Marcus Buckingham and The Truth About YouMarcus Buckingham has done much to advance the understanding of strengths management. He has now turned his attention to crafting a program more specifically oriented to Generation Y, college students and young professionals.
If you ask young people in America ages 18 to 25, which do you think will help you win in life most, they overwhelmingly (70%) respond by saying, “fixing my weaknesses.” There’s a whole generation of kids coming into the workplace who may understand they are distinct and different, but don’t really know how to think about it or make use of that knowledge not only in the workplace, but in life in general.
Buckingham keeps driving the point (and rightly so), that we need to focus on our strengths, not our weaknesses. Build on your strengths and neutralize your weaknesses. In conjunction with his new book, The Truth About You, he has launched a U.S. tour of universities around the nation to talk to young professionals about to embark on their career paths.
The Truth About You focuses on how you set your career up right—how do you start in such a way that you can push the world toward the best of you; learning to express the best of who you are. It incorporates a candid 20-minute enhanced DVD (a reworking of the effective Trombone Player Wanted film); an interactive book, which takes up where the film leaves off; and a reMemo Pad, a way of using the raw material of your week to clearly identify your strengths and weaknesses. The DVD alone is worth the price of the book.
Counter-intuitively, he writes, “Your strengths aren’t what you’re good at and your weaknesses aren’t what you’re bad at.” There are things that you are good at, but they drain you, even bore you. Strengths are not activities you’re necessarily good at, they’re activities that strengthen you. A strength is an activity that before you’re doing it you look forward to doing it; while you’re doing it, time goes by quickly and you can concentrate; after you’ve done it; it feels good to do it. A weakness is an activity that drains you or weakens you, even if you’re good at it.
Buckingham writes that you’ll never find the perfect job. You’ll need to build it—little by little—gradually.
Buckingham’s pragmatic application of these concepts is important. And the earlier in life you understand them and build on them the better. Hopefully Buckingham will now turn his attention to an educational system that overwhelmingly focuses on weaknesses and is not designed to encourage the development of student’s real strengths. All children have amazing talents and we squander them. We need to convert parents and teachers if we are to begin to abandon some of our counterproductive beliefs.
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