It naturally follows that because last time I focused on Marcus Buckingham’s book “First, Break all the Rules” I should this month focus on Buckingham’s “Now, Discover Your Strengths”.
And I will.
Of all the tools I use to help those in organizations, for and not for profit, this book and the test are the most useful.
From the introduction, “Guided by the belief that good is the opposite of bad, mankind has for centuries pursued it’s fixation with fault and failing. Doctors have studied disease in order to learn about health. Psychologists have investigated sadness in order to learn about joy. Therapists have looked into the causes of divorce in order to learn about happy marriage. And in schools and the workplaces around the world, each one of us has been encouraged to identify, analyze, and correct our weaknesses to become strong.
This advice is well intended but misguided. Faults and failings deserve study, but they reveal little about strengths. Strengths have their own patterns.”
This focus on strengths is the result of over thirty years of study from the Gallup Organization and involved over two million interviews.
The result is this excellent tool.
In order to use this tool it is helpful to understand some of the patterns of strengths and that is what Buckingham does in this book’s fine linear organization. Each chapter is a building block leading us to the test and the application of managing those with clearly defined strengths.
From looking at “The Anatomy of a Strength” to “Discovering the Source of Your Strengths” and through “Put Strengths to Work” this excellent book leads us to a revolutionary approach to helping people get better at what they do.
And it’s entertaining, with wonderfully illustrative references to, Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, Cole Porter, The Investor, The Director, The Skin Doctor and The Editor to mention a few.
Gallop has identified thirty-four strengths and has provided a test where a person can identify their five top strengths.
You buy the book and in the dustcover’s spine is a series of letters and numbers which are a key you can use to take the test on the internet.
Chapter four identifies each strength with a descriptive paragraph and follows with clarifying examples which show what that strength “Sounds Like”.
For those of us dedicated to helping the leadership team of a company become more effective the strongest tool in the book begins on page 176 the second part of Chapter 6 “Managing Strengths” . This powerful section is called ‘One by One’ and what it does is to answer the question, “How do I manage a person strong in … (one of the 34)?”
Wow! Practical, useful and it works.
If you are or know a person who would like to improve in helping others this is a wonderful book.
In fact, if you discover your five strengths you could learn how to better manage yourself.
What a concept.
Here are my five top strengths.
I took the test again last year.. some three years later and this time my top five strengths are:
Things can change in a short amount of time.. but then again some things stay the same.
If you read this book you might learn how to better manage me.