Strengthsfinder - worth it?
August 5, 2010 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Is the StrengthsFinder worth it?

Wondering if any MeFis out there have taken the Clifton Strengthsfinder test for any area of their lives and found it useful. If so, in what way was it useful? On a personal level? Did it help you in your job? In your relationships? Did it surprise you or teach you anything about yourself that you didn't already know? Is it worth the money (i.e. buying the book and getting access to the test)? Would love to hear any feedback before I buy.
posted by pised to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I used it to evaluate what my work strengths are. It was interesting and gave me food for thought, and it added to the soul-searching that led me to leave a job where I didn't fit well and pick up a higher-paying job. Did StrengthsFinder change my life? Hardly; it was just part of a larger personal investigation. Did it teach me anything I didn't already know? Not particularly - but it reinforced some things I knew and didn't necessarily consciously recognize, which led me realize that I wasn't in the right place and move on.

Interestingly, what was almost as useful as my results was their brief introduction regarding focusing on our strengths. I agree wholeheartedly with their observation that our culture can overemphasize correcting weaknesses, and the idea that I could be successful focusing on what I'm good at was a big relief and opened me up to a different career direction. This, plus reading some Peter Drucker, helped me move towards focusing on what I'm best at.

Something that I really liked about StrengthsFinder is it's short and very direct. I'm a "less is more" kind of person, and I find books like "What Color is Your Parachute" unreasonably long and full of unnecessary fluff. StrengthsFinder makes their point very directly, and even the strengths report that you'll get back is small enough to be digestible.

So don't expect it to be life-altering, but if it's part of other searching it can be interesting. And Amazon has it for $12.53 right now - easily worth it.
posted by Tehhund at 10:47 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I took it. The answers to me weren't Earth shattering, but they were interesting, and did teach me something new about myself.

However, mine was a gift from my boss, so I can't attest to it's worth relative tot he cost.

Feel free to MeMail me if you have specific questions about it.
posted by I am the Walrus at 11:01 AM on August 5, 2010

It was pretty weak tea, I thought.

I took it during a leadership course from NERCOMP/EDUCAUSE, though, so it's not like it cost me anything but a little time.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:13 PM on August 5, 2010

I used it as a team-building exercise with my staff of 8 a few years ago. We each took it, then shared the results with the group. I myself found it "weak tea," as wenestvedt avers. But, the funny thing is, it spurred interesting conversations. People said things like, "I never knew where you were coming from when you do X, but now I do, and that's cool."

Would I use it again? No. But that's mostly a function of having the good fortune to have a staff who have been around for a long time. We know our roles; we know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and work with or around them.

Well, and there is some value in taking a "test" that gives you nothing but positive feedback. But its impact is limited.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 6:26 PM on August 5, 2010

Everyone at my place of work does it post-hire, and everyone's strengths are public. I've found it useful to "get" people, or at least to find out where my way of going about things doesn't intersect with other people's, especially within groups, and especially within technical groups.

None of the conclusions are earth-shattering, which is a good sign for repeatability, but not so much for introspection.

Also, all of my strengths are on the input/analyzing/learning/strategizing side and none on the output side, which is my excuse for never getting anything done.
posted by mendel at 8:24 PM on August 5, 2010

I took it a few years ago as part of a teambuilding exercise. It was absolutely worthless, for our team anyway. We're software engineers, and we pretty much all had mostly the same strengths. I found myself purposely shying away from answers that were stereotypically feminine. What can I say, I was one woman on a team of twelve, and the youngest by a gap of many years, and I absolutely did not want to have any skills like "nurturing" or "communication" show up as everyone else talked about their mad logic and strategy strengths. Sorry, I already feel like I don't fit into my chosen profession due to obvious physical differences, last thing I needed was for them to think I had a different, foreign personality, too. As it happens, I am a software engineer to the core and probably would have wound up with the nerd skills anyway, but I was extra cautious not to pick anything that might make me seem more feminine than the team average.

Sure enough, one guy had some strength in consensus-building or something like that, and people gave him good-natured but still awkward shit about it for years afterwards. How dare a software engineer have anything but nerdy, nerdy strengths?

If you take it as a personal exercise to learn more about yourself maybe you would feel like you got a little more out of it, but to me it was a rather pathetic charade. Definitely disrecommend it as a teambuilding tool. It might work nicely for people who are secure in where they fit in on the team, but for anyone who feels insecure, they'll either pick answers that ensure they'll fit in, or they'll cement their outsider status.
posted by little light-giver at 10:25 PM on August 5, 2010

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