As I mentioned previously, I recently read a book that emphasized we need to work on improving our “strengths” and managing our weaknesses, rather than spend a lot of time on improving our weaknesses, since when you build on your “strengths” you actually get more “payback” than when you spend your time trying to improving in your weak areas. The book emphasizes you need to manage or compensate for your weaknesses, but the important goal is to “know yourself”.
I read the book in preparation for a session at a conference. I also took the test to determine my “strengths”. Of 34 character traits, I ranked highest in “Input”. I am sure there are a number of books with this theory out there that give different names to each character trait, but this book defined the “Input” trait as “inquisitive”, a “collector of information or even tangible objects that interest the person”.
At the conference, all of the persons with “Input” as their highest “strength” sat at the same table and talked. I was amazed! Everyone at the table had the following characteristics:
-Felt like they missed something if they didn’t read the newspaper each morning. (I normally read two daily newspapers, and will read three or more if I have the time. I deliberately don’t subscribe to home delivery, because I know having to read the newspaper will provide the incentive for my morning walk to read the newspaper!)
All of us also admitted to subscribing to more magazines than we had time to read, and reading 3 or 4 books at the same time.
-I have always probably enjoyed “planning” trips and getting information about locale, sometimes more than I actually enjoyed the trip! I was pleased that everyone at the table had the same characteristic!
-Almost everyone at the table admitted to either setting up (or trying to set up) a filing system to collect clippings and stray information. I don’t collect “things” so much, but I did have to admit to my collection of Hot Wheels, t-shirts etc. (My wife, Aliene, would probably advise you that my statement I don’t collect “things” is an incorrect statement when she works around my magazines, books, hats, and stacks of information I keep around the house. Actually, I am much better than I used to be about discarding items.)
For those of you who have read the book, of similar books, besides “Input”, my other top five traits were “Developer”, “Learner”, “Positivity” and “Strategic”.
The book and session were an interesting exercise, and I have been discussing it with other City personnel to determine how we can better work together by working on our strengths.
I haven’t mentioned the book title, since I don’t feel it is appropriate to appear to be endorsing a specific book and I’m sure there are a number of such books out there. Also, this specific book only has a “unique” number and you can take the Internet test only one time. The web site then encourages you to purchase very expensive programs to examine the program further, and I simply don’t like such techniques. However, I did find the book and session to be an excellent investment of time and it was certainly an interesting and enlightening exercise.