I just completed my first read of Marcus Buckingham’s Go Put Your Strengths to Work and Tom Rath’s StrengthsFinder 2.0. If you are devoted to your own “strength training” I highly recommend these two books and the online site tied into each book.
I have spend more time on the sites than with the books. To use the on-line resources you must purchase the books. StrengthsFinder 2.0 has the on-line access code in an envelope and Go Put Your Strengths to Work has the code on the inside of the book jacket.
In a future post I will outline the 5 strengths identified by StrengthsFinder 2.0. I completed the original StrengthsFinder and my top 4 strengths remained the same. I now have Empathy identified as my fifth strength.
The StrengthsFinder website has lots of resources to further understand and apply your strengths. There is an active forum to discuss your results and applications with other readers. A real nice added plus to StrengthsFinder 2.0 is that purchase of the book also gives you a six month subscription to Gallup’s leading management journal.
The Go Put Your Strengths To Work website gives you the opportunity to conduct a SET (Strengths Engagement Track) assessment. This does not look so much at strength identification as the application and knowledge of your strengths. Your SET scores gives you a real time comparison of how engaged your strengths are compared to the rest of the working world. My present level is 89 out of 100 and my future level is 96 out of 100. You can take the assessment 3 times.
Viewers of Buckingham’s video: Trombone Player Wanted will recognize most of the concepts in the book, as they also appear in the video. You can download 2 parts of the 6 part video with your ID code.
I am passionate about strengths and strength development. My early quibble with both books is the trivial extras they have added — StrengthsFinder 2.0 gives you cute little stickers to put your 5 strengths on the front of the book while a resource section in Go Put Your Strengths to Work has a cheesy 10 to 20 page “love it and loath it” notepad. Strong books like these don’t need fluffy extras!
These are just the kind of things that organizational strength naysayers will jump all over to say this is just some kind of shallow self-esteem movement. To be strong, you can always throw away the stickers and rip the little note pads out of the book. Strengths reside inside us and our relationships not in some clever marketing extra that can weaken such a strong message.
I encourage you to purchase both of these resources, accelerate your strength development, and work at leveraging the strengths of the people you lead.