Core Strengths is based on powerful yet simple approaches to helping individuals and teams develop the awareness and skills they need to build more effective personal and professional relationships. It helps them sustain those relationships by understanding the underlying motivations of themselves and others under two conditions – when things are going well and when there is conflict. This dynamic and powerful way of looking at the motives that drive behaviors aids in building effective communication and productive work relationships.
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The Strength Deployment Inventory 2.0
The Strength Deployment Inventory 2.0 (SDI 2.0) is an assessment of human motives and strengths. It stands on the foundation of practical application, scholarship, and research that began with Elias Porter’s introduction of the SDI in 1971 and publication of Relationship Awareness Theory (Porter, 1976). The theory has roots in psychoanalysis (Fromm, 1947) and client-centered therapy (Porter, 1950; Rogers, 1951, 1961).
Today the SDI 2.0 offers four views of a person: a Motivational Value System, a Conflict Sequence, a Strengths Portrait, and an Overdone Strengths Portrait. These four views form a systems view of personality and productiveness at work. When personality is considered in the context of relationships, and viewed as a dynamic system, greater explanatory power is available than when personality is viewed as independent variables or dichotomies (Lewin, 1935; Piers, 2000; Sullivan, 1953). In a systems view, the conscious interaction of emotional states, behavior, and motives is an advancement from classic psychoanalytic theory, which holds that motives and drives are largely relegated to the unconscious (Meissner, 2009).
To fully understand the methodology and meaning of the SDI 2.0 assessment, the purpose of the assessment must be considered. The SDI 2.0 is based on foundational concepts that lead to specific types of measurement (data collection), scoring, reporting, validity and reliability testing, and the application of assessment results.
The purpose of the SDI 2.0 is to improve the quality of working relationships. People have relationships within themselves, with each other, and with their work. Relationships are psychological connections over time; they have history, the present moment, and expectations for the future (Figure 1). Improving relationships requires beginning with self-awareness. Increased self-awareness results from greater conscious understanding of the true self, and the reduction or removal of defenses against self-understanding. Greater self-awareness enables more clear and accurate understanding of others.
Relationship Intelligence is the application of knowledge in specific settings or contexts to produce results that are meaningful to people in relationships.
Relationship Intelligence helps people to:
better understand past interactions, enabling a deeper understanding and appreciation of self and others
manage choices and perceptions in the present moment, enabling more effective behavior and communication in relationships
anticipate the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others, giving them greater control over the future outcomes of their relationships
These skills are essential to creating collaborative communities that foster learning, development, and authentic connections to others and to work.