Friday, August 06, 2010

Do you Know Your Strengths?

While on the Thriller Tour with
Jim Rubart, Robin Caroll, and Tosca Lee, Tosca bought us each a book that would enable us to take the Gallup StrengthsFinder test online. Tosca used to work for Gallup, traveling all over the place to give seminars (for which Gallup charged attendees a bundle) to teach business people about their strengths, based on their test results. The four of us had a very interesting time taking the test, then comparing our individual list of Top 5 Strengths. The test not only teaches you about yourself but also about others who take it. And man, did the results nail all four of us. I found the whole process very enlightening.

Then again, one of my Top 5 is Input (loving to collect data and knowledge).

To take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test you must purchase the book StrengthsFinder 2.0. ($12.53 at Amazon.) In the book is a sealed page with your code that will enable you to take the online test. Only one test may be taken per code. This is not to book to buy as a used copy. The book includes an overview of the Gallup testing and the psychology behind it, followed by about 150 pages that outlines each of the 34 signature themes (strengths) and how best to put each strength to use.

Taking the test only requires about 30 minutes. You need to give yourself uninterrupted time. You are to answer the questions quickly--going with your first gut response rather than mulling it over. As Tosca explained, the point of the test is more than simply discovering your Top 5 signature themes. Once you know your strengths, you can build on them. Gallup's theory (proven by research) is that people are far more successful when they spend their energy building their strengths rather than improving on their weaknesses. If you're weak in an area, spending a lot of energy to improve in that area will perhaps make you proficient in it, but you'll never soar in it--whereas you can soar if you major on your strengths.

Because there are so many possible combinations to make one's Top 5 list, each combination is quite rare. (Unlike, say, the Myers-Briggs test, which has only 16 possible combinations.) The key to understanding your Top 5 themes is not only in understanding each one individually, but how those certain themes interact with each other to give you your unique set of strengths.

Now that I've taken the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test, my husband, Mark, is going to take it as well. Who knows--after 29 years of marriage we just might discover some new tidbits about each other.

My Top 5 Signature Themes:


Anyone else taken this test? What were your results--and how well did they peg you?


Ralene said...

That sounds interesting! I might have to check it out. What did you learn about yourself?

Lynetta said...

I took this test recently and thought it was fun. Here are my results:


I think for the most part, the test pegged me well. For example, I absolutely love research, which definitely falls under learner.

Jennifer Tiszai said...

Ooh, sounds very cool! I love taking tests like these...which makes me wonder what that says about me. :)

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Ralene, everything I learned about myself is too long an answer to put here. Suffice it to say I looked at some of my natural behaviors in a new light and thought, "Aha! That's why I do that." I can now focus on those behaviors as my strengths and try to improve upon them.

Carrie Padgett said...

Sounds fascinating, Brandilyn. And seems to contradict other things I've heard. Such as we should practice the skills we're weak in until we perfect them. I see the wisdom in soaring in something as opposed to being just okay at something else.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Carrie--yes. The folks who developed Strengths Finder talk about that very teaching--working on your weaknesses. Gallup research shows the opposite is true. There is very little return, relatively speaking, for working on one's weaknesses. It's perfecting the strengths that can cause you to be much, much better at your work and life in general.

Nicole said...

Brandilyn, in our brief face to face, I'd say these strengths nailed you. And you're strong in every one of them.

Ane Mulligan said...

Thanks! I just bought it and really look forward to taking the test and reading the book. :)

Crystal Laine Miller said...

I bought this book weeks ago and am just now settling down to read it. I have yet to take the test, but I'm looking forward to it because it is the kind of thing I love.

I'll come back and report my results and let you know if I think it is spot on.

I love seeing how others turn out, too. :)

Crystal Laine Miller said...

Ok, I took the assessment and feel that it pegged me quite well.

My Top 5 Strengths

Now, to work within those strengths. I think I have been fighting some of this for a long time and that accounts for some of my restlessness in the things I do.

Interesting to see everyone else's strengths! Thanks, Brandilyn.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Crystal, that's interesting. It's good to see you all taking the test. I'm continuing to find it helpful in helping me understand my natural behaviors and how to best put them to use--and avoid their possible inherent weaknesses.