I’ve had occasion to recommend Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath many times over the years.
When I first read this book I was very impressed. I immediately recommended it to at least 10 of my colleagues and bought it for several family members. Fortunately, I can always find a pile of them at my local bookstore.
I like the Strengths Finder book for entrepreneurs for a couple reasons. The first reason is I like books that only take an hour to read and yet have something profound to say. The second is I like the message. I find it extremely compelling, desirable, and pragmatic.
About Strengths Finder 2.0
The basic message is that we tend to under-value what comes easiest to us. We believe that nothing good ever comes without hard work and sacrifice. As a result, we tend to orient ourselves to focus on the things we are not naturally good at. We forego our natural strengths where success might come more easily. The book makes the case that taking advantage of what we’re naturally good at makes infinitely more sense because we get to exploit our natural talents.
In developing marketing plans, we use this premise all the time. We try to determine what a company is outstanding at and make that the core competitive distinction. We orient their messaging around their strengths, where they have a legitimate competitive advantage. It only makes sense. The net result is clients who want and need that strength are attracted to the message, and a cycle of reinforcement ensues.
I know when I started Accrue, one of my central goals was to create a company where my natural skills and interests would be exploited by the audience who would most appreciate them. The result is, I earn a living doing what I am best at and enjoy the most while serving people I relate to and who appreciate what I do for them. I have cultivated a win/win scenario for myself.
My path of discovering what I was naturally good at required a significant career change. I had invested 12 years (5 years of post-secondary education and 7 years of professional work experience) in an area that challenged my natural abilities. When I finally saw the light, I realized that I would enjoy myself more and likely realize greater success if I went with my natural abilities. It is now many years later, and my business is custom built on my strengths. I do what I love for my chosen audience. I just wish this book was available when I was in high school – I might have reallocated my efforts and taken less time to get clear on my career direction.
Is Strengths Finder 2.0 Worth The Investment?
Strengths Finder 2.0 is a gem of a book that I am glad has resurfaced on my book shelf. When you buy the book, you get a passcode to a website that gains you access to a pretty long survey. The survey is timed which forces you to respond to each question without over thinking it. Once you complete the survey you are presented with your 5 most natural strengths. The majority of the book details the 34 strengths that you draw your top 5 personal strengths from. Each chapter outlines the strength and suggests ways to develop and apply the strength further.
My company direction was already well-established before I read this book, but what this book re-enforced to me that my strengths align with what I do. It proceeded to detail that I would be well served by the career path I chose. The book was uncannily accurate with me.
The other benefit to knowing your strengths is that you also identify your weaknesses and where you may want to consider adding people to compliment you. This benefit is good if you, like me, are about to hire someone.
In all, I highly recommend this book for entrepreneurs, salespeople, marketers, HR people, or anyone considering a change. Most emphatically, I recommend this book for students who might achieve more, be happier, and reach new heights if they focused on their strengths rather than trying to compensate for their challenges.