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In conjunction with 360 Feedback assessments to identify developmental needs, we suggest a test that measures the leaders’ innate talents developed by the Gallup organization. Their StrengthsFinder test must be taken online at www.strengthsfinder.com. The code required to take the test is located on the inside cover of the book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham.

The five "Signature Themes" provide important insights into leaders’ natural talents and optimal growth opportunities. To be effective, leaders should focus on leveraging their talents and seek opportunities to further strengthen them. Managing rather than developing weaknesses will better ensure that leaders stay focused on what they do best and where they will make the greatest impact. According to Gallup, strategies for managing weaknesses should be limited to “damage control.” Leaders with low self-awareness are more likely to do damage, so giving feedback and redirecting energies will achieve better results than training or coaching-with important exceptions, as noted below. In the intelligent organization, leaders will delegate functions that do not play to their strengths to those with the requisite talents and skills.

As a measure of one's "signature themes," the strengthsfinder test is powerful, and can be used with great effect to enhance interdependency and cohesiveness within teams to achieve more optimal results. It is hands down the best way to identify your fundamental strengths, and is more actionable than personality profiles. The theory, however, is based on old science-that adults are hardwired, and its acceptance of very different qualities under the rubric of "talent"-e.g., drives and thinking styles, can be problematic. Some talents can get in the way of effectiveness because they have been overused at the expense of new skills that must be learned. The most obvious example is the Achiever who finds it difficult to delegate when assuming responsibilities for the management of others.

Human development requires growth and change in both personal and professional lives, and that is not a painless process. Although empathy is not one of my signature themes,I still need to do the work to better understand the hopes and needs of my colleagues. If my genes predispose me to obesity, I need to be even more disciplined about exercise and diet. Failure to do so can be life threatening. Emotional Intelligence, which is most highly correlated to leadership success, can and must be developed. Failure to do so will be career threatening.

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 We have created demos of the following assessments to provide a better understanding of the benefits, the process, and the insights provided:
• Leader 360 Feedback
• Employee Engagement Survey
• Culture Assessment
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