Friday, June 8, 2007

BOOK REVIEW : Go Put Your Strengths to Work: Six Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance

Go Put Your Strengths to Work: Six Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance
By Marcus Buckingham (Free Press, 2007)

In 2001, Marcus Buckingham’s, Now, Discover Your Strengths, stormed the shelves of bookstores far and wide, proclaiming a strengths-based revolution on its way to becoming an international bestseller. The book advertised the approach of leveraging strengths rather than fixing weaknesses. As part of Buckingham’s efforts to spark a strength-based revolution, everyone who purchased the book was given access to the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment in order to identify their dominant strength themes.

In the years since its release, two million people have taken the Clifton Strengths Finder. Yet, to Buckingham’s dismay, research has not shown any signs of a strength-based revolution. In fact, in the years since Now Discover Your Strengths, the percentage of employees who claim to regularly tap into their strengths has not increased at all—it remains a mere 17%.

In writing Go Put Your Strengths to Work, Buckingham hopes to transfer the intellectual popularity of strength-based living into actual practice. Whereas Now, Discover Your Strengths familiarized readers with a language to dialog about strengths, Go Put Your Strengths to Work gives readers action steps to apply their strengths day-to-day on the job.

In the second chapter of Go Put Your Strengths to Work, Buckingham walks readers through the important process of capturing, clarifying, and confirming their strengths. Sharing his own experiences, Buckingham helps readers to define, with specificity, the activities in which they feel the strongest. As part of the exercises within the chapter, readers are challenged to create “strength statements” to verbalize the precise nature of their strengths.

In Chapter Five, entitled “Speak Up,” Buckingham gives advice to readers on initiating strength-based conversations in the workplace. He offers tactful, non-threatening tactics whereby readers can effectively voice their strengths and weaknesses to managers or co-workers. The chapter is immensely beneficial for the person who has a firm self-awareness of strengths, but is uncertain how to express them within the confines of job responsibilities.

Buckingham invites buyers of his book not only to read about strengths, but also to participate in applying them. Go Put Your Strengths to Work is a highly interactive book complete with codes for downloading inspiring narrative videos (from the DVD, Trombone Player Wanted). Readers can also take an online survey to measure their level of strengths engagement. Inside the back cover of the book are journal pages designed to help readers capture the activities which significantly strengthen or weaken them.

Marcus Buckingham is easily one of the most influential authors in today’s business world. His latest book, Go Put Your Strengths to Work, is an impressive attempt to aid readers in applying their strengths on the job. Readers will find themselves the beneficiaries of carefully crafted tools which will lead them into their sweet spot at work.

No comments: