Book Review – StandOut by Marcus Buckingham

The very first self assessment book that I ever bought was StandOut. It was for a talent development project and was recommended to our team by my General Manager. Each book comes with a code for an online quiz plus a website address.

Marcus calls StandOut an “Innovation Delivery System” and begins the book by talking through several interesting case studies of innovation. It’s meant to highlight that innovation is often not something that can be made a best practice. It is situational, and very personal.

The next chapter is simply an overview of the approach and ends with instructions to log onto your computer to go do the assessment.

The assessment itself present a number of potential real life situations with several possible answers. None of which are wrong or right but each provides insight into the type of person you are. There is a limited amount of time to do each question so as to prevent you from thinking too much about it.

My biggest problem when I do these types of situational assessments is that I catch myself thinking of how I SHOULD react, and not listening to how I really WANT to react.

At the end of the quiz it tells you what your top 2 strength roles were. There are 9 potential roles and they are: Advisor; Connector; Creator; Equalizer; Influencer; Pioneer; Provider; Stimulator; Teacher. My top 2 were Pioneer/Provider.

The quote it attributed to me was “When you lead the charge, nobody gets left behind.” While that sounds nice it doesn’t feel like it entirely rings true to me. I can very easily identify with being a provider, but pioneer doesn’t feel right. One of the downsides to this assessment is that you can’t redo it under the same code. You would have to buy another book, or find an unused code with google.

The report generated by the assessment is very detailed. It includes things like a ranking of all your strengths from 1 to 9, a list of ways you are at your most powerful, phrases that best describe you, your ideal career, how to make an immediate impact, how to take your performance to the next level, what to watch out for, and more!

My number 3 strength was creator and THAT I can relate with. Unfortunately I can’t get the report for someone who was Provider/Creator.

Ultimately I believe this assessment was very useful. The double edged sword with any of these tests is that we take them because we are looking for self awareness, but a certain amount of self awareness is required to get the most out of it. The people on my team who did the exercise with me enjoyed it very much and felt that it did provide useful insight into who they are.

I give this book a solid B+



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