You are previewing Play to Your Strengths.
O'Reilly logo
Play to Your Strengths

Book Description

“With Play to Your Strengths, Andrea and Carol are opening doors for leaders to find greater satisfaction and success by applying a new philosophy of professional development.”

—Lois Peters Vallerga, FACHE, former vice president of organization development, St. Charles Medical Center and Cascade Healthcare Community

Even savvy organizations can make big mistakes, like expending precious resources of time, money, and energy to repair a leader’s weaknesses, only to achieve...mediocrity. No leader achieves greatness by fixing a weakness; strengths lead to excellence.

Based on their combined 50 years consulting to corporations, the authors turn the ineffective and misguided “weakness” paradigm topsy-turvy and build a compelling argument for boosting strengths in all leaders. When leaders leverage their strengths, they are enormously successful and incite engaged, productive, and successful employees.

Leaders and managers—whose plates are already overflowing with priorities, rising expectations, and critical problems—are neither inspired nor motivated to overcome weaknesses, especially when the payoff is negligible. Play to Your Strengths urges leaders to discover, engage, and leverage strengths—in themselves and others—to achieve spectacular results. This is the first book providing hands-on, practical tools to identify and amplify strengths to improve engagement, high performance, and satisfaction. This new system for developing leadership capacity builds self-esteem as it assists organizations in creating employee-development strategies that really work.

Play to Your Strengths will captivate leaders and managers who crave stellar performance and fascinate anyone who brings passion, fervor, and a desire for excellence to his or her leadership, whether in a Fortune 100 giant or a small start-up. The reality is that we already possess strengths; we just need to play to them!

Andrea Sigetich, President of SageCoach Inc., is a leadership consultant and executive coach with more than 4,000 hours of individual coaching experience. After a stellar international career in leadership development at General Electric, Digital Equipment and Novell, Sigetich founded SageCoach to work with top firms like Federal Express, Lotus, HP, AMD, Choice Hotels, Clorox, and eBay. She lives in Bend, Oregon.

Carol Leavitt, MBA, is the founder of Leadership @ Work, a management consulting and executive coaching firm based in St. George, UT. Leavitt has 20 years experience working with diverse clients, including Seagate Technology, Fidelity Investments, SkyWest Airlines, and Intermountain Health Care. She has spoken on leadership strategy for such organizations as SHRM, AMA, and Women in Communication and teaches at the University of Utah and the University of Phoenix

Table of Contents

  1. Epigraph
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Dedication
  6. Acknowledgements
  7. HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
  8. Introduction
  9. A POKER PRIMER
  10. CHAPTER ONE - PAT HAND: PLAYING THE CARDS YOU’RE DEALT
    1. Exploiting Strengths
    2. The Tough Truth
    3. The Myth of Well-Roundedness
    4. The Strengths Revolution
    5. Strengths—The Payoff for Individuals
    6. Strengths—The Payoff for Organizations
    7. What About Weakness?
    8. Weakness: The Curse of Development Plans
    9. The Heretics Speak
    10. The Sea and the Desert
    11. Pat Hand
  11. CHAPTER TWO - DEALER’S CHOICE: NAMING THE GAME YOU’LL PLAY
    1. Your 21ST Birthday
    2. But I’m 41, not 21.
    3. Michael
    4. The Burden of Strengths Knowledge
    5. Bold Action
    6. Maturing Into Our Strengths
    7. Ah-Ha! in the Kitchen
    8. Dealer’s Choice
  12. CHAPTER THREE - DISCARDS: KNOWING WHEN TO HOLD ’EM OR FOLD ’EM
    1. The World’s Best Cyclist
    2. Discarding Your Weak Cards
    3. Two Types of Weaknesses: Low-Impact and High-Impact
    4. Find Your Two of Diamonds and Four of Hearts
    5. How to Manage a Low-Impact Weakness
    6. How to Manage a High-Impact Weakness
    7. Not Everything Is a Nail
    8. Weaknesses: Just for the Fun of It
    9. One Final Strategy: Build a Round Team
  13. CHAPTER FOUR - SHOWDOWN: PLAYING FOR HIGH STAKES
    1. Becoming a More Potent Player
    2. High Beams
    3. Narrow Your Focus and Expand Your Sight
    4. Bumblebees
    5. Is a New Job Required?
    6. A Crucial Overlap
    7. Showdown—Playing for High Stakes
  14. CHAPTER FIVE - ANTE UP: BUILDING THE KITTY
    1. Red Ink
    2. The Processes of People Management
    3. Hiring
    4. The Right Player With the Right Strengths in the Right Position
    5. Self-Employment, Self-Fulfillment?
    6. Managing Performance
    7. SMART Goals
    8. Delegating to Build Strength
    9. The “GRASP” Model of Delegating
    10. 100-Percent Responsibility
    11. Celebrate...Celebrate... Dance to the Music!
    12. Development
  15. CHAPTER SIX - ACE IN THE HOLE: UNCOVERING HIDDEN STRENGTHS
    1. Success Story: Recognizing Strengths
    2. What Is Coaching?
    3. “Being” a Coach
    4. “Doing” Coaching
    5. A Road Map: Coaching Using the GROW Model
    6. Coaching, Ever Expanding
    7. Back to That Hammer-and-Nail Conversation…
    8. Ace in the Hole
  16. CHAPTER SEVEN - DOLLY PARTON: COMPLETING THE 9-TO-5 STRAIGHT
    1. Strong Team Foundation
    2. Gumby Team Leaders
    3. The Team Development Clock
    4. A Path for the Team
    5. Improving Team Communication
    6. Advocacy
    7. Inquiry
    8. Uncover Team Strengths
    9. Coaching a Team to Strengths
    10. Dolly Parton—Completing the 9-to-5 Straight
  17. CHAPTER EIGHT - GO ALL IN: COMMITTING THE FULL HOUSE
    1. Job, Career, or Calling?
    2. Systems That Attract, Acquire, and Onboard
    3. Systems That Manage Performance
    4. Systems That Develop Capability
    5. Leadership: The Most Important People System Lever
    6. Culture
    7. Go All In
  18. CHAPTER NINE - ROYAL FLUSH: PLAYING YOUR BEST HANDIN THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME
    1. What Is Your Calling?
    2. Mentoring
    3. Serving Your Community
    4. Leaving a Legacy
    5. Life Purpose
    6. Play to Your Strengths: Your Royal Flush
  19. NOTES
  20. BIBLIOGRAPHY
  21. ABOUT THE AUTHORS