“You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a whole lot more of who you already are.” — Tom Rath
In our most recent Business Book Club, we explored StrengthsFinder 2.0, written by Tom Rath—the former head of research and consulting for employee engagement at Gallup where he wrote eight books, selling over five million copies.
You may have guessed by now that StrengthsFinder 2.0 is about finding your strengths. It serves as a business self-help guidebook, where Rath goes into detail about which strengths each and every one of us possess based on the fact that most of us are unaware of our true “inner” strengths. Rath concludes that every person has his or her own combination of natural qualities, talents and skills that are specifically designed for that one individual. When these skills and talents are properly recognized and guided in the right direction, the individual is able to further develop this strength.
The Carson Design team took the quiz this past quarter and discussed our findings during our last Business Book Club. Here’s what we learned:
Focusing on the Positives
Rath encourages his readers to focus on what they are naturally good at, in order to develop their talents into true strengths. In a world that is ripe for criticism, it can be difficult to focus on the positives. But the more we talked about our individual strengths, the more we realized the value in honing in on these opportunities for growth (as opposed to learning from our weaknesses).
Rath challenged us to alter our perspective with his belief that time spent developing areas of weakness is wasted time. Instead, we learned to focus on areas of strength and how we can improve them.
Understanding Each Other’s Strengths
While it’s interesting to learn your personal top five strengths, in a collaborative work environment, it’s even more useful to understand your coworkers’ top strengths. With a better idea of each other’s talents, we were able to process the ways in which our methods of work differ.
Additionally, we could see the value in working with those who have different—yet complementary—strengths to our own. Rath describes this as “Comparative Advantage” — the idea that people are better off not trying to do everything ourselves. Rather, we should focus on what we’re best at and partner with those who are have different talents.
By understanding each other’s strengths, we’re able to collaborate on a deeper level and be more efficient in our daily tasks. Ultimately, diverse teams, in terms of strengths, are typically more successful because they have a larger pool of talent to pull from.
Following were the top five strengths for our office:
People exceptionally talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
People exceptionally talented in the Achiever theme work hard and possess a great deal of stamina. They take immense satisfaction in being busy and productive.
People exceptionally talented in the Empathy theme can sense other people’s feelings by imagining themselves in others’ lives or situations.
People exceptionally talented in the Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from evidence of progress.
People exceptionally talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to
continuously improve. The process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
Has your team read StrengthsFinder 2.0 and discussed your results? We’d love to hear your takeaways in the comments below.