"You can be anything you want to be, if you just try hard enough"
I have heard it, I have read it and I have even said it. Do I really believe it? No. And neither does Tom Rath, author of Strengths Finder 2.0 and it is he whom declared this maxim misguided.
My disbelief is based on the fact that no matter how hard I try, I have absolutely no ability to woo people. I do not enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and although I admire my extroverted friends and so want to be like them, I am not and have to face the truth that I never will be :( .
Fortunately, Tom's disbelief is based on more empirical evidence and Gallup's 40 year study of human strengths. Tom was part of a team that identified 34 most common themes of talent and a companion on-line assessment. The assessment identifies a person's top 5 themes.
My top 5 were right on and as I read the descriptions, I felt as though I was looking at myself and at least once said, "ahh, so that's why I do that!" or "yup, that explains it!" My top 5 themes were: input, individualization, learner, relator, and intellection. Yes, I was a little disappointed themes such as command, futuristic or strategic did not make my top 5, but, oh well . . . .I will just have to continue to surround myself with these types of friends and colleagues so they can rub off on me! It takes all kinds to make the world go 'round. . . . .
Back to business now, this is a tool that can be used for individual development as well as team development from the perspective of identifying and leveraging strengths. Really, the only effective way to lead.
A key part of my role (and my personal job satisfaction) is developing my staff. To do that, I have got to know what makes them "tick." So, true to form, I proceeded to review the remaining 29 themes and attempted to identify my staff members in them. Some jumped right out at me, others did not. I realized that I do not yet not know some of the newer members of my staff well enough to do this, and this is not ok for me.
Tom closes a chapter with a more accurate maxim:
"You cannot be anything you want - but you can be more of who you already are."
Lisa closes by saying, "And I am here to help you!"
All righty now, let's get ready for some quality face time with the boss!