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Understanding Executing Strengths

by AIFS Abroad
Female intern writing on white board organizing project at work

Do you find you never know what to say when in an interview when they ask you what your strengths are? Well, if you’re accepted into one of our internship programs abroad, AIFS Abroad can help you with that. All AIFS Abroad interns take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, a personal development tool based on decades of research into human strengths. With the help of our advisors, you can leverage your Top 5 Strengths during your internship abroad — and beyond! 

There are four distinct domains, or groups of Strengths: 1) Relationship Building, 2) Influencing, 3) Executing, and 4) Strategic Thinking. This blog post focuses on the Executing domain, the one that makes things happen. 

If the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment determined you have Executing strengths, here’s how you can leverage them for your international internship: 

What is the Executing domain? 

People possessing Executing strengths enjoy and are talented at accomplishing tasks. They’re the list-makers who get extreme joy out of crossing those successes off their list. They are highly task-oriented and love doing things some don’t care for like budgets, systems, processes, rules, timelines, etc. You can always depend on them to follow through and get the job done. The strengths in the Executing domain are Achiever, Arranger, Belief, Consistency, Deliberative, Discipline, Focus, Responsibility and Restorative. 

The Achiever Strength

Icon of person on top of mountain symbolizing the Achiever strength of the Executing CliftonStrengths domain

Achiever is the most common strength. These are the people in your office who have a desk covered in post-it notes, along with a to-do list that they are infinitely adding more things to. They often work late into the night to ensure a job is finished. “Burning the midnight oil!” they often say. They have incredible stamina when it comes to work and are often labeled workaholics.  

Here’s a hypothetical of an AIFS Abroad intern using their Achiever Strength. Let’s say you’re interning for a start-up in London and your task is to increase the visibility of both the start-up and its founder. Someone without the Achiever Strength might see this as an impossible task, but not you. You see this as a series of very small, incremental tasks, and you bust out your handy to-do list to make it happen. The first step is to call local media outlets and email press releases. Step by step, call after email you land a write-up in a London tech magazine and even an interview on a popular tech podcast! 

The Arranger Strength 

Icon of person organizing squares symbolizing the Arranger strength of the Executing CliftonStrengths domain

This strength is all about aligning and realigning. Arrangers similarly have the power of breaking complex situations into smaller tasks like those with the Achiever Strength, but they also rely on quick decisions to arrange these tasks in a way to provide the most productive configuration possible. 

Let’s say you’re an AIFS Abroad Marketing intern who works at an agency in Paris. Your boss is racking their brain trying to figure out the disconnect from the copywriters’ vision and the design team’s final product on a package. But using the Arranger Strength, you parse through the process and realize there’s an opportunity for the assigned designer and writer to brainstorm together to come up with an idea that both hits the client’s KPIs and is also feasible in terms of design. 

The Belief Strength 

Icon if head with checkmark in brain symbolizing the Belief strength of the Executing CliftonStrengths domain

This doesn’t necessarily mean in a spiritual sense — being family-oriented or altruistic also falls into the Belief strength. People with this type of Executing strength value responsibility and ethics, both in themselves and others. Success goes beyond money and prestige to them and is more about navigating life’s temptations and distractions towards a consistent set of priorities. In any moral dilemma, they will let you know where they stand. 

An example of the Belief Strength in practice could be while interning at a lab in Sydney. The lab is sponsoring a bunch of charities for its holiday season, but you notice there’s a lack of charities that represent LGBTQIA+ causes, so even as an intern, you speak up because you value that cause. Management hears you loud and clear, and a local LGBTQIA+ fundraiser is added to the holiday charity drive! 

The Consistency Strength 

Icon of a checkmark with interlocking arrows around it symbolizing the Consistency strength of the Executing CliftonStrengths domain

This is the golden rule of strengths in the Executing domain. People who have this strength treat others as they would be treated. They also crave stable routines and clear rules and procedures that everyone can follow. When the scales are tipped too far in one person’s favor, they feel this leads to selfishness and individualism, which are truly offensive to them. 

As a hypothetical example, let’s say you’re interning at a Berlin firm for the arts and you notice that another team is somehow unwilling to participate in a food drive. You know this is supposedly a company-wide event, so you use your Consistency strength to send an email to your supervisor, who sends an email to the supervisor of that team calling them out for not participating. You gain credibility as a person who actually cares about the causes the company espouses, and gain contacts in a new department. 

The Deliberative Strength 

Icon of a bullseye with arrow symbolizing the Deliberative strength of the Executing CliftonStrengths domain

Careful. Vigilant. Private. People with this strength take serious care with decisions while anticipating obstacles. They know the world is an unpredictable place and the best way to combat that is to plan ahead. They select their friends cautiously and are careful not to give too much praise lest it be misconstrued. 

Let’s say you’re interning for a company in Costa Rica and you’re tasked with courting another company for a collaboration. You’ve already done your own research on the company and determined there’s a possibility they won’t deliver on their end as much as your company’s leaders anticipate. Nonetheless, you let your apprehension be known and it turns out you were right all along. That’s what the Deliberative strength of the Executing domain is all about. 

The Discipline Strength 

Icon of a cycle of a person, gear, and clock symbolizing the Discipline strength of the Executing CliftonStrengths domain

Love a routine? Structure? People who do likely have this strength. The world is unpredictable, but those with the Discipline strength strive to oppose its disorder. Faced with an uncertain world, they seek to feel control. Routines, timelines and deadlines — things a lot of people fear and avoid — are a joy to the person that exhibits this trait. 

For example, let’s say that you’re an intern at a Portuguese business. Your company doesn’t seem to have a written process for one of the tasks you do often and, since you despise chaos, confusion and improvising above all else, you decide to use your Discipline strength to develop one yourself. You create a timeline that takes multiple rounds of feedback into account to get the deliverables in on time. In doing this work, you better understand what needs to be done and how it needs to be done, and your routine becomes more structured. Your process assessment is so effective that higher ups keep it, even after your time as an intern is over! 

The Focus Strength 

Icon of arrows pointing at a person symbolizing the Focus strength of the Executing CliftonStrengths domain

Prioritize then act. Of all the Executing strengths, that’s the tenants of this type. People with the Focus strength are constantly asking themselves, “Where am I headed?” Every action is evaluated whether it will help you move toward your goal or not. The actions that don’t are ignored.  

The Focus strength could be used in the following scenario as an intern at an ad agency in Ireland. You’re asked to be pointperson on some deliverables to a client, but the client keeps getting into the weeds with it. Every little detail is scrutinized, to the point that you worry you’ll be going off the timeline. Using the Focus strength, you assure the client that this is just one step in a long process to reach the end goal, and you’ll require approval on their end to move on to the next step, where their needs will be addressed. 

The Responsibility Strength 

Icon of person with hand on their heart symbolizing the Responsibility strength of the Executing CliftonStrengths domain

Of all the strengths in the Executing domain, this is the second most frequently found. People who possess Responsibility feel psychological ownership over tasks they are assigned. They often call projects their “babies.” Because of this emotional bond, these are people who will always follow through on their promises. If they say they will get things done, they mean it. 

Let’s say you’re interning at a translation service in Madrid and have volunteered to translate some documents. You quickly learn that these documents not only need to be translated, but are out of order and need to be filed correctly. Because you have the Responsibility strength, you know that simply translating the documents won’t do. This is your project, and you gave your company your word to complete it, so you take the extra effort and make it happen! 

The Restorative Strength 

Icon of hand placing missing puzzle piece symbolizing the Restorative strength of the CliftonStrengths domain

These are the natural problem-solvers of any group. They love the challenge of analyzing a problem and generating solutions that seemingly come out of nowhere. A problem for them is just an opportunity to demonstrate their skills. 

As a fashion retail intern working in Scotland, you see your manager in the storeroom fiddling with a coffee machine. As someone who possesses the Restorative strength, you know your manager has other things to worry about, so you volunteer to fix the coffee machine instead. You look up the manufacturer’s user manual and quickly see what the problem is. Now the whole office can get their caffeine fix once again. 

Use Your Domain to Succeed! 

Looking at the four domains of strengths can help us see ourselves from another angle and make it easier to build well-rounded teams. Understanding your own dominant domain will help you seek out tasks that you will enjoy and excel at. When you know what you offer (and what you struggle to offer) you can find complimentary partners. 

Curious what your strengths are? Apply for an AIFS Abroad internship abroad program, where you’ll work with an advisor to find out how best you can succeed.

Here at AIFS Abroad, we offer incredible international internship programs. Once you’re accepted, you will be asked to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment so our advisors can see what value you can bring to an international program and prepare you for the interview. Every AIFS Abroad intern is guaranteed an internship placement.

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