Tom Rath is probably best known for his best-selling books, including StrengthsFinder, How Full is Your Bucket?, and Strengths Based Leadership, but he’s also a researcher who studies the role of human behavior in business, health, and well-being.
Many of Rath’s writings are based on the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment program, which seeks to identify people’s strengths, so they can utilize them to work, lead and live engaging careers and lives.
His writings have greatly influenced how I run my business, and how I work with my clients.
I’ve begun providing the StrengthsFinder assessment to my clients so that we can build a strategic growth programs based on their strengths.
Here are 10 great quotes from Tom that get to the heart of his philosophy and teachings:
1. “From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to our shortcomings than to our strengths.”
2. “If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything. While our society encourages us to be well-rounded, this approach inadvertently breeds mediocrity. Perhaps the greatest misconception of all is that of the well-rounded leader.”
3. “What great leaders have in common is that each truly knows his or her strengths — and can call on the right strength at the right time.”
4. “The key to human development is building on who you already are.”
5. “When we’re able to put most of our energy into developing our natural talents, extraordinary room for growth exists. So, a revision to the ‘You-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be’ maxim might be more accurate: You cannot be anything you want to be — but you can be a lot more of who you already are.”
6. “Talent (a natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving) × Investment (time spent practicing, developing your skills, and building your knowledge base) = Strength (the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance)”
7. “The most successful people start with dominant talent — and then add skills, knowledge, and practice to the mix. When they do this, the raw talent actually serves as a multiplier.”
8. “It appears that the epidemic of active disengagement we see in workplaces every day could be a curable disease…if we can help the people around us develop their strengths.”
9. “At its fundamentally flawed core, the aim of almost any learning program is to help us become who we are not.”
10. “What’s more, we had discovered that people have several times more potential for growth, when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”