Thursday, April 24, 2008

HRPS: Marcus Buckingham on Strengths

Marcus Buckingham rallied the Day One HRPS crowd by talking about Strengths and how to leverage them. He’s a great speaker – engaging, humorous, lots of examples based on his data over the past 3 years. Most of his focus for this presentation was on how to invest time in your Strengths. First, to clarify his definition, Strengths are not just what you do best. A Strength is something you do well which you look forward to doing, enjoy while doing, and are energized after doing. It’s an interesting definition, that helps focus on a small number of items, rather than a long list of competencies.

According to Buckingham, using this definition of Strengths helps people identify how to shape their jobs. For example, if you ask people how much time they spend at work doing what they are most good at, the numbers are decreasing (17% in 2005 to 12% in 2007). But if you ask if they are engaged in their work once a week, or hit that state of flow where you lose track of time once a week, 80% of respondents say yes. So the question is, how do you increase that engagement to more than once a week.

Buckingham’s argument is that over time, you can shape your job to better fit your strengths. He's careful to note that this is a gradual process, not something that can happen overnight. But it's worth the investment: as the correlation between your job and your strengths increases, your engagement level goes up, and your job satisfaction will increase as well.

So, here’s the challenge: What are your strengths, and how can you leverage them in your current role? What is one change you can make today to increase the fit?

To learn more:
visit his site, or buy his book.

Photo credit: Mrs. Maze


James said...

For those of you who could not attend live here is clip of Marcus in action at another event.

Anonymous said...

I have another book to recommend, Your Child's Strengths by Jenifer Fox. It deals with helping our children grow and mature from encouragement rather than concentrating on their failings - revolutionary, wouldn't you say? Marcus Buckingham writes the forward, which is a great endorsement itself. So pick it up! It's great!