Unknown-1I haven’t heard Marcus Buckingham in almost 10 years, but remember being astonished as he led us through his Strengths Finders material. “A Strength is not something you are good at. A strength is something that when you do it, you feel strong.” 

Whoa. Here he is again in 2017 and he was again outstanding and provocative. 

– If you study bad and invert it, you get not bad. So study ‘good’ if you want to learn about good.  Excellence has its own configuration. You learn more from success by studying success, not trying to invert failures.

– A leader’s job: build more teams like your most amazing team. Marcus had us think about the great teams we have served on and the terrible teams we have served on and then dropped that simple bomb on us. 

– Speaking of provocative, do we need to talk about the decision to wear a hoodie over a crisp white dress shirt, but under a fancy sports coat? 

– Useful Questions for Staff feedback

  1. i am really enthusiastic about the mission of my organization
  2. At work I clearly understand what is expected of me
  3. I have a chance to use my strengths everyday at work
  4. I am surrounded by people who share my values
  5. My team mates have back
  6. I know I will be recognized for my excellent work
  7. I have great confidence in my organization’s future
  8. In my work I am always challenged to grow

I think this pic of his slide will help:


– People want two things:

  1. make me feel part of sleeting bigger than me
  2. Make me feel special. Make me feel that you know me.

– People want to be part of something universal and they need to feel unique.

The questions in the pic don’t ask the person to review their boss. This is because humans are notoriously unreliable at evaluating other humans. Marcus then went on a rather hilarious and accurate rant about why staff evaluations that use a number rating system are so bad, essentially they say more about the rater than the ratee. He then showed data on an instrument called “The Nine Box Grid” and it took me a full 5 minutes to let go of the fact that it had 16 boxes. Why, Lord WHY?????

– We have known for the last 40 years that people can’t reliably rate other people. We are unconsciously biased in the indiosyncratic pattern of our rating.

– Buckingham’s article on this very phenomenon in here. I can’t vouch for how many boxes will be in his 9 box grid, but I’m guessing it will be at least 16.

Best weekly question to ask your staff: ‘What are your priorities this week and how can I help?’

– A year is 52 little sprints. Really? Is several mini sprints the best way to understand your work? Contra Buckingham, Eugene Peterson says it is a long obedience in the same direction. I suppose both are helpful. 

– If you don’t want to do this and this seems boring to you, that’s fine, just don’t lead. Lol. Buckingham had, once again, fantastic leadership nuggets.

– What if the purpose of work? It is to discover that which you love. Sounds like what Solomon says in Ecclesiastes.

I haven’t heard Buckingham in years. I have the same reaction that I had the first time – dude is legit and genius and concrete.

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