On the recommendation of Whitney Hoffman (or was it Becky? I forget), I went out and got the audio CD for Marcus Buckingham’s “NOW DISCOVER YOUR STRENGTHS.” It was great, but I needed more almost instantly. Because it turns out, the book is just the hook to get you to go take the online test. And not in a bad way. So, I went out and bought StrengthsFinder 2.0, to get the code, and to have the “secret decoder ring” for the assessment.
The basic premise behind the strengths program is that people should focus on their strengths, not try to tirelessly improve their weaknesses. Sure, manage around your weaknesses, but spend the lion’s share of your work on your strengths. This, of course, runs counter to everything we do.
So, you take this test online that lasts about 35 minutes. The test is based on YEARS of research and tons of adjustments, after asking millions of people their thoughts and insights. When you read all that went into the testing, you come away feeling as if things are really well thought out, and that’s how I felt about the test.
You get around 35 minutes to answer several points that are set up like this:
Statement over here …. Neutral … Statement over here.
On the left is strongly agree with the left statement, then some gradient of less to neutral, then stronger again towards the strongly agree with the right statement. Only, the statements are usually not polar opposites. One might be “I feel best when working with a team,” and the other will say, “I take pride in the accomplishments of others.” So lots of times, I found myself saying, “Um… which? ” (By the way, my wife watched me take the test and that was all the more fun, because lots of the answers were really eerily accurate to my life).
The Reports and Action Plans
The report spits out 5 top talents out of 34 in their categories. The authors often stress that you and your colleagues might have some overlapping talents, but it’s the aggregate combination of all five top talents that matters to the strengthsfinder.
Then out comes an action plan showing what you are, and how you might consider augmenting your strengths. You get 10 suggestions for every one of the five strengths they identify for you. This was mostly useful information, though I will say there was some “well, duh” sprinkled in there on mine. I did find myself wishing they’d spent a little more time talking about how to manage around my weaknesses, but the test is built to find my strengths, not point out where I’m lacking.
My 5 Top Talents
As I imagine you’re interested in knowing what my 5 top talents are, here you go:
- Communication – People who are especially talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.
- Futuristic – People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.
- Woo – People who are especially talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.
- Ideation – People who are especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
- Activator – People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
So, most of that made sense to me. How about you? Do you see that in me? I can see it, I guess. Some of it wasn’t so much a surprise, but how to improve it became the interesting part. The reports and action plans turned out to be the interesting part.
What’s In It For You?
I recommend spending the $20 for the book (cheaper at the Amazon link below – and I might make 70 cents off your purchase). I think it was interesting where they wanted me to take my strengths, and I think it’s a great exercise for not too much cash. They’re using this in lots of organizations lately, and it might prove interesting for you to consider yourself from the point of view of your strengths.
The best thing for the money I spent was that I got peace of mind that I’m on the right path.
So, if you want a copy, here’s a link:
And if you have taken the test, what are your strengths? I’d love to talk more with you about this.