- Hardcover: 175 pages
- Publisher: Gallup Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781595620156
- ISBN-13: 978-1595620156
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
Editorial Reviews From the Publisher STRENGTHS: THE NEXT GENERATION Q&A; with author Tom Rath (From the Gallup Management Journal; interviewed by Jennifer Robison) Last month, StrengthsFinder 2.0 hit the bookstores. Book browsers, no doubt,had many questions, and among them was probably "Didn't I already read a bookabout this?" Well, actually, yes. But the topic was worth revisiting for two reasons. Inthe six years since the release of Now, Discover Your Strengths, more than 2million people have taken the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, which meansbillions of people have not yet had the opportunity. The second reason is thatGallup researchers just haven't been able to let the topic rest. Over the pastdecade, they've done more surveys, more interviews, and more studies; they'veprodded and poked and analyzed. And they realized that there's a lot more tounderstanding human talent than most people know. Those who are familiar withthe StrengthsFinder assessment know that it is designed to uncover certain keytalents -- patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior that can be productivelyapplied. These patterns are categorized into 34 broad themes -- such asAchiever, Ideation, and Relator -- and those themes indicate and predict one'sinnate and unique talents. Those talents, when multiplied by the investment oftime spent practicing, developing skills, and building knowledge, can becomestrengths. Some of this is just common sense; it seems intuitive that yourperformance will be better if you're doing what you naturally do well. Butsome of it seems counterintuitive and runs directly against conventionalwisdom: No amount of training will help you excel in your areas of weakness.You can't do anything you want to do -- or be anything you want to be --because you're just not going to be good at everything. But if you work withyour talents, you can be extraordinary. StrengthsFinder has resonated with thebusiness community because there's a direct link between talent developmentand performance. In this interview, Tom Rath, author of StrengthsFinder 2.0,discusses what Gallup scientists have learned since the publication of thefirst book, what more there is to discover about your talents, and why it'sbad to focus on your employees' weaknesses, but simply cruel to ignore themcompletely. GMJ: Why the new book? Tom Rath: StrengthsFinder 2.0 is an effort to get the core message andlanguage out to a much broader audience. We had no idea how well received thefirst strengths book would be by general readers -- it was oriented moretoward managers -- or that the energy and excitement would continue to grow.More than two million people have taken the StrengthsFinder assessment, andeach month, the number of people learning about their talents goes up. Butreaders keep asking us: "Now that I know about my strengths, what do I donext?" So we went back and surveyed hundreds of them and asked them how theyapply their talents. Then we whittled their suggestions down to the ten bestideas for each theme. We also added more than five thousand Strengths Insightsto version 2.0 that allow us to offer more individualized theme descriptionsthan we could before. So, instead of general descriptions of your top fivetalent themes, in 2.0, you get a talent profile so unique that you're unlikelyto share even a sentence with someone else. And as I said, the first book wasreally written for a business audience. People have had trouble retrofittingthe theme descriptions if they are in non-management roles, but they've tried.This book helps readers apply strengths theory to any type of role and givesthem ideas to help them apply their talents in their daily life. GMJ: It'sbeen six years since the first book was published, and Gallup has donehundreds of thousands more interviews. Have you discovered anything new abouttalents and strengths? Have you altered your original premise? Rath: No, but we've seen more and more evidence that demonstrates thatfocusing on your talents is important. We did a survey in 2004 that examinedwhat happens when your manager ignores you, focuses on your strengths, orfocuses on your weaknesses. We found that if your manager focuses on yourstrengths, your chances of being actively disengaged go down to one in onehundred. However, if your manager primarily focuses on your weaknesses, yourchances of being actively disengaged are 22%, and if your manager ignores you,that percentage rises to 40%. GMJ: Why such a high rate of disengagement amongthose who are ignored? Rath: It basically mirrors the psychology of raising kids -- being completelyignored is the worst possible psychological state. You would actually feelbetter if your manager went from ignoring you to focusing on what you do wrongall the time, because then at least she's paying attention to you. GMJ: Didyour new research turn up anything that surprised you? Rath: We've talked a lot about how strengths can help you be more of who youare, and you get more out of your best players, and all of that. But in thelast ten years, we've also found that it's a good strategy just to wipe outthe extreme negativity in the workplace. I get this question almost every timeI talk to a group: "What do I do about that one person who just drags everyonedown every day?" My glib answer was to get rid of the person. I always thoughtthere were some people who were just destined to be disengaged in their jobsbecause that was their personality, and no matter how hard managers tried,there wasn't much they could do with some of those people. But the data fromthe last five years would suggest that much of that epidemic of disengagementis fixable. More than I ever would have guessed, it helps tremendously if amanager starts by focusing on someone's strengths. You may not take someonewho's actively disengaged and make him into your most engaged employee, but itwill help get him out of that mindset where he's scaring off colleagues andcustomers. GMJ: So is that the business case to be made for putting people inroles that play to their strengths? Rath: I think it's the secondary businesscase. The main business case is that people have a lot more fun and get a lotmore done if they're able to spend time in areas where they have some naturaltalent. I think that's a fundamental principle that hasn't changed much atall. The one thing that we were clear about in StrengthsFinder 2.0 is that theAmerican dream ideal that "You can be anything you want if you just try hardenough" is detrimental. This is especially true when people buy into it hook,line, and sinker. You may not be able to be anything you want to be, but youcan be a lot more of who you already are. [Taking] StrengthsFinder is just astarting point; it's step one of a hundred in figuring out the areas where youhave the most potential for growth. GMJ: What is the most challenging aspectof your ongoing strengths research? Rath: While hundreds of people in our organization continue to research thistopic each year, our greatest challenge might be incorporating the newresearch while making the message even more succinct and applicable to a wideraudience. So while we have hundreds of new case studies and meta-analysesabout strengths -- and about employee engagement and business outcomes -- wetried to stay as close as we could to the basics. GMJ: The CliftonStrengthsFinder assessment has always categorized talents into thirty-fourthemes. Have you ever considered adding or subtracting any, or refining themfurther? Rath: Yes, we looked at that extensively as we started to review our plan forthe updated version of the assessment. We found that so far, the thirty-fourthemes have done a good job of describing much of what we've learned sincereleasing the first version of the assessment. If enough people had made acase about a specific theme that didn't exist, we were open to adding thattheme. I think we probably will continue to investigate whether there arethemes that emerge that we haven't yet picked up on. But there wasn't a realstrong case for any additions at this time. GMJ: What would you most like toaccomplish with StrengthsFinder 2.0? Rath: Our big goal and mission as a company is to help people do more of whatthey do well. We've topped two million completed StrengthsFinder assessments,and it's not too hard to imagine that number getting to twenty million soon.An organization that exists to help people has a responsibility to get betterand better. By reaching beyond our initial audience, we help people get thelatest and greatest research. But we also hope it helps people live betterlives. From the Inside Flap ABOUT STRENGTHSFINDER In 1998, the Father of Strengths Psychology, Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.(1924-2003), along with Tom Rath and a team of scientists at The GallupOrganization, created the online StrengthsFinder assessment. In 2001, theyincluded the first edition of StrengthsFinder with the bestseller Now,Discover Your Strengths. In 2004, the assessment's name was formally changedto "Clifton StrengthsFinder" in honor of its chief designer. In 2007, building on the initial assessment and language from StrengthsFinder1.0, Rath and Gallup scientists released a new edition of the assessment,program, and website, dubbed "StrengthsFinder 2.0." Rooted in more than 40years of research, this assessment has helped millions discover and developtheir natural talents. See all Editorial Reviews
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