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Included with purchase of the book is a special, individual code that you can use to go on-line and take an assessment which will identify your top talents. This instrument, The Clifton StrengthsFinder ™, is named for Dr. Donald O. Clifton, the former Chairman and CEO of The Gallup Organization who did pioneering work on the instrument and has been cited as a Grandfather of the Positive Psychology movement.
Once the online assessment is completed, a computer generated report automatically produces a list of your top five natural talents -- in order of their strength. There are a total of thirty-four talent themes that Gallup has identified that each person has, naturally, to one extent or another. Once a person knows their top talents, they are encouraged to use them more to enhance their performance.
One way that a person can be even more successful in using their top talents is to purposely develop them -- to get even better at the things they are already good at. This is what converts a natural talent into a strength. By adding more knowledge and skill to a talent area, and then applying the knowledge and skills in practice, strength is developed.
Notice how this is practically the opposite of how people are typically developed according to the usual performance review and development plan processes. Like the phys ed teacher in the Tiger Woods story from a couple blogs back, we typically spend time looking for weaknesses and how we can fix people. While glaring weaknesses cannot be ignored, people will be much more successful if they are placed in roles where they can use and develop their natural talents into significant strengths.
Discover your natural talents and those of the people you work with. Give yourself and others the opportunity to further develop those talents and to use them as often as you can in your jobs. Using one’s natural talents is more fulfilling for individuals and more productive for organizations.
Dr. Clifton once said, use your natural talents and “soar!” I wish productive soaring for all of you.