Book Review: “NowDiscover Your Strengths”
by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.
This book is based on the idea that individuals (and therefore organizations) thrive when they focus on developing strengths (as opposed to correcting weaknesses). It is written with managers and leaders in mind, but can easily be extrapolated for use by individuals. It is intended to be used in conjunction with the research and tools developed by Gallup and found at www.strenghsfinder.com.
Many corporations focus on improving employee's weaknesses. It is the authors' hope to start a strengths revolution in which great organizations identify, build upon, and benefit from it's employees' strengths. Gallup performed thousands of interviews to develop 32 strength profiles and an online test that helps identify individual strength profiles or natural talent areas. These natural talent areas can be further developed by applying knowledge and skills. Imagine an organization in which its employees are happier and more successful because they are working with their strengths every day.
The results of my strength finder test were not surprising, but it was empowering to have strengths acknowledged and to have the book justify how important it is to focus on strengths. It is also exciting to consider how I might use my strengths in my target job and future roles. The book also includes suggestions for developing strengths, managing strengths, and building a strengths based organization. I enjoyed “Now Discover Your Strengths” and would recommend it to managers and leaders. I would suggest that individual contributors read the “Strengths Finder 2.0” book by Tom Rath.
My strengths (as identified by the online tool) are outlined below with a short description and some current target career benefits:
- Empathy: “People who are especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others' lives or others' situations. Current Target Career Benefits: Listening Skills, Team Building, Negotiations, Concensus Building, Persuasion, Communication, Relationship Building, Handling Complaints, Retaining Customers, Diffusing Conflict.
- Intellection: “People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.” Current Target Career Benefits: Instinctively gather information, always expanding my knowledge base, a natural educator / mentor, good at explaining things, innovative planning and conceptualizing.
- Connectedness: “People who are especially talented in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.”Current Target Career Benefits: determined to work for individuals betterment (customer focus), natural consensus builder (focus on commonalities), natural liaison (facilitates communication between individuals), good at connecting with people and facilitating the connection between teams, good at working with “difficult” individuals.
- Learner: “People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.” Current Target Career Benefits: natural ability to focus completely, curiosity draws information to me, natural information gatherer, always examining with an eye towards improvement, allows me to understand the technical perspective.
- Futuristic: “People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.” Current Target Career Benefits: Naturally looking towards the betterment of all involved teams, always evaluating for areas of improvement, innovation and originality, an ability to come up with options others might not think of, natural at weighing pros and cons, visionary.