Now, Discover Your Strengths

by Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton

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Our Main Take-Away:

The book points out that most organizations are built on two flawed assumptions: that each person can learn to be competent at almost anything, and that each person’s greatest room to grow is in their area of greatest weakness. Organizations don’t spend enough energy on hiring the right people and spend too much time trying to train people to overcome their gaps. Success for an organization and an individual comes in discovering strengths and organizing around being able to apply those strengths. Let people do what they are good at. Don’t strive to be well rounded. Learn to manage around the weaknesses to free up time and energy to focus on the strengths.

Reasons to Read:

Now, Discover Your Strengths points out that most organizations are built on two flawed assumptions – that each person can learn to be competent at almost anything, and that each person’s greatest room to grow is in their area of greatest weakness.

Organizations don’t spend enough energy on hiring the right people and spend too much time trying to train people to overcome their gaps. Success for an organization and an individual comes in discovering strengths and organizing around being able to apply those strengths. Let people do what they are good at. Don’t strive to be well rounded. Learn to manage around the weaknesses to free up time and energy to focus on the strengths.

Strength is defined as a consistent near-perfect performance in an activity. Talent is defined as any recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. Ability, or natural talent, can be a strength only if the person can envision themselves doing it repeatedly, happily, and successfully. Talents are different from knowledge (facts and lessons learned) and skills (steps of an activity to help us perform). Skills determine if we can do something, talents reveal how well and how often we will do it. Without underlying talent, training won’t create strength.

As leaders, we need to be self-aware enough to recognize and cultivate our natural talents into strengths. But also do the same with our team.

People seem a bit mysterious to us because we have different strengths. What comes completely natural to some is a huge struggle for others. If weaknesses interfere with strengths, we need to develop strategies to manage them. Build a life around the strengths.

Managers must take the time to identify the distinct talents of their team members. Individualizing your management style is more time-consuming than treating all employees the same, but it has much bigger pay-offs.

The book devotes a chapter to how to manage the different strength themes. Help team members to grow their careers, but be mindful about promoting them out of their strength area. Search out a good fit, play to their strengths and run with it.

The strength-based philosophy is built into all aspects of our work at Fired Up Culture. It takes diligence to identify, commit to and live into your strengths. We love this book and think it should be near the top pf your readying list as a leader.

Amazon Summary:

Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our talents and strengths, much less the ability to build our lives around them. Instead, guided by our parents, by our teachers, by our managers, and by psychology’s fascination with pathology, we become experts in our weaknesses and spend our lives trying to repair these flaws, while our strengths lie dormant and neglected.

Marcus Buckingham, coauthor of the national bestseller First, Break All the Rules, and Donald O. Clifton, Chair of the Gallup International Research & Education Center, have created a revolutionary program to help readers identify their talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy consistent, near-perfect performance. At the heart of the book is the Internet-based StrengthsFinder® Profile, the product of a 25-year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human strengths. The program introduces 34 dominant “themes” with thousands of possible combinations, and reveals how they can best be translated into personal and career success. In developing this program, Gallup has conducted psychological profiles with more than two million individuals to help readers learn how to focus and perfect these themes.

So how does it work? This book contains a unique identification number that allows you access to the StrengthsFinder Profile on the Internet. This Web-based interview analyzes your instinctive reactions and immediately presents you with your five most powerful signature themes. Once you know which of the 34 themes — such as Achiever, Activator, Empathy, Futuristic, or Strategic — you lead with, the book will show you how to leverage them for powerful results at three levels: for your own development, for your success as a manager, and for the success of your organization.

With accessible and profound insights on how to turn talents into strengths, and with the immediate on-line feedback of StrengthsFinder at its core, Now, Discover Your Strengths is one of the most groundbreaking and useful business books ever written.

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