Now Discover Your Strengths
is the Strengthsfinder book. Like me, you may have heard of Strengthsfinder but not have been aware of this. A lot of people at Microsoft (as well as other organisations) have taken the Strengthsfinder test but I suspect that few have read the book that gives context to the results. I know I didn’t when I first did the test 5 years ago.The book’s message is simple: you’ll develop faster and perform better if, instead of trying to improve what you are weak at, you improve what you are good at. Sounds obvious but it’s true that many businesses try to make everyone good at everything and, I suppose ultimately, the same as one another. The second finding of the book is that, since everyone has different Strengths, we should be given roles that suit our types and, if you are a manager of people, you should learn how to deal with and motivate different types.
For the record, my top 5 Strengths are: Competitive, Strategic, Input (this means I collect stuff, information), Maximiser (this means I like taking things as far as they can go) and Learner. I was amused by Learner given I have just started the Personal MBA
and was reading this book as part of it.My favourite quotes from this book (nb: Input!):
"Factual knowledge won’t guarantee excellence but excellence is impossible without it". I like this one because I know of plenty of "husks" who operate very professionally without the kernel of factual knowledge that would make them any good at what they are doing."Skills determine if you can do something whereas Talents reveal how well and how often you do it". True. I can cook but I rarely do. I have the skill (albeit a limited amount) but not the Talent.
”[ without Talent the application of a skil ] is just karaoke”. Ha ha. As in karaoke empathy, karaoke management, karaoke cooking. This is as opposed to “authentic”. You can only be truly authentic in that in which you have a predisposition or Strength (Talent).”Damage control can prevent failure but it will never elevate you to excellence”. This is a comment on learning to do something despite the fact that you’re hopeless at it. The key thing is: don’t spend a lot of time on it. Get beyond failure and then concentrate on your skills. Again: I learned the skill of cooking to prevent myself from starving and / or eating ready meals (= failure).
[Carl Jung] “Fidelity to the law of your own being .. is an act of high courage flung in the face of life”. It can also get you fired if your own “law” is out of step with the place you’re working. But I guess the author would say that it’d be for the best anyway.”You need to be consciously competent”. He’s talking about Strengths. Find out what they are and be conscious of your Talents as you hone and deploy them.
"Partnership is one of the lost arts of the corporate world". How true. I’d not thought of that before. He’s talking about people, not businesses; two people working together on the same stuff. Closest I’ve come was working with LB
on the MSN portal a few years back.”It takes a strong person to ask for help”. True. I could definitely ask for help more often. It’s one of the best things about Microsoft that when one asks for help, one always (in my experience anyway), gets it.
"You will be most successful when you craft your role to play to your Talents most of the time"."Each person’s greatest room for growth is in the area of their gratest strength". This takes us back to Mastery
in which we learn that there is infinite room for growth.
—The way this book works is that when you read it you get a code that lets you into the strengthsfinder web site
. Once you’re in there you can get your profile done. Recommended.
Next up: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity
. Since I seem to be working until 10 pm every day and have been for months, I am looking forward to this one …