Books Career

Stand Out

StandoutOver the weekend, I finished reading Marcus Buckingham’s Stand Out (Amazon). Similar to StrengthsFinder (Amazon) – which I blogged about recently), only instead of highlighting what your strengths are, it focuses on how others see you. I found it pretty interesting, and if you’re also interested in how your team perceives you, it’s probably worth taking. StrengthsFinder has more practical ways to capitalize and build on your strengths, and I’m not entirely sure what my takeaways are here. I think they complement each other.

There are 9 “types”, top two combine to give your profile. Order of mine is:

  1. PIONEER: You see the world as a friendly place where, around every corner, good things will happen. Your distinctive power starts with your optimism in the face of uncertainty.
  2. INFLUENCER: You engage people directly and convince them to act. Your power is your persuasion.
  3. CONNECTOR: You are a catalyst. Your power lies in your craving to put two things together to make something bigger than it is now.
  4. ADVISOR: You are a practical, concrete thinker who is at your most powerful when reacting to and solving other people’s problems.
  5. PROVIDER: You sense other people’s feelings and you feel compelled to recognize these feelings, give them a voice and act on them.
  6. CREATOR: You make sense of the world, pulling it apart, seeing a better configuration, and creating it.
  7. EQUALIZER: You are a level-headed person whose power comes from keeping the world in balance, ethically and practically.
  8. STIMULATOR: You are the host of other people’s emotions. You feel responsible for them, for turning them around, for elevating them.
  9. TEACHER: You are thrilled by the potential you see in each person. Your power comes from learning how to unleash it.
Interesting that the first one has me optimistic in the face of uncertainty, when two people have lately asked me to be more positive… perhaps things are insufficiently uncertain.
It expands your top to themes, combines them, and gives you your greatest value you bring to a team.

You keep innovation high on the agenda, challenging us to create the exceptional.

Pioneer – “What’s new?”

You begin by asking, “What’s new?” You are, by nature, an explorer, excited by things you haven’t seen before, people you haven’t yet met. Whereas others are intimidated by the unfamiliar, you are intrigued by it. It fires your curiosity and heightens your senses–you are smarter and more perceptive when you’re doing something you’ve never done before. With ambiguity comes risk, and you welcome this. Instinctively you know you are a resourceful person, and since you enjoy calling upon this aspect of yourself, you actively seek out situations where there is no beaten path, where it’s up to you to figure out how to keep moving forward. You sense that your appetite for the unknown might be an attempt to fill a void, and some days you wonder what you are trying to prove to yourself. But mostly you leave the questioning and the analyzing to others, and revel in your pioneering nature. You are at your best when you ask a question no one has asked, try a technique no one has tried, feel an experience few have felt. We need you at your best. You lead us into the undiscovered country.

Influencer – “How can I move you to act?”

You begin by asking, “How can I move you to act?” In virtually every situation, your eye goes to the outcome. Whether you are in a long meeting at work, helping a colleague get his work done, or talking a friend off a ledge, you measure your success by your ability to persuade the other person to do something he didn’t necessarily intend to do. You may do this by the force of your arguments, your charm, or your ability to outwit him, or perhaps by some combination of all of these, but, regardless of your method, what really matters to you is moving the other person to action. Why? Partly because you see where things will lead if the other person doesn’t act, and partly because you are instinctively aware of momentum and so become frustrated when you bump into someone who slows your momentum down. But mostly because you just can’t help it. It’s simply fun for you to influence people’s behavior through the power of your personality. It’s challenging and mysterious and thrilling, and, in the end, of course, it makes good things happen.

Pioneer + Influencer

You bring movement and momentum to any team.

That cartoon of the penguin in the Hawaiian shirt, standing among hundreds of penguins, singing out, “I gotta be me!”? You can relate. You are usually the first on the block to own the newest toy or gadget and you love to tell the stories of how you got it, how it works, how it’s going to revolutionize… everything. As soon as everyone starts buying what you’re selling, however, you’re on the waiting list for version 2.0. You revel in introducing ideas that create a furl in someone’s brow. If you see a skeptical, quizzical look in their eyes, you know you’ve hooked one. You don’t like to rally behind anything obvious or conventional. If everyone else is doing it, it pains you to toe that line. In fact, you will swim against the tide for the simple joy of seeing if you can get anyone to swim with you.