Strengths Finder: Now Discover Your Strengths by Tom Rath is a primer on how to identify your strengths and apply them in a whole variety of unique contexts. The book opens with defining key strength areas simply. For example, individual people may be achievers, idea creators, adaptive, analytical, take-charge personalities, competitive, deliberative, empathetic or self assured.
Rath provides a formula wherein, talent x investment = strength. Merely having the talent is not enough. Each person needs to have that talent cultivated. There is a direct link between talent development and performance, according to Rath. College bound students can benefit from this analysis by finding out their individual talents so that these can be cultivated intelligently during the college experience.
Rath stresses the point that individual managers should identify strengths early so that the advantages in this area can be coordinated to benefit the team according. Too often, much time is wasted on fixing shortcomings instead of developing strengths and identifying other team members with compensating strengths to counterbalance weak areas. At bottom, people cannot be good at everything. The whole point behind teamwork is to manage individual talents and strong points so that individual weaknesses can be counterbalanced by cooperation to yield a more productive end result unachievable by the individual team members.
Rath poses the question as to whether or not each of us has the opportunity to do what we do best every day. Only then, can we arrive at strength in an area where there is raw uncultivated talent but not enough training to derive a meaningful yield from the innate talent.
For this reason, college and apprenticeship training are important interventions to reconcile this difference. Too often, natural talents go untapped. The emphasis is on making weaknesses into strength areas at the cost of exploiting our strengths to the fullest extent. Writer and management consultant Peter Drucker confirmed this truth when he said that “… A person can perform only from strength.”
Strengths Finder is an excellent tool for developing the strength areas all of us have through identifying our talents and cultivating them to the fullest. The presentation is easy to read with plenty of examples to illustrate the concepts enunciated by the author.