StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths. Find Your Edge. Win at Work by Marcus Buckingham
The book builds on two of his previous books: First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths. Here, Buckingham looks at the tools and systems inside organizations that remain stuck in old theories, preventing the now accepted ideas presented in his earlier books from being fully applied. The center for this book is the new tool to identify your strengths. A key to access one free access to the tool online is included in each copy of the book, but if you're sharing a copy, you will need to pay a small fee to use the tool.
Buckingham has analyzed the idea of strengths and boiled it down to 9 strength roles or factors. There are: advisor, connector, creator, equalizer, influencer, pioneer, provider, stimulator, and teacher. The assessment tool shows a chart with your levels for all, but concentrates on your top two factors. The information says that you will get a weekly tip, insights, information on techniques and other ongoing help with your login. So far, even though I did the assessment nearly two weeks ago, I haven't received any weekly tips and logging in only gives me access to my report. It also says that you can customize the report by adding additional information like videos, pictures, articles, and quotes to add to others' understanding of your skills, and that the resulting annotates report can be exported to any social network, although the only options I have at my login are to send the report via email or to download it as a pdf.
It also indicates that there is a check-in tool to capture weekly priorities, track your engagement, and get customized coaching advice, but I haven't seen where to access that.
The is also an option to get a corporate account, and the book says that will allow you to do additional things like create a team dashboard, with performance and survey tools available to team leaders, which sounds interesting.
A couple of important points that are emphasized. The assessment tool is designed to show how you come across to others, not how you see yourself, so your results may surprise you.
One chapter looks at how to use your assessment information to stand out, emphasizing three lessons to build on: your genius (the combination of strengths for you as an individual) is precise; remember who you are (don't get tempted to wander off into other strength challenges); and always sharpen your edge (using activities such as the love it, loathe it exercise). You should be concentrating on what you are doing rather than what is being done to you, and making sure to go back and revisit this at least twice a year.
Buckingham also reminds the reader that innovation is a practice not an idea, which means that it is connected to others and should be thought of as a best practice.
After explaining the factors briefly, the remainder of this book looks at each factor, showing you how to describe the skills identified with that factor, how to make an immediate impact at work, how to take your performance to the next level, and some pitfalls to watch out for. It then looks at how that strength can be leveraged in the areas of leadership, management, client services, and sales. It tells you what natural advantages people with this strength have. It also provides a short section that describes how to best manage someone with your strengths.
The book also includes a technical summary of the design of the assessment tool.
I liked the assessment tool and found my results hit true to home, and thus were meaningful to me. I would like to see how some of the additional features promised in this book become available and can help me and other readers to stay on track.