Career Kaizen #1 – Know Thy Strengths – Who are you and where can you add the most value?

Know Thy Strengths

Monday – What should I do next?

strengths Career Kaizen, Community, Marcus Buckingham, Openness, strengths
The Scrum class was great! But what now?

Many of my students come out of the class excited, encouraged, inspired, and ready for action and to change the world. But besides the obvious basics of implementing Scrum, which we’ll get to, what else should you do?

Well, that depends on who you are, where you want to go, and your cultural context. So, let’s start with who you are. If you’re not already familiar with personality tests and have not taken one, here is some information on three popular ones, Myers Briggs, DISC, and StrengthsFinder.

Homework: Review the different types of tests.


Tuesday – What did you think of the tests?

More importantly, what you do think the results will show you? What are the most significant aspects of YOU?

But be warned – The vast majority of people who have taken these types of tests forget the results. They never do anything with them. It doesn’t change them or their work. But for every 10 of those, there’s a Li.

Li, a manager, had taken the test. She loved what it showed her and had her entire team take the test. When they all got together to look at the results, she told me that was the most that team had talked in four years.

Homework: Take one of the tests.


Wednesday – Who are you?

strengths Career Kaizen, Community, Marcus Buckingham, Openness, strengths
Identify and work in your areas of strength for maximum results!

What thoughts or insights have you had about your own strengths? What do you love doing? Where will I see the best out of you? And where will I need to manage around or have team members cover you a bit?

Most of our feedback comes in the once a year performance review, and the majority of that is spent on our “areas of opportunity” to improve. But if that’s where we’re weakest, there’s perhaps not much that can be done to ever make that great. We get the most by leveraging where we seem to have endless interest and energy, and a history of performance and delivering results. It might be research and learning, or really getting to know people, rallying people, or fixing things.

You want to grow, get better, do your best? Than starting with leveraging specifically how you’re wired is precisely the best place.

“You will grow the most where you already know most.”

Homework: Post your results in the comments and look at some of the other comments, topics and conversations.


Thursday – How did it feel to be vulnerable?

What did you find interesting on the site? How did it feel to be open and share this personal aspect of yourself?

There is an aspect of leadership that is about vulnerability. Your people, your teams, can trust you and get behind you if they feel like they know you, that you’re human. It’s a little scary, I know, but you’re better afterwards.

To dispel, perhaps, some concerns, I don’t see that people are good or not good at certain roles because of their strengths. But I do see that people don’t look at their work through the lens of their strengths. Don’t feel like you should be pigeon-holed, labeled, or judged based on your strengths. There are no ‘bad’ or lesser strengths. People may still try, but this is often just a lack of understanding on their part (and if so, a great opportunity for you to educate them).

Homework: Post the results on your cube in the most (or at least a very) prominent place. Courage!


Friday – What are your strengths?

So, we’re wrapping up the week. Of all of your personality aspects or strengths, which one in particular stood out the most to you?

You’ve taken a step to know yourself, to share, and to be transparent with others. You’ve led. It’s good stuff that we’ll want to do with our team and others, but that will come later.

Video Fridays: For now, watch the video The Business Case for Strengths

Weekend Warrior: Take a look at the other posts that I’ve written under the Strengths tag. If this has really resonated with you, take a look at the books and audiobooks on the topic and grab one.

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