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on June 22, 2010
The authors have impressive backgrounds in science, research and psychology. This book is well researched.

Through a questionnaire, they get the prospect to identify their strengths on 12 different scales that they have identified as being crucial for success.

The 12 key executive skills include:

1 - Response Inhibition - the ability to think before you act (I am weaker on that one than the rest)

2 - Working Memory. The ability to remember things while doing complex tasks. I often call this innate intelligence.

3 - Emotional Control.

4 - Sustained Attention.

5 - Task Initiation. Just Do It.

6 - Planning/Prioritization.

7 - Organization

8 - Time Management - I totally agree with this one.

9 - Goal Directed Persistence. practise goal setting.

10 - Flexibility. I have often seen executives struggle with things when circumstances change without warning.

11 - Metacognition. This is the ability to take a birds eye view of of yourself in a situation and understanding what you need to do.

12 - Stress tolerance.

What I notice is many of these overlap. EG - Being able to have Goal Focused Persistence ties to Sustained Attention. Strength in one area is often used to handle a challenge when it could also use strength in another area to handle the same issue.

Strengths are shades of grey. Not Black and White (at least not in most cases)

The one part that I had a knee jerk negative reaction to was "you cannot change your strengths". But as I read the book, I actually came to agree with what this book calls a "truth". I know I always believed innate intelligence cannot change.

My technique for dealing with challenge is to study and learn. Learning does not change inherent strengths but can give us systems and processes to deal with an area. By using tricks, systems and processes to cope in a weak area so you can appear "good" at it.

Work Your Strengths then goes on to review dozens of jobs and areas/industries and point out what areas need key strengths can tolerate certain weaknesses. They list 3 key must have Executive Skills, 3 that are ok with be weak in and then one area that is called a "determining trait" where the theory is having that strength differentiates the true achievers in the field/position.

The research the book is based on is impressive. There are pages of companies that participated in the studies. They survey 1000 people per week.

This is a great book for anyone looking to slot themselves into the perfect position.
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on June 15, 2010
Chuck Martin and company take the job hunt process to the lab in this new and insightful book. Using a quick 5 minute survey and vast cognitive research, Work Your Strengths(WYS) offers fast and accurate career path identification. WYS highlights 12 Executive Skills and compares these skills across numerous high performing executives in a variety of business verticals. After taking the online survey provided free of charge, WYS offers the unique ability to compare your strengths and weaknesses with high performing individuals in order to find the career track that you can thrive in.

WYS provides the answer to the dreaded question..."What are your strengths and weaknesses?" In expert fashion. Just by looking at your top 3 strengths and weaknesses with the guidance of this book, you'll have considerable ammunition for combating tough interview questions.

Having always assumed I knew exactly what career path I'd be best at, WYS taught me a great lesson and provided me with an invaluable understanding of my true skill set and the skills of those whom I am communicating with. By understanding my key strengths and weaknesses and the way my brain works, in relation to others, I have been able to develop 3 successful capabilities to aid my career search: ability to brand myself in a way that employers respond to, ability to position myself properly against cohorts and the ability communicate with effectiveness.

It's as simple as this: Read WYS and you will have all the tools you need to find and nail the best career path for your strengths.
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on May 31, 2010
When deciding on a career path, many individuals choose their particular path based on recommendations from fellow peers, by seeing the possibility of lucrative rewards, or simply by choosing the option they "feel" is the best for them. However, pursuing a career path should ideally be based on a scientific approach using the executive skills profile to determine where an individual fits relative to others who perform well in a certain field. In his latest book, Work Your Strengths, Chuck Martin details the 12 skills that comprise the executive skills profile and how they can aid an individual in selecting a career path. His research is based on the skills that high-performing individuals have within their respective fields. The goal of his book is to try to match the reader to a certain career by seeing how their top three strengths coincide with the top three strengths of high-performing individuals. A large portion of the book is dedicated specifically to determining the ideal fit based on very detailed research Chuck and his team have compiled over several months. These skills are hardwired into the brain from a relatively young age, and generally are fixed when an individual reaches their 20s.
The book also goes into how the brain actually functions. Most of the information on this is based on the input of both Richard Guare and Peg Dawson, a pair of top psychologists who aided Chuck throughout his book. They also detail how the brain develops and how the executive skills build to become specifically tailored to an individual by the time they reach maturity. Overall, the detail in which the book describes the executive skills and defines their purpose is superb and highly accurate. The research and knowledge placed into the book shows the dedication and determination of the authors in giving the reader a chance to explore their full potential.
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on August 18, 2010
After reading "Work Your Strengths" I found it to be extremely helpful and enlightening. While my initial knee jerk reaction to the idea of innate "Executive Skills" was it was kind of pigeon holing, but I came to realize its about recognizing and maximizing your own strengths. Reading the profiles of certain job titles was fascinating as I found myself nodding my head and often laughing at how closely it mirrored my own anecdotal experiences. It was great to see that my own executive skills were a match for the job and department I recently started in. Seeing the weaknesses of each role/department laid out was helpful, as I think it makes it easier to recognize and accept them allowing you to work to mitigate their negative aspects in job performance. Knowing your colleagues weaknesses and identifying potential symbiotic working relationships could also prove highly valuable.

Overall "Work Your Strengths" was not only an interesting read, but an excellent functional tool for anyone in the business world regardless of experience level. It will certainly be a text kept for consultation as I progress in my career.
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Presumably many of those who have read any of Chuck Martin's earlier books, notably Tough Management: The 7 Winning Ways to Make Tough Decisions Easier, Deliver the Numbers, and Grow the Business in Good Times and Bad (2005) and then Smarts: Are We Hardwired for Success? (2007) also co-authored with Richard Guare, and Peg Dawson, will agree with me that this latest book (also co-authored with them) is even more important because it speaks more directly and more effectively to the individual reader than did the earlier work. Invoking direct address, they explain how to

o Determine your own strengths and weaknesses
o Find the strengths and weaknesses of others
o Find success and avoid failure (however defined)
o Become a "high performer"
o Select the right path to achieve success
o Navigate that "path" with the right skills in the right industry
o Select the right company and the right department for you
o Determine if you have what it takes for "the corner suite"
o Compare and contrast your skills with others'
o Avoid the wrong promotion, reassignment, etc.
o Determining your fit (i.e. using the Executive Skills Map)

It will seem to the reader as if Martin, Guare, and Dawson are her or his reader's personal mentors through the narrative as valuable information, insights, and recommendations are generously provided. They enable the reader to predetermine which position or career is the right one for them to increase the probability of success. This is obviously important for career-entry workers to know but also for those already embarked upon a career that seems stalled or is in some way unacceptable or at least unfulfilling.

"Imagine if, as an individual, you could take years away from trial and error in jobs along your career path by scientifically determining in advance how well a particular position would suit you." That said, they identify and discuss 12 essential "Executive Skills" that cut across all industries, professions, and titles "because they're hardwired into a person's brain."

Of special interest to me is the material provided in Appendix B. It consists of the results of a study of high-performers in business. The statistics are broken down by these categories: Top Six Industries, Executive Skills by Department (Top 10 Departments), Job Function/Title, Employees vs. Managers vs. Executives, Males vs. Females, Profit vs. Nonprofit, and Healthcare: Clinical vs. Nonclinical. The data help the reader to understand which characteristics are most important to peak performance in a given industry or position; also, they will help to provide a frame-of-reference for supervisors to evaluate those for whom they are responsible.

To sum up, here from a single source, the reader learns how to identify what her or his weaknesses are, correlate them with current and potential career opportunities, and then determine how to leverage the strengths where they can have the greatest positive impact on career development.
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on June 6, 2010
I am currently in the process of switching careers and Work Your Strengths has helped me get off to the start I needed. I identified my strengths and weaknesses from the one time profile test online and I now know which industries I work well in and which industries I should avoid. Brilliant.
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on June 11, 2010
Chuck Martin's Work Your Strengths explains how the brain actually helps you when it comes to your career choices. The book, explains the 12 executive skills, how we have both strengths and weaknesses, and how each one determines what occupation is best suited for an individual.
For those who are looking for that perfect job, for those who feel they are going "nowhere" in their current job, or for those who want to discover what is best for them, this is the book.
The book lists many occupations, each with the strengths that assist you in recognizing what career you would be best suited for, from hospitality to CEO, and all others in between.
A 5 Star Rating.
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on June 6, 2010
Work Your Strengths is a must-read book for anyone searching for his or her ideal career path. Martin and his team focus on the brain's Executive Skills -- cognitive abilities hardwired into your brain. Based on in-depth research of workplace high performers, Strengths illustrates what Executive Skills lead to success at different ranks in different industries. The book also gives you a one-time chance to find out your own cognitive strengths profile, which can be used to select the ideal career path for you personally. Overall, Strengths is terrific insight into how to best utilize hardwired brain abilities in the workplace to get ahead. Five stars.
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on April 27, 2012
I think knowing your weaknesses and valuing your strengths is key. Sometimes, people get these confused. It's better to know what you need to seriously improve on, and be accepting of those weaknesses, and to know that you're better at other things as well, but not excessively stuck up about that either. In other words, it's best to improve on what you're bad at, and to be open to suggestions, and always open to communication.
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on January 7, 2012
Their questionaire certainly zeroed in on my executive strengths and weaknesses, however I found the suggested job positions a bit vague. This is an excellent book for looking for examining your built-in job skills from a different angle.
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