I’ve been delighted in recent weeks to do some more work with leaders around the StrengthsFinder assessment tool, in which I was certified by The Gallup Organization back in 2006. You can take the assessment and learn your “Top 5” areas of talent through visiting http://www.strengthsfinder.com/home.aspx, or by purchasing a book such as StrengthsFinder 2.0 or Strengths-Based Leadership.
What’s the return on investment for taking a little bit of time (and a fairly small amount of money) toward better understanding and applying one’s strengths?
A strengths-based perspective enhances a person’s self-esteem, because they focus on what they do well. It increases the passion and energy toward their work, and keeps them focused on goal achievement. The culmination of this is both greater results and a deeper sense of satisfaction, which is good for an organization in terms of both business goals and retention of key performers.
Marcus Buckingham, author of books such as Now, Discover your Strengths, Go Put Your Strengths to Work and the recent StandOut, offers an eye-opening exercise. Flip through your calendar of the past week’s activities, and make three columns. Label the columns “Loved it!”; “It was OK”; and “Loathed it!” Then, group the various activities of the past week within the appropriate column. This will provide key insights into the type of activities that help you feel the most productive and satisfied—as well as shine a spotlight on the type of activities that leave you bored or frustrated. If too many activities fall under the “okay” or “loathed” columns, and the past week was typical of the job, you might not be in the best job fit. Challenge yourself, however, with how you might more fully leverage your strengths toward these “okay” or “loathe” tasks
It is sheer folly to focus on our weaknesses! Our western culture seems obsessed with this remedial mindset, as we often laser in on what is broken rather than what works well. We spend lots of energy “duct taping” our weak areas, rather than getting the most out of what we do best and experiencing how this strength-focus helps prevent our weaknesses from undermining us. Too often we try to imitate someone else’s strengths, and we end up sounding like an echo or feeling frustrated that we can’t quite reach our own potential.  
An intangible benefit of this strengths focus is a constant sense of renewal. One of the best ways to avoid employee burnout and reduce the likelihood of attrition is empowering people to creatively do what they love the most. This is all contingent upon them at least being in the ballpark as far as job fit, of course. A person who is always trying to get more out of their strengths will continue to blossom across their career, and truly possess a sense of vocation rather than just a “job.”