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New Generation Personality Test?

July 25, 2007

Remember the days where personality tests for employment were all the rage? There were the Myers-Briggs test, Birkman, and others. Those I’ve had done for one company or another. I get my results that say I’m analytical, introvert, driven, perceptive, whatever the adjective. I find them interesting, but I don’t let the labels rule my life. I see them as a tool for becoming a better, more rounded person.

Recently, before changing jobs, I picked up a copy of this book: First, Break all the Rules. I started reading it and got about halfway through it before it got lost in the midst of the house remodel. Can’t find it now. What it talks about is how failure of a company – the bleeding of employee turnover and poor performance and more – can be almost directly attributed to management. Of course, there’s much more to it, but that’s what I got from it to the point I put it down.

Do I hear a collective “Duh”? How many of us in the corporate world already know this? It’s refreshing to see it articulated and in print by one of the leading survey companies, Gallup.

Imagine my surprise when our company’s recent employee survey included the survey questions from this book. The questions came out of the results of this survey, if I recall correctly. Since I believe in what this book says, I was happy to see that my company is embracing this as well. Just another sign that I made the right choice.

Now, Gallup has a new book and tool: Strength Finder 2.0 My company gave each of us a book, which has an individual access code so you can take the online test and find your top five strengths.

Here’s what makes this different from other tests I’ve taken – the focus is on your strengths, not your weaknesses. They proclaim that our culture (speaking for Americans) is to focus on what’s wrong with us, and what we need to always improve upon. That’s just so contrary to my natural way of thinking. I resist vehemently when people try to tell me what I am failing at. It serves no purpose to focus on the negative. It is wasted energy. Why not focus on the positive? What do you do well? Do more of it. I’m not a good cook, so why waste time trying to improve in an area that I dislike? There are other alternatives. So focus on the things that I am good at?

Personality test for the new millenium. Works for me. Refreshingly positive. I took the test. I liked what it said. It doesn’t define who I am, but it helps me stay focused on the positive. Intuitively, I think I’ve known much of this most of my life.

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7 Comments
  1. July 26, 2007 3:42 am

    yes, americans focus too much on what is wrong instead of what is right. one day, i had to explain to my youngest son the accommodations he is allowed by his medical plan at school. he looks at me with those big soulful eyes and asks, “why is there so much wrong with me?” i choked back the tears to tell him “but honey, there is so more that is *right* with you.” we had a long conversation about his long list of good qualities. tho his medical issues keep him from doing many things most 7th graders can do, we try to focus on his strengths, because there are lots of them.

  2. July 26, 2007 12:28 pm

    I saw a video this weekend by a guy named Marcus something about emphasizing strengths instead of weaknesses. I can look up the last name if you like, I know I wrote it down somewhere. It was eye opening. We do concentrate too much on our weaknesses. I know I do. but we all do, and we’re taught to in subtle ways.

  3. July 26, 2007 1:03 pm

    Hi Dawn,

    Yes, that would be interesting to know who Marcus was so I can check it out. One of my new job responsibilities will be to lead the company blogging effort at my consulting firm. This is one thing I’d like to blog about there as well.

    Society sure drills into us the negative approach in so many subtle ways, as you say. Even the school systems. I recall asking my daughter’s second grade teacher if she had anything positive to tell me about my daughter during our parent-teacher conference. Her response? Why, that’s a good question. You *should* ask that.” She never did answer the question though, that I can recall. LOL. (Wasn’t funny then, though.)

  4. July 27, 2007 6:12 am

    Let’s see….Marcus Buckingham. We saw one video in a series. I’d highly recommend it, it’s right up your alley!
    http://simplystrengths.com/
    I think that is the site you’ll want.
    cheers!

  5. July 27, 2007 6:32 am

    Well, of course. I should have known his name – he co-authored the book I was talking about earlier “First Break All the Rules.” I’m good at remembering what things are about, but not always who wrote them. (I do that with songs too.)

    Isn’t it interesting how similar this is to StrengthFinders? Hmm. Now I must go investigate further.

    Thanks, Dawn.

  6. Pearl permalink
    July 27, 2007 11:13 am

    Dawn,

    I remember you mentioning before you were reading “First, Break All the Rules”. I bought it as well, and shouted out a big YES! when I read that employees don’t leave companies, they leave poor managers. I certainly did, and I’m back with that company, but with a different (and much better!) manager.

    I haven’t finished the book yet, but after reading what I have so far, I’m planning on purchasing the other books Marcus Buckingham has written.

  7. Pearl permalink
    July 27, 2007 11:53 am

    Oh I’m having one of those days…

    My apologies Claire, I typed Dawn instead of Claire!!! 😦

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