Strengths as organized by Domain according to StrenghtsFinder.

We will proceed one level/dimension at a time before showing how they all plot on the graph.

In each sub-section below we will also show examples of how each Strength aligns with the Habit on the Tree of Life diagram by citing text directly from each Strength section in the book.


Our first alignment will be at the top level of Influencing which is also the level of Spiritual and Value Clarification.


COMPARATIVE EXAMPLES (Descriptions are from StrengthsFinder 2.0)

  • 1 – Activator: “When can we start?” Analysis and debate have use but only action is real and makes things happen. You must put yourself out there.
  • 2 – Self Assurance: You have confidence not only in your abilities but in your judgment. You alone have the authority to form conclusions, make decisions and act.
  • 3 – Command: Once your goal is set, you feel restless until you have aligned it with others. You … “take a stance and ask others to more in a certain direction.”
  • 4 – Woo: You strike up conversations to learn names, ask questions, find common interests. Strangers are energizing. Once connection is made, you wrap up & move on.
  • 5 – Competition: Rooted in comparison. You are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. You like measurement, because it facilitates comparisons.
  • 6 – Communication/Significance: Want to feel admired as well as associate with those you admire. You like to explain, describe, host, speak in public and write.
  • 7 – Maximizer: Transforming something strong into something superb. Having found a strength, you feel compelled to nurture it, refine it and stretch it toward excellence.


Our second alignment is at the level of Strategic Planning which is also the level of Mental and Planning.


COMPARATIVE EXAMPLES (Descriptions are from StrengthsFinder 2.0):

  • 1 – Context: You look back because that’s where answers lie, where original intentions were.
  • 2 – Futuristic: You love to peer over the horizon … it keeps pulling you forward. The exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests.
  • 3 – Intellection: You like mental activity … the exact focus depends on your other strengths. Introspective … may lead you to more pragmatic matters.
  • 4 – Input: Inquisitive. You collect things. You read not to refine but to add more info to your archives.
  • 5 – Analytical: You challenge other people; “Prove it to me.” You insist theories are sound and want to understand how certain patterns affect one another.
  • 6 – Ideation: An idea is a connection. Intrigues when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection.
  • 7 – Learner: The subject matter is determined buy your other themes and experiences. The outcome of learning is less significant than ‘getting there.’


Our third alignment is at the level of Relationship Building which is also the level of Emotional and Synergy


COMPARATIVE EXAMPLES (Descriptions are from StrengthsFinder 2.0):

  • 1 – Positivity: You inject drama into every project, celebrate every achievement, find ways to make everything exciting and more vital
  • 2 – Individualization: You are intrigued by the unique qualities of each person and keen observer of their strengths. You can pick the perfect gift and build productive teams.
  • 3 – Harmony: You look for areas of agreement. Find common ground. We’re all in the same boat and we need this boat to get where we are going.
  • 4 – Developer/include: You see potential in others and want to expand the group. You look to help them experience success. You are non-judgmental.
  • 5 – Empathy: You sense the emotions of those around you. You see the world through their eyes. You hear unvoiced questions.
  • 6 – Connectedness: We are all connected – part of something larger. Bridge builder for people of different cultures
  • 7 – Relator: Once connection is made, you encourage deepening of relationship. Relationship has value if it is genuine.


Our fourth alignment is at the final level of Executing which is also the level of Physical and Action

COMPARATIVE EXAMPLES (Descriptions are from StrengthsFinder 2.0):

  • 1 – Belief: You have core values that give you direction causing your to be altruistic, even spiritual.
  • 2 – Focus: “Where am I headed? You set goals that serve as your compass to stay on course. Evaluate if a particular action will move you toward your goal.
  • 3 – Responsibility: When assigning new responsibilities, people will look to you first as they know you will get it done.
  • 4 – Achiever: Constant need to achieve. An internal fire that pushes you to do more. The power supply that causes you to set the pace … and keeps you moving.
  • 5 – Deliberative/Discipline: You draw risks out into the open to identify and assess. You plan ahead to anticipate what might go wrong. You want things to be predicable.
  • 6 – Arranger/Restorative: You are a conductor, managing variable and aligning them into the most productive configuration. You love to solve problems and find solutions.
  • 7 – Consistency: People function best in a consistent environment. Balance is important. Treat people the same, no matter what their station in life.


Now to add all our ingredients to get the final “3-D” image. Here we plug in the 34 Strengths as they align with the 7 Habits across the 4 levels:



If we go back to my own personal ‘Top 5 Strengths,” (below in RED), I can plot them both on the vertical axes of what level they fall in as well as horizontally as to how they align with the 7 Habits.  This can be used by me as a tool for personal development but also from a team leader perspective in terms of where my strengths lay. This could allow the leader to find others with comparable Strengths on either the vertical or horizontal axis (perhaps to find people with the same skills to tackle one type of situation) or complementary Strengths, to form a more balanced group.



Below is an example of our staff of 10 people having taken the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment and how we plot out as a team. There’s a lot of ways this information can be utilized, analyzing both team strengths and weaknesses on both vertical and horizontal axes.  A cursory observation shows the team having the most total Strengths at the level of Relationship Building and along the vertical Habit lines of ‘Synergize’ and ‘Sharpen the Saw.’


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