I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. I’m particularly a fan of Smart Passive Income and Screw The Nine To Five. They’re both great podcasts for learning about how to build your own business in order to generate income that’s not dependent on trading your time for money. They’re a gold mine of various resources, not just for starting and running one’s own business, but for business and life stuff in general.
One such resource is the Strengths Finding concept. I first heard about it on the SPI podcast with Michael Hyatt Pat was talking with Michael about how he hires employees, and one of the things his guest mentioned was that he read Tom Rath’s StrengthsFinder 2.0, took the StrengthsFinder test, and had all his current and future employees take the test. He then uses the results to help determine how to fill out the team. By using it, he can be sure to find people with different strengths, to help ensure his team’s well-rounded and varied, and avoid filling it up with a bunch of the same type of people.
It was a really cool idea, I thought, and so I sought out the StrengthsFinder book. They didn’t have a Kindle version when I had Christmas money, so I ended up not getting the book, itself. At the time, I instead favored picking up a few other books (namely, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and a couple others that I will talk about in a future post), which were available on Kindle. I poked around the idea of the StrengthsFinder test, but didn’t really know or see that there were similar tests out there. So, I set the idea aside for a while.
Then, I was listening to the Screw podcast, and the hosts of it also talked about the Strengths Finding test, but had pointed to a different one. Okay, cool, there are more, comparable tests out there. Awesome. Well, the one they refer to also costs money I don’t currently have, but knowing that there are others out there gives me a little more confidence in the alternative ones. Let’s check it out!
So, I found a different, though somewhat similar test that was free and took it. The results were neat, though not entirely unexpected. So! My top 5 strengths are:
- Faith (100%)
- Curiosity (94%)
- Integrity (94%)
- Determination (94%)
- Teamwork (88%)
The runners up include Adaptability, Problem Solving, Innovation, and Leadership at 81%; and Risk Taking, Ambition, Optimism, and Communication at 75%. My biggest weakness – and by a pretty large margin of nearly 20% from the other lowest-listed items – is salesmanship.
Let’s face it, these kinds of tests are essentially glorified, slightly more in-depth Myers Briggs tests, and are about as vague. However, they can be useful for putting into black and white one’s various traits to use for further analysis and exploration. The intention of these kinds of tests are to harness the strengths and use them to one’s advantage, instead of focusing on the weaknesses and spending all of one’s time and energy on trying to improve shortcomings.
The test results provide some more information on what each heading means, at least for the top 5 and bottom 1. Some of the key takeaways for me were:
Make efforts to discover your true passion and tie it to your work, no matter what you do. Let others know that you give more value to levels of service than to money. Actively take on roles that require you to stay current in a fast moving field. Track your learning and progress and celebrate every milestone. Work beside someone who will push you to learn more. Learn by teaching others. Do not be forced to rush and sacrifice quality. You value quality first, help others understand this. Protect yourself from taking on too much. Learn to say “no.” Constantly be on the lookout for new goals and improvements. You’re good at initiating and organizing a project. Start your own and help others. You are loyal, place a high value on trust, and will not betray people - be the person people can come to. Build genuine trusting relationships with critical people you want around. Generosity is a strength - be aware, get noticed, and keep it up.
What I also find interesting is the relationship between the traits of my “strengths” and those of my “weakness.” According to the test, the Salesmanship type prefers loose, casual, broad relationships over the more close, personal relationships of the Integrity and Teamwork types. In a single person, this difference is, of course, pretty much mutually exclusive. In a team environment, though, both become highly important, even within the same team.
This is also where the authors of these kinds of tests – and where Michael Hyatt – has a good point when they say to focus on building on one’s strengths, and where this point comes into sharp relief. My strengths and weakness are at odds with one another – salesmanship does not by any stretch come naturally to me. I much prefer a few close relationships over a bunch of casual ones, and this is reflected in the relationships that I form while working for a given company, where I tend to be very close to a couple of people, and the rest of the company are essentially unknown to me. Now, I can work on overcoming this weakness, and doing so can help my career, certainly (there’s a reason I’ve joined Shipt as a shopper) but attempting to focus on this over my strengths takes a toll on me that prevents me from being able to do the things I’m best at, so I need to be careful to not try to focus on “fixing” my weak points at the expense of nurturing my strengths.
This is definitely a useful tool to actually put down onto “paper” different aspects of oneself. I can see it being a springboard for further introspection and analysis, to help put into black and white our differences and similarities, so that we can build out well-rounded teams.