Monday, April 18, 2011

It Turns Out I'm Me

I bought Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath the other day. I heard about it through Michael Hyatt. Within each book is a unique code that allows the owner to take a talent assessment online. The assessment takes about thirty minutes to complete and then then the website will tell you which five of thirty-four different talents you are strongest in. I’ve taken similar assessments in the past—spiritual gift assessments, Meyers-Briggs, etc.—so I was curious to see what this one said that was different.

This one seems most similar to the spiritual gift assessments, in that it attempts to find those things that you’re good at so you can focus your attention on those things instead of trying to overcome weaknesses that are actually just part of who you are as a person. I’m not sure if I can say this one is better than the spiritual gift assessments I’ve seen, but it is certainly more honest. The spiritual gift assessments tend to pull one word gift names from the Bible and then expand those into pages of information, without any clear indication that was really what Paul was talking about. The Strengths Finder 2.0 has similar reports, but they come from the same people who named the thirty-four talents.

On the spiritual gift assessments, I typically rank high in the teacher and administration categories. So I was a little surprised when the first answer from Strengths Finder 2.0 was Learner. But then I read the Ideas for Action. “You might learn best by teaching; if so, seek out opportunities to present to others. That made sense. Maybe the reason I enjoy teaching is because I learn from teaching. But I don’t think that’s the whole answer; I enjoy teaching, even when I’m teaching something I already know.

But in reading the descriptions, all five seemed to fit better than the others. There were a few of the other twenty-nine that I thought might have fit, but I can’t say that I think the assessment was wrong. The five it listed for me are:
  1. Learner
  2. Analytical
  3. Individualization
  4. Belief
  5. Deliberative

After reading the descriptions, the only one that I will say surprised me is the third one, Individualization. Put simply, it says that you see individuals as unique. You treat each person differently based on what you know about that individual, rather than lumping people into more general categories. You pay attention to the details of a person’s personality. It doesn’t surprise me that it said I do that; it surprises me that it isn’t something that everyone does. Interestingly, one of the places the Strengths Finder 2.0 recommends applying this talent is in teaching. Maybe I missed my calling. But part of that talent is the “gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.” That may explain part of the reason I rank high on the administration gift in the spiritual gifts assessments.

I’m not sure how I’m going to apply this information or if it will change anything about what I’m already doing, but after taking the assessment, I’ve come to the conclusion that it told me that I am me.

You can take the assessment when you purchase your own copy of Strengths Finder 2.0 (one code per book). After you take the assessment, or if you’ve already taken it, I would love to hear about the results you get in the comments to this post.