Marcus Buckingham is best known for his work on “strengths” – the idea that it is more productive to focus on a person’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. He shows that cultivating people’s strengths, rather than improving their weaknesses, is key to personal and organization success. Buckingham has spent a decade helping clients find and motivate their most talented employees. His work is supported by the largest study of its kind—nearly 80,000 interviews. The results reveal practices that oppose conventional wisdom when it comes to successful managerial behavior.
Subsequent books include Now, Discover Your Strengths, and Go Put Your Strengths to Work, and he has also created the Strengths Finder personal assessment tool. Success, according to Buckingham, comes from embracing what is unique about us as individuals and putting it to work. His other books include The One Thing You Need to Know and The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success.
His latest book, StandOut, is published with an online personal assessment, to help readers identify their top “strength roles” which, when combined, reveal their “edge” as a leader.
Find Your Edge: Win at Work
Excellence happens all the time in an organization, but it can be tricky to harness this excellence and make it work for you. So often, when companies try to reproduce what their best performers do differently, the result is just another lifeless policy that ends up constraining people instead of freeing them to do their best work. The trick is to help people put innovative ideas into practice without stifling the personal strengths that give them their edge. In this speech, Marcus presents a customized best practice delivery system for both managers and individual contributors. Using a simple, easy-to-remember scheme to identify each person’s unique combination of strengths, Marcus gives individuals tips and techniques on how to put their particular edge to use. And managers will get lots of raw material to be better coaches based on the specific strengths of their team members. At the end of the speech, you will know how to move beyond the one-size-fits-all approach and find those practices that are best for you.
What the World’s Best Managers Do Differently
What sets great companies apart? Survey data gathered over decades’ worth of interviews with thousands of managers and workers around the world reveals one simple truth: there are no great companies. Every company is made up of separate teams, and the performance of those teams, no matter how successful the company may be, varies widely. What makes the difference? The manager.
Managers play a significant role in creating an environment within which individuals can thrive, discover their talents and use their best selves daily. Great managers help people to identify and leverage their unique strengths.
Marcus will discuss the four key demands a manager must fulfill in order to provide the kind of environment that enables people to achieve peak performance on a regular basis: Select the right people for the right roles; Clarify expectations of the manager and of the employee; Engage team members by paying constant attention; and Accelerate performance by maximizing strengths and neutralizing weaknesses. In short, his presentation will address how great managers turn talents into performance.
During Marcus Buckingham’s 17 years with the Gallup Organization, he helped to guide groundbreaking research on the world’s best leaders, managers and workplaces. This research was used as a basis for his best-selling books First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths. His subsequent best-selling book Go Put Your Strengths to Work forms the foundation for the “Strengths-Driven Performance” keynote address.
Marcus will present key data from a number of different industries demonstrating the correlation between performance and engagement. He discusses the factors at play with engaged teams vs. disengaged teams, and drills down to the specific lever that research indicates most impacts engagement: the extent to which employees have the opportunity to play to their strengths. When employees have the opportunity to apply their greatest strengths at work, they turbocharge their careers and everybody wins. Companies find their employees are more productive and their teams are more effective. Despite this, research shows a majority of people do not fully use their strengths at work. Marcus will examine current corporate levels of engaging the strengths of employees and discuss the psychological and practical obstacles that can get in the way of creating a strengths-based organization. Throughout his presentation, he will offer a number of different strategies to support people in leveraging the best of themselves and others in the workplace.
The Difference between Great Managing and Great Leading
The many facets of great managing and great leading could be detailed endlessly, but Marcus Buckingham draws on a wealth of examples to uncover the single controlling insight that lies at the heart of each. Lose sight of this “one thing” and even your best efforts will be diminished or compromised. Success comes to those who remain mindful of the core insight, understand all
of its ramifications, and orient their decisions around it. Buckingham backs his arguments with authoritative research from a wide variety of sources, including his own data and in-depth interviews with individuals at every level of an organization, from CEOs to hotel maids and stockboys. He cuts through the thicket of often-conflicting possibilities and zeroes in on what matters most, revealing the surprisingly different keys to great managing and great leading.
Finding Your Strongest Life
In the four decades since the beginning of the modern women’s movement, women have secured greater opportunity, greater influence, greater independence, more free time, and more money. Despite all those important gains, however, longitudinal research indicates that women have become more unhappy, anxious, and stressed during that same time period, and that they get sadder as they get older (while men, in contrast, get happier as they age). Marcus Buckingham will explore the data behind the startling findings on women’s happiness and discuss the lessons to be learned from happy, successful women who buck the statistical trends.
MARCUS BUCKINGHAM’S BOOKS
In a workplace ruled by efficiency and competency, where do personal strengths fit in?
Marcus Buckingham has dedicated his career to addressing this complex issue. Using his nearly two decades of experience as a Senior Researcher at Gallup Organization, he has challenged entrenched preconceptions about achievement to get to the core of what drives success.
The definitive treatment of strengths in the workplace can be found in Buckingham’s best-selling books: First, Break All the Rules (coauthored with Curt Coffman; Simon & Schuster, 1999); Now, Discover Your Strengths (coauthored with Donald O. Clifton; The Free Press, 2001); The One Thing You Need to Know (The Free Press, 2005); Go Put Your Strengths To Work (The Free Press, 2007); The Truth About You (Thomas Nelson, 2008) and Find Your Strongest Life (Thomas Nelson, 2009).
His latest project is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller StandOut, a book and strengths assessment combination that uses a new research methodology to reveal your top two “strength Roles” — your areas of comparative advantage. StandOut goes beyond description to give people practical innovations that fit their strengths, and provide managers with quick insights on how to get the best from each of their team members.
The goal is to move companies toward greater success and productivity by creating a workplace in which employees spend more than 75% of each day on the job using their strongest skills and engaged in their favorite tasks, basically doing exactly what they want to do. Companies that focus on cultivating employees’ strengths rather than simply improving their weaknesses stand to dramatically increase efficiency while allowing for maximum personal growth.
If such a theory sounds revolutionary, that’s because it is. Buckingham calls it the “strengths revolution,” and he founded The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC) in 2005 to help jump-start a worldwide conversation about how to get people focused on their strengths.
As he addresses more than 250,000 people around the globe each year, Buckingham touts this strengths revolution as the key to finding the most effective route to personal achievement and the missing link to the efficiency, competence, and high performance for which companies constantly strive. He challenges conventional wisdom and shows the correlation between engaged employees and business fundamentals such as turnover rates, customer satisfaction, profits and productivity.
In his role as an author, independent consultant and speaker, Marcus Buckingham has been the subject of in-depth profiles in The New York Times, Fortune, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. He has appeared on numerous television programs, including “The Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and is routinely lauded by such corporations as Toyota, Coca-Cola, Master Foods, Wells Fargo, Microsoft and Disney as an invaluable resource in informing, challenging, mentoring and inspiring people to find their strengths and sustain long-lasting personal success.
Marcus Buckingham graduated from Cambridge University in 1987 with a master’s degree in social and political science.