Be Your Best: Using Strengths at Work

By Kristen Harris 

At Portfolio Creative we welcome every new hire for our internal team with a copy of the book StrengthsFinder 2.0. We ask them to take the assessment and share their results. Why? Because StrengthsFinder is one of the key tools we use to better understand ourselves and each other.

 StrengthsFinder is built on the philosophy that we each have inherent strengths. They’re part of our DNA, we can’t change them, it’s just who we are. The result of a lifetime of research, Don Clifton identified thirty-four unique talents. Everyone has a bit of each, but the top five are truly our unique combination of skills, talent, and knowledge that can develop into strengths. 

Why does this matter? Gallup’s research shows that people are more successful when they focus on what they do best. Seems kind of obvious, right? You’re happier, do better work and are more productive when you’re doing something you’re good at. The challenge is to identify those talents and then focus on developing them into strengths. 

We also like how StrengthsFinder takes a very positive approach. Many personality assessments identify strengths and weaknesses, then encourage you to work on improving the weaknesses. While that might seem logical, what’s the best possible outcome? You’ll probably only improve that weakness enough to be marginal or average. Who wants that? It’s much more empowering to be great!

We prefer to have people focus on their strengths, on what they’re already inherently good at, and keep building upon that base. It’s much more rewarding to take something that is good and make it great; to take something you’re already good at and become the best. 

Yes, everyone has to overcome their weaknesses enough to not get in the way or hold them back, but that’s it. We don’t want anyone our team spending significant time in areas where they’ll never be great. It’s more productive to keep building strengths, then partner with others who have different strengths. Remember, there are thirty-four strengths and everyone has a combination that makes up their top five. That means there’s someone else out there with a different top five to complement yours. 

If you’re not familiar with StrengthsFinder, I encourage you to check out the book or online materials. It is truly empowering to discover, build and utilize your strengths. By focusing the majority of your energy on things you’re naturally good at, you are able to bring your best every day to whatever you do.