I've been a highlands affiliate since 2003 and my clients believe the Highlands Ability Battery is the most effective piece of information in helping them make a career decision. The Highland Ability Battery helps people understand their natural abilities. Once you know what you are good at you can then choose a job which uses your abilities and plays to your strengths.
This book – Don't Waste Your Talents takes you through the 8 success factors. Unlike other programmes, the Highlands Ability Battery doesn't just take interests or personality into account but a holistic view which helps you to review a wide perspective to really understand who you are and what will be the best fit. It includes a number of exercises, Thought Experiments, to complete.
In this book, Don't Waste Your Talents – the first step is to understand your talents. You then need to find the right place to use your talents.
Don't Waste Your Talents Chapter 1: Escaping the Lemming Conspiracy. Most of us lead stressful lives, working hard to buy possessions we don't actually need. We are willing to put up with long hours for career success, but most never achieve this, no matter how hard we try. Others achieve career success at the expense of relationships with their family. If we are lucky one day we realise we are following someone else's dream.
Don't Waste Your Talents Chapter 2: The Stress Cycle and the Balance Cycle. The stress cycle is where we rush around from project to project without taking the time to think about what to do. We strive for the next promotion, the new car, the second house. Working too hard but leaving aside any thought of meaning to the work we do. It starts at a young age, achieving good exam results; getting into a good university, a great first job without thinking what we actually want to do. We need to get into balance, between the person we are and the work we do.
Don't Waste Your Talents Chapter 3: Crisis and Change. This talks through the 8 turning points – the first being at age 17/18. Should we study at a prestigious university? Does it match with how best we learn, what we want to do? Other turning points come as we leave university, at age 30, the mid life transition, age 50, pre retirement, age 70 and 80+.
Chapter 4: Our Hard Wired Talents and Abilities. This is an introduction to the Highlands Ability Battery, it then discusses the 5 driving abilities of Classification (a very quick problem solving), Concept Organisation (logical problem solving), Idea Productivity – the quantity of ideas, and Spatial Relations – are you a structural or abstract thinker? The thought experiments allow you to estimate your results.
Chapter 5: Skills, Interests and Personality. Too often we discount our skills, they come easy to us and we think that they must also come easy to others. It then discusses two aspects of personality – extravert/ introvert (where you get your energy from) and generalist/ specialist. Generalists respond in a similar way to others, as they have a clear idea of what others think. The Specialist has a more idiosyncratic view and seeks to be an expert.
Chapter 6: Values and Goals. This chapter discusses the importance of values and to what extent you spend time aligned with them. It then discusses goals – are you following your goals or someone else's? This chapter includes a very good exercise to help you consider your top values – which are top for you, and to what extent do you focus your time on your top values.
Chapter 7 gets us to consider our "Family of Origin", family influences and histories. It gives us a framework to interview our parents.
Chapter 8 helps us to bring together the work from the previous chapters to create a personal vision.
Chapter 9 explains surveying, how to find out more about possible future jobs and ideas.
Chapter 10 is about creating personal boundaries. Being clear on our boundaries helps us make the decisions that are right for us. We are then encouraged to consider our goals and priorities.
Chapter 11 is about Corporations and the Personal Vision. When we realise we aren't happy in our work we can't expect our boss to help us work out what we should be doing – they just want us to achieve our targets. If we are doing well they may encourage us to do even more without giving us time to consider if that is right for us.
A question to ask is "Who are you?" and can you be you at work? What sort of work would enable you to be more of the person you are? The alternative to the stress cycle is the balance cycle where you strive for long term focus and to have meaning in your life. It discusses the war for talent, if it's getting harder for companies to get new talent companies need to make the best use of their employees and the Highlands Ability Battery will help people to understand and thus use their natural abilities. There is more on how the Highlands Ability Battery is used in organisations.
Chapter 12: Personal Vision as a Guide for Life – a personal vision helps you to focus on what you really want. Without a personal vision it's too easy to choose the society expected option rather than what's right for you. It also refers back to turning points as the personal vision we create will change as we hit different turning points.
I've provided a detailed review of Don't Waste Your Talents as I think this is such a powerful book that whether you decide to take the full assessment, or not you will still get a deep understanding of who you are and help you make career choices that are right for you.