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So I’m hanging with my mentor, Steve Fedeski the other day, and he mentions that I should probably check out this new book called Strengthsfinder 2.0.

And being a good mentee, I pull out the B&N giftcard someone recently gave me and head on over to the bookstore.  I don’t typically buy books because I don’t like the hassle of dealing with a bunch of already-read books. And because I like to read a book or two a week, the only way I avoid having to buy, set up, find space for and constantly dust dozens of bookshelves is by using the local library (and I’d soon find out why I’m like that).

But this book, has a code inside (great marketing writ large) that allows you access to a website which allows you to take an online assessment test.  I’m a sucker for an online assessment test, the next of which I’m always certain is sure to finally reveal the ‘true me’ to myself.  Because if astrology is bunk, and fortune tellers are running a scam, then surely online assessment tests are all we really have left.

Actually, I’m not that skeptical. I do think if you test enough high–performing people and can identify correlated traits, then you have a chance – a chance of stating that someone who answers the test similarly may also be a high-performing achiever.

They also might be a testing over-achiever.

In any case, I rushed home to take the latest test. Results were instantaneous and dare I say – – amazing! Turns out I’m just absolutely perfect for my chosen career path!

According to the assessment, my Strengths Find me to be:

Futuristic – I inspire others with images of the future (sort of like demo presentations of future business improvement with new software).

Focus – I identify the steps needed to complete the task overlooking no details (kind of like planning out a software implementation).

Strategic – By nature, I may see solutions before others realize there is a problem (would I recommend software fixes where clients don’t even know there is such a solution? I think I might).

Discipline – Increasing efficiency is one of my hallmarks. I discover situations where time or money is being wasted because of inefficiency and create systems or procedures to improve…(isn’t that what software in the manufacturing environment is supposed to do?  I’m Perfect for this!!!)

Context – You create order and organization…invest in furniture and organization systems that enable you to have ‘everything in it’s place’ (which would explain the library freeing me up from having to ‘organize’ already-read books).

Observations

First off, it would seem that this assessment has captured the ‘real me’ and shows why I’m so successful at what I do – – But on second reflection, I’m wondering are many of the findings are just ‘vague and general’ enough that I’m able to write into the broad-brush descriptions my specific traits?

Secondly, I wonder how much a test reveals who we are, instead of who we’re trained to be. For example, the questions are set up with two choices, you’re to select the one that most applies to yourself.

Would you rather…

Present Software to a room of people   -or-      Perform Brain Surgery

Of course the test itself is not that simplistic – but the point is, if I give dozens of presentations on software every year and I’ve never taken a scalpel and bone saw to someone’s head, I’m going to be more comfortable choosing the “presentation” option.  And the same applies to spending hundreds of hours researching manufacturing operations looking for ways to curb inefficiencies, or planning dozens of implementation plans knowing that a single detail left out can crater the whole project, or on and on.

I do find the premise of the book fascinating – Society places so much emphasis on overcoming weaknesses – the book uses the example of the movie Rudy, which shows how a young man who has no natural aptitude for football just keeps on trying, spending endless hours of practice and years of riding the bench, only to triumph in the end and get in for one single play with the Notre Dame football team – and of course he sacks the opposing quarterback. Strengthsfinders points out that the same effort (years of practice) applied to something that we have natural aptitudes or actual strengths, would yield much greater return than a single play of glory. Not as dramatic, no – but I’m hoping my career leads to more than just a single moment of glory.

Anyway – super interesting book – the website also gives you some tools for action planning, focus and implementation of the findings from your personal assessment.  I’d highly recommend it if only for introspective research, and It’s no doubt more accurate than your horoscope in today’s newspaper. 

Now if sticking to my strengths over the next few months produces great results, then of course my future recommendations and findings will be dictated to the (presently not hired) assistant who manages my (currently meager) blog….