Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Find Your Strengths

Already, May is here, so of course that means it is time for another one of Don Kardux's smart book reports.  This one is sure to interest you.  Read Don's stuff below:

"It naturally follows that because last month I focused on Marcus Buckingham's book "First, Break all the Rules" I should this month focus on Buckingham's "Now, Discover Your Strengths".

And I will.
Of all the tools I use to help those in organizations, for and not for profit, this book and the test are the most useful.

From the introduction, "Guided by the belief that good is the opposite of bad, mankind has for centuries pursued it's fixation with fault and failing. Doctors have studied disease in order to learn about health. Psychologists have investigated sadness in order to learn about joy. Therapists have looked into the causes of divorce in order to learn about happy marriage. And in schools and the workplaces around the world, each one of us has been encouraged to identify, analyze, and correct our weaknesses to become strong.
This advice is well intended but misguided. Faults and failings deserve study, but they reveal little about strengths. Strengths have their own patterns."

This focus on strengths is the result of over thirty years of study from the Gallup Organization and involved over two million interviews.

The result is this excellent tool.

In order to use this tool it is helpful to understand some of the patterns of strengths and that is what Buckingham does in this book's fine linear organization. Each chapter is a building block leading us to the test and the application of managing those with clearly defined strengths.

From looking at "The Anatomy of a Strength" to "Discovering the Source of Your Strengths" and through "Put Strengths to Work" this excellent book leads us to a revolutionary approach to helping people get better at what they do.

And it's entertaining, with wonderfully illustrative references to, Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, Cole Porter, The Investor, The Director, The Skin Doctor and The Editor to mention a few.
Gallop has identified thirty-four strengths and has provided a test where a person can identify their five top strengths.

You buy the book and in the dustcover's spine is a series of letters and numbers which are a key you can use to take the test on the internet.

Chapter four identifies each strength with a descriptive paragraph and follows with clarifying examples which show what that strength "Sounds Like".

For those of us dedicated to helping the leadership team of a company become more effective the strongest tool in the book begins on page 176 the second part of Chapter 6 "Managing Strengths" .  This powerful section is called 'One by One' and what it does is to answer the question, "How do I manage a person strong in ... (one of the 34)?"

Wow! Practical, useful and it works.

If you are or know a person who would like to improve in helping others this is a wonderful book.
In fact, if you discover your five strengths you could learn how to better manage yourself.
What a concept.
Here are my five top strengths.

  • ·         Maximizer

  • ·          Strategic

  • ·         WOO

  • ·         Self-Assurance

  • ·         Ideation

If you read this book you might learn how to better manage me. (Debby's note:  Now that would be a miracle!)

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Don't Let Anyone Invade!

I have this beautiful and annoying Cardinal outside my window.  His gorgeous plumage is nice to see this time of year when everything is still brown in Ohio, but there is a downside.  He sees himself reflected in our windows and thinks that another bird is invading his territory. Hence he spends a good part of his day attacking that gosh darn bird.  A very imaginary threat.

Sometimes we humans act the same way.  We see or hear someone that resembles us in what we do and we get our feather ruffled because of this imagined threat.  We  try to scare that  person away with our antics.  But like the window, it is probably not an effective strategy!

If I could only talk to the bird, I would tell him, "Hey Red, you're going to knock yourself out hitting the glass.  Then there will be a real threat, because "Kitty" might be lurking around the corner."
  Or if Kitty is inside, the wild coyote might be sneaking around the yard.  A red bird would be a nice lunch for either.

It's the same thing with us humans.  When we pay attention to stuff that doesn't matter, we miss other opportunities that may be even bigger and more profitable.

So are you hitting the window?  If so, how is that working for you?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April's Riveting Book Report from Don

I always look forward each month to Don Kardux's book report because he always bring such great books and knows how to give us just enough about them to make us want to read them.  He's done it again for April.

It was about eleven years after I started Business Navigators that I read chapter 5 and suddenly it all made sense.

It's the third key. And that focus has more power than almost anything else.

One day Marcus Buckingham said to his boss, "I wonder if the Harvard Business School's rules for Managers still are valid?"

His boss said, "How would you find out?"

Marcus replied, "Well, I'd interview some successful Managers and they would tell me."

Marcus' boss was Donald O'Clifton, the head of the Gallop poll organization with enormous interviewing resources who said, "Good Idea, Go Ahead".

Over eighty thousand Managers in more than four hundred companies were interviewed.

What did Buckingham discover about 'The Rules for Managers'?   The title of his book says it all, "First, break all the rules".

Great managers concentrate on four keys after they understand this 'Revolutionary Insight'.

·        People don't change that much

·        Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out

·        Try to draw out what was left in

·        That is hard enough

The first key: Select for Talent

The second key: Define the Right Outcomes

The third key: Focus on Strengths

The fourth key: Find the right fit.

It's that third key that clarified my focus in consulting.  I have been behaving that way since before I started this business. But, Buckingham's chapter five and his following book, "Now, Discover Your Strengths" supported, with facts, something I really believe. Multiplying a person's strengths is more valuable than trying to reduce their weaknesses and oh yes, a lot more fun!

There is so much of value in this book.  Chapter seven: 'Turning the Keys: A Practical Guide' is a wonderful summary and call for action.   I've used the twelve questions, first mentioned in Chapter 1, with many of the companies I've served. Those questions are remarkable and the answers from those associates are extremely telling and most useful.

I've had to purchase new copies of this book over three times because they keep wearing out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I got a little uncomfortable at an event the other night.  It was an all-women's event.  I used to be biased against all-women's groups, because the ones I attended seemed to be a bit "fluffy" for me.  But my friend, Jenn Wenzke, founder of So Now, a one gender networking group, has changed my mind.  But I digress.

This group did something that I felt very uncomfortable about.  They bashed men.  I don't think bashing is appropriate no matter who it is about.  There are segments of our our world that have been verbally bashed -- blondes, through blonde jokes and polish people in the same way.  Those are two right at the top of my list and you can probably add others.  I think that when people deliver this verbal abuse, that it says a lot about them.  And it's not good.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Surface is Just the Beginning

Recently I presented a talk about developing relationships within an association.  Keep in mind that an association can be a weird animal when it comes to networking.  Because, by its definition, it is a group of people who do the same thing, then each member can look at the other as competition.  So my talk was about how the linked connections between members could strengthen all of them.  Near the end I asked the group to pick partners to perform an exercise that I provided, which would help them to initiate conversation to get to know each other.

At the end of the exercise I asked for volunteers to share what they had discovered about each other.  Immediately, two men right up front offered to share!  One was a young and fit and the other was definitely on the other side! The younger of the two was so excited about his new friend!  He found out, in just a few minutes I allowed, that the older gentleman was a retired professor and that he has two PhDs, one in Latin, no less!  The older gent, asked simply, "How do I stop talking about myself?"

Great question!  But before I could interject, the younger guy said, "There was no way I was going to let him stop talking, he was way too interesting and I wanted to find out more!"

I am sure that those two will now feel more comfortable at the monthly meetings of this organization.  Their connection could help each of them in the future in ways that they can't fathom now. 

What's the most interesting connection you have made within one of your groups?

Monday, March 09, 2015


I just have to write about this. 

My friend, Deanna Tucci Schmitt, now a yoga teacher, used to be a wonderfully successful sales person.  She had a technique that I think she called "ambushing them in the entry".  Or something similar.  It went like this:  If she was in a prospect's office and they seemed interested in buying from her, but currently were a customer of Deanna's competition, Deanna would ask the client what they thought if when they called the current vendor to cancel that the vendor tried to give a better price or better deal.  "How do you feel about that, " Deanna would innocently ask.  Of course, the prospect would be horrified that they weren't getting the best deal already.  Deanna would leave the prospect knowing that she probably had the upper hand on the old vendor.  And her prospect would become her client.

Good ambush!

So now I have to tell you about other types of ambushing.

Ambush #1

I was at a networking event this week and at the end, I was accosted by someone who came right up to me and pushed some products in my face and said that she wanted me to try these products.  I declined... nicely but firmly because I wasn't interested in the product.  This person lost an opportunity to just allow me to get to know her and maybe even suggest that we meet for coffee where of course I would try to figure out other ways I could help.  But of course I was on the defensive and didn't mention that.

Ambush # 2

This morning I was at the post office early, as I needed to mail a package.  I was using the self-mailing station, when this woman came up to me and said, "Do you have a home church?"  I told her no.  She said, "Well, would you like to come to mine?"  I told her no.  I went on with my mailing chore.  Then as a completed my task, she again said, "Well, would you like this tract, " as she offered a piece of paper to me.  I again told her no. I have to give her credit that she didn't give up, but honestly, give me a break.

In both situations, one networking and the other just going about my business, I had not entered
into these situations to buy.  And I'll bet if I approached both of those two and extended a registration form for my course and said, "Here sign along the dotted line and give me your credit card," that they night have taken a step back.

What are your thoughts on this?