A year ago I was bought the bestseller Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton. As part of the book, you get a special code to access an online strengths assessment and get sent a report on your top five (of 34 talent themes you could have been allocated). The idea is to build on your strengths rather than to spend time dragging up your weaknesses, as these are not areas where you’ll excel.
In tidying my office yesterday, I found the descriptions of my five strengths:
- Communication – You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write… you turn events into stories and practice telling them.
- Strategic – This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. “What if?” Select. Strike.
- Self-Assurance – In the deepest part of you, you have faith in your strengths. You know that you are able – able to take risks, able to meet new challenges, able to stake claims, and, most important, able to deliver.
- Ideation – You are fascinated by ideas. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling.
- Input – You are inquisitive. You collect things. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting.
And then I stopped and thought about the work that I am doing – PUSH ME, hosting a series of talks for the Southbank as part of the Unlimited Festival (Unlimited Voices), creating a paper for NESTA on ‘Does Digital Do it Differently’… and yes, I can see all those strengths at play in the work I am delivering.
And it will help me as I move forward, thinking about the work that I want to do – work that will keep me playing to these strengths.
It also explains how come tidying my office took so long – I appear to collect one hell of a lot of paper!