If you are like me, you have had the opportunity to take countless personality tests, communication style exams, and skills tests. The business world is full of them, and full of reasons and times to take them. Some people think they are completely useless and others swear by them. My experience is that they, like most things, are best in moderation. You can garner useful information and insights but you should never underestimate the immense complexity that is the human mind.
Enter my next book for review: Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. The book is fairly short, as it mostly a description of the different personality strengths that Mr. Rath uncovered in his studies. The book comes with a code that you can use to take the personality quiz online. Afterwards, it gives you a list of your top 5 ‘strengths’. These can be found in the book with a description, some examples of those traits and some “ideas for action” that help you learn to use your strengths, along with some ideas for working with someone with those strengths.
I found the insights to be pretty helpful and spot on. But the downside is that there are so many strengths, with five selected for each person, that they are difficult to put into practice easily. Other tests I have taken, that break things down into, say, a weighting between four styles, are easier to grok and therefore use on a daily basis.
So, with that being said, I am adding this to the Guru reading list, but would recommend that this book be used as part of an annual planning day. If you have a small company or a management team, this might be a good way to match team members to specific goals or projects, based on strengths. If you are doing some team building, this might be a good way to make stronger teams and discover reasons why some teams are have issues with dysfunction.
As a day to day management tool though, I recommend checking out the Kolbe A test or the Meyers Brigg test.