Think about the following statement: “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do the best every day.” How do you respond? Do you get the opportunity to use your best skills and strengths for what you do every day? Or are you still living in the “You can be anything you want to be, if you just try hard enough” mindset? Hard work is absolutely critical for success, but if you are working at something that is not a natural fit for your skills and natural talents you are missing a huge opportunity.
In the book Strengths Finder 2.0 author Tom Rath gives an action plan for helping you find the qualities at which you excel. The book is based on research by the late Dr. Donald O. Clifton, considered the father of Strength’s Based Psychology, who discovered and developed 34 themes to clearly classify human strengths. This is a “2.0 version” of the book that provides a succinct description of each theme, ten “ideas for action” that help you apply the theme, and three suggestions for working with other people whose strengths apply to that theme.
Each copy of the book has a unique access code to a comprehensive Strengths discovery and Action-Planning Guide on their website. After completing strengths assessment you receive an email detailing your top five strengths. You then use the descriptions and ideas for action for your top themes to help you identify what you can do, and what you might need to change, to apply your strengths to your work and other important aspects of your life.
The author’s 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. The stated goal of the book is to help organizations overcome the “epidemic of active disengagement” that has become prevalent in many organizations.
Mr. Rath sums it up this way: “Far too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction. They go not only from cradle to cubicle, but then to the casket, without uncovering their greatest talents and potential.”
The Product Management Perspective: One of the great things about product management is you get to use many different skills. However, knowing your strengths will help you focus on areas that are most important to your products’ (and your own) success.