Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Have You Done a Strengths Audit Recently?

A Strengths Audit is a great tool to help you focus on behaviours that will improve your performance and increase your long term satisfaction at work and at home. I have just done my own audit and found it an enjoyable and stimulating experience. Why don’t you try it too? Research has shown that greater use of your strengths makes you more successful in your endeavours and happier and more fulfilled at the same time.

Step 1 – do a Strengths 360
In this initial step ask up to 20 people who know you well to give you three stories of you using your strengths. You want them to identify things that you are good at and that absorb and energise you.  Try asking them these two questions to focus the responses:

Question 1:  When do you see me being most energised and absorbed in what I am doing?
Question 2: What am I doing when you see me delivering my best contribution?

Step 2 – Identify the Themes
Read the stories and look for the common themes - behaviours that you demonstrate repeatedly and consistently, behaviours that energise you and that others perceive you as doing well. Focus on finding what you are doing when you are performing at your best and are fully absorbed. These are your strengths and ideally you are looking for your top 5-7. For example I received a lot of stories about how much I like learning things, so one of my strengths is a love of learning.

I found it easiest to group the stories under themes. Some stories cover several strengths so just put them under each one.

Step 3 – Summarise Your Core Strengths  
One of the most valuable applications of the Strengths Audit comes from communicating your strengths to others. To help you do this succinctly, write an overview of each strength, drawn from the stories that illustrate them. Keep each one short, one or two paragraphs at most, and try to capture the essence of how you use your strengths when you are at your best. They should feel relevant and energising. At the end you may well get a sense of – yes that’s me!
Apply Your Unique Special Talent for Excellence  
Combining your strengths defines your unique special talent for excellence. To achieve more apply your strengths more often, in more situations and in different combinations. Think/talk about them when starting new projects, in career development meetings, performance appraisals and, of course, interviews.  A strengths audit gives you the confidence to let others know exactly how you uniquely add value.

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