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Now, Discover Your Strengths Hardcover – Unabridged, January 29, 2001
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Effectively managing personnel--as well as one's own behavior--is an extraordinarily complex task that, not surprisingly, has been the subject of countless books touting what each claims is the true path to success. That said, Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton's Now, Discover Your Strengths does indeed propose a unique approach: focusing on enhancing people's strengths rather than eliminating their weaknesses. Following up on the coauthors' popular previous book, First, Break All the Rules, it fully describes 34 positive personality themes the two have formulated (such as Achiever, Developer, Learner, and Maximizer) and explains how to build a "strengths-based organization" by capitalizing on the fact that such traits are already present among those within it.
Most original and potentially most revealing, however, is a Web-based interactive component that allows readers to complete a questionnaire developed by the Gallup Organization and instantly discover their own top-five inborn talents. This device provides a personalized window into the authors' management philosophy which, coupled with subsequent advice, places their suggestions into the kind of practical context that's missing from most similar tomes. "You can't lead a strengths revolution if you don't know how to find, name and develop your own," write Buckingham and Clifton. Their book encourages such introspection while providing knowledgeable guidance for applying its lessons. --Howard Rothman
From Library Journal
The premise of this new management study, a follow-up to Buckingham's First, Break All the Rules (S. & S., 1999), is that the most effective method for motivating people is to build on their strengths rather than correcting their weaknesses. The authors, researchers at the Gallup Organization, have analyzed results of interviews conducted by Gallup of over 1.7 million employees from 101 companies and representing 63 countries. When asked, only 20 percent of these employees stated that they were using their strengths everyday. So that they can take a test revealing their strengths, readers are given access to the StrengthsFinder web site and a special ID number; once they learn their profile, they can read the analysis in the book. A description of each type is included, together with case studies, and managers are shown how to handle various types. This book offers a unique perspective on successful management strategy and developing employees' strengths. Recommended especially for public libraries, which should also consider Buckingham's First, Break All the Rules; students of business administration may also wish to consult this book.DLucy Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Donald Clifton has spent twenty years monitoring and discovering patterns of strength in the best of the best. This testing and research shows in the accuracy and precision of this test.
Whether you have achiever, context, futuristic, emphathy, restorative, or whatever, this book and test is going to dramatically change the way you look at the world. I currently work in the field of Leadership Identification and Development and this test time and time again shows students and young adults ages 18-30, a new way to approach life.
If there is a weakness in this book, it is that is does not go deeper. Clifton does a great job showing how he and others developed this process over years and years of study. Personally I want to be compared against the best, and this is what the book and test do. Have you ever wondered why you always size yourself up against everyone else and if you knew you could not win you did not even play? --Competition.
The beauty of this book is that your personal combination of strengths can put you as unique as 1 in millions, and the chances of meeting someone that is your exact double is next to impossible. How great is it that we are all so unique? Does not lend much credence to the theory that we are all here by some cosmic accident.
Our society, educational systems, businesses, and so many other institutions always try to build us up where we are weak. I worked at a company in Washington, DC and was utilized as an office manager and executive assistant, a job I was clearly not wired to do. With the the themes of competition, achiever, activator and significance, how could I ever handle ordering pens and pencils and organizing a contact database? I could not! I want to change the world, and now I know why-- I was wired to do it.
Do you know instantly how people are feeling when you walk in a room? I cannot, and I know my emphathy is low or non-existent. My dreams of becoming a counselor were misguided at best. This book, and the test will help you find out how you are wired and what a perfect job for you would be.
Can you wake up and say, I am doing what I was created to do and enjoying it? If not, I suggest you read this book and meditate over the information you receive back from it. Thanks to Donald Clifton for an excellent and cutting edge work.
As you read through the interpretation material, you will discover a bias in the research with which you may agree or disagree. I had both feelings simultaneously. The StrengthsFinder was incredibly accurate for me personally. However, being a professional survey, questionnaire, and inventory taker, I found that I could guess the answers that fit my self-perception.
I highly regard a complex way of considering human personality that allows for a deep level of individuality. This complex way looks at gifts, skills, and preferences. Therefore, I find that-like all instruments-the StrengthsFinder is inadequate alone for making holistic life decisions.
Even so, finding your strengths can mean finding lasting satistfaction in your field. So this book, the instrument, and the interpretation of each strength will help you focus yourself.
I also found helpful a section that talked about how to have a strengths-focused organization.
"Find out what you don't like doing," says Marcus Buckingham, "and stop doing it!" Millions of people have discovered their strengths through Gallup's amazing series of strengths books--this being the first.
You're heard this stat a lot--only 17 percent of the workforce "play to their strengths" every day. That's tragic!
Years after this was first published, I'm still amazed at how many leaders and managers have not read this or any of the other books, like StrengthsFinder 2.0 or Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow.
The big idea: focus on enhancing your team members' strengths rather than eliminating their weaknesses. The book describes 34 positive personality themes such as Achiever, Developer, Learner and Maximizer.
You'll learn how to build a "strengths-based organization" by capitalizing on the fact that such traits are already present on your team. The book directs you to a web-based interactive questionnaire developed by the Gallup Organization and you'll instantly discover you own top five strengths.
My top five are Focus, Responsibility, Significance, Belief and Maximizer (in that order). Amazingly, the authors say that less than a dozen people in North America have the same top five in the same order.
At your next staff meeting, ask two questions:
#1. Recent polls reveal that less than two out of ten people - the actual figure is 17 percent - say they spend the majority of their day "playing to their strengths." Wow! Is that true in our organization?
#2. What would happen here if we turned that around--and all of us invested the majority of our day in "playing to our strengths?"