"Most Americans do not know what their strengths are. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer."
Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our talents and strengths. Instead, guided by our parents, our teachers, our managers and psychology's fascination with pathology, we become experts in our weaknesses and spend our lives trying to repair these flaws, while our strengths lie dormant and neglected.
At the heart of Now, Discover Your Strengths, is the Internet-based StrengthsFinder® Profile, the product of a 25-year, multimillion dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human strengths. The program introduces 34 dominant "themes" with thousands of possible combinations, and reveals how they can best be translated into personal and career success.
This audiobook contains a unique identification number that allows you access to the StrengthsFinder® Profile on the Internet. This Web-based interview analyzes your instinctive reactions and immediately presents you with your five most powerful themes. Once you know which themes you lead with, you can leverage them for powerful results for personal development, for management success, and for the success of the organization.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
|Introduction: The Strengths Revolution at Work|
|Two Million Interviews||11|
|I.||The Anatomy of a Strength|
|Chapter 1.||Strong Lives|
|The Investor, the Director, the Skin Doctor, and the Editor||19|
|Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, and Cole Porter||25|
|Three Revolutionary Tools||28|
|Chapter 2.||Strength Building|
|Is He Always This Good?||39|
|Knowledge and Skills||41|
|II.||Discover the Source of Your Strengths|
|The Traces of Talent||67|
|The StrengthsFinder Profile||76|
|Chapter 4.||The Thirty-four Themes of StrengthsFinder|
|III.||Put Strengths to Work|
|Chapter 5.||The Questions You're Asking|
|Are there any obstacles to building my strengths?||121|
|Why should I focus on my signature themes?||131|
|Is there any significance to the order of my signature themes?||134|
|Not all of the phrases in the theme description apply to me. Why?||136|
|Why am I different from other people with whom I share some of the same themes?||137|
|Are any of the themes "opposites"?||139|
|Can I develop new themes if I don't like the ones I have?||141|
|Will I become too narrow if I focus on my signature themes?||144|
|How can I manage around my weaknesses?||148|
|Can my themes reveal whether I am in the right career?||160|
|Chapter 6.||Managing Strengths|
|"Fidel," Sam Mendes, and Phil Jackson||171|
|One By One||176|
|Chapter 7.||Building a Strengths-based Organization|
|The Full Story||213|
|The Practical Guide||218|
|A Technical Report on StrengthsFinder||247|
What People are Saying About This
Now, Discover Your Strengths, based on years of research by The Gallup Organization, is a refreshingly sensible and user-friendly way to assess your psychological assets and build on them a successful and satisfying life.
The keystone of high achievement and happiness is exercising your strengths, not correcting your weaknesses. The first step is knowing which strengths you own, and this superb book gives you a powerful and accurate way to find out.
A brilliant book that will help readers to discover and capitalize on their specific strengths, as well as assist managers in supervising people with varying strengths.
The code for managing has been broken and the secrets for success are here in this book! We know this from first-hand experience with over 2,000 Gallup 'strengths' program graduates (and growing) we will never look at our jobs, or our lives for that matter, the same way again. To achieve our greatest potential, this is by far the most important investment an individual or organization can make!
Ralph L. Sheets Professor of Human Resources, Department of Management and Organization, College of Business, University of Iowa This book is built around a unique vision of the high-performing individual and the high-performing organization and that vision is built on a recognition of individual differences and the unique strengths of each person. A truly important book.
Guided by the belief that good is the opposite of bad, mankind has for centuries pursued its 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 workplaces around the world, each one of us has been encouraged to identify, analyze, and correct our weaknesses in order 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.
To excel in your chosen field and to find lasting satisfaction in doing so, you will need to understand your unique patterns. You will need to become an expert at finding and describing and applying and practicing and refining your strengths. So as you read this book, shift your focus. Suspend whatever interest you may have in weakness and instead explore the intricate detail of your strengths. Take the StrengthsFinder Profile. Learn its language. Discover the source of your strengths.
If by the end of the book you have developed your expertise in what is right about you and your employees, this book will have served its purpose.
"What are the two assumptions on which great organizations must be built?"
We wrote this book to start a revolution, the strengths revolution. At the heart of this revolution is a simple decree: The great organization must not only accommodate the fact that each employee is different, it must capitalize on these differences. It must watch for clues to each employee's natural talents and then position and develop each employee so that his or her talents are transformed into bona fide strengths. By changing the way it selects, measures, develops, and channels the careers of its people, this revolutionary organization must build its entire enterprise around the strengths of each person.
And as it does, this revolutionary organization will be positioned to dramatically outperform its peers. In our latest metaanalysis The Gallup Organization asked this question of 198,000 employees working in 7,939 business units within 36 companies: At work do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? We then compared the responses to the performance of the business units and discovered the following: When employees answered "strongly agree" to this question, they were 50 percent more likely to work in business units with lower employee turnover, 38 percent more likely to work in more productive business units, and 44 percent more likely to work in business units with higher customer satisfaction scores. And over time those business units that increased the number of employees who strongly agreed saw comparable increases in productivity, customer loyalty, and employee retention. Whichever way you care to slice the data, the organization whose employees feel that their strengths are used every day is more powerful and more robust.
This is very good news for the organization that wants to be on the vanguard of the strengths revolution. Why? Because most organizations remain startlingly inefficient at capitalizing on the strengths of their people. In Gallup's total database we have asked the "opportunity to do what I do best" question of more than 1.7 million employees in 101 companies from 63 countries. What percentage do you think strongly agrees that they have an opportunity to do what they do best every day? What percentage truly feels that their strengths are in play?
Twenty percent. Globally, only 20 percent of employees working in the large organizations we surveyed feel that their strengths are in play every day. Most bizarre of all, the longer an employee stays with an organization and the higher he climbs the traditional career ladder, the less likely he is to strongly agree that he is playing to his strengths.
Alarming though it is to learn that most organizations operate at 20 percent capacity, this discovery actually represents a tremendous opportunity for great organizations. To spur high-margin growth and thereby increase their value, great organizations need only focus inward to find the wealth of unrealized capacity that resides in every single employee. Imagine the increase in productivity and profitability if they doubled this number and so had 40 percent of their employees strongly agreeing that they had a chance to use their strengths every day. Or how about tripling the number? Sixty percent of employees saying "strongly agree" isn't too aggressive a goal for the greatest organizations.
How can they achieve this? Well, to begin with they need to understand why eight out of ten employees feel somewhat miscast in their role. What can explain this widespread inability to position people in particular senior people who have had the chance to search around for interesting roles to play to their strengths?
The simplest explanation is that most organizations' basic assumptions about people are wrong. We know this because for the last thirty years Gallup has been conducting research into the best way to maximize a person's potential. At the heart of this research are our interviews with eighty thousand managers most excellent, some average in hundreds of organizations around the world. Here the focus was to discover what the world's best managers (whether in Bangalore or Bangor) had in common. We described our discoveries in detail in the book First, Break All the Rules, but the most significant finding was this: Most organizations are built on two flawed assumptions about people:
I. Each person can learn to be competent in almost anything.
2. Each person's greatest room for growth is in his or her areas of greatest weakness.
Presented so baldly, these two assumptions seem too simplistic to be commonly held, so let's play them out and see where they lead. If you want to test whether or not your organization is based on these assumptions, look for these characteristics:
- Your organization spends more money on training people once they are hired than on selecting them properly in the first place.
- Your organization focuses the performance of its employees by legislating work style. This means a heavy emphasis on work rules, policies, procedures, and "behavioral competencies."
- Your organization spends most of its training time and money on trying to plug the gaps in employees' skills or competencies. It calls these gaps "areas of opportunity." Your individual development plan, if you have one, is built around your "areas of opportunity," your weaknesses.
- Your organization promotes people based on the skills or experiences they have acquired. After all, if everyone can learn to be competent in almost anything, those who have learned the most must be the most valuable. Thus, by design, your organization gives the most prestige, the most respect, and the highest salaries to the most experienced well-rounded people.
Finding an organization that doesn't have these characteristics is more difficult than finding one that does. Most organizations take their employees' strengths for granted and focus on minimizing their weaknesses. They become expert in those areas where their employees struggle, delicately rename these "skill gaps" or "areas of opportunity," and then pack them off to training classes so that the weaknesses can be fixed. This approach is occasionally necessary: If an employee always alienates those around him, some sensitivity training can help; likewise, a remedial communication class can benefit an employee who happens to be smart but inarticulate. But this isn't development, it is damage control. And by itself damage control is a poor strategy for elevating either the employee or the organization to world-class performance.
As long as an organization operates under these assumptions, it will never capitalize on the strengths of each employee.
To break out of this weakness spiral and to launch the strengths revolution in your own organization, you must change your assumptions about people. Start with the right assumptions, and everything else that follows from them how you select, measure, train, and develop your people will be right. These are the two assumptions that guide the world's best managers:
I. Each person's talents are enduring and unique.
2. Each person's greatest room for growth is in the areas of his or her greatest strength.
These two assumptions are the foundation for everything they do with and for their people. These two assumptions explain why great managers are careful to look for talent in every role, why they focus people's performances on outcomes rather than forcing them into a stylistic mold, why they disobey the Golden Rule and treat each employee differently, and why they spend the most time with their best people. In short, these two assumptions explain why the world's best managers break all the rules of conventional management wisdom.
Now, following the great managers' lead, it is time to change the rules. These two revolutionary assumptions must serve as the central tenets for a new way of working. They are the tenets for a new organization, a stronger organization, an organization designed to reveal and stretch the strengths of each employee.
Most organizations have a process for ensuring the efficient use of their practical resources. Six Sigma or ISO 9000 processes are commonplace. Likewise, most organizations have increasingly efficient processes for exploiting their financial resources. The recent fascination with metrics such as economic value added and return on capital bear testament to this. Few organizations, however, have developed a systematic process for the efficient use of their human resources. (They may experiment with individual development plans, 360-degree surveys, and competencies, but these experiments are mostly focused on fixing each employee's weaknesses rather than building his strengths.)
In this book we want to show you how to design a systematic strength-building process. Specifically, Chapter 7, "Building a Strengths-based Organization," can help. Here we describe what the optimum selection system looks like, which three outcomes all employees should have on their scorecard, how to reallocate those misguided training budgets, and, last, how to change the way you channel each employee's career.
If you are a manager and want to know how best to capitalize on the strengths of your individual direct reports, then Chapter 6, "Managing Strengths," will help. Here we identify virtually every ability or style you might find in your people and explain what you can do to maximize the strengths of each employee.
However, we don't start there. We start with you. What are your strengths? How can you capitalize on them? What are your most powerful combinations? Where do they take you? What one, two, or three things can you do better than ten thousand other people? These are the kinds of questions we will deal with in the first five chapters. After all, you can't lead a strengths revolution if you don't know how to find, name, and develop your own.
Two Million Interviews
"Whom did Gallup interview to learn about human strengths?"
Imagine what you might learn if you could interview two million people about their strengths. Imagine interviewing the world's best teachers and asking them how they keep children so interested in what might otherwise be dry subject matter. Imagine asking them how they build such trusting relationships with so many different children. Imagine asking them how they balance fun and discipline in the classroom. Imagine asking them about all the things they do that make them so very good at what they do.
And then imagine what you could learn if you did the same with the world's best doctors and salespeople and lawyers (yes, they can be found) and professional basketball players and stockbrokers and accountants and hotel housekeepers and leaders and soldiers and nurses and pastors and systems engineers and chief executives. Imagine all those questions and, more important, all those vivid answers.
Over the last thirty years The Gallup Organization has conducted a systematic study of excellence wherever we could find it. This wasn't some mammoth poll. Each of those interviews (a little over two million at the last count, of which the eighty thousand managers from First, Break All the Rules were a small part) consisted of open-ended questions like the ones mentioned above. We wanted to hear these excellent performers describe in their own words exactly what they were doing.
In all these different professions we found a tremendous diversity of knowledge, skill, and talent. But as you might suspect, we soon began to detect patterns. We kept looking and listening, and gradually we extracted from this wealth of testimony thirty-four patterns, or "themes," as we have called them. These thirty-four are the most prevalent themes of human talent. Our research tells us that these thirty-four, in their many combinations, can do the best job of explaining the broadest possible range of excellent performance.
These thirty-four do not capture every single human idiosyncrasy individuals are too infinitely varied for that kind of claim. So think of these thirty-four as akin to the eighty-eight keys on a piano. The eighty-eight keys cannot play every single note that can possibly be played, but in their many combinations they can capture everything from classic Mozart to classic Madonna. The same applies to these thirty-four themes. Used with insight and understanding they can help capture the unique themes playing in each person's life.
To be most helpful we offer you a way to measure yourself on these thirty-four themes. We ask you to pause after reading Chapter 3 and take a profile called StrengthsFinder that is available on the Internet. It will immediately reveal your five dominant themes of talent, your signature themes. These signature themes are your most powerful sources of strength. If you want to learn about the themes of your employees or family or friends, you can read Chapter 4 and learn about each of the thirty-four. But initially our main focus is you. By identifying and refining these signature themes you will be in the best possible position to play out your own strengths to the fullest.
As you study these five themes and consider ways to apply what you have learned, keep this thought in mind: The real tragedy of life is not that each of us doesn't have enough strengths, it's that we fail to use the ones we have. Benjamin Franklin called wasted strengths "sundials in the shade." As you can see, the impetus of this book is that too many organizations, too many teams, and too many individuals unknowingly hide their "sundials in the shade."
We want this book and your experiences while reading it to cast a light and thereby put your strengths to work.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I LOVE THIS BOOK! Marcus Buckingham speaks of how in our culture we are all well acquainted with our weaknesses, and we seek ways to compensate for these. We learn how to improve on what we are not really naturally talented at and try to fix ourselves. But when it comes to our strengths we are at a loss for detailed descriptions, and most of the time we are not even aware of our strongest talents. This book suggests we invest in our strengths and talents, in those things that we are especially good at and enjoy doing most. Their approach is scientific and based on an open survey they did with 2 million people that are working successfully in their field. It comes along with an online "Strengthfinder Test" and I discovered things about myself, that I hadn't been noticing as special before. I highly recommend this book to everyone!! And if you like this idea you will also enjoy reading "Working On Yourself Doesn't Work" by Ariel and Shya Kane (link below). Their approach is less business oriented, but is definitely helpful in all areas of your life. It's time we all discover our own greatness instead of picking on ourselves - it's the best way to stop picking on others!
The idea of the book is to help you find your talents, build your strengths, which will in turn, improve your performance.
Building your strengths is indeed somthing that is often overlooked, as most of the time we seek to improve our weaknesses- that's a point well taken- and a good reason to buy the book. However two more things also need to be mentioned. First, why can't we work on building both our strengths AND our weaknesses? In other words, why do we have to necessarily pick just one? I feel that many weaknesses can be improved upon.
Secondly, discovering your talents and doing what you're good at may not necessarily improve your performance. Why? Because there are lots of things we're good at, but still hate to do nonetheless. For instance, I'm really good at cleaning houses and debating, but I don't like to really do either one. People really perform well when its something that they know how to do AND when there's something meaningful/important in it for them. Anyway, just some food for thought. Readers may also be interested in The Sixty-Second Motivator.
The premise of the book is refreshing & rings true. However, after the 2nd read I realized that there is very little guidance given once you "discover your strengths." The treatment and description of the 34 possible themes is somewhat shallow. How do we apply these? Unfortunately that question is not adequately addressed. The book is of little use as a management tool unless you have your entire staff take the survey - which can only be accomplished by purchasing the book for each person. I find it disappointing that I was only allowed to take the survey once, & then only shown the top 5 themes. Am I to take these 5 themes on blind faith, without validating the results again in 6 months or a year? I find that somewhat disturbing, particlularly since the survey lacks any convincing documentation of its validity. I am forced to conclude that the book is primarily a marketing scam. Do we really need a survey to discover our talents? If I had it to do over again, I would buy the premise, but not the book!
I bought the NOOK Book version of this with the expectation of it including the online code. To my surprise, and contrary to what it says in the overview of the book, the code was not included. Needles to say, I am very disappointed . Please be warned that you may have an issue receiving the code with the NOOK Book version. Not sure if this was a human error, or not, but this will be returned. Good Luck!
Now, Discover Your Strengths is empowering, but get Finding Heroes by Larry Dillon it will help you not just find the best people for your business, but its thoughtful and reaches you on both personal and professional levels. I recommend both books, but you'll find a hero in Dillon's book.
This book is in the same vein as many of the 'score your aptitude' line of career self-help. Most of what you will find out about your strengths you probably already know. What This book does that most others don't is to provide more concrete help in identifying the ATTRIBUTES of the roles and jobs that will fit to your strengths, instead of suggesting particular jobs or careers. In fact some of the annecdotal examples in the book demonstrate how the same Strength can be leveraged in divergent careers and roles. By far the most valuable part of this book for me was the section on 'how to build a Strengths Based Organization'. In it, each of the 'strengths' is enumerated, and a recommendation is given on how to best engage, motivate and manage someone with that strength. The value in this was to provide a language with which to communicate to MY manager what I would like to get from my job and my company. Essentially by reversing the 'how to build' section, you can more easily arrive at a common language of what value you bring to your manager, and how s/he can keep you interested, engaged and committed to your tasks even if the overall job you are in isn't the perfect fit for your strengths.
I'm a personal and professional development coach, and this book is my Bible. It's that good. I've seen clients make dramatic and successful changes in their lives as a result of the informaion in this book. The theory -- that we don't know our strengths, or know them all too well and have been conditioned to consider them weaknesses -- holds true. I was even surprised myself when I took the assessment (code is in book). When you take the assessment, you'll receive back your top 5 signature themes, and these are 34 new terms coined by the authors such as Focus, Activator, Deliberative, Empathy, Relator and Strategic. The book, geared toward management, gives you a description of each strength, and then tells you how to "manage" each type. This of course applies to your social life as well as your work life. When you build your life around your strengths, you can achieve consistent near-excellence most of the time without a drain on your energy. Give it a try! Then give it to your manager and your spouse. You'll benefit greatly.
I'm happy a book makes it so high on the bestseller list explaining to people that they are better off focusing on strengths (both for themselves, as for the organizations they work for). At jobEQ.com, we have been 'educating' our customers to do the same, and as the authors of this book acknowledge, only 25 to 40% of persons will grasp that notion immediately. I also appreciate that the authors explain how a manager can use the knowledge of these strengths (or themes) to manage their staff better. If the authors would write a second edition, there are some things that I would recommend them to address. My first remark is linked to the writing style: this book is written in an 'imperative' form: it contains a lot of sentences with 'you need to do this', 'you should do that', ... This style tends to put of people, risking that they miss the message. Secondly, they have WRONG, OUTDATED notion of the brain: contrary to what people used to say 5 to 10 years ago, the good news of recent research is that brain cells that die off ARE replaced (even if you get older) and you remain capable of forming new connections between brain cells (maybe unless you get a disease, such as Parkinson, ...). Thirdly: the book does not really address what kind of job would be good for you. Finally some feedback about the test: don't take it BEFORE you read chapter 3 in the book - at least then you will understand how they built it. Still, I have my doubts about the way it is built. Using the amount of interviews as a 'proof of credibility' didn't impress me: Often for scientific purposes, it doesn't matter much if you did 5.000 or a million interviews - all that matters is that you can validate the test. Also, I know that most people probably have MORE than 5 strengths, which is just an ARBITRARY number Gallup chose. Given the importance they address to these 5 strengths, just imagine what opportunities you will miss by ignoring these other strengths. I would rather prefer to get a FULL picture, getting all my strengths and weaknesses, and having this information ordered from strongest to weakest.
I bought this book new to take the online test. cut the paper out of the book as instructed and opened sealed paper to find out the code inside wasn't valid. Very, very disappointed big waste of money!!!!!
This book literally changed my life and the way I began to raise my children! The premise that we are innately born with certain strengths isn't new (Myers-Briggs is one such test) but this book goes a step further. It allows you to take a test online with a code printed inside the book that gives you your top 5 strengths in accurate detail. The fact that we are always trying to work on our weaknesses to make them stronger doesn't make sense. It is better for us to use our God-given strengths, because when we do, we are happier and more fulfilled. Work won't feel like work if you do this! It helped me notice my children's strengths and encourage them to further those. This can be done at any age! Additionally, I put my top 5 strengths (condensed, not detailed) onto my resume. I cannot tell you how many times a prospective employer has appreciated this addition to my professional portfolio. This is a purchase you won't regret!
Insightful and gives great info on own personal strengths. Would recommend buying the Strengths 2.0 version instead of this older version.
The idea of the book is to help you find your talents, build your strengths, which will in turn, improve your performance. Building your strengths is indeed somthing that is often overlooked, as most of the time we seek to improve our weaknesses- that's a point well taken- and a good reason to buy the book. However two more things also need to be mentioned. First, why can't we work on building both our strengths AND our weaknesses? In other words, why do we have to necessarily pick just one? Secondly, discovering your talents and doing what you're good at may not necessarily improve your performance or your motivation. Why? Because there are lots of things we're good at, but still hate to do nonetheless. For instance I'm really good at cleaning houses and debating, but I don't like to really do either one. People only get motivated to something when they know how to do a job AND there's something meaningful in it for them- that's how you motivate people.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. It gives a new paradigm for us -- focusing on your strengths and not your weaknesses. The StrengthsFinder(tm) profile which you get along with the book tells you your top 5 'themes' around which to build your life for success and happiness. I'm a personal and professional development coach and have worked with scores of individuals using their profile with outstanding results. Some have even changed career fields! One of the authors' premises is that we don't know our strengths because society, parents, teachers, managers and psychologists immediately start trying to address weaknesses. Read the book, take the assessment, and start shaping a life where you feel at home in your own skin.
Too anecdotal and wordy, online quiz didn't work, trait descriptions somewhat useful
A very thought-provoking book which brings the focus back into one inner self. The authors advocate that strengths = talents + knowledge + skills. Instead of spending time perfecting skills which one don't have an innate talent for, why not focus on skills which you are born for? The best thing about this book is that it has a extensive questionaire which helps you discover what talents you have. I did the test and it was quite accurate. :)However, the book provided limited insight about how to hone the talents into strengths. So reader is left hanging in the air. Although there's no standard procedure, the authors could have highlighted some areas where the reader can start to take actions.
If you ever have the opportunity to read this book and take the StrengthsFinder quiz, I HIGHLY recommend that you do so. I read this book as part of a leadership development program that I am in for work. I learned more about myself from this book and the quiz results than I have in the first twelve months of the program. I learned why I have issues with losing my train of thought when speaking, why I feel this incessant need to constantly achieve and learn something, why I value my alone time.More importantly, I learned that these are strengths rather than shortcomings. Of even greater importance, I was given helpful hints how to make these strengths work for me on the job and in my personal life. This blog is an excellent example of something that is using my strength of the need to reflect and think about things thoroughly. The fact that I read so many books of almost every genre is due to my passion for learning, which I can channel into my now-complete MBA studies and my CMA studying. I also discovered that my ideal job is ideal because it perfectly suits each one of my top five strengths.What was of interest to me was that each one of the other twenty-three members of my leadership group had just as profound experiences as I did. When it happens to all of us, when we all feel empowered by the information learned about ourselves, you know that this is a life-altering book.I am so thankful that I took the time to read this book for my program. It was recommended but not required, but I feel I got more out of the quiz results and the list of my top five strengths because I read the book. (Of course, it is a book, and I'm not someone to turn down reading one.) I cannot stress enough how much my perception on who I am has changed as a result of reading this and getting my top five themes. It was worth every minute of reading.
When I first read through the Strengthsfinder material in this book, I took guesses at what I thought described me. Then I took the online test. What I found not only surprised me, but revealed to me some insights about who I am. Over time, I've found these descriptors to be useful not only in self-reflection, but in the practice of leadership and, in my case, ministry. You should know that each book allows for one test. Like other personality profiles, the results need to be interpreted and thought through, but with this text that process remains engaging and revealing. Worth the experiment and reflection.
this is a recent mailing list post i made about the strengthsfinder that i thought would make a good librarything review. it was in response to someone who was required to do it at their workplace and found it a waste of time because they didn't learn anything new about themselves in the process.. . .in 2003 the strengthsfinder inventory was the catalyst that changed my life. my manager's manager bought a copy of the book for his entire team because he found it useful, but didn't require us to take the inventory, we were free to do it, or not. i figured why not, so i did. i had no idea that anyone would think things like "input" and "intellection" are strengths, and while i recognized them as things i did a lot, i thought of them as weaknesses, because they make me a lazy daydreamer who surfs the internet all the time. it hadn't occurred to me that i might be able to put what i considered my worst tendencies to good use, and that doing so would make me happy, and that maybe i was in the wrong career (i thought i just needed to keep trying and someday i would like my job). it was the kick in the butt i needed to seek out something other than software testing, it was a foundation for seeking a library science degree, and it kept me from staying at a job i hated and eventually driving my car into the median barrier on the highway. (yes, that's right. strengthsfinder saved my life.) before i took the inventory i would have told you my top strength was communication. that one didn't even make my top five. if you are the rare person who is already well-aware of your personal talents, i can see how it might be a waste of time, and it's probably less enjoyable if you're required to do it, and it is written in a cheesy pop-business-book tone that some find annoying, but as they point out, most folks focus on their weaknesses and struggle to name their strengths, so it can make a person wake up to who they are and what they should be doing with their lives, and that can be really valuable. (holy run on sentence, batman.) that's what happened with me, anyway. i recommend it to anyone who hates their job and doesn't know what they want to do with their life. it seriously pulled me out of a rut.
Better than "First, Break All The Rules"
The strong empirical methodology resulted in a valid and useful structure for assessing strengths. I believe their dimensions are distinct from anything else like this, although the 34 categories are possibly concentrated only in the strengths required for managerial success. For example, I'm not sure the strengths of a genius technical writer or mechanic are present.