Stand Out

 I just finished reading Marcus Buckingham’s new book, Stand Out: The Groundbreaking  New Strengths Assessment from the Leader of the Strengths Revolution (whew!).

I have enjoyed all of Buckingham’s materials and was interested to learn how this was different from his previous strengths-based work.

According to Buckingham, Stand Out builds on the individual Strengths by discovering patterns and combinations that result in a person’s Roles. There are nine possible roles, and by purchasing Stand Out you also receive a code to take the Standout role survey and receive a results assessment. Since I am a research nerd and possess the Strength of “Learner,” I was eager to complete this new instrument.

Before I share my results, I’ll give a little background on my previous Strengths inventories. I have taken the StrengthsFinder three times. Every time I have taken it, my results give the same top three Strengths:

  1. Learner
  2. Achiever
  3. Competition

The inventory assesses your five primary strengths, and I have three that have rounded out the top five; again, a pretty consistent result:

  • Strategic
  • Focus
  • Significance

(See why I have enjoyed Ph.D. studies so much?!?)

OK, back to Stand Out. According to this new instrument, my top strengths roles are: 1) Creator; and 2) Connector. Third was Teacher. Last was Influencer, which I suspect would be one of my husband’s top two. Here are the descriptions of my top two roles:

Lead role: Creator. “You make sense of the world, pulling it apart, seeing a better configuration, and creating it….For you there’s nothing quite as thrilling as finding a pattern beneath life’s complexities, a core concept that can explain why things play out the way they do, or better yet, predict how things are going to play out. You are a thoughtful person, someone who needs time alone to mull and muse–without this time alone, events pile up on you haphazardly, and your confusion starts to overwhelm you. You are a creative person.What form your creativity takes will depend on your other traits and talents, but whether you write, paint, sing, complete projects, or make presentations, you are drawn toward making things. Each thing you make is a tangible sign that you have made some sense of the world, that you have organized the chaos in some useful way.”

Secondary role: Connector. “You are a catalyst. Your power lies in your craving to put two things together to make something bigger than it is now….You begin by asking, ‘Whom can I connect?’ You see the world as a web of relationships, and you are excited by the prospect of connecting people within your web….Your mantra is ‘One and one makes three.’ Or thirty. Or three hundred….You are a naturally inquisitive person, always asking questions about each person’s background, experience, and skills….In your head, or in your contacts, you store a large network of people whom you’ve met, learned about, catalogued, and positioned somewhere. You are a connector, weaving people together into the fabric of something much larger and more significant than themselves.”

Wow. “Guilty” as charged. No surprises at all. I felt very affirmed that I already understood that this is how God has wired me, and I got really excited as I read these descriptions to Dave. “This is me!”, I thought (no matter how grammatically incorrect that statement).

As I think you can see, these two roles do indeed combine many although not all of my strengths. The results assessment was delivered in the form of a 21-page PDF report that elaborates on how these roles play out in work contexts: what you need, what you bring to a team, how to make immediate impact, how the two roles combine, even your ideal career. (I picked the right one.)

My recommendation: Stand Out is another worthy tool for self-discovery. I would not use it as a substitute for the Strengths inventory, but as a supplement to the StrengthsFinder and to other worthwhile assessments (MBTI, DiSC, TKI Conflict Mode Assessment, etc.) to provide a comprehensive picture of what makes you unique.

Do you know your strengths or roles?


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