Now Discover Your Strengths
Author Tony Husted coach
Have you taken the StrengthsFinder (the original Clifton or new 2.0) and want to incorporate the results into you life?
Starting June 14th I will be offering a Research and Development team to Maximize Your Strengths! Those who sign up will have the opportunity for group calls, additional resources, and access to our private online forum. If you are interested please send me an e-mail!
Now, Discover Your Strengths
by Marcus Buckingham, Donald O. Clifton
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Free Press (January 29, 2001)
This book is a must have in any home Library! Each book contains a code for their website so you can take the Strengths Finder Inventory and receive your personal report. You can see my report at the bottom of this page.
The Strengths Model holds the key to top notch performance: Develop your Strengths and Manager around your weaknesses. Rather than burning up a lot of energy focusing on your weakness: more than likely an area you are not talented or gifted in, focus instead on being the best you can at where you a naturally talented.
Based on a Gallup study of over two million people who have excelled in their careers, “Now, Discover Your Strengths” uses a revolutionary program to help readers discover their distinct talents and strengths. The product of a 25 year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human talents, the StrengthsFinder program introduces 34 talents or “themes” and reveals how they can best be translated into personal and career success.
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
My Strengths Finder Inventory Results:
You live in the moment. You don’t see the future as a fixed destination. Instead, you see it as a place that you create out of the choices that you make right now. And so you discover your future one choice at a time. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have plans. You probably do. But this theme of Adaptability does enable you to respond willingly to the demands of the moment even if they pull you away from your plans.
Unlike some, you don’t resent sudden requests or unforeseen detours. You expect them. They are inevitable. Indeed, on some level you actually look forward to them. You are, at heart, a very flexible person who can stay productive when the demands of work are pulling you in many different directions at once.
Adaptability Sounds like this:
Marie T., television producer: “I love live TV because you never know what is going to happen. One minute I might be putting together a segment on the best teenage holiday gifts, and the next I will be doing the pre-interview for a presidential candidate. I guess I have always been this way. I live in the moment. If someone asks me, ‘What are you doing tomorrow?’ my answer is always ‘Hell, I don’t know. Depends what I am in the mood for.’ I drive my boyfriend crazy because he’ll plan for us to go to the antique market on Sunday afternoon, and then right at the last minute I’ll change my mind and say, ‘Nah, let’s go home and read the Sunday papers.’ Annoying, right? Yeah, but on the positive side, it does mean that I’m up for anything.”
Linda G., project manager: “Where I work I am the calmest person I know. When someone comes in and says, ‘We didn’t plan right. We need this turned around by tomorrow,’ my colleagues seem to tense up and freeze. Somehow that doesn’t happen to me. I like that pressure, that need for instant response. It makes me feel alive.”
Peter F., corporate trainer: “I think I deal with life better than most people. Last week I found that my car window had been smashed and the stereo stolen. I was annoyed, of course, but it didn’t throw me off my day one bit. I just cleared it, mentally moved on, and went right on with the other things I had to get done that day.”
The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?” This recurring question helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles. Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You discard the paths that lead nowhere. You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance. You discard the paths that lead into a fog of confusion. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path-your strategy. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. This is your Strategic theme at work: “What if?” Select. Strike.
Strategic Sounds like this:
Liam C., manufacturing plant manager: “It seems as if I can always see the consequences before anyone else can. I have to say to people, ‘Lift up your eyes, look down the road a ways. Let’s talk about where we are going to be next year so that when we get to this time next year, we don’t have the same problems.’ It seems obvious to me, but some people are just too focused on this month’s numbers, and everything is driven by that.”
Vivian T., television producer: “I used to love logic problems when I was a kid. You know, the ones where ‘if A implies B, and B equals C, does A equal C?’ Still today I am always playing out repercussions, seeing where things lead. I think it makes me a great interviewer. I know that nothing is an accident; every sign, every word, every tone of voice has significance. So I watch for these clues and play them out in my head, see where they lead, and then plan my questions to take advantage of what I have seen in my head.”
Simon T., human resources executive: “We really needed to take the union on at some stage, and I saw an opportunity, a very good issue to take them on. I could see that they were going in a direction that would lead them into all kinds of trouble if they continued down it. Lo and behold, they did continue down it, and when they arrived, there I was, ready and waiting. I suppose it just comes naturally to me to predict what someone else is going to do.
And then when that person reacts, I can respond immediately because I have sat down and said, ‘Okay, if they do this, we’ll do this. If they do that, then we’ll do this other thing.’ It’s like when you tack in a sailboat. You head in one direction, but you jink one way, then another, planning and reacting, planning and reacting.”
You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write. This is your Communication theme at work. Ideas are a dry beginning. Events are static. You feel a need to bring them to life, to energize them, to make them exciting and vivid. And so you turn events into stories and practice telling them. You take the dry idea and enliven it with images and examples and metaphors. You believe that most people have a very short attention span. They are bombarded by information, but very little of it survives. You want your information-whether an idea, an event, a product’s features and benefits, a discovery, or a lesson-to survive. You want to divert their attention toward you and then capture it, lock it in. This is what drives your hunt for the perfect phrase. This is what draws you toward dramatic words and powerful word combinations. This is why people like to listen to you. Your word pictures pique their interest, sharpen their world, and inspire them to act.
Communication Sounds like this:
Sheila K., general manager of a theme park: “Stories are the best way to make my point. Yesterday I wanted to show my executive committee the impact we can have on our guests, so I shared this story with them: One of our employees brought her father to the flag-raising ceremony we have for Veterans Day here at the theme park. He was disabled during World War II, and he now has a rare form of cancer and has had a lot of surgery. He’s dying. At the start of the little ceremony one of our employees said to the group, ‘This man is a World War II veteran. Can we give him a hand?’ Everybody cheered, and his daughter started crying. Her dad took off his hat. He never takes off his hat because of the scars on his head from the war and the cancer surgery, but when the national anthem started, he took off his hat and bowed his head. His daughter told me later that it was the best day he’s had in years.”
Tom P., banking executive: “My most recent client thought that the flow of capital toward Internet stocks was just a passing phase. I tried using rational argument to change his mind, but he couldn’t or wouldn’t be convinced. In the end, as I often do when faced with a client in denial, I resorted to imagery. I told him that he was like a person sitting on a beach with his back to the sea. The Internet was like a fast-rising tide. No matter how comfortable he felt right now, the tide was rising with each crashing wave, and very soon one of those waves would come crashing down over his head and engulf him. He got the point.”
Margret D., marketing director: “I once read a book about giving speeches that gave two suggestions: talk only about things you’re really passionate about and always use personal examples. I immediately started doing that, and I found lots of stories because I have kids and grandkids and a husband. I build my stories around my personal experiences because everyone can relate to them.”
You want to be very significant in the eyes of other people. In the truest sense of the word you want to be recognized. You want to be heard. You want to stand out. You want to be known. In particular, you want to be known and appreciated for the unique strengths you bring. You feel a need to be admired as credible, professional, and successful. Likewise, you want to associate with others who are credible, professional, and successful. And if they aren’t, you will push them to achieve until they are. Or you will move on. An independent spirit, you want your work to be a way of life rather than a job, and in that work you want to be given free rein, the leeway to do things your way. Your yearnings feel intense to you, and you honor those yearnings. And so your life is filled with goals, achievements, or qualifications that you crave. Whatever your focus-and each person is distinct-your Significance theme will keep pulling you upward, away from the mediocre toward the exceptional. It is the theme that keeps you reaching.
Significance Sounds like this:
Mary P., healthcare executive: “Women are told almost from day one, ‘Don’t be too proud. Don’t stand tall.’ That kind of thing. But I’ve learned that it’s okay to have power, it’s okay to have pride, and it’s okay to have a big ego. And also that I need to manage it and drive it in the right directions.”
Kathie J., partner in a law firm: “Ever since I can remember I have had the feeling that I was special, that I could take charge and make things happen. Back in the ’60s I was the first woman partner in my firm, and I can still recall walking into boardroom after boardroom and being the only woman. It’s strange, thinking back. It was tough, but I actually think I enjoyed the pressure of standing out. I enjoyed being the ‘woman’ partner. Why? Because I knew that I would be very hard to forget. I knew everyone would notice me and pay attention to me.”
John L., physician: “All through my life I felt that I was onstage. I am always aware of an audience. If I am sitting with a patient, I want the patient to see me as the best doctor he or she has ever had. If I am teaching medical students, I want to stand out as the best medical educator they have ever had. I want to win the Educator of the Year award. My boss is a big audience for me. Disappointing her would kill me. It’s scary to think that part of my self-esteem is in other people’s hands, but then again, it keeps me on my toes.”
You love to solve problems. Whereas some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, you can be energized by it. You enjoy the challenge of analyzing the symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution. You may prefer practical problems or conceptual ones or personal ones. You may seek out specific kinds of problems that you have met many times before and that you are confident you can fix. Or you may feel the greatest push when faced with complex and unfamiliar problems. Your exact preferences are determined by your other themes and experiences. But what is certain is that you enjoy bringing things back to life. It is a wonderful feeling to identify the undermining factor(s), eradicate them, and restore something to its true glory. Intuitively, you know that without your intervention, this thing-this machine, this technique, this person, this company-might have ceased to function. You fixed it, resuscitated it, rekindled its vitality. Phrasing it the way you might, you saved it.
Restorative Sounds like this:
Nigel L., software designer: “I have these vivid memories of my childhood woodworking bench with hammers and nails and wood. I used to love fixing things and putting things together and making everything just so. And now with computer programs it’s the same thing. You write the program, and if it doesn’t work, you have to go back and redo it and fix it until it works.”
Jan K., internist: “This theme plays in my life in so many ways. For example, my first love was surgery. I love trauma, love being in the OR, love sewing. I just love fixing things in the OR. Then again, some of my best moments have been sitting at the bedside of a dying patient, just talking together. It is incredibly rewarding to watch someone make the transition from anger to acceptance about grief, to tie up loose ends with family members, and to pass with dignity. And then with my kids this theme fires every day. When I see my three-year-old buttoning her sweater for the first time and she buttons it crooked, I feel this powerful urge to walk up and rebutton the sweater. I have to resist, of course, because she has to learn, but, boy, it’s really hard.”
Marie T., television producer: “Producing a morning TV program is a fundamentally clumsy process. If I didn’t like solving problems, this job would drive me up the wall. Every day something serious goes wrong, and I have to find the problem, fix it, and move on to the next one. If I can do that well, I feel rejuvenated. On the other hand, if I go home and a problem remains unsolved, then I feel the opposite. I feel defeated.”
Copyright © 2000 The Gallup Organization, Princeton, NJ. All rights reserved. Clifton StrengthsFinder ® and each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of The Gallup Organization.
Introduction: The Strengths Revolution at Work — The Revolution — Two Million Interviews — The Anatomy of a Strength — Strong Lives — The Investor, the Director, the Skin Doctor, and the Editor — Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, and Cole Porter — Three Revolutionary Tools — Strength Building — Is He Always This Good? — Knowledge and Skills — Talent — Discover the Source of Your Strengths — StrengthsFinder — The Traces of Talent — The StrengthsFinder Profile. The Thirty-four Themes of StrengthsFinder — Achiever — Activator — Adaptability — Analytical — Arranger — Belief — Command — Communication — Competition — Connectedness — Context — Deliberative — Developer — Discipline — Empathy — Fairness — Focus — Futuristic — Harmony — Ideation — Inclusiveness — Individualization — Input — Intellection — Learner — Maximizer — Positivity — Relator — Responsibility — Restorative — Self-assurance — Significance — Strategic — Woo — Put Strengths to Work — The Questions You’re Asking — Are there any obstacles to building my strengths? — Why should I focus on my signature themes? — Is there any significance to the order of my signature themes? — Not all of the phrases in the theme description apply to me. Why? — Why am I different from other people with whom I share some of the same themes? — Are any of the themes “opposites”? Can I develop new themes if I don’t like the ones I have? — Will I become too narrow if I focus on my signature themes? — How can I manage around my weaknesses? — Can my themes reveal whether I am in the right career? — Managing Strengths — “Fidel,” Sam Mendes, and Phil Jackson — One By One — Building a Strengths-based Organization — The Full Story.
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