After facilitating a couple of workshops based on the book, Stand Out by Marcus Buckingham, I continue to notice that high performers often take their own strengths, or the impact of their strengths, for granted. If you consider your strengths as a mere reflection of “who you are” rather than something that truly sets you apart, read on.
Unlike Now, Discover Your Strengths, which focuses on individual strengths, Strategically Standing Out talks about Strengths Roles. Buckingham has identified nine roles that reflect a combination of your talents and skills and describe how you instinctively provide value. The roles are derived from a timed assessment that asks how you would respond in a variety of situations.
As we all know, identifying your top Strengths Roles is just the beginning. To really put them into play you have to understand what they really mean for you—their impact. Whether or not you decide to take the assessment, try this simple exercise.
1. Identify your top three strengths, or top two Strengths Roles (if you take the assessment).
2. For each, describe what you say and do when you are playing to that strength or Strengths Role.
3. Identify the impact.
Let me bring this to life with an example of a client, who we’ll call Susan.
Susan is a Connector, someone who brings ideas, things, or people together to make something bigger and better (refer to Strategically Standing Out for more detail on a Connector).
What she says and does when she’s playing to this strength/Strengths Role
Susan listens, asks thought-provoking and targeted questions, absorbs information, eliminates the “noise,” and sees linkages that others don’t see. She also consistently introduces people who would benefit from meeting each other.
Susan has insights that others don’t have. She helps the team focus on the core issues buried within the information they have, which helps them make faster decisions with her involvement.
She has strong relationships and a solid network of support, which helps her get things done faster given her access to valuable information, people, and resources. Susan initiates collaboration where none would otherwise have existed.
Remember, it’s much harder to help others understand how to leverage your strengths (or for you to integrate your strengths into your leadership brand) if you don’t understand them yourself. If you believe that success comes more from playing to your strengths, rather than focusing most of your efforts on improving your development areas, consider reading Strategically Standing Out.
If nothing else, try the simple exercise above this week and discuss it with someone who knows you well. You might be surprised at the impact you are having—on others and results.
© 2012 Neena Newberry | All rights reserved.