Strengths Coaching Blog

Monday, August 7, 2017

Mastery Monday: Understanding Indvidualization

By Albert L. Winseman, D.Min

If you’ve ever received the perfect present from a friend and you ask them, “How did you know I would love this?” and your friend answers, “I don’t know – I just knew it would be perfect for you,” chances are your friend has Individualization among their dominant themes. People with strong Individualization talents are intuitive about, drawn to, and fascinated with the uniqueness of each person. Those high in Individualization customize their approach to each person they connect with, and they strongly believe that the best way to treat people fairly is to treat them differently. 

Individualization sees human diversity as a potential to be celebrated rather than a problem to be solved. In finding the right fit for the job, Individualization starts with the person and then finds the right job – as opposed to starting with the job and then finding the right person.  For those strong in Individualization, the key to team success lies not in finding or developing the perfect process, but rather lies in finding and developing individual strengths so that each team member can make their unique contribution.

In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the differences and similarities between Individualization and Woo, Connectedness, and Maximizer.


Individualization and WOO

For those on the receiving end of either Woo or Individualization, the feeling can be the same: an intense interest in me, which makes me feel special. For Woo, that interest is about the thrill of meeting new a new person, and serves the purpose of building the network. Once the connection is made, those high in Woo may move on to make another connection. For Individualization, the thrill is in the discovery of uniqueness, and finding out what makes each person tick. Woo needs social variety and a broad network of people with which to connect; Individualization can be very content with a smaller group and is fascinated with the seemingly endless uniqueness of each person on in the group.

Individualization and Connectedness

Both Individualization and Connectedness are relationship building themes, but go about building relationships in different ways. Individualization hones in on what is unique about each individual, while 
Connectedness focuses on the relationship each individual has with the broader reality. Connectedness tends to make relationships by connecting the experiences of others with their own experience – “Oh I used to live in New Jersey, too!” or “My brother is also a psychiatrist!” Individualization tends to make relationships by focusing on what is unique about the experiences of others – “I’ve never been to that part of New Jersey – what’s it like?” or “what drew you to the field of psychiatry?”  Individualization customizes; Connectedness integrates.

Individualization and Maximizer


While Individualization is primarily a relationship building theme, Maximizer is chiefly an influencing theme. When it comes to people, Individualization tends to be more “now” focused, seeing what is currently unique about a person. Maximizer tends to be more about what people can become – good to great, great to excellent. Both themes tend to sort. Those with strong Maximizer talents sort between good and great, and those with strong Individualization talents sort between one person and another. Maximizer is drawn to excellence; Individualization is drawn to uniqueness. Individualization loves seeing people getting to do what they do best; Maximizer loves getting a maximum return on investment of effort.


Be sure to catch up on Season One and Season Two of Theme Thursday-Individualization to learn more!

Albert L. Winseman, D.Min., is a Senior Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup. Al brings deep expertise in employee and customer engagement, executive leadership and organizational dynamics to his consulting work with Gallup’s clients. He consults with senior leaders, executives and front-line managers to improve employee and customer engagement and to implement strategic initiatives that drive business growth.



Al's top 5 strengths are: Ideation | Futuristic | Maximizer | Strategic | Command

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