Recently I’ve picked up a series of books based on surveys about personal strengths conducted by Gallup, the pollsters and market researchers. My brother-in-law, who used to work at Gallup, gave me a copy of Soar with Your Strengths. In it the authors argue that each person has a primary strength and that you should focus on developing and utilizing that strength, rather than trying to correct your weaknesses. A later book in the series, Strengths Finder 2.0, provides access to an online assessment that readers can use to determine their top five strengths.
My primary strength is Communication. Since I’ve been a technical writer for over ten years and a public speaker for a couple of years, that’s not a surprising result. I suspect that my sister, a lieutenant colonel in logistics, might find that her strength is Discipline. The results of the Strengths Finder may seem obvious, but should be helpful if you need to refocus your work.
In the past few months I’ve taken several interests / values / aptitude assessments and explored work alternatives. Although the result of my Strengths Finder assessment may seem obvious, it feels like a validation that I’ve been on the right track for the past several years. The Strengths Finder helped me refocus on my primary strength. It provides a rationale to develop and use my specialized knowledge and skills. The Strengths Finder also identified four less-obvious strengths as complements to my primary strength. Working on these won’t be a priority, but understanding and integrating them with my primary strength should be valuable.
Soar with Your Strengths, read Chapter 3-Find Out What You Do Well and Do More of It. Donald Clifton and Paula Nelson
Strengths Finder 2.0, provides access code to strengths assessment. Tom Rath