After hundreds of discussions about this cool tool, today I decided that it’s time to write it down and share it here. If you like it too, share the link to this blog to pay it forward.
History: Positive Psychology scholars researched and discovered 24 different Character Strengths and Virtues common to people all around the world. They call them Values In Action (VIA).
What are yours? To find out, go to the website and take the free online assessment. You’ll have to register but don’t worry, they won’t spam you; I know this because I’ve registered myself and have sent literally hundreds of clients to the site.
There is the short version (The Brief Strengths Test) or the long version (VIA Survey of Character Strengths), the latter of which has 240 questions that, when answered quickly and from the gut, should take only about 10 minutes. I recommend the long version because you’re worth it.
You’ll receive an instant report of your Top Five VIA, as well as how your responses rank you in all 24. Most of the people I work with aren’t really surprised by their top five; these are your core values, after all. What may surprise you, however, is how you can now use this information.
Why is this a good thing to do? Besides the fact that you’re contributing to a scholarly body of knowledge referenced by positive psychology and other scholars all around the world (which in itself is worth a few cool points), you now have insight and language around core values.
Here is how I use the VIA assessment results with clients:
Self-Awareness / Strengths / Overuse and Impact: The language may reveal insights, which are excellent to discuss with your Coach: how do these VIA “show up” in what you do? In the decisions and choices you’ve made? Can you see what might happen if used too much?
Career / Leadership / Team Building: These descriptions can aid you in describing what is really important to you in your resume, your bio, on your website. In taking the time to understand how these VIA show up in your life, you can incorporate them into the stories you tell during interviews. Use the VIAs to look for companies with values similar to your own; it’s one tool to identify a cultural match. Incorporate the VIA into your Leadership Philosophy. Encourage your team to take it, then discuss together.
If you want to learn more, check out [from the local library – it’s an academic tome akin to an encyclopedia] Character Strengths and Virtues by Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman, and look for future blog posts on this and other Positive Psychology tools.