Self-assessment and its importance to project management is a running them on this blog. Today, I want to dig a little bit more into StrengthsFinder and why it’s a great self-assessment tool and how it succeeds where other assessment tools struggle.
Assessment tools, as well as most human resource or personal reviews, revolve around areas where one can improve. While it is valuable to look for opportunities to improve, this type of thinking can cause us to ignore what someone is doing well. StrengthsFinder seeks to change this by focusing solely on identifying someone’s strengths and talents. Focusing on these aspects it is possible to better motivate and aid people in developing their talents.
StrengthsFinder identifies strengths by using a 200 question quiz. Each question presents two qualities that could describe your personality and you are asked to pick which better represents you. For example, “I have a commitment to my values” or “I have a commitment to growth”. Your responses are expected to be quick and the test will move to the next question if it isn’t answered within 20 seconds. This is enough time for most and you can have the time limit disabled if need be. The system then uses the answers to these questions to identify the top 5 key strengths of the individual among the 34 separate themes that have been identified.
Each of the 34 themes has additional detailed information highlighting types of work that include the area or ways in which these strengths can be further developed. This is probably the area I found StrengthsFinder to be the best at. By focusing on what you do well and how to build on that you are creating an encouraging environment for individuals to ideally do more of what they do well. This should in theory then lead to happier employees doing much more fulfilling work.
Another aspect of the StrengthsFinder that makes is so accessible is the cost. At it’s core you just need to buy the StrengthsFinder book, which contains a code for the online test. Currently at $15 via Amazon, this is possibly the most inexpensive personal assessment tool out there. There are also bulk discounts available from Gallup or the option of just taking the exam for $9.99. Gallup also offers a leadership oriented version. There are additional, more detailed reports you can purchase but I’ve found the basic one to include everything needed.
My experience with the StrengthsFinder came from a library wide program where staff members took the assessment, and if they wanted, shared the results among groups at a variety of events. Everyone I’ve spoken to about it has found the exercise useful in some capacity. At it a minimum, it has given staff a common discussion topic and vocabulary. In our meetings and around the library it is still common to hear discussions about the comparative strengths of individuals.
In regard to my own results, there wasn’t anything I found too terribly surprising here. My top five strengths are:
- Input – the crave to know more
- Learner – the desire to learn
- Analytical – search for causes
- Intellection – intellectual activity
- Responsibility – taking ownership
I think it many ways I have the most stereotypically ‘librarian’ set of strengths. I like knowing and learning things and go out of my way to do so. While this didn’t lead to any epiphany about what I should be doing with my life, it did make me think that I was on the right track.
Have you take the StrengthsFinder? If so and you’re willing to share, I’d love to know what your strengths are and if you’ve found any interesting ways of incorporating this information into your life.