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Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance Paperback – December 28, 2010
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About the Author
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It's a complex question, one that intrigued Cambridge-educated Marcus Buckingham so greatly, he set out to answer it by challenging years of social theory and utilizing his nearly two decades of research experience as a Sr. Researcher at The Gallup Organization to break through the preconceptions about achievement and get to the core of what drives success.
The result of his persistence, and arguably the definitive answer to the strengths question, can be found in Buckingham's trio of best-selling books, First, Break All the Rules (coauthored with Curt Coffman, Simon & Schuster, 1999); Now, Discover Your Strengths (coauthored with Donald O. Clifton, The Free Press, 2001); and The One Thing You Need to Know (The Free Press, 2005), in which the author gives important insights to maximizing strengths, understanding the crucial differences between leadership and management, and fulfilling the quest for long-lasting personal success.
What would happen if men and women spent more than 75% of each day on the job using their strongest skills and engaged in their favorite tasks, basically doing exactly what they wanted to do?
According to Marcus Buckingham (who spent years interviewing thousands of employees at every career stage and who is widely considered one of the world's leading authorities on employee productivity and the practices of leading and managing), companies that focus on cultivating employees' strengths rather than simply improving their weaknesses stand to dramatically increase efficiency while allowing for maximum personal growth and success.
If such a theory sounds revolutionary, that's because it is. Marcus Buckingham calls it the "strengths revolution."
As he addresses more than 250,000 audiences around the globe each year, Buckingham touts this strengths revolution as the key to finding the most effective route to personal success -- and the missing link to the efficiency, competency, and success for which many companies constantly strive.
To kick-start the strengths revolution, Buckingham and Gallup developed the StrengthsFinder exam, which identifies signature themes that help employees quantify their personal strengths in the workplace and at home. Since the StrengthsFinder debuted in 2001, more than 1 million people have discovered their strengths with this useful and important tool.
In his role as author, independent consultant and speaker, Marcus Buckingham has been the subject of in-depth profiles in The New York Times, Fortune, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, USA Today and is routinely lauded by such corporations as Toyota, Coca-Cola, Master Foods, Wells Fargo, and Disney as an invaluable resource in informing, challenging, mentoring and inspiring people to find their strengths and obtain and sustain long-lasting personal success.
Marcus Buckingham holds a master's degree in social and political science from Cambridge University and is a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Leadership and Management. He lives with his wife and two children in Los Angeles, CA.
Top Customer Reviews
The first part of the book lays out the evidence for why "playing to your strengths" instead of improving your weak points is the way to succeed. I am familiar with the author's other work and that of Martin Seligman which says essentially the same thing. I thought I had removed any lingering notions about prioritizing improving weaknesses over improving strengths. I was wrong. Reading this book and thinking deeply about my beliefs and experiences showed me that the ideal of the "well-rounded" person is deeply ingrained in our collective psyche and a book like this is desparately needed to help both employees and managers understand what really drives success.
The only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five is because it could have been easily 70 pages shorter. There is an aburd amount of repitition; several stories could be cut out and put on the website instead. There is a story about someone named Heidi threaded throughout the book. I guess it is meant to make us understand the real-world application of the concepts. It didn't work for me. I found the exercises a much better way of making this book applicable. Exceptionally eye-opening are the questions the author asks you regarding the following three myths:
Myth 1: As you grow, your personality changes
Myth 2: You will grow the most in your areas of greatest weakness
Myth 3: A good team member does whatever it takes to help the team
The last myth is especially powerful. By showing you how these myths are false the book prepares your mind to accept and understand the evidence showing that playing to your strengths is crucial to success.Read more ›
I think step 6, Build Strong Habits, is of the utmost importance. I read a lot of books and can easily forget the valuable lessons I learn if I don't turn them into life habits instead of momentary thoughts. Ultimately, Buckingham gives you five tasks to schedule in your calendar:
-Daily - Quickly look over your strengths and weakness statements
-Weekly - Complete a strong week plan
-Quarterly - Review your strengths-based accomplishments with your manager
-6 Months - Analyze the changes in your strengths
-Yearly - Retake the SET survey
These actions, when scheduled and performed, will help solidify the benefit you get from the strengths model of advancement.
I think there are some better books on improving your efficiency, effectiveness and abilities, but for those who read a few books a year or a decade, I would read the Buckingham series and of course this one is in that group. Placed in with the other books, I give this one five stars. All alone, I feel there will be a lot of gaps for those who haven't read Now, Discover Your Strengths.
Enjoy reading, Tom Carpenter - SYSEDCO
1. Convince yourself that exercising your strengths is more fun and productive that spending your time shoring up your weaknesses.
2. Identify specific activities that exercise your strengths. For example, mine include
a. Determine true value
b. Learn and apply new and useful skills, knowledge
c. Creative problem solving
3. Build your job towards your strengths.
4. Stop / reduce time spent shoring up your weaknesses
5. Build a strong team by enabling each member to exercise their strengths towards delivering business value
6. Make a habit of ensuring that each person's activities around you are aligned with their strengths (including yourself :-)
The book could have been much shorter - the concept was repeated multiple times. More specifics on step 3 would also have been more useful.
Buckingham was speaking with the "authority of science," citing Gallup OPINION research. But he should do his homework. The break-set research done at the Center for Creative Leadership in the 1980s clearly showed that executives get fired when their "strengths become weaknesses" through overuse and misapplication. For instance, when Gallup StrengthsFinder Command themes become micro-management; or when StrengthsFinder Self-assurance themes comes across as arrogance. More isn't always better. In fact, there are even perils of accentuating the positive. But nowhere in this best-selling book does the author acknowledge this reality, not even as a footnote.
There is a lot more than Gallup research on the matter. For instance, the February 2009 Harvard Business Review has an article on p. 100 entitled "Stop Overdoing Your Strengths." The authors provide case after case of executives going overboard with their natural inclinations and talents, driving their companies down with them. They also show clear data that this is an endemic problem: most executives overdo their strengths, but the majority lack self-awareness about it. Furthermore, strengths overused are powerfully correlated with employee DISengagement and soft business results.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We used this book during a teambuilding project at work. It was very informative.Published 1 month ago by Cheryl Thomas
4 stars, good all around book looking at how to work better and smarter. Learned a lot.Published 2 months ago by Jason Logsdon
Great resource for helping you identify what makes you fulfilled in your work.Published 5 months ago by DLiu
I think I've read all of the Marcus Buckingham books so far, both when he was at Gallup and now that he's on his own. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Abhi...
Love it! Gives you guidance to put who you are and all of your strengths in to everything you do. Makes work and play so much more enjoyablePublished 12 months ago by Ronnie Knino Stokes