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Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance Paperback – December 28, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Buckingham, an authority on workplace issues, provides a road map for managers to learn for themselves and then teach their employees how to approach their work by emphasizing their strengths rather than weaknesses. He offers a six-step plan for six weeks of reading and habit-forming action for discerning strengths, along with optional tools to enhance the process such as online questions for measuring strengths and downloaded films (two of which are free). The steps of his plan are belief that the best way to compete is capitalizing on your strengths, identifying your strengths and weaknesses, volunteering your strengths at work, lessening the impact of your weaknesses on your team, effectively communicating the value of your strengths while limiting work utilizing weaknesses, and building habits and pushing activities that play to strength. Although everyone will not agree with all the elements of Buckingham's approach, he offers valuable insight into maximizing employees' strengths rather than the more common focus on weaknesses and failure. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Marcus Buckingham spent seventeen years at the Gallup Organization, where he conducted research into the world's best leaders, managers, and workplaces. The Gallup research later became the basis for the bestselling books First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Best Managers Do Differently (Simon & Schuster) and Now, Discover Your Strengths (Free Press), both coauthored by Buckingham. Buckingham has been the  subject of in-depth profiles in The New York Times, Fortune, BusinessWeek and Fast Company. He now has his own company, providing strengths-based consulting, training, and e-learning. In 2007 Buckingham founded TMBC to create strengths-based management training solutions for organizations worldwide, and he spreads the strengths message in keynote addresses to over 250,000 people around the globe each year. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Jane and children Jackson and Lilia. For more information visit: marcusbuckingham.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Pap/Psc Re edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743261682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743261685
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Reading this book should be a priority for any professional who wants to be more successful on the job.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
I must say that I have been a big fan of Marcus Buckingham's work starting with First, Break All the Rules. It has been refreshing to read his works due to their research-based nature. I love to read experiential writings, but I also need the "why" behind the "what". This is what the books from Buckingham have provided. This book, Go, Put Your Strengths to Work, continutes the journey of strengths development. You will learn how to develop and put your strengths to work as well as those in your team.

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
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Format: Hardcover
Marcus Buckingham discusses six steps to identifying and putting your strengths to work:

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.
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Format: Hardcover
I saw Buckingham on Oprah. Handsome, charismatic guy, dressed smart, lounging on the couch and cavalierly telling everyone to "Forget fixing weaknesses. Do what feels good, what makes you happy. Maximize your strengths." This is the message of the GO book, only the book includes detailed instructions and a daily agenda for living this credo. It's an easy sell, sure. And perfect for the Millennial, everyone-gets-a-trophy generation. But it is also irresponsible to promote this point of view without telling the rest of the story.

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.
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