Jul 26 2011

Strengths Finder 2.0

I’ve made the commitment to read and review 12 books over 12 months as a part of continuous personal development. This is my second book.

While this is a book review, the first thin you need to know is that the Strengths Finder 2.0 book is actually just a written, in-depth, support document for the test that you take on the StrengthsFinder web site.The core idea to the test and the book is to identify your strengths and work on them instead of spending all kinds of time trying to fix your weaknesses. If you just think about it a little bit, it makes sense that you can spend days and weeks trying to improve in an area where you are not terribly strong while improvement in areas where you are already strong will come to you, fast & furious.

The book is broken down into two parts, an introduction that goes over the concepts and science behind finding your strengths, and a huge section that defines all the various strengths identified in the test. Between reading the first and second section, you’re supposed to take the test.

The book is really interesting to read. The first section brings out a number of interesting facts from different areas of psychological research that seem… accurate. I’ve read some psychology types of books where so much of the “science” reads like so much feel-good claptrap. This is not one of those. There are discussions about the fact that you still have weaknesses and blind spots that you’ll need to take into account, even as you work on your strengths.

My test came out with the following strengths:

  • Achiever
  • Input
  • Self-Assurance
  • Learner
  • Significance

Personally, reading through the descriptions, I think it shows an accurate test (and Mrs. Scary sure thought it was accurate). With these results and the book in hand, you can start to set goals to change how you work and perform in life. You’ll have a description of what each of these words means, and more importantly, a list of ideas for how you can apply them to start trying for improvement. Better still, the book has a section on each strength called “Working With Others Who Have…” for each strength so you can understand how better to deal with others.

At least that’s the theory as laid out by the book. I do find this all very useful. I appreciate the insights into what makes me more motivated. It works. Unfortunately, I haven’t also incorporated a regular review of these goals into my workload and I think to fully realize the results that needs to happen. Also, a psychological test I went through with my previous employer emphasized that knowing yourself is important, but that knowing others and figuring out how best to communicate with them (note, not adjusting yourself, just your message, you can do this and stick to your strengths) is the best way to improve your working relationships. Because of that, I feel like I only have half the tools I need. Yeah, I can make guesses at what other people might be (and sometimes it’s obvious), but not knowing, it is possible to still mess up the communication.

Overall, a great read, good information, extremely useful, but still not quite enough for what it sets out to do, at least in my opinion. However, I am going to try to focus on this on a regular basis (daily) so that I can start to use what I’ve learned and learn more (after all, I’m a Learner).

4 Comments

  • By Claire, July 27, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    Interesting. Before our company retreat, we did myers brigg tests and then we had a session at the retreat where we learned how the different types ideally interact with each other. I definitely came away feeling as if I had better understanding of my coworkers, so I agree with your thought that knowing others is the best way to improve working relationships. Does Strength Finder not mention this at all?

  • By Grant Fritchey, August 5, 2011 @ 11:24 am

    Sorry, I’m not getting alerts about posts here. Have to check on that right away.

    Anyway, yes, it does talk about that, but it’s more than a little bit of an after-thought. You have to try to guess where people are strong & then try to communicate in ways that’s good for them. Not too different from what you have to do with any of the other tests.

    By the way, for Myers Brigg, I come out INTJ. For, whatever they were called, Social Something, I’m a Driver/Driver but with a flexibility score of 3.

  • By Nylarthotep, August 8, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    Just grabbed the Kindle version of the book. Probably need more help with my weaknesses as they are legion.

    I have read elsewhere regarding the point of improving your strengths and I believe that is sound. I just wish I worked at a company that actually gave a !@#$ about development beyond the HR sound bites in the bi-annual reviews. Which unfortunately leaves it up to me to do the work. This at least is a pointer in the right direction.

  • By Grant Fritchey, August 8, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

    The book is good. It does help you address your weaknesses to, somewhat, but the focus really is on your strengths. I just wish there was an easy way to measure what other people are. I like those quadrants, is the person ask or tell and are they task or people? That gives you a quick way to assess how you should communicate with them. Same thing here would have been nice.

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment