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I see lots of copies of Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath on the bookshelves in the corner offices so I bought a copy. You kinda have to buy it because the book comes with a one-time use code for an assessment that tells you the strengths you should base your career on. The assessment is over 100 questions but you go through it pretty quickly, they're trying to get at your gut feelings for issues.

The first part of the book lays out the case for evaluating strengths instead of weaknesses. Too often in society we try to be better people by working on the stuff we're bad at. We celebrate stories of people overcoming their weaknesses. Like the movie "Rudy" - that kid had a ton of heart and worth ethic and love for football, but he was 5'6" and weighed 185 pounds. So he poured thousands of hours into making up for that, and got to participate in a single play at Notre Dame.

It's a nice story, but Rudy was trying to be something he wasn't. The return-on-investment for his hours were pretty low. When someone is bad at something, why can't we just say "that's fine, move on, you be a great teacher and this other guy be the great football player."

So I took my assessment and here were my Strengths... short versions, because there's like a 3-4 page writeup about each one.

Activator - "great, let's get started" - can't wait to translate ideas into action.

Command - Love being in the driver's seat, and can reassure others in times of crisis by taking charge.

Significance - Reputation is important, not afraid to make big, optimistic goals, need to be heard.

Context - Value lessons from history, rely on real-life examples of when something has or hasn't worked before.

Ideation - Good at connecting the dots of disparate ideas.

Of course my mind immediately read all of these another way: I'm an impatient, controlling, attention whore, who can't get over the past and who instantly expects other people to connect things and be right along with me in mental processes, because it's all obvious to me. I happily reported to several friends that my impatience and inability to empathize and nurture others should not be regarded as my strengths.

The authors must see the problems there too because there are quite a few "how to make up for this" sorts of tips in the book... reminders that I might have to slow down and earn people's trust before forging ahead with my big plans, and tips about who to get on my side. Nurturing personalities, or analytical, even people who avoid conflict because they might see a way to get around issues instead of just being confrontational. There were also suggestions for the types of assignments or projects I should try to be involved in. For example I should look for areas that are bogged down with stupid barriers that everyone hates, because I can fix those. I do not need to be the "official" leader of everything, because I'll usually find a way to have a great deal of influence no matter what.

As personality tests go this is a fun one to think about. When I read through the "Ideation" strength part of me felt like it might be talking about everybody. And my first three strengths have a lot of overlap and things in common - basically about leadership and taking control. But I like the tips and will keep the book around for reference, and have a few others around my office that I think have taken the assessment who I'd like to talk with about their strengths. Should be some good discussions.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
okoshun
Mar. 11th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
I've had the book on my "to read"/"to do" list for a very long time. I should really get to it. I also have an entire curriculum developed by my company around the Strengthsfinder notion that's supposed to help you to dig deeper into what you've learned.
jume
Mar. 12th, 2014 03:15 am (UTC)
When I interviewed at my current company, they had me read the first chapter, take the assessment, then write up whether I felt it was accurate.

Asking around later, no one else seemed to have been given. I'm not sure what I think about that.

Anyway, I'm Empathy, Responsibility, Learner, Input, and Maximizer. Which... Maximizer surprised me, but I ran with it, and I think it's served me pretty well!
aryanhwy
Mar. 12th, 2014 07:02 am (UTC)
"Ideation" -- *shudder*. What a horrible word. I first came across it just a few days ago, and am appalled that it ever got created.
spacefem
Mar. 12th, 2014 03:35 pm (UTC)
SERIOUSLY agree with you there.
binaryprecision
Mar. 12th, 2014 12:20 pm (UTC)
This evaluation was required for all employees when I worked for Stryker, as well as a class where entire teams would talk about everyone's strengths and how we could work best together using those strengths. That's what it's really all about: realizing what comprises your own comfort zone, being aware of what makes others tick, and adjusting your interactions with others in order to most efficiently work together without taking differences personally.

Anyway, mine were Learning, Analytical, Responsibility, Focus, and Achiever (or as my sister said to me, "What, was overachiever not an option?"). ;-) Those are a recipe for an over-committed, yet enthusiastic workaholic, but being aware of those tendencies helps me recognize when I'm falling into time management/stress traps. Others on my team had strengths like Harmony, Empathy, Command, and Strategic, things I am not super great at but every company needs. Takes all kinds! I found the whole process very enlightening!

Edited at 2014-03-12 07:46 pm (UTC)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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