You probably know all about your flaws and faults. But what about your strengths? After all, what is a strong point? And, most importantly, why don't you focus on them?
The authors found that companies often give little or no attention to the strengths of their employees. They also show that successful people use their energy to enhance what they do best.
To help you find out what are your talents and how to improve them, continue reading this article.
About the book "Now, Discover your Strengths"
Now, Discover Your Strengths (2001) gives insight into what the strengths are, where they come from, and why we should focus on them.
The book provides insights with tips and techniques for spotting natural talents and using them to put you or your employees on the path to excellence.
About the authors Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton
Marcus Buckingham is a bestselling author of The New York Times and also a consultant and speaker. He is co-author of the best-sellers First, Break All the Rules and The One Thing You Need to Know.
Donald O. Clifton is the bestselling author of How full is your Bucket? along with his grandson Tom Rath who came first in the list of The New York Times.
In addition to the success of this book, Donald was quoted by the American Psychological Association as Father of Force Psychology and Grandfather of Positive Psychology. He took over the chairmanship of Gallup, Inc. and also created a test, the Clifton Strengthsfinder, which has helped over a million people discover their talents.
To whom is this book indicated?
- Who looks for ways to discover their hidden talents;
- Who wants to push the limits to become more successful;
- Managers who are interested in capitalizing on the strengths of their employees.
Main ideas of the book "Now, Discover your Strengths"
- Most people and organizations focus on improving and repairing their shortcomings;
- Instead, develop and leverage your employees' strengths and your own strengths;
- Acknowledge the unique talents of individuals and identify their strengths for development;
- Define a "force" as "almost perfect performance consisting of an activity";
- Talents are innate; skills and knowledge come from study and practice;
- Acquire "factual knowledge" through learning and "experiential knowledge" through the practical application;
- Identify your five strongest points;
- Manage your shortcomings with a variety of strategies including improvement, delegation, and grants;
- Skills work best when combined with real talents;
- Use "individualization" as a management practice, adapting your management style to each employee.
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Overview: Aspect 1 - The focus is on the wrong place
In schools and workplaces, we are encouraged to find and correct our weaknesses, always aiming to increase our productivity. If we stop to think, we should focus on the opposite, which is our strengths.
But how to identify a strong point? It is any activity that you are able to perform with quality over and over again while having fun doing it.
It is not surprising that organizations in which employees are able to use their qualities every day are more sustainable and successful.
The Gallup Institute conducted a survey of 198, 000 different business employees and asked, "In your job, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?"
Considering the 20% who answered affirmatively, they were 50% more likely to work in a sector with lower staff turnover, 38% more likely to act in more proactive units and 44% more chances in a segment with better customer satisfaction indexes.
Despite this, many organizations continue to spend time, money, and resources focusing on resolving staff weaknesses. They do special training programs not to expand their strengths but to correct their weaknesses.
By focusing on damage control instead of development, the true potential of the collaborators ends up neglected.
Of course, damage control is also necessary. Still, it should not be the focal point of management. If you want your employees to grow and grow, making your business grow together, you have to change that approach.
Overview: Aspect 2 - The Formula for Growth
We all like doing things that we are good at doing. But why are we good at it in the first place? Often we hear that "with practice comes perfection" - but that is not true!
The strengths you have were built on a foundation of natural talents that you possess.
Talents are thought patterns and behaviors make certain things easier for you. You may, for example, be great at communicating with strangers. While others do not find it so easy to socialize.
In general, it is not possible to change this predisposition. But what we can do is get one we like and develop it. Enhancing your strengths involves refining your talent with knowledge and skills.
Knowledge can be factual or experimental. If you are learning to play the piano, you need to retain a certain amount of factual knowledge as you study the different musical notations.
But you also acquire knowledge through the experiences of practicing, presenting, or even just by listening.
As you gain experimental knowledge, you develop skills. It is the main aspect of your activity that will improve your performance. If you are an experienced speaker, it means you are able to attract and keep the attention of your audience.
So it is important to always combine your talent with different skills and knowledge. In this way, you can improve and sustain your strengths.
Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton details in the full book "Now, Discover Your Strengths" 34 types of strengths that you can focus on to improve your life:
Overview: Aspect 3 - The Basis of Everything
Up to age three, our brains have hundreds of billions of neurons that are capable of performing about 15, 000 connections between the synapses. These connections allow the brain cells to communicate with each other.
Does that mean, then, that we all have the brain of a potential genius when we are babies? Not exactly. For our brains and intelligence to develop, we had to lose a significant amount of connections.
By the age of 15, billions of these connections have been permanently lost. But this, in fact, is a good thing: with fewer connections, a sensory overload is avoided and specific connections can be reinforced.
Some connections become much stronger than others, and it is they that allow us to perform certain actions with greater proficiency. This explains why some moves, responses or activities are more natural to you than to other people, and vice versa.
To improve certain connections, you have to practice them until they are strong enough to override those that are responsible for the behavior we want to avoid.
Overview: Aspect 4 - The Power of Observation
Discovering talents is a crucial task. We are presented with countless opportunities to meet talents in our daily lives. Therefore, it is important to carefully observe the most spontaneous reactions.
Imagine that one of your employees is not going to be able to go to work because he is with the sick child at home. If you automatically ask about the child, this may be a sign that you have a natural talent for empathy.
On the other hand, if you have automatically thought about who could potentially cover your employee, it may be a talent for quickly problem solving.
By examining your instinctive reactions, it is possible to understand the three different indicators for distinct types of talent: desires, quick learning, and satisfaction.
Desires reveal the talents that appear early in our lives. Mozart was only 12 years old when he composed his first symphony! If you had a burning desire as a child, why not explore it more? You can discover a hidden talent there.
Rapid learning is another talent track. For various reasons, although you have the talent, it was never called.
But then, suddenly, something ignites talent and it's the speed with which you learn a new technique that gives you the telltale clue to the presence and strength of talent.
Satisfactions provide the ultimate indicator of talent. As you've seen before, a strong point is an activity that you do masterfully while having fun. So if you feel good while playing something, you are most likely using a talent.
Overview: Aspect 5 - Building an organization based on strengths
In addition to yours, it is also important to seek the strengths of your employees. By exploring their qualities, your organization will be able to achieve maximum performance and productivity.
Do you work with any analytical collaborator? He challenges others, argues objectively, and believes that the data reveal the truth. He supports his ideas in logical thinking, and expects the same from other people.
So when talking to an employee like this, it is important to always detail, clarify and be as sensitive as possible when giving instructions.
There are also strong people in command. Leaders can trust these people to gain insight into relationships in the workplace.
However, it is important to look at how this is being done to avoid creating a bad environment within the organization.
There are many other examples of personality traits that influence the workplace, so it is important to identify all of them and make the most of it so your business can grow.
What do other authors say about it?
Tamara Myles, in the book "The Secret to Peak Productivity", develops the "Peak Productivity" system, which the model teaches you since the environment you work in until you learn to know what's important and how to approach even more your life's goals.
In "Awaken the Giant Within" by Tony Robbins, he explains what we need to improve to discover the meaning and values of your life. Happiest people are those who understand their value and live their lives according to them.
Cal Newport in "Deep Work" arguments that in almost all professions. keeping focus will give you enormous benefits, including in your personal life.
Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?
According to Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, most organizations' development programs focus on improving weaknesses. And most workers find that their employers do not use their strengths and talents to get the best out of it.
So try to understand and explore your strengths rather than just working through your weaknesses.
Using human resources efficiently means allowing all employees to take advantage of their strengths. This helps your company hire, evaluate, and develop talent by increasing its strength.
Did you like the summary of the book "Now, Discover Your Strengths"?
In the full book, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton discuss 34 types of strengths that can be explored within a company. Do you want to know the details of all of them?
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