We are often taught that focusing on improving ourselves where we are weak is a great idea. Not being weak in an area that is critical to doing our job is a given. However, focusing our time on our weaknesses rather than our strengths has been proven by many studies as being less effective in improving productivity and leads to lower levels of satisfaction at work.
Why Focusing On Strengths Gets Results Fast
Tom Rath, the author of StrengthsFinder 2.0 uses the example of Rudy Ruettiger to make the point I just made more clearly. Rudy had a movie made about him. If haven’t heard of him, he was the walk on football player who poured his heart and soul into accomplishing his goal of playing varsity football for Notre Dame. After 4 years of working harder than everyone else he accomplishes his goal.
We love an underdog story. We tend to focus on this triumph because it’s a very emotional story. You really want him to succeed because his effort was off the charts. When you step back and actually look at it though he got to play a few plays in a game that had the score ran up so high that it was already over.
Rath points out that talent and hard work multiply together to get effectiveness. On a 1 to 5 scale Rudy was about a 5 in hard work and maybe a 1 or 2 in natural talent. You look at Rudy and compare him to a player like Tony Dorsett. Tony won the Heisman trophy the same year Rudy Ruettiger got to play his first game. Tony was probably has a 5 in talent and a 5 in hard work. Dorset obviously had a very successful run in the NFL, signing million dollar contracts as a rookie in the late 70s. This just shows the difference that can come into play when you focus your energy into your strengths rather than your weaknesses.
About the Book
When you get the book you also get access to the Gallup test. It took my 20 minutes to get through part 1 of the book and 25 minutes to take the test. After taking the test you get access to reports specifically customized for you with 10 suggested actions to use each of your strengths.
For example, my top strength was Maximizer. In short, I really like to polish my strengths, and hone in on what people are good at and focus their talents. One suggested action was that I seek roles in which I am helping other people succeed. I love being a part of a project and seeing other people do well because I gave them a boost!
I can’t recommend StrengthsFinder 2.0 more strongly. I thought I would end up with strengths I didn’t actually have and my top 5 strengths surprised me. The actions they give you were incredibly helpful. This was a game changer for me. Went from struggling to finish 2 projects I was working on to getting on track on one and finishing another. My blog was falling behind, now I have posts scheduled every week through May. I want to see people be more successful I hope you think about using this tool.
I actually also bought this book for my wife because I felt like it would be interesting to know how we could work best together. She has really enjoyed the book and the test and we are doing some action plans together which has been interesting.
Full disclosure, the links on this post to the book are affiliate links. However, there is ABSOLUTELY NO extra charge to you for using them. I do get a small percentage and I am using that income to buy copies of this book for friends of mine who I think will benefit from it. Using these links lets me be more generous to others so if you use the link thank you so much!