By: Dorian Merrill, Managing Director
Have you noticed the rash of quizzes and self-assessment tools that continue to make their way around the web these days? Not to mention all of the silly “Which superhero are you?” quizzes that inundate our social media feeds, it seems that every week there is another invitation to take this or that personality or skills assessment in professional settings too. What’s next, a “Which scion of industry are you based on your favorite color?” quiz?! Could it be that we are compelled to assess ourselves for some deeper purpose? Are we all trying to figure out how to get our professional “groove” back??
I remember once years ago, while working for a large corporation, participating in a “team building” exercise that was focused on the StrengthsFinder program. I have to say, my initial reaction was an internal eye roll. I felt confident that I already knew my strengths (and my weaknesses!) and couldn’t see how spending a day in the training room being shepherded through yet another program would add value to either my employee experience or to my team’s cohesion and productivity.
While my assumption was right in some ways, I missed the potential value in that experience because I didn’t realize what the results of that assessment had to tell me about my future in the organization and in my career. You see, I was working in a company where my strengths were not highly valued and where some of my “weaknesses” were. I guess you can imagine how that worked out in the long run!
Having long since moved on from that organization, I recently had another opportunity to assess my strengths, this time through the Via Institute’s free Character Strengths Survey, and I found the insights to be exceptionally helpful. I asked my co-workers to complete the assessment too, and when we reviewed each of our top five character strengths, we found there were some strong parallels amongst us. While that is great news, I was more concerned about some of the strengths that we all ranked low on and that could have an impact on our organization’s success.
Armed with this insight, we can now work to bolster these strengths within our team and engage external support in these areas when we need it. While it’s said that “knowledge is power”, I would say that it is ACTING on knowledge that creates lasting change.
Maybe you are a leader who is struggling with the dynamics of your team. Conducting a strengths assessment within your work group may be of big benefit. What about those of you who feel like something is “not quite right” in your current role, but can’t figure out what the issue is? I encourage you to assess your strengths and compare your results to the culture and values of both your company and the team that you work in. You may find that the disconnects are bigger than you realized and it might be time to consider a proactive transition to an organization that better suits you.
The first step is to gain the knowledge about yourself through a structured and balanced assessment (I have no affiliation with The Via Institute, though I suggest their offering) and compare your results to those of your team and your organization. With that information in hand, you will be poised to take action, making better decisions to “hit your stride” again professionally.