Marcus Buckingham and the late Donald Clifton developed the popular Strengthsfinder assessment in 1999. That assessment, which was originally included in Buckingham’s 2001 best-selling book Now Discover Your Strengths, is
now available as a separate book, and the assessment has been completed by more than five million people.
Buckingham writes that the purpose of that assessment was to be descriptive and affirming. He and Clifton wanted to provide a way to describe the best of us and to make us feel good about our style. Buckingham states that the challenge is that once you have a positive language to describe yourself, what do you do with it?
What careers should you pursue? What techniques should you call upon to capitalize on your strengths and outperform your competitors? What should you share with your manager to help him or her help you do your best work?
In recent years, Buckingham has focused less on measurement and more on what could be done to increase employee engagement, strengths and performance.
The new book is based on extensive research, statistical testing and analysis of the world’s top performers, and includes a unique access key to the new StandOut Strengths assessment. For the new assessment he has partnered with Dr. Courtney McCashland on the scenarios, with Tracy Hutton and Charlotte Jordan on the action items and Jaqai Mickelsen on design to answer the above questions.
Where Strengthsfinder was descriptive and affirming, StandOut is prescriptive and innovating. The new StandOut assessment measures you on nine strengths roles, and reveals your top two. The nine roles are:
When I completed the assessment, I found out that my top two strengths roles were Creator and Equalizer. After completing the assessment, which takes about 15 minutes, you immediately get a 21 page assessment based on how you answered the questions on the assessment. Among the things you will get in the assessment are suggestions on what would be an ideal career for you based on your top two strengths roles.
The majority of the book provides the reader a detailed look at each of the nine strengths roles, including the following sections:
Definition of the role
You, at Your Most Powerful
How to Describe Yourself (in Interviews, Performance Reviews)
How to Make an Immediate Impact
How to Take Your Performance to the Next Level
What to Watch Out For
How to Win as a Leader
How to Win as a Manager
How to Win in Client Service
Toward the end of the book Buckingham lays out three principles for building your strengths for a lifetime.
I find assessments like the Myers-Briggs, Strengthsfinder and now StandOut to be helpful in helping me to understand myself and those I work with. I’ve shared my results with my team at work and have encouraged them to take the assessment as well.