Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Uniquely You: Review of STANDOUT by Marcus Buckingham

Several years ago I was introduced to the StrengthsFinder assessment developed by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton. The premise of the StrengthsFinder assessment was to uncover the areas where a person is naturally gifted in order to approach anything in lifeschool, work, relationships, etc.from a position of strength. Not everyone is good at everything, and it's more productive to focus on building on and harnessing our strengths rather than trying to make our weaknesses into strengths. I loved the concept, and I felt empowered by discovering my top 5 themes of talent. It's helped me to understand areas where I would be most gifted and understand why I'm not as gifted in other areas.

Marcus Buckingham, a leadership expert and strengths champion, has taken the concept of the StrengthsFinder a step further in his new book STANDOUT. STANDOUT is about innovation. Specifically, Buckingham defines innovation as “novelty that can be applied.” The basic premise of the book is that not everyone can do something the same way with equal effectiveness. Innovation is often packaged and mass produced to be put into practice by anyone, regardless of their individual giftedness. But Buckingham illustrates that a specific innovation might be remarkable in the hands of one person and unexciting and sometimes detrimental in the hands of another person. Innovation, Buckingham says, “is transferable only if the person you are delivering the innovation to has the same strengths as the person who created it in the first place. What is effective and authentic in the hands of one person looks forced, fake, and foolish in the hands of another.”

Everyone is unique and brings their unique personality to everything that they do, which means that their uniqueness impacts everything they do. STANDOUT, like StrengthsFinder, is about uncovering what is unique about you, specifically your strengths and your specific personality traits. This helps you form a trajectory for what it is you would be most impactful doing.

Using the new STANDOUT online assessment, you can discover your top 2 of 9 “strength roles”:

The bulk of the book unpacks these nine strength roles by giving descriptions, areas where you are likely most powerful, and how to put it into practice. One of the features I love most about these descriptions is that Buckingham includes some suggestions on how to describe yourself in contexts such as job interviews and performance reviews based on your strength roles.

Marcus Buckingham stands as a voice of hope for helping people make a substantial impact in the world. STANDOUT is another important tool to help people be the best that they can be.

I received this book for free for review from Thomas Nelson

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