7 min read ⌚
6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance
Have you discovered your strengths?
Well, then, Marcus Buckingham says:
Who Should Read “Go Put Your Strengths to Work”? And Why?
Those who have done their homework and are already familiar with “First, Break All the Rules” and “Now, Discover Your Strengths.”
But, even as a standalone, “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” could be helpful for anyone.
About Marcus Buckingham
Marcus Buckingham is a motivational speaker and consultant, best known as one of the founders of the strengths movement.
Founder of the Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC), he has made numerous TV appearances and has made a name as one of the top management trainers in the world.
He is most famous as the co-author of “First, Break All the Rules” (with Curt Coffman) and “Now, Discover Your Strengths” (with Donald O. Clifton).
“Go Put Your Strengths to Work PDF Summary”
If you know Marcus Buckingham, you certainly know the drill so far:
And finally, go put your strengths to work!
In six simple, but powerful steps, each one an answer to some of the most dreaded questions you’ve ever had to answer.
Step 1: Bust the Myths
So, what’s stopping you?
There are many myths which may hinder your growth to greatness.
However, three of them are especially dangerous:
Myth 1: As you grow, your personality changes.
The truth is – it doesn’t: growth comes from you investing your energy to build on what you already have.
A cat will never become a lion no matter how much it trains to roar.
Just as well: you will never become an expert in someone else’s field.
To quote William Blake:
The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow.
Myth 2: You will grow the most in your areas of greatest weakness.
Even though it may seem like it – after all, there’s more room for maneuver in an empty area – the truth is that you can only grow effectively in an area of strength.
Myth 3: A good team member does whatever it takes to help the team.
Sometimes this may be true, but most often it is not.
Simply put, if you’re not giving your best, you’re not doing the best for your team either.
Just ask yourself:
How much would Michael Jordan have helped the Chicago Bulls win a title if he had been forced to play in the position of a center?
Step 2: Get Clear
Do you know what your strengths are?
People usually know much more about their weaknesses than about their strengths:
Our strengths are the very qualities that could make us look our best, and yet when asked to detail them we lack, well, detail.
Well, it’s time to change that!
Because capturing, clarifying and confirming your strengths is a prerequisite to living the life of your dreams.
How can you do that?
By making an analysis of yourself and checking your supposed skills and talents against Buckingham’s four SIGNs of strengths:
Success: Which activities do you do most successfully?
Instinct: Which do you feel like doing most intuitively?
Growth: Are you continually getting better in these activities, in an almost natural way?
Needs: Do these activities matter to you, making you feel fulfilled and content?
Step 3: Free Your Strengths
How can you make the most of what strengthens you?
Now that you’ve discovered your strengths, it’s time to FREE them and put them to work. This is a process which – as the acronym gives away – consists of four strategies:
Focus: first, you need to understand which of your strengths you actually employ while at work; understand when you need it, how much you need it, and how often you use it;
Release: start doing the things which may bring the most of your skillset, even if that means doing someone else’s job;
Educate: bring your knowledge up to date and become even more skillful in what you’re already best.
Expand: redefine your job in terms of your newfound and updated strengths; your team needs the best of you.
Step 4: Stop Your Weaknesses
How can you cut out what weakens you?
Just like your strengths, you should clear, capture and clarify your weaknesses as well.
Obviously, the objective now is different.
Namely, to STOP them from reaching your full potential:
Stop: this is self–explanatory: cease doing anything you dislike; sometimes this may be something so irrelevant that nobody will notice; other times, explain your rationale;
Team up: now that you’ve stopped doing some activity you dislike, team up with the person who actually likes doing it;
Offer up: time for a swap – in exchange for helping you with your least favorite activity, offer your partner to help him with the one you’re best at;
Perceive: now, look at your weakness anew; does it matter that you have it?
Step 5: Speak Up
How can you create strong teams?
Now, that you know there may be a way to make yourself more essential to the team while getting rid of those activities you don’t like to do – a win-win of the highest order – it’s time for a talk with your boss.
Conversation 1: To prepare, have a strengths chat with your colleagues, rummaging for work examples to back up your talk, and devising a plan what to say to your boss once he invites you to his office;
Conversation 2: Time for the discussion. It will go well if you manage to answer the “how I can help you” question. Try putting your presented plan into practice.
Conversation 3: The weakness chat (same as 1 – but different objective).
Conversation 4: This should be the pinnacle of your efforts: the “how you can help me” chat with your boss.
Step 6: Build Strong Habits
How can you make this last forever?
Michael Jordan didn’t remain Michael Jordan because he relied on his strengths but because he continually used them and built upon them.
Do the same.
First, introduce a daily routine to identify the three strengths you are/like to be using and the three weakness you like to get rid of.
Then, start a weekly routine to identify two actions which may help you strengthen your strengths and shut down your weaknesses.
Finally, do a personal quarterly review to see how things are going.
Key Lessons from “Go Put Your Strengths to Work”
1. Strengths Before Weaknesses
2. The 6 Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance
3. Stand Out
Strengths Before Weaknesses
Less than half of surveyed Americans think that they should build on their strengths, preferring to overcome their weaknesses instead.
However, this may be one of the worst things you can do if you want to be successful.
Because life is just too short to focus on your weaknesses.
No matter what, you will always have a few of those.
Hell, even Richard Feynman sucked at art history and music!
The point is to spend as much of your time as you can to strengthen your strengths.
And shut down your weaknesses altogether.
The 6 Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance
To put your strengths to work, you need to follow these 6 steps:
#1: Bust the myths which hinder your growth.
#2: Get clear, i.e., capture, clarify, and confirm your strengths by checking them against the four SIGNs (success, instinct, growth, and needs).
#3: FREE your strengths, by focusing and releasing them, and then by educating yourself in the field and expanding upon them.
#4: STOP your weaknesses. Literally: first stop doing them, and then team up with someone whose strengths are your weaknesses, and whose weaknesses are your strengths; once you do that, offer up to swap the tasks and finally, start perceiving your weakness with some fresh eyes.
#5: Speak up. Arrange a meeting with your boss and inform him of your strengths.
#6: Build strong habits. You’re in this for the long run. Constantly repeat this process.
Now, that you’ve mastered your strengths, it’s time to make the next step.
Discover your strength role and start excelling.
Time to stand out!
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“Go Put Your Strengths to Work Quotes”
The radical idea at the core of the strengths movement is that excellence is not the opposite of failure, and that, as such, you will learn little about excellence from studying failure. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
“Go Put Your Strengths to Work” is Marcus Buckingham’s attempt to complete his tentative strength’s trilogy, but he doesn’t do a fairly good job.
True, the first two books set a very high standard – we, for one, featured them both in our list of top 15 management books in history – but this one feels just too repetitive and simplified.
And, in our opinion, it refers too often to the book’s website (http://simplystrengths.com/), on whose SET tests (now, supposedly, outdated) it relies just too much for its own benefit.