Are you playing to your strengths?

marcus_b_tv.jpgA couple of weeks ago while at PhotoPlus Expo, I was meeting with friend and client Dane Sanders. As we discussed inspiration for the video portion of his Fast Track Photographer project, he showed me a DVD by inspired thinker and Gallup Org veteran Marcus Buckingham. It’s called “Trombone Player Wanted,” and it’s all about the importance of playing to one’s strengths. Coincidentally, the day before, my wife was was asked by someone who her favorite contemporary thinkers are, and this person (an Apple executive) mentioned Marcus. So, to have that name come up twice in as many days was intriguing.

Dane said that the people behind the making of “Trombone Player”are the same people who produced the Nooma video series. So, I knew it was going to be good. And it is. My wife and I got it and I’ve recently finished watching the first disk. I’d like to share some key learnings you can take back to your business or job.


Marcus addresses three myths that are vital to understanding when working to become one of the 2 out of 10 people who feel like for the most part they play to their strengths at work.

  1. Myth 1: As you grow older, you change. Truth: As you grow older, you become more of who you really are. It doesn’t mean that you don’t mature and learn how to channel who you are, but it means that the innate aspects of your personality at 4 are the same ones you’ll have at 84.
  2. Myth 2: You will grow in areas where you are weakest. Truth: You will grow in areas where you are strongest. Marcus talks about true strengths being those things that strengthen and enliven you. Not just things you happen to be good at. You may be a great at bookkeeping, but if it drains the life out of you, it’s not a strength. You will grow in the areas are that are your true strengths, and that’s where you should put your energy.
  3. Myth 3: a great team member does whatever it takes to help the team.  Truth: a great team member volunteers his/her strengths to the team most of the time. You’ll be a better contributor to your organization if you’re given the freedom to improve your strengths and give to the team all you have in areas where you’re the strongest. A star quarterback does his team no good if he fills in for the defensive end every now and then. He will help the team best if he continues to grow, excel, and give to the team all his energy at throwing, passing, leading, and calling plays.

Given these myths and truths, I’m committed to outsourcing and delegating anything I can that doesn’t play to my strengths, which for me are interacting with people, creativity, motivational leadership, and business development.

What are your true strengths, and how will you work on them this week?

4 thoughts on “Are you playing to your strengths?

  1. Ron… love it! Great thoughts, man. My wife and I read “Now Discover Your Strengths” – it’s been SO great for us. And like you, I’m realizing what things I need to delegate because they take the life out of me.

    Nice props for the Nooma stuff, too. Love those guys and what they’re doing.

  2. Stoked for you guys. Not just because you expose yourselves to such great ideas, thinking and creativity … but because you do something with it. You treat learning as instrumental to doing. Inspirational.

    I feel strong when I start things and when I accomplish things. This makes for a tough combination in the middle :-). Good reason to know that and fight to make process great! With partners like you that almost always happens. Stoked on you guys and all you do.


  3. Ron, thanks for the introduction to Marcus….I just spent the last hour reviewing his website and videos. I also ordered “Trombone Player Wanted”….

    Take care,


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