In Work Your Strengths the authors have identified 12 executive strengths that each person possesses. The premis is that these strengths are developed as a young person and they increase into adulthood. This book is a summary of a study of about 2000 senior executives and managers. The twelve skills are:
1 Response Inhibition : The ability to think before you act and to resist the urge to say something w/o thinking it thru.
2 Working Memeory:The ability to hold information in memory while performing complex tasks. Apply past experiences to the situation at hand.
3 Emotional control: The ability to manage emotions in order to achieve goals, complete tasks, control and direct behaviour
4 Sustained Attention: The capacity to maintain attention to a situation or task in spite of distraction, fatigue or boredom.
5 Task Initiation: The ability to begin projects or tasks without undue procrastination
6 Planning Prioritization: The capacity to develop a road map to arrive at a destination or goal and knowing which are the most important sign posts along the way.
7 Organization: The ability to arrange or place according to a system.
8 Time Management: The capacity to esetimate how much time one has to allocate effectively and to stay within the time limits and deadlines.
9 Goal Directed Persistance: The capacity to have a goal, follow through to the completion of the goal and not be distracted.
10 Flexibility: The ability to revise plans in the face of obstacles, setbacks, new information or mistakes.
11 Metacognition: The capacity to stand back and take a bird’s eye view of yourself in a situation and the ability to understand and make changes in the way the problem is solved.
12 Stress Tolerance: The ability to thrive in stressful situations and to cope with uncertainty, change and performance demands.
I believe the best way to approach this book is to take the survey that accompanies the book before reading the book entirely. Once you complete the survey, you can analyze yourself and determine if you are currently using your strengths in the most effective manner. The thing that I love about this book is that the survey/test is free. The can be important to someone who is unemployed and trying to conserve their resources. This is a welcome addition noting that most other books talking about strengths require you to purchase the book to get a code in order to take the survey/test.
I took the survey and here are my results:
Top three STRENGTHS: Response Inhibition Metacognition Planning/Prioritization
Top three WEAKNESSES: Stress Tolerance Organization Working Memory
I feel that this book would have been more useful if it had given suggestion of tools and approaches a person could utilize to compensate for their weaknesses. However, this book does advise that when you know the strengths and weaknesses of everyone in the organization, you can develop stronger teams. Knowing the strengths of individuals on a team, allows you to combine people with complementary strengths for a more effective team.
Reading this book is sort of like reading a career horoscope.Based on the strengths and weaknessesidentified in the free survey you can determine several things, including the following:
1 How to use your strengths to become a high performer ( A person who is “positive, forward thinking, and seems to always get results”) High performers have the ability to prioritize initiative and an excellent quality of work (Chapter 3)
2 How to use your skill combination to determine the industry in whichyou will excel. (Chapter 4)
3 How to use your skill combination to determine what department in which you will work best. (Chapter 5)
4 How to identify both strengths and weaknesses in office interactions as well as dealing with customers or clients. Everyone should read this chapter twice! (Chapter 7)
5 How to avoid potential conflicts by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of colleagues (Chapter 7)
6 How to determine your best fit in an organization, by mapping your strengths to those of high performers to see what industry, department, and job in which they are successful. There is a table that is a High Performance Executive Skills Map in Chapter 9
All I can say is that the book and survey were pretty accurate when it came to me. I don’t know how they used this short quiz to determine my strengths and weakness, but they basically characterized me very well. This is a must read for anyone looking to leverage their strengths at work. Also, it is helpful to identify your weaknesses as well in order to put a plan in place to compensate for those areas where you may fall short.
Disclosure: The publicist sent me a free copy of this book for review.