As many of you know, I’m not a terribly huge fan of most personality assessments — at least not for “career planning” purposes — since I find that many of them are either 1) extremely out of date, in terms of the career options they suggest or b) ridiculously boxy, in terms of suggesting that only certain personality types tend to fit well with certain jobs.
This being said, I’ve always loved the StrengthsFinder assessment series from Marcus Buckingham and the Gallup organization, since this instrument not only doesn’t get into the whole “career-matching” game — but also suggests, repeatedly, that a person who is REALLY in touch with their lifelong talents, gifts, and strengths can accomplish pretty much anything in life. This theory directly resonates with my own observations and experience, given that I’ve seen classic introverts become terrific sales people, extreme extroverts become accountants, and extremely “linear” people like myself somehow make a go out of it in the counseling profession.
In fact, as some of you know, I not only include a copy of the classic Now Discover Your Strengths (the original book of the StrengthsFinder series) as part of my signature career change program, but I’ve also written multiple articles on my blog, available here, about how a person can take their StrengthsFinder data and translate it into the job search process in a meaningful, practical way.
Since that original book, however, I’ll confess that most of the other half-dozen or so titles in the series haven’t intrigued me much, since they are geared towards specific aspects of the business world, like staff management or team-building, that don’t really relate directly to my practice. And while a lot of people were smitten with the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 which purported to offer an updated version of the original assessment, it didn’t add all that much to the process, to me, and seemed (hate to say it) like a thinly-disguised way for the authors to make a few extra bucks off the original concept. So for those unfamiliar with the series, I still recommend the original book, which provides more context and background about the groundbreaking “strengths” research and why you should care about it.
Until now. In just the last month or two, Marcus Buckingham has released a brand-new book in the series, StandOut, that really does break new ground and provide some exciting new insights into the concept of how each of us is innately “wired” to succeed and how we can capitalize on this realization. This book, which I tore through in about 40 minutes, provides a terrific refresher of the original concept and also provides a unique code for taking a NEW assessment the author has developed, called the StandOut test, which measures your top two “strength roles” out of nine possibilities — and discusses their application to your life and your career success.
This new test, once again, nailed me to a tee. I came out as a “Creator/Equalizer” and as a I read through the description of this strength type, with my skeptical eye, I could barely find a single statement to quibble with. Many of the descriptions they provided about this personality type, in fact, literally seemed ripped from my own brain in terms of being exactly how I see the world and approach things — which is downright spooky. So what the heck. Rather than write several paragraphs trying to describe what the results of the test look like, let’s go the show-and-tell route, instead, and I’ll just let you access my own report by clicking here if you want to see it. I don’t think there’s anything really embarrassing or private about the data, and again, while you could probably care less about MY results, this will at least give you the chance to see what your own report would look like, should you decide to pick up a copy of the book. And if you find a way to use this data to manipulate me down the road, in some fashion, good for you! Shows you’re really paying attention to these concepts and learning how to apply them… :)
In closing, I salute Mr. Buckingham for his continued brilliant work in helping figure out what makes us all tick, and for authoring another pioneering book that adds real value to anybody who is already a disciple of the StrengthsFinder methodology — or who wants to jump into the arena, feet first. All things considered, I’d still recommend people start with the original Now Discover Your Strengths publication, but StandOut is an eminently worthy sequel and adds some real depth to the concept in question. Want to pick it up? As of the time of this writing, you can find a copy available here on Amazon for $13.54!