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Dakota Wesleyan University has helped individual students discover their paths to success for more than 100 years. It has been an informal process, a product of the caring and personal relationships formed by faculty and staff with students. The process is now becoming more intentional.

Dakota Wesleyan University is asking all freshman students to take The Gallup StrengthsFinder Inventory, a proven tool that aids individuals in self-discovery. Dakota Wesleyan University has entered a partnership with The Gallup Organization that allows the university to administer and interpret StrengthsFinder profiles to help students identify and develop their individual talents and strengths.

Major corporations worldwide use StrengthsFinder to assess and provide feedback to employees and managers. Our students are now able to use the StrengthsFinder feedback to help them choose majors, identify extracurricular activities and generally assist them with the lifelong process of self-discovery. After more than 30 years of research, The Gallup Organization has found that top performers, in any area, are quantifiably different from their more average counterparts. Provided with identical training programs, resources and other support, top performers achieve more not because they know more, but because they have the right talent for their role.

Many people may think they have certain strengths or talents while actually focusing on their skills. But talent and skill are two different things. We may be able to learn skills to make up for those areas in which we are weak, but talents are those things we do spontaneously, automatically, as part of who we are.

Our natural tendency is to try to develop our weaknesses by working on those areas in which we are not comfortable or talented. By focusing our efforts on our weaknesses, we can never be better than average. However, by focusing on developing our strengths to their greatest potential, we can become top performers in those areas. Focusing on strengths development allows people to make the most of their God-given talents, and it allows them to manage weaknesses.

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Last updated: 1/11/10