by Tony Rushin
High achievers focus on leveraging their strengths and making them even stronger, rather than shoring up their weaknesses. Sure, weaknesses need to be improved to minimum levels but they’ll never get turned into strengths. Leveraging strengths – areas where you already exhibit talent and passion – through focus and practice can lead to world-class performance.
Discovering the strengths of each team member, then putting them in roles that let them use their strengths, builds a team that is hard to beat. Peter Drucker, one of my favorite business authors (that dates me, doesn’t it?) puts it this way: Management’s job is to make the strengths of their people more effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.”
A quick and easy assessment tool for discovering strengths is the StandOut Assessment by The Marcus Buckingham Company. Nancy Chorpening introduced me to this assessment back in 2013 and I had everyone on my team take it (the price is $15 each and the assessment takes about 25 minutes to complete). Since then, I’ve hired a few more Client Managers who are taking the assessment now and I’m looking forward to discussing all of our strengths as a team. We call our strengths “superpowers.”
Here is an excerpt from the title page of the StandOut report:
“The StandOut assessment measures how well you match 9 Roles and reveals your primary Role and secondary Role. These top two Roles are the focal point of all your talents and skills. They represent your instinctive way of making a difference in the world.
StandOut helps you accelerate your performance by showing you actions you can take to capitalize on your comparitive advantage.
Your top two Roles may not be how you see yourself. Instead they capture how you show up to others. They pinpoint your recurring reactions and your behaviors. They are your edge at work.
The purpose of this report is to help you maximize this edge.” (emphasis as shown in the report).
Here are the 9 Roles:
To protect the innocent, I’ll use my assessment as an example. My two “superpowers” are Connector – Teacher. Here is my rank order of each of the strength roles:
After discerning your two strength areas, the report defines each. For instance, as a Connector, I begin by asking: “Whom can I connect?” and as a Teacher I begin by asking: “What can he learn from this?”
The report goes on to distinguish numerous situations and phrases that help you see and know yourself. Here are some of the sections of the report with some examples from my results:
You, At Your Most Powerful:
- You think in terms of possibilities. “Wouldn’t it be great if we linked up this person with that person?”
- You are a learner yourself. Because you love the process of “getting it,” you sign yourself up for classes so that you can feel yourself “getting it.” This is a constant part of your life.
Phrases To Describe Yourself
- “I am fascinated by people’s strengths and gifts.”
- “I like listening to people tell me what they do and how they do it.”
How To Make An Immediate Impact…
- Begin with your student hat on.
- Start building your own private “scouting report” on your new network.
How To Take Your Performance To The Next Level…
- Stay attentive and keep learning.
- Become an overt champion of others.
- Discipline yourself to connect someone to something every day.
Other sections include: What To Watch Out For, How To Win As A Leader / Manager, and How To Win In Client Services / Sales.
I would encourage you to take the StandOut assessment along with the other members of your team (the team could be at work, within the family, an association, etc.) and then discuss the results. How can you use your “superpowers” more effectively? How can you help your team members use their “superpowers” more effectively?
Once you know your “superpowers”, remember the wisdom Uncle Ben shared with Peter Parker (Spiderman): “With great power comes great responsibility.”