Marcus Buckingham, a successful speaker and author, has crafted a mini seminar on finding our strengths. The 22 minute DVD that comes in this toolkit is captivating. While Buckingham inspires us with his words, we view the story of a young man who is good at one discipline yet is highly motivated to move to another discipline. This visual story highlights a myth Buckingham points out: our strengths are not what we are good at and our weaknesses are not what we are bad at. Our strengths are what energize us and our weaknesses are what drain us (whether we are good at the particular tasks or not). Unlike those who may have told us that to advance we have work on our weaknesses, Buckingham encourages us to play to our strengths. Our strengths are what will energize us, make us feel fulfilled, and advance us in our work. A successful team is one where each player plays in his strong position.
Buckingham has a plan where we pay attention for a week to those activities that we look forward to doing and energize us, as well as recognizing those activities that drain us. A “rememo” pad is included in the toolkit to help with these observations. Evaluating the notes we’ve made during the week will help us determine our strengths and be able to write three clear strength statements.
Buckingham emphasizes that each of us has strengths, no one else has exactly the same strengths we do, we will be the most creative and resilient when we play to our strengths and everyone will win when we do so. He reminds us to start the day thinking of our strengths and how we can contribute to them today.
Buckingham also reminds us of the risks involved. Supervisors may not understand when we describe our strengths and weaknesses. (Buckingham’s advice goes against some commonly accepted career strategies.) The money may not be there right away. Working in our strengths, however, will make us better at our job and will lead to advancement in the long run.
This toolkit is great for those entering the career market or for those making a change in careers. Buckingham estimates that eight out of ten people are not working in their strengths in their career. Going through this toolkit will help each of us to find fulfilling and energizing career paths. This is not a book to merely read (although we’ll read it through several times). This is a toolkit with which to work over time, developing our strengths into a fulfilling life of work.
Take the challenge. Find out the truth about you, who you really are.