Do you get to do what you do best? This question is the key predictive indicator of engagement, according to management expert Marcus Buckingham, and a significant predictor of productivity, performance, teamwork, communication, confidence, growth (leadership and financial), and almost every other meaningful metric inside of organizations. Sadly, only 20% of people strongly agree with this question. Consider the ramifications of that in your organization! Perhaps this is a key cause of poor productivity, communication, teams’ inability to trust one another or work well together.
Logically, the first place you might look to rectify this is to provide individuals with a chance to learn what their strengths are to begin with, so they can identify where their potential contributions lie. But what happens when you take a strengths assessment, and come back with five new words that describe you—words like Context, Empathy, Maximizer, Relator, or Deliberative. These are great strengths, but how does someone understand how their strengths actually show up in real life? How do we come to transfer this knowledge into meaningful action and real results within our present role? THAT is the million dollar question!
This question and the need for individuals to see their strengths within the context of their day-to-day activities led to the creation of a tool which is designed to measure the use of strength, and not just provide names and descriptions of strengths. It goes beyond the StrengthsFinder 2.0, DiSC, or Myers-Briggs (or other strengths instruments) to look at one’s activities as they reflect the use of their strengths.
The Strengths Effectiveness and Engagement (SEE) Assessment provides an at-a-glance view of where individuals are performing from Strength—and where they are not. The SEE report includes a scatterplot diagram of their activities, showing which activities demonstrate both high performance and high energy (Strength), high performance and low energy (Competence), low performance and low energy (Weakness), and low performance and high energy (Affinity).
The premise behind the instrument is that living from Strength is about experiencing both high performance and high energy in any given activity. It is different from Competence, which is merely concerned with performance. A person might have knowledge, skill, and even talent, which allows them to perform competently–but without passion and energy, ongoing time spent in Competence may lead to burn-out, and declining performance. It is also true that time spent focusing on weaknesses leads to a 28% reduction in performance—not to mention the impact on engagement and productivity that results from completing activities where both performance and energy are low.
The SEE Assessment is an important self-awareness tool, to help individuals proactively shape their role toward increasing their time in strengths. It also provides a valuable development gauge, to help individuals determine where potential strengths might be grown, and how to bring existing strengths to activities where energy or performance might be improved.
Where are you playing strong in your life? Which activities are merely activities which reflect your Competence, but actually drain your energy? Where are you trapped in Weakness-driven activities? What can you do to spend more time in your A+ Zone?
 Linley, Alex. Average to A+–Realizing Strengths in Yourself and Others, CAPP Press. 2008.
 “The experience of learning to work from my strengths has really changed my approach to my day to day activities at work. Before Strengths Strategy® Discovery, I was spending 30% of day doing activities that energized me. Today, I would say that I spend about 60-70% of my day on activities that play to my strengths!” (Carolyn Garcia, Indian Health Services).