Sustained success comes only when you take what's unique about you and figure out how to make it useful. -Marcus Buckingham, Stand Out

I am reading StandOut by Marcus Buckingham.  The premise of the book is that you can maximize your edge at work by understanding your strengths.

“Though your genius is ingrained, the right way to channel it is not.  This final challenge is that even if you do cut through the noise and identify what unique strengths you have to offer, that’s still not enough.  To be truly your best, it isn’t sufficient merely to understand that you’re unique or even to understand what makes you unique.  Sustained success comes only when you take what’s unique about you and figure out how to make it useful.”

Using Assessments

I took the assessment that goes along with the book and I was a Creator/Equalizer.  It is very important when taking any type of assessment that we don’t get hung up on the labels, but rather really dive in to what is meant by the labels.  And then do your own assessment as to whether what that label means is really true and applicable to you.  Assessments like this one can confirm some things about yourself that you already know, help you better articulate and describe your strengths, and give you some new concepts to think about that you may not have considered before.  It is also important for me to understand how my introversion applies to what I’m reading, especially if the assessment does not deal directly with introversion/extroversion.

Confirming What I Know

Many traits in the “Creator” strength role have been things I have been thinking and writing about, such as, “You are a thoughtful person, someone who needs time alone to mull and muse,” or “So you look forward to time by yourself… and you use this time to get clear.”

These are both traits I already know about myself – especially in the context of my introversion. Having traits you already know about yourself identified clearly and strongly in an assessment helps you feel that the results are valid, but may also give you a deeper understanding of a particular trait and how it can be useful to you.

New Concepts to Consider

Are the labels you give yourself setting limits, or creating possibilities?

On the other hand, the “Equalizer” strength role gave me some new ideas to reflect on that were true but I had not thought of before.  It says “You begin by asking, ‘What is the right thing to do?'”  This is true, but when I think of myself, I haven’t previously considered this part of me.  I think of my self as an innovator and always trying to make things better.  But in the assessment when combining the Creator and Equalizer roles, I get “You respect what’s already operating, but you can’t help but want to improve upon it.”  This is me, but I have not thought about myself exactly in this way.  This assessment has given me some things to think about as I continue to figure out how I can live my strongest life.

Putting The Understanding To Work

I found StandOut and the StandOut assessment full of helpful suggestions and strategies to ponder. But keep in mind that with any assessment tool, rather than just accepting a label, “I’m an Introvert,” or “I’m a creator/equalizer,” (or whatever the particular assessment you take says about you), it is so important to understand what that label means for you – not in terms of limits, but in terms of possibilities.  This information, especially when used within the context of understanding your introversion and your individual strengths, is a powerful tool to continue to maximize performance.



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