Saturday, 22 September 2012

Bring out your best

Strengths Finder 2.0 (2007) was written by leading business author Tom Rath, a consultant at Gallup. Used in conjunction with an online self-assessment tool, Strengths Finder 2.0 provides a report highlighting individual talents and how to work best with them.

The first part of the book explains why it is important to know your strengths, and what you can do to build on the strengths that you have identified. Once you have read that section, you go online and complete the assessment tool using the unique access code in the book. This will provide you with a personalised report detailing your top five strengths. You then return to the book and read the second part which explains each of the 34 identified strengths, ideas for action and what to do if you are working with someone who has that particular strength.

I followed this path and was impressed with the report I received on my strengths. I feel it was really accurate and reflects who I am and how I work. According to Strengths Finder 2.0, I am Strategic, Learner, Intellection, Context and Arranger. Yup, that's definitely me; a reassurance of my abilities to self-assess. Referring back to the book, the ideas for action provide little fortune cookies of wisdom that will help me to build on my strengths. Reading about other strengths also provides insight into other people who have different strengths to my own.

With regard to the assessment, it is a shame that you cannot go back and take the test again - to see if you change over time and to test the validity of the initial assessment. It was also a bit disappointing that you only get to know your top five strengths. I would have found it more useful if the report provided me with a list of all my strengths in order, so I could know what my other strengths are (and are not) - even though this is contrary to the author's point of focusing on your core strengths.

The whole process - to read the introductory section and take the assessment - only took an about an hour, but the report provided to me I will be pondering for some time to come. This is not a book for everyone, but for those who are introspective and want to better understand what they are good at, Strengths Finder 2.0 is a worthwhile investment.