Podcast Transcriptions

Pursue What Matters

Episode 165: Book Review – Clifton StrengthsFinder

Please excuse any typos, transcripts are generated by an automated service

Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
Do you know what you’re good at? Do you know what strengths you have? Well, if you don’t, I have a great tool to help you determine your strengths and play to them.

Dr. Melissa Smith 0:13
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So you may not believe this, but you have some strengths, right? We each have strengths and weaknesses. And as I have been talking about on recent podcasts, it’s really helpful for you to have an awareness of your strengths and your weaknesses. And knowledge and understanding of both are really important to help you to know how you can help yourself and help others. One of the arguments that I make, and there’s great research for this is that we really shouldn’t be playing to our strengths. We don’t want to spend too much time trying to overcome weaknesses. And so the book review that I have for you today is all about that fact. And so this is a book review. But it’s more than a book review. This is actually an assessment, where you can identify your strengths so that you can play to them. And so I’m really excited to share this with you. Of course, every week with a podcast, my goal is to help you pursue what matters by strengthening your confidence to lead.

Dr. Melissa Smith 1:46
So I do that with clarity to connect you to purpose, curiosity to help you increase your self awareness so that you can lead yourself effectively. And then leading and building a community and understanding the strengths of those you work with can be really helpful so that we can support people in contributing at their highest level. And so if you lead a team, if you work with a team, this StrengthsFinder book, and assessment could be a really helpful tool for you on your teams. And you know, it’s not painful to take, it’s actually fun, people usually tend to really enjoy it. And so let’s jump in and learn more about our book. And of course, the assessment. So this is known as the StrengthsFinder 2.0. And it is from Gallup. So if you know anything about Gallup, they’re an association that have been doing surveys and research for decades, like 40 years at least. And so this, this is an assessment that was developed using research from Gallup. And so, you know, I think the technical name of the book is discover your Clifton Strengths.

Dr. Melissa Smith 2:58
It’s a nice little hardback book, you can get it at Amazon, you can get it at your local bookstore. And that’s one of the things I really like about this assessment, it’s easy to do, like, you don’t have to go through a psychologist to do it, you don’t have to be part of a big leadership training to do it. You could go and get the book yourself. It gives you the you know, the information for accessing the assessment, and then the books really helpful because it helps you to do a deep dive into your strengths to know how you can help yourself. So the strengths finder was developed by Don Clifton, he is known as the father of strength psychology. And so, you know, he has been, you know, one of the movements that we’ve seen in psychology over the past few decades, is this movement of positive psychology. And so when we think about Don Clifton, we think about strength psychologies, which is really similar, but really look, you know, instead of focusing on the problems that we all have, is really paying attention to what are what are our strengths? What are our gifts, how can we help ourselves and really gain some momentum towards growth. And so that is definitely what the StrengthsFinder is geared towards. And so as I mentioned, you can get this book just about anywhere, it’ll give you the link to the assessment. And then you have this book, which is a really great reference. So when you get this book right out of the gate, they talk about their goal with the book and not as to start a global conversation about what’s right with people. And Isn’t that refreshing? I think that’s, that’s really nice. So with the idea that as we better understand our strengths, we can really contribute at a higher level. And so from the book that what they say is, we were tired of living in a world that revolved around fixing our weaknesses. Society’s relentless focus on People’s shortcomings had turned into a global obsession. What’s more, we have discovered that people have several times more potential for growth, when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies. So one of the themes that I’m talking about over the next few episodes is this idea of playing to our strengths. And the research is really clear on that, you’re gonna get a lot more bang for your buck if you work on strengthening developing your strengths rather than trying to overcome weaknesses.

Dr. Melissa Smith 5:34
So in the past decade, so the decade before the book first came out, Gallup surveyed more than 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement. Okay. And so one of the questions that they looked at, so it was a statement, and you had to determine how much you know how strongly you agreed with it or disagreed with it. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day. And I was really speaking to this question around strengths. And what they found is that people, people did not feel like they were able to do what they were best suited to do at work. So there are studies indicate that people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day, are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs, and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general. And so they’re really making the case that focusing on our strengths makes a big difference. Not only does it help us to be more successful at work, and that translates over to the success of the team, but it also enables greater wellbeing, so we’re happier, we’re more content. And so a really strong case for why we really should be playing to our strengths. So one of the studies that they looked at is how your manager treats you. And so if your manager primarily ignores you, then the chances of your being actively disengaged at work are 40%. If your manager primarily focuses on your weaknesses, the chances of your being actively disengaged are 22%. And if your manager primarily focuses on your strengths, the chances of your being actively disengaged, or only 1%. So that’s pretty stunning. And so I think what what really stands out to me is if matters is ignore you, you’re gone, right, like that’s the highest rate of disengagement. But if we can help focus on someone’s strengths, and really developing those, we’re gonna have people that want to stick around who share our vision, and we’re gonna get a lot more value out of them. And I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, I just mean, people will be contributing at a higher level, their gifts will be made manifest.

Dr. Melissa Smith 8:02
And so with this assessment, there are 34 themes. So 34 different areas of strengths. And so you complete the online assessment. And then it really gives you five themes where you stand out. So you kind of have your top, your top three to five themes that really are identified as your strengths. And then as you take those assessment results, you use the book to really explore how you can continue to develop those.

Dr. Melissa Smith 8:37
So just a couple more words on this. And, you know, these folks at Gallup have, you know, certainly looked at this in their research. But they said that overcoming deficits is such an emphasis in our culture, right. Like, there’s such an emphasis on overcoming weaknesses, that this is, you know, this can be a challenging concept for a lot of people, because it’s kind of been ingrained to us into us that we need to really overcome these weaknesses. And they just, you know, they just show time and time again, that this is not a good use of our time. And this idea of you can be anything you want to be if you just try hard enough, basically they say that’s garbage thinking it’s actually not true. And I think I think we know that it doesn’t mean that we can’t be successful doesn’t mean we can’t engage grit, but what we apply our grit to really makes a difference. So when it comes to developing yourself, the key to human development is building on who you already are. So what you already have in place, aligning yourself with the right task is really important. And it’s not that hard. I mean, that’s one of the things that you can really pin down with this StrengthsFinder it can really help us to develop our natural talents. And when we develop our strengths and our natural talents, there’s So much room for growth, right? Like we actually have exponential growth potential in those situations. And so what they say in response to that maximum of you can be anything you want to be if you’re willing to work hard enough, they say you cannot be anything you want to be. But you can be a lot more of who you already are. So let’s go with the flow of the river. Let’s not try to go against the river. So some of the questions that you’re looking at here are what am I best at what is my potential in this realm, and really focusing your efforts there.

Dr. Melissa Smith 10:37
So the last point I will make here is that when we take a strengths based approach, it improves our confidence, it improves our direction or sense of purpose. It improves our hope, and our kindness toward one another. Okay, so their question is, you know, why isn’t everyone living life with the strengths approach, and one of the answers is because this weakness model is so ingrained in our culture. But the other point that they make is that a big problem is that most people are either unaware of, or unable to describe their own strengths, or the strengths of people around them. And so you know, the folks at Gallup are hoping to change that with this Strengths Finder. So there is a little bit of a summary of the strengths finder 2.0, from Gallup, this is a really helpful tool. So it is an assessment and a book to really help you identify your strengths. So you can play to them, you can get it anywhere books are sold. So you don’t need to have a psychologist administer the assessment to you or anything like that. It’s very user friendly. And it’s fun, it’s something that you can use time and time again, I did this several years ago. And it’s something I do go back to a lot, I think about my themes of my strengths and really look at, okay, how, you know, where is the where are my activities falling, right, so if I have, most of my daily activities at work are falling outside of one of these strengths areas, like I’m, I’m not gonna get much traction. And so it can be really helpful in that way in terms of Okay, let’s move in the direction of strength so we really can contribute at our highest level.

Dr. Melissa Smith 12:28
And so that is our book review for today. And so you can head on over to my website, to check out more about the book and, and find the link to it and everything like that. And so you can do that at www.drmelissasmith.com/165-strengthsfinder. So, again, that’s www.drmelissasmith.com/165-strengthsfinder. In the meantime, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.

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