Discover Your Strengths.
Reviewed by: Matt M. Starcevich, Ph.D.
The authors call for a "strength revolution". This is in contrast to managers and organizations fixation on weakness. Most organizations training and human resource systems are based on two flawed assumptions:
Based on two million interviews conducted over thirty years by the Gallup organization, they conclude that 80% of workers feel they do not have the opportunity to do what they do best. And that contrary to the two flawed assumptions, the worlds best managers assume:
They define strength as: consistent near perfect performance in an activity. It follows then that you do not have to have strength in every aspect of your role in order to excel and you will excel only by maximizing your strengths, never by fixing your weaknesses. Skills can help you perform but they will not help you excel. Without an underlying talent/strength, learning skills is a survival technique not a path to glory.
The most significant piece of this book is their Strength Finder Profile which identifies you five signature talents (a recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied) out a possible thirty four. You have to buy the book to take the Strength Finder which comes with a fourteen digit ID number to allow you to log on to http://www.strengthfinder.com and complete a 180 paired comparison type questionnaire.
One criticism, if the authors are truly interested in starting a "strength revolution" they would sell access to this profile at a nominal rate and not make it dependent on the purchase of their book. I have mentioned it to a number of clients who have indicated they would have paid up to $20.00 to take the profile, but didn?t want to purchase the book. A second criticism is that their titles for the thirty four talents are in many cases not transparent and could have be made clearer. The authors might have followed their own advice and given their list of the thirty four to an independent person who first signature theme is Communicator and let them suggest clear, concise, meaningful titles. See if you can tell what is involved in the talent by the follow list of the thirty four:
This shortcoming should not detract from their contribution?being able to identify strengths. So what? The rest of the book is devoted to Managing Strength and Building a Strength Based Organization. This is many way is a rehash of their earlier tremendous book, First Break All The Rules, which is also reviewed on this site.
In a nut shell Managing Strengths advises to treat each individual as unique, understand their top five strengths and then discusses how to manage each of the thirty four themes of the Strength Finder.
The prescriptions for Building a Strength Based Organization are:
On an individual level I found this book very insightful and the Strength Finder results helpful for my introspection. On a managerial level, I gleaned out a few good ideas. On an organization level the book left me wanting more examples and further refinement of what I had read in their earlier book, First Break All The Rules. Even with these short comings, I believe the authors are on the right track in calling for a "strength revolution" and would recommend it as a valuable resource.