One of the things I like about Moscow is public transport. It could be crowded (and even life-treatening :(, but it gives you a lot of time for reading. This time my one of my public transport companions was a book by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton - Now, discover your strengths.
The book is written around the idea that our performance is guided by talents, which are "highway" connections in our brain formed in our childhood and teens. It says that top-performers are those who shape their work to make use of their talents (~strengths) and that working on improving weak areas never leads to above average performance.
I need a bit more time to write about the book in more detail, but so far you can check books excerpts and additional info. The book comes with a code that allows you to take StrengthsFinder assessment, which is supposed to identify your strengths. My results are:
Strategic. People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
Activator. People strong in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
Communication. People strong in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.
Self-assurance. People strong in the Self-assurance theme feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right.
Ideation. People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
I'm thinking how far I should belive the book (although it seems to be research based), but this list triggers a lot of thinking anyway. It also provides extended descriptions of each theme and guidelines "how to manage a person with strong X theme" (I guess I should show them to all people who try to manage me :)))
My working experience shows that I'm good at "start-up" situations, developing scenarios and then turning them into reality, which correlates well with the results above. I also know that usually I can achive more working together with "people-oriented" colleagues as I tend to pay less attention to relations then ideas. One of such examples includes a very funny case: with one of my colleagues we worked as two project managers of one project for 3 years. We were not able to draw a formal line between our responsibilities, but informally they were quite clear: I was the one to take care of deadlines and making things happen and my colleague made sure that our team was happy and able to cope with stress.
Next to triggering reflection on my own strengths the ideas behind the book seem to be connected with my quest about knowledge work, but I don't know yet how :)