By Rath Tom
By Rath Tom
Tom Rath and Barry Conchie are both global consultants in leadership and strengths development who currently work under the auspices of Gallup, the renowned survey, research, and consulting institute. Both are globally sought-after experts in business and leadership development, and Rath, aside from his co-authorship with Conchie of Strengths-Based Leadership, has written three other best-selling books on the subjects of leadership, strengths development, and well-being. Rath, who graduated from the Universities of Michigan and Pennsylvania, has been with Gallup for eighteen years and currently functions as their Global Practice Leader. Conchie served as a public sector leader in Britain before joining Gallup in 2002, where he now heads their executive leadership consulting division.
Strengths-Based Leadership is Rath and Conchie’s detailed and organized presentation of the results of several significant and extensive research projects conducted by Gallup and others over a period of decades. The first was a thirty-year study on the topic of strengths, inspired and led by psychologist Dr. Donald Clifton, that culminated in the development of the StrengthsFinder test, released to the public over ten years ago. The second project was Gallup’s long-term research on leadership, including interviews with tens of thousands of leaders and followers and over one million work teams. Additional relevant information included a twenty-five-year study on confidence by psychologists Tim Judge and Clarice Hurst, whose findings were later confirmed by Gallup in separate similar studies. Finally, there are Rath and Conchie’s own interviews of current leaders who have made a significant impact. Rath and Conchie have used their own extensive knowledge and experience to put this information together into a coherent and useful form. Since the test’s introduction to the public, several million people have taken and profited from it through the process of discovering and honing their natural talents, and there is no doubt that it will continue to benefit many.
Strengths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie is a detailed description of the elements that constitute Gallup’s StrengthsFinder test, which was designed to help people discover and maximize their top strengths for the purpose of significantly improving their own and their organizations’ success levels. The initial idea was conceived in the 1950s by psychologist Donald Clifton, who decided to investigate the opposite approach to psychology’s then dominant tendency to emphasize illness and weakness. Over the years, he and his associates, including the Gallup team, devised and refined the StrengthsFinder test, which was based on millions of interviews of both leaders and followers and which has helped an equally large number of people worldwide. Organizations and teams employing the test and its recommendations have consistently experienced significant growth in productivity, profitability, and both employee and customer satisfaction.
The StrengthsFinder concept includes four main leadership domains—executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking—which are further subdivided into thirty-four themes. The test, which is based on findings that the best leaders are highly focused rather than generalized in their approach, helps individuals to pinpoint their five strongest themes, which they then utilize to maximum advantage in building their immediate team and larger organization. The wisest leaders build well-rounded teams which complement both the leader’s and team’s strengths and shortcomings.
Gallup also found through its extensive interviews of followers that they had a consistent set of basic expectations of their leaders. These involved four main categories: trust, compassion, stability (or security), and hope. The section of the book describing the thirty-four themes shows in detail how each theme can be used to foster these four main follower needs. It further shows how leaders can productively guide team members possessing the same strengths as their own.
With these general categories and themes in mind, Rath and Conchie interviewed four successful leaders. In Part 2, they use these interviews to illustrate in detail what these somewhat abstract concepts might look like in action. The section brings to life one of the main points of the book: that success wears many faces and that the road there can be just as varied. What all four interviews have in common, though, is the repeatedly affirmed concept that fostering strengths creates an optimism, energy, and satisfaction on all parts that inevitably brings with it productivity, engagement, and success on a variety of levels, including the bottom line.
The second part of the “Additional Resources” section (the first part being the descriptions of the thirty-four themes) focuses on Gallup’s research techniques as well as some additional findings. It is divided into three segments that 1. give a detailed account of how the StrengthsFinder test was created and refined; 2. go into more depth about what sorts of conditions enable teams to thrive; and 3. reiterate much of the material on why people follow. One of the striking characteristics of the research is its consistency over time and a wide variety of cultures; but rather than rest on its laurels, Gallup continues to perpetually extend and refine its researches to include thousands of newer fine points and a truly global database.
Tom Rath, who has been with Gallup for almost twenty years, is the institute’s Global Practice Leader, a global consultant, and the best-selling author of several books on the topic of strengths-based leadership and personal and workplace development and well-being. His co-author Barry Conchie, who joined Gallup in 2002, brought with him the same leadership and performance expertise from his experience as a public sector leader in Great Britain.
The following definition is for those unfamiliar with the name Gallup since, though not a person, it features prominently as an entity in Strengths-Based Leadership and is intimately associated with both authors’ careers. Gallup is the worldwide research and consulting institute which is known for its surveys and which has made significant contributions to the general good in the public, business, and other sectors.
Dr. Donald Clifton (1924-2003), called the Father of Strengths Psychology and a pioneer in leadership studies, spent his life researching the motivations of both leaders and followers. Clifton first questioned psychology’s negative bent as a young man in the early 1950s, and together with his academic associates and Gallup, who interviewed tens of thousands of leaders and followers, he helped to develop and refine the StrengthsFinder test that would enable millions to improve both their own lives and their organizations’ quality and productivity.
Psychologists Tim Judge and Charlice Hurst of the University of Florida are the authors of a 25-year study on the long-term effects of self-confidence, correlated by Gallup with the early discovery and development of personal talents. The study, which was conducted from 1979-2004, found increasingly significant differences over time in income, job satisfaction, and health between those who demonstrated and those who lacked confidence.
Wendy Kopp is the founder and leader of Teach for America, whose mission is to equalize educational opportunities for underserved youth across the nation. From the beginning, Kopp determined to accept only the best teaching candidates to fulfill this goal, in the process making Teach for America one of the most sought-after jobs for young graduates as well as one of the most successful non-profits in the country.
Simon Cooper served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Ritz-Carlton for nine years from 2001 to 2010. Under Cooper’s leadership, the Ritz-Carlton not only improved its stellar service rating from 95 to 98 percent but expanded its offerings to include exclusive private residences and timeshares, resulting in significant growth for the company. Cooper prided himself on making a difference not only in his guest’s experiences but in the lives of Ritz-Carlton employees and their families.
As President and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank from 2001 to 2006, Mervyn Davies consciously incorporated the StrengthsFinder approach into building and maximizing his worldwide team of more than 70,000 employees. Davies fostered the people aspect of business and banking at a time when other banks were emphasizing automation, and he focused on building the Asian market before it became a general trend. The result, in addition to satisfied and committed employees, was that Standard Chartered was able to successfully navigate what for many other banks was a time of financial disaster.
Brad Anderson brought a childlike curiosity and passion for learning to his leadership of Best Buy. Anderson began as a sales associate, working his way up to Chief Executive Officer in 2002 until his retirement in 2009. Together with the company’s founder Dick Schulze, Anderson helped to reshape Best Buy’s business model to make it one of the most successful electronics retail stores in the industry.
Rath and Conchie cite Hampton Hotel’s Phil Cordell as an example of a leader who successfully encouraged mutual communication, cooperation, and respect among his team, enabling him to remove himself from daily operations so that he could take the company to the international level. Their success is mirrored in Hampton’s consistent top award-winning status.
Founder of Best Buy, Richard (Dick) Schulze, together with Brad Anderson, rethought and reworked Best Buy’s business model in order to counteract its lagging sales. The new model, based in part on supermarket retail practices, eliminated commissions and made sure that items were in stock. Other outlets soon followed suit, with the result being that Schulze and Anderson changed the face of retail.
Horst Schulze’s retirement from the presidency of the Ritz-Carlton in 2001 did not last long. Having announced to his family that he would go right back into the same career, he rethought his approach and decided to take luxury to the next level. Now head of the ultra-luxurious Capella Hotel Group, he still maintains his ideals of warmth, humanity, simplicity, and commitment in both his personal and professional life.
The StrengthsFinder test was designed to help people discover and maximize their top talents for the purpose of significantly improving their own and their organizations’ success levels. The initial idea was conceived by psychologist Donald Clifton who, together with his academic and Gallup-related associates, devised and refined the test from tens of thousands of interviews of both leaders and followers worldwide. Based on findings that the best leaders are highly focused with a strong complementary team, the test helps individuals to pinpoint their five strongest themes, which they then use to maximum advantage in building their immediate team and larger organization. Those who have used the test have experienced accelerated growth in the areas of productivity, profitability, satisfaction, and overall success levels. StrengthsFinder 2.0 is the new, improved version of the test.
The StrengthsFinder concept is based on the notion that building individual and organizational strengths is vastly more productive than fixing weaknesses. The value of this approach lies to some extent in its view that all traits have their advantages if approached and utilized appropriately and that all individuals have something to offer. What might be a weakness in one set of circumstances may be a strength in another; or what might be viewed as a failing can, under the same conditions, be translated into a strength simply by understanding and accepting its value and role in the larger scheme of things.
Through their studies, Gallup has found that concentrating on positive abilities rather than on weaknesses has proven to be a key ingredient in maximizing self-confidence, satisfaction, health, and professional and financial success. Psychologist Donald Clifton defined talents as those qualities appearing early in life which are characterized by desire, ease and rapidity of comprehension, gratification, and a sense of timelessness. When combined with further learning and development, they become strengths, recognizable by the consistent ability to produce exceptional results. Rath and Conchie mention that, though the test’s name is “StrengthsFinder,” it in fact refers to natural talents as defined above.
Closely related to recognizing, appreciating, and building strengths is confidence, which has been found to be an essential ingredient in rapid, consistent, and ongoing progress and well-being. The authors Rath and Conchie detail how University of Florida psychologists Tim Judge and Clarice Hurst conducted a 25-year-long study that revealed how people with high degrees of self-confidence—which the authors interpreted as finding and developing their strengths early on—achieved a much higher income at a faster rate in addition to greater job satisfaction and overall health relative to their less confident counterparts. Similarly, teams whose leadership focused on their strengths were far more engaged, productive, and happy, resulting in much faster growth rates for the organization.
Gallup has found through its extensive worldwide interviews that the best leaders tend to be highly focused rather than well-rounded individuals. They know their own strengths and weaknesses and make no attempt to imitate others, no matter how impressive; rather, they work within the parameters of their own gifts and tendencies. To compensate for their “weak” points (the notion of “strong” and “weak” points being largely context-related), they surround themselves with a well-rounded team of talented individuals whom they in turn position in appropriate roles according to their strengths. In this way, the organization is able to successfully deal with a variety of situations.
The StrengthsFinder concept includes four main leadership domains—executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking—which are further subdivided into thirty-four themes. Gallup has found through their researches that the best leaders are highly focused while the best teams have a good balance of all four broad categories.
Following are the descriptions of these four leadership domains:
Executing The doers and organizers; those who transform an idea into a tangible reality
Influencing The commanders, sellers, and motivators
Relationship building The relaters, connecters, mentors, and fosterers—one of the most essential sets of strengths for maintaining a unified team
Strategic thinking The analyzers and visionaries
The thirty-four “themes” that form the basis of the StrengthsFinder concept are descriptions of the specific talents themselves. Each talent (called “strengths”) fits under one of the four domains described above as follows:
Executing: Achiever, arranger, belief, consistency, deliberative, discipline, focus, responsibility, restorative
Influencing: Activator, command, communication, competition, maximizer, self-assurance, significance, woo
Relationship building: Adaptability, developer, connectedness, empathy, harmony, includer, individualization, positivity, relator
Strategic thinking: Analytical, context, futuristic, ideation, input, intellection,
Each theme description suggests ways of fulfilling the four main follower expectations through the use of the specific strength in question, followed by tips for fostering those with the same strength.
Gallup’s interviews of 10,000 randomly selected individuals between the years 2005 and 2008 focused on the question of why people follow. The interviews provided open-ended questions with one-word answers and emphasized positive leadership with significant day-to-day effects. The results were surprisingly consistent despite the fact that the questions had no leading elements, the four most cited answers being trust, compassion, stability, and hope. Following are some more detailed definitions of each item:
TRUST – Primarily defined as honesty, trust also includes respect and integrity and is a key factor in distinguishing strong teams from weak ones in addition to being a significant determinant of employee involvement.
COMPASSION – Compassion can be expressed as caring, love, friendship, and happiness. The presence of compassion has a significant effect on loyalty, productivity, profitability, and both employee and customer engagement.
STABILITY – On the most basic level, this refers to a financially solid future and the ability to meet employees’ basic needs. The concept of stability is also expressed as strength, security, peace, and support.
HOPE – Described as guidance, faith, and direction, this was the most future-oriented quality. Gallup believes that the simple act of initiating by a leader, as opposed to merely responding, creates hope by demonstrating that the leader is in charge.
Having a strong team ideally means having a team that can operate effectively apart from the presence of the leader. This implies a high enough level of trust that the team can broach issues and resolve problems on its own. The key to this is to focus on and foster each individual’s strengths. Teams accustomed to a competitive rather than an appreciative and cooperative approach limit their growth potential until they openly review and revamp the habitual interaction among team members. Mutual trust and self-reliance within the team frees the leader from constantly having to be available to resolve issues, enabling the organization to move ahead at a much faster pace.
From its four decades of study of the ingredients of a strong team, Gallup has deduced that great teams:
Gallup’s extensive research on team engagement, regardless of size, yielded the following twelve points as primary factors guaranteeing team involvement:
Three additional points guaranteeing maximum commitment and productivity are: respect by top management towards employees; financial stability of the organization; and faith in the company leadership.
The introduction to Rath’s and Conchie’s Strengths-Based Leadership begins by reminding us of the long-term legacy of great leadership and that the true effect of leaders is measured above all in their followers. After interviewing tens of thousands of leaders and followers all over the world, Gallup deduced several main points:
The second major section of the book discusses the details of Gallup’s StrengthsFinder program and includes access to an online assessment test that helps the reader to find and maximize his or her own strengths—the starting point of all outstanding leadership. Gallup found that a surprising number of people take on a leadership role at some point in their lives; but whether a person is in a leadership or follower role, the information in this book can be of great value in discovering and maximizing individual strengths, resulting in success on many levels for all involved.
Part 1 of Strengths-Based Leadership is a summary of the main theme of the book, which is that great leaders, though they may be radically different from each other in many ways, tend to have one thing in common: they know their strengths, and they continually focus on honing and improving them rather than on fixing their weaknesses. Those in leadership positions who try to lead by emulating other leaders, no matter how admirable and successful, end in relative failure; while those leaders who accept their uniqueness, making no effort to imitate or fix weaknesses but concentrating on harnessing their own and others’ strengths to accomplish their goals, often earn a distinguished place in history.
The well-roundedness so often missing from the personalities of great leaders is usually present in their teams, and here again Gallup found that both individuals and teams flourished when those who led them focused on developing their strengths. Unfortunately, relatively few people in the world have the opportunity to regularly participate in activities that develop their strong points. According to Gallup’s 2007 database of international statistics, even countries with the highest percentages of workers whose jobs emphasized their strengths, showed figures totaling no more than roughly a third of the population—36% in India, 32% in the United States, and 30% in Canada. Where this does happen, though, the rate of growth and satisfaction is eight times that of a company or team that neglects this simple principle. Conversely, groups whose leadership ignores this element suffer from demoralization and lack of engagement, resulting in low productivity and a lack of job satisfaction.
University of Florida psychologists Tim Judge and Charlice Hurst confirmed the importance of self-confidence in a 25-year-long study of 7660 young people aged 14 to 22. The study began in 1979, and of the people interviewed, those who showed high degrees of self-confidence—which the authors interpret as finding and developing their strengths early on—had by the end of the study in 2004 achieved much higher salaries and greater job satisfaction than their counterparts. Even their overall health had improved, with the confident group showing fewer health problems in 2004 than at the beginning of the study. The study was also impressed by the rate of increase in the salaries of self-confident participants, which began with an average of a little less than $3500 a year above that of the less confident group but increased at a rate of almost $13,000 per year. When Gallup conducted similar studies, they received comparable results which included a definite correlation between confidence, the awareness and development of personal strengths, and the level of success experienced.
To summarize, the conclusion drawn by the Gallup—and, therefore, Rath and Conchie, whose careers are intimately intertwined with the institute—is that focusing on and building strengths tends to greatly benefit both groups and individuals, resulting in progress, prosperity, and personal health and satisfaction significantly beyond that achieved by those taking a less positive and focused approach.
Part 2 of Strengths-Based Leadership continues with the premise put forth in Part 1 that good leaders know how to choose and build their teams according to both competency as well as personal and leadership potential. A great leader also bears in mind each team member’s influence on the group as a whole, not just their particular achievements or functional expertise.
Through their extensive research and interviewing of thousands of executive leaders and teams, Gallup was able to identify four main aspects of leadership: executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic planning. These categories are further defined by a variety of more specific characteristics. The executive group, for example, includes such traits as discipline, focus, achievement, and responsibility; the influencing group comprises qualities such as self-assurance, command, communication, and competition; the relationship builders exhibit characteristics such as harmony, empathy, positivity, and connectedness; and, finally, the strategic thinkers tend toward such traits as analysis, ideation, learning, and strategy.
These are only some of the traits, called “themes,” listed in the chart given in the book. The authors, Rath and Conchie, review each of these thirty-four themes in more detail in the second main section of the book, called “Additional Resources.” Individuals usually show strong ability in several of these themes as well as in the four main areas of leadership mentioned above, and all of these traits can be valuable tools in facilitating and achieving the various types of issues encountered in business and other situations.
Gallup has found through their researches that the best functioning teams have a good balance of all four broad categories. Earlier in the book, the authors mention how leaders are often highly focused and somewhat one-sided. They may make the mistake of surrounding themselves with others who possess the same characteristics, but a well-rounded team with a variety of strengths has a greater potential for tackling a variety of issues. An astute leader will recognize this and foster of it.
Following are some more concrete descriptions of what is meant by each broad category as well as a full list of their themes:
Executing The doers and organizers; those who transform an idea into a tangible reality
Themes: Achiever, arranger, belief, consistency, deliberative, discipline, focus, responsibility, restorative
Influencing The commanders, sellers, and motivators
Themes: Activator, command, communication, competition, maximizer, self-assurance, significance, woo
Relationship building The relaters, connecters, mentors, and fosterers—one of the most essential sets of strengths for maintaining a unified team
Themes: Adaptability, developer, connectedness, empathy, harmony, includer, individualization, positivity, relator
Strategic thinking The analyzers and visionaries.
Themes: Analytical, context, futuristic, ideation, input, intellection, learner, strategic
To give the reader a sense of the range of possibilities that constitute effective leadership, the authors interviewed four leaders, all of them at the top of their organizations. These included a legendary non-profit company, an international bank, a top electronics retailer, and one of the most renowned brands in the world. Each of the leaders represents one of the four main categories listed above, and each wears his or her leadership position in an entirely different manner from the others. The reader will notice that, although each leader represents one broad category of leadership, that person may demonstrate characteristics (themes) from several different categories.
Below are the summaries of their talents and accomplishments:
Wendy Kopp, Founder of Teach for America
Wendy Kopp represents the executing ability. Her main themes are: responsibility, achiever, relator, strategic, and competition. The first two of these are in the executing category while the other three each represent one of the other main leadership domains. As the founder and leader of Teach for America, Kopp has done a remarkable job building and maintaining a highly successful and significant non-profit—virtually by herself in the beginning and against what by most estimates were daunting odds. It has become one of the most significant and impactful non-profits in the country as well as a springboard for new leaders.
The idea first came about in response to Kopp’s need to find a subject for her senior thesis. As a Princeton undergraduate, she noticed a wide disparity in the educational experiences and perceptions of Princeton’s difficulty level between students with prep school educations and those with public school backgrounds. The first group navigated the university’s educational challenges with ease while the second group struggled. Kopp drew from that recognition the inspiration for both her thesis and what would become her life’s mission—to make a substantial contribution toward leveling the differences in educational opportunity for all of America’s youth. The following paragraphs examine some of Kopp’s major themes in action:
Kopp began by meeting with other Princeton students to discuss the subject in an effort to discover the source of the inequity. In the process, she learned that there was in fact a great deal of interest in teaching but few incentives to inspire the most outstanding students to take the next step toward a career, especially for the underserved. It was at this point that the project became more than just a senior thesis: Kopp’s sense of responsibility toward improving educational opportunities for America’s youth spurred her to make a much larger commitment.
Kopp began by writing a letter to the White House recommending that the administration institute something similar to the Peace Corps but with a domestic educational focus. When her communication went unanswered, Kopp determined that she would take the initiative herself and began researching the recommendations and steps taken in setting up the Peace Corps under President John F. Kennedy. From her research and calculations, she determined that she would need 500 teacher recruits and $2.5 million to convince the authorities of the importance of her goal.
Undaunted by the doubts of others, including her advisor, Kopp and the core team of top achievers she had convinced to join her in her campaign set about turning the goal into a reality. In one year, Kopp and her team would manage to assemble 500 outstanding recruits and amass the $2.5 million needed to meet their fundraising goal, all despite massive challenges and several instances of near-failure.
The 500 young people who gathered on Teach for America’s opening day were no ordinary recruits. True to her goal to produce a rapid and dramatic effect on the quality of educational opportunity available to America’s underserved youth, Kopp was determined to select only the highest-quality candidates for the program, even if this made the goal harder to achieve. This determination to be highly selective ultimately produced its own momentum, making Teach for America currently one of the nation’s most sought-after jobs among young graduates, including those coming from Ivy League institutions. Further proof of the genuineness of this selectivity is evidenced by the fact that many one-time Teach for America recruits go on to be leaders in such sectors as business, politics, and education.
The need for strategy for the accomplishment of a goal this monumental in so short a time was necessarily present from the moment Kopp conceived of the idea. It was present in her methodical approach of researching how the Peace Corps had set up a similar institution; in calculating the needed funds; in choosing a top-flight team to assist her; and in deciding on the quality of recruits she would accept.
Two strategy-related factors especially stood out in the authors’ interview with Kopp. These were
The authors found her self-scheduling ability especially interesting. Instead of beginning with minutiae, she starts with the big picture—the long-range goal for the year and the larger tasks required to accomplish it. Once these are established, she breaks the time frame down into smaller and smaller units until she has her daily schedule, which she then maintains relentlessly.
The second part of that formula—Kopp’s relentlessness in sticking to her rigorous and ambitious schedule—is more closely related to the Achiever theme, which the authors see as her dominant and, even in relation to other leaders, outstanding quality. Kopp’s organization now has a momentum of its own, with immediate national recognition from the media, a budget five times the size of the original, an applicant pool ten times larger, and most importantly, the distinction of creating a legacy that helps to both build future leaders and improve the education and lives of several million students.
Simon Cooper—President of the Ritz-Carlton
Simon Cooper, who took over the leadership of the Ritz-Carlton from Horst Schulze in 2001, scores high in the Influencing domain, with four out of his five themes belonging to that category. As the new leader of an already world-renowned brand, his major challenges were two-fold: to leave his personal mark in the wake of his revered predecessor and to bring an extraordinary brand to an even higher level.
Cooper’s five main strengths are Maximizer, Woo, Arranger, Activator, and Significance, and they immediately came into play as he began to fill his new role. His sense of significance—of making his unique mark—prevented him from simply imitating Schulze, despite the latter’s reputation and accomplishments.
As a maximizer, Cooper knew that the best approach to improving an already extraordinary experience would be to create more of it, so he set about studying the factors that had produced such a loyal customer base. In doing so, he concluded that the experience created by the hotel’s employees day in and day out outweighed all other factors. The Ritz’s personnel, whom Cooper respectfully called “the ladies and gentlemen who bring [the] hotel to life,” already had a high level of engagement with the guests, but now Cooper set a new standard. Instead of being satisfied with their 95th percentile rating for customer engagement, the Ritz would aim for a 98th percentile rating as its minimum goal, and those company leaders who could achieve it would be rewarded accordingly.
Woo and Activator
Raising the qualitative and experiential standard even higher was one way in which Cooper aimed to create life-long guests. His second, more direct approach lay outside of the usual scope of the Ritz-Carlton’s prior dealings and therefore required bringing both his Woo and Activator talents into play. Despite resistance, Cooper extended the hotel’s business to include the sale of private residences and timeshares. With more than forty worldwide locations and a minimum residential price of $25,000,000, Cooper has managed to greatly accelerate both the company’s growth and profits as well as maintain its image of outstanding quality.
In addition to all this, one of Cooper’s proudest achievements is the impact the Ritz-Carlton has on the lives of those who work there. He is acutely aware that earning a salary from the Ritz can benefit not just a single individual but an entire family, and in this sense, too, the hotel’s influence extends across the globe. Simon Cooper’s sense of significance has led him to seek to improve not only the experiences of his guests but the lives of those who work daily to make the hotel the extraordinary experience it is.
Mervyn Davies—Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank
Lord Mervyn Davies, who presided over Standard Chartered Bank from 2001 to 2006, represents the domain of relationship building. His five outstanding strengths are: Achiever, Futuristic, Positivity, Relator, and Learner.
As Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered, Davies consciously incorporated the StrengthsFinder approach into building and maximizing his worldwide team of more than 70,000 employees. Unafraid to go against the tide, he fostered the people aspect of business and banking from the start at a time when other banks were focusing on automation. He went out of his way to maintain candid relationships with all of his employees and encouraged them to put their families first, even personally spending considerable time with individual team members who were going through a difficult period.
Futuristic and Positivity
Davies’s Futuristic and Positivity strengths were apparent from his emphasis on long-term vision as opposed to immediate profit. This was most obvious in his global approach to business, now evident from the bank’s largely non-Western market, a trend Davies foresaw and fostered. Another part of his legacy was his encouragement of employees to find their specific strengths and niche within the bank’s infrastructure. In fact, developing people to become their best and most positive selves is one of Davies’s passions, both on a personal and professional level, as evidenced by his commitment to his family and community in spite of his work schedule.
The result of all this is that Standard Chartered, which happily characterizes itself as “boring,” was able to grow during a time of significant financial crisis. Aside from the obvious strong point of a global orientation, Davies had built a culture of trust and empowerment so that employees owned their work rather than blaming others for their weaknesses. Davies, who sported a coffee cup listing his own five strengths, was acutely aware of how building strengths also builds confidence, and both his own and Standard Chartered’s success are living proof of this.
Brad Anderson—CEO of Best Buy
In his role as Chief Executive Officer of Best Buy, Brad Anderson represents the domain of Strategic Thinking. Four out of his five strengths—Context, Ideation, Input, and Learner—belong to this category, and the fifth, the relationship-building theme of Connectedness, is part of his overall strategy. In fact, it features prominently in the design of the company’s Minneapolis headquarters, which the authors Rath and Conchie describe as having a central connecting hub with a fun atmosphere more reminiscent of college than of big business.
Anderson, who started with Best Buy when it was still a small regional company named Sound of Music, began as a sales associate. Working his way up the company ladder, first as a store manager and then as a corporate team member, he achieved the vice-presidency and joined the board of directors in 1986, becoming one of the company’s instrumental decision makers. Together with the company’s founder Dick Schulze, he helped to reshape Best Buy’s business model to make it one of the most successful electronics retail stores in the industry. Part of their success lay in their realization that the overall approach of electronics stores was working against them, so Best Buy expanded their strategy to encompass all models relating to discretionary retail spending, even going so far as to include the supermarket approach. This meant dispensing with sales commissions and making sure that items were regularly in stock. With that single decision to break the mold, brought on by the recognition that not to make it would mean certain doom, Anderson and Schulze changed retail history. Other retailers soon followed suit, and customers began returning to the stores now that the pressure to buy was no longer a factor.
Ideation, Learner, Input, and Context
When Anderson became Best Buy’s president in 1991, he continued with this unconventional leadership approach, constantly seeking out new ideas in unusual places and from unusual sources not necessarily related to either business or electronics. His voracious appetite for learning, which found expression in the four strategic thinking themes of learner, ideation, input, and context, led him to explore books, magazines, workshops, and expert opinions that challenged the status quo thinking. In addition, he surrounded himself with a team of individuals possessing entirely different strengths from his own and then trusted them to both fulfill their roles and challenge his own ideas. Even his approach to people was to connect through ideas by asking pointed questions tailored to each individual in an effort to discover his or her personal experience and opinion of the operation. Anderson would then factor this information into his overall company strategy.
From the book’s point of view, Brad Anderson’s ability to find and harness his personal set of strengths once again demonstrates the power behind this approach. His willingness to cultivate his childlike curiosity and love of learning, coupled with his genuine congeniality and interest in others’ viewpoints, has been a major factor in taking Best Buy from a relatively unknown regional company to the successful Fortune 500 operation it is today.
The Importance of the Team
As Rath and Conchie point out, these four leaders’ powerful achievements resulted not only from knowing and building their strengths but also from resisting the urge to spend time, thought, and energy improving their weaknesses. Instead, they built strong teams who compensated for their own shortcomings with a well-chosen diversity of talent and skill. It was this, in combination with their own strengths, that enabled their respective organizations to achieve outstanding success and growth in their various fields.
Having a strong team ideally means having a team that can operate effectively apart from the presence of the leader. This implies a high enough level of trust that the team can broach issues and resolve problems on its own. The key to this, as always, is to focus on and foster each individual’s strengths. Teams accustomed to a competitive rather than an appreciative and cooperative approach limit their growth potential until they openly review and revamp the habitual interaction among team members. The book gives the example of the successful Hampton hotel chain, which ran into problems when its president, Phil Cordell, decided to take it to an international level. Cordell and his team discovered that their trust and admiration for him as their leader had its dark side in the form of too much dependency on his presence coupled with insufficient mutual trust and self-reliance among team members. Once they analyzed and overcame this problem, Cordell was freed from constantly having to be available to resolve issues, and they were able to move ahead with their ambitious goal.
Characteristics of Strong Teams
From its four decades of study of the ingredients of a strong team, Gallup has come up with the following:
Whether the challenge or conflict is internal, external, or both, a strong team, rather than being weakened, gains strength in times of difficulty. Their common goal dominates any lesser personal goals or viewpoints and keeps the team members objective.
As indicated above, strong teams are made up of great team members who rally to the organization’s needs and goals, regardless of whether they are on the “winning” or “losing” side of an argument.
According to Gallup, the best teams are made up of people who set a high standard of engagement levels in all areas of their lives, including work, personal and family life, and community involvement.
Strong teams with engaged members focus on individual strengths and welcome diversity of all types, while disengaged teams are more likely to avoid outward differences.
Strong teams are highly stimulating and demanding environments that hold their individual members responsible for their contribution to the success of the endeavor. As a result, they attract likeminded individuals with a desire to grow and contribute.
As this chapter has demonstrated, the most successful teams harness the talents of a diverse and complementary group of people. They foster the individual’s unique strengths, at the same time appreciating the different contributions made their members. Finally, though their members have a high level of commitment to both their professional and personal goals, they never lose sight of the organization’s needs and objectives.
In Part 3, Rath and Conchie make the obvious point that leaders can only be defined as such if they can sustain a following, whether of a single individual or a multitude. It seemed logical, therefore, to investigate what motivates people to follow someone else’s lead. To answer this question, Gallup conducted interviews of 10,000 randomly selected individuals between the years 2005 and 2008. To arrive at the most open-ended answers, they narrowed their inquiry down to a single two-part question that gave the interviewees maximum flexibility in selecting their answers. Specifically, the responders were asked to write down the initials of the leader with the most positive influence on their day-to-day lives. Once they had done this, they were asked to list the main things that this leader contributed to their lives, using only word per item. Since Gallup recognized that most of their studies had focused on definitions of leadership from a leader’s point of view, they were careful to give the responders maximum leeway in forming their own answers. At the same, Gallup made sure to specify that they were referring to positive leadership.
Gallup found the results to be surprisingly different from what they had anticipated. They had expected notions such as wisdom, purpose, humility, and humor to be high on the list. Instead, the four most cited answers were trust, compassion, stability, and hope. Gallup found this impressive partly because of the large number of words in the English language and partly because the questions contained no leading elements to suggest any concepts in particular.
TRUST – At the top of the list in defining trust is honesty. A leader who does not tell the truth cannot earn the loyalty of his or her followers. But trust also includes such concepts as respect and integrity, and it is the key factor in distinguishing strong teams from weak ones in addition to being a significant determinant of the level of employee involvement in an organization.
COMPASSION – Compassion can also be expressed as caring, love, friendship, and happiness. Like trust, compassion is one of the essential building blocks for all types of relationships. Expectations as to the exact nature of its expression vary depending on the level of leadership, with the more personal expressions being reserved for immediate supervisors and the broader, more general expressions for those in higher positions. The presence of compassion has a significant effect on loyalty, productivity, profitability, and customer engagement (implying employee engagement and happiness).
STABILITY – On the most basic level, this refers to a company with a financially solid future and the ability to meet its employees’ basic needs. The concept of stability is also expressed as strength, security, peace, and support. Like compassion, stability has a significant effect on employees’ engagement levels, and one of the best guarantees for its assurance is absolute openness in organizational matters, including most financial records.
HOPE – The last of these four categories is hope, also described as guidance, faith, and direction. Of all the qualities, this one is the most future-oriented. According to Gallup, most leaders—though they apparently don’t realize it—spend much more of their time reacting to immediate needs than planning and initiating future growth. Gallup believes that the simple act of initiating, as opposed to merely responding, creates hope by giving the impression that the leader is in charge instead of being batted around by circumstances. Gallup therefore strongly recommends that leaders take a more active approach in creating a forward-looking environment for the members of their organization.
LEAVING A LEGACY
The conclusion to the first main section of the book reminds us that leadership at its best extends far beyond the lives of those who do the leading. The greatest leaders know that for their vision to truly take hold requires the ongoing leadership efforts of many individuals beyond themselves and their own lifetime. In addition to fostering leadership in their immediate followers, they encourage them to do the same for their own immediate followers and so on down the line. As with all great team members, the focus of great leaders is not themselves but the ideal they have set as their objective; and because they maintain this focus and enlist others to do the same, their legacy is able to outlive them.
Although a reward of thousands of pounds has been offered, no one has seen Hyde and no trace of him has been found. Investigation into his past life has revealed cruelty and hatred of others as well as his questionable associates. Time moves on and Mr. Utterson’s feelings about Hyde begin to cool. In one way he is glad the man has disappeared for his friend Jekyll can now go on with his life.
Jekyll has come out of his seclusion, seeing his friends again and attending church and spending time outside. A couple of months after Hyde’s disappearance, in early January, Utterson and Lanyon dine at Jekyll’s. All seems well. A few days later and then again a couple of days after that, Utterson tries to visit Jekyll but his servant Poole says that the doctor would see no-one. This worries the lawyer. The next night he goes to dine at Lanyon’s and is shocked at the doctor’s appearance; he looks like he is at death’s door and also appears to be mentally unhinged, as though in terror. Utterson comments on his friend’s appearance and Lanyon says that he is “a doomed man”.
Lanyon explains that he has had a terrible shock that he will not recover from. He is resigned to death. Utterson mentions that Jekyll is sick as well and asks if Lanyon has seen him. Lanyon declares that he has no desire to see Jekyll ever again and that he regards him as dead. Utterson asks what he can do and Lanyon brushes him off and Utterson should speak to Jekyll himself. Lanyon is not surprised that Jekyll refuses to see Utterson.
Lanyon tells Utterson that after his death the lawyer may learn all the details of what is going on. He refuses to speak anymore about it. Utterson goes home and writes a letter to Jekyll asking him why he is estranged from Lanyon. Jekyll replies that he has chosen a life of seclusion. Utterson is tempted to think Jekyll is insane but feels there is something else at play.
In three weeks Lanyon is dead. In sadness, after the funeral, Utterson opens a sealed letter for him from Lanyon, meant to be read after his death. But inside there is another sealed letter, only to be read if Jekyll dies before Utterson. For some reason Utterson thinks Hyde is behind all this – and is tempted to read the second sealed letter. He does not though, and puts the letter in his safe.
Utterson continues to call on Henry Jekyll, but is always refused admittance. He chats with Poole on Jekyll’s doorstep and in some way this is satisfactory – he does not have to face his friend, who he fears, has changed beyond recognition. As time goes by, he visits the house less and less.
On another Sunday, Utterson and Richard Enfield are taking their usual walk. They come upon the house with the door next to the courtyard where Hyde used to live. Enfield states that they will not see Hyde again. Enfield admits he knows that the courtyard serves as a back way to reach Jekyll’s and Utterson suggests they go into the court and look through Jekyll’s windows.
The court is cool in the twilight as the sun is setting. Three windows are half open and sitting by one of them is Dr. Jekyll. The men greet each other and Jekyll says he is feeling very low. He says he will not invite them in as the house is not in a state for guests and Utterson suggests they just speak through the window. Jekyll attempts to smile but almost at once his face takes on an expression of terror – he suddenly slams the window shut.
Utterson and Enfield leave the court without speaking. They do not speak for a while as both are horrified. Utterson begs God’s forgiveness, Enfield nods, and they keep walking in silence.
Utterson is sitting by his fireside one evening after dinner when Jekyll’s butler, Poole, stops for a visit. Poole tells him something is wrong. The butler is very upset and says he “can bear it no more.” He states that he believes there has been foul play and asks Utterson to come with him.
The two men head out into a cold and wet March evening. There are few people around and the wind batters Utterson’s face as they walk. It all feels eerie to Utterson and he wishes more people were out and about.
Jekyll’s servants are waiting at the house and let the men in. Utterson scolds them for being crowded into the hall but Poole explains that they are afraid. A maid begins to cry and Poole shouts at her to be quiet, revealing his own frayed nerves.
Poole leads Utterson to the laboratory building, through its surgical theater, and to Dr. Jekyll’s office. Poole calls out that Utterson is here to see Jekyll who replies that he cannot see any one. Poole leads Utterson back outside and asks the lawyer if he thinks that was Jekyll’s voice. Utterson admits it does seem different. Poole excitedly says that Jekyll has been done away with and something else has replaced him. Utterson questions this logic, asking why the murderer would remain in Jekyll’s office.
Poole explains that for the past week that whoever is in the office has been crying day and night for some sort of medicine. No one has been allowed in, and meals have been smuggled in after servants leave them outside the office. Poole has been sent to the druggists with orders for all sorts of medicines and drugs. He has one of the notes which he shows Utterson. The request is for a drug of purity that had been ordered some years before. Utterson states that Jekyll must be suffering from some form of degenerative disease but Poole maintains that the man he saw was not his master, was “more of a dwarf” and completely unlike Jekyll.
The two men decide the inner office door must be broken down, whatever the consequences. They agree that it might be Mr. Hyde hiding in the office; Poole is certainly convinced of this and that Hyde has killed Jekyll. They send for a couple more servants to stand guard.
By the time they approach the office, it is dark and they must use candles to see their way. They can hear footsteps in the office and they agree it is not the sound of Jekyll’s footfalls. Poole tells Utterson he has heard the man weeping.
Utterson calls out to Jekyll to let him in – the voice in the office begs him to have mercy. Using an axe, Poole breaks the door in. In the middle of the office floor lays Edward Hyde. There is a phial in his hand and Utterson is convinced he has overdosed on a self-inflicted drug. He tells Poole Hyde is dead and they must find Jekyll.
They search the laboratory building but do not find Hyde. The key to the court appears to be broken. They more thoroughly search the office. A kettle is boiling and Poole mentions that the drug on the table is the same as the one he has been bringing to Jekyll. Their search turns up some strange items, including a will made out by Edward Hyde leaving everything to Utterson himself. The lawyer is puzzled as to why he would be the beneficiary. There is also a note to him from Dr. Jekyll telling him to read Lanyon’s narrative. Poole gives Utterson another item from Jekyll which he places in his pocket.
Utterson goes home to read the two documents and tells Poole to say nothing and that he will return before midnight.
Dr. Lanyon’s narrative begins with a note explaining that he received an envelope four days before, on January ninth, from his old friend Henry Jekyll. He was surprised as he had seen Jekyll only the night before and they were not in the habit of corresponding.
Jekyll began the letter by telling Lanyon that if he fails him he will be lost. He wanted him to clear his evening that night and to come to his house. His butler Poole would be waiting with a locksmith. They are then to force the door of his laboratory office and Lanyon was to go in alone and to take all the contents of a certain drawer back with him to Cavendish Square. Later, around midnight, when all his servants are asleep, he would let a man into his house who will identify himself as Henry Jekyll. He is to give the contents of the drawer to this man. Jekyll concluded the letter by saying he is confident Lanyon will do as he wishes.
Lanyon states that he decided Jekyll is insane but that he felt he should do as his friend requested. He drove straight to Jekyll’s house where Poole was waiting and soon a locksmith and a carpenter arrived. The locksmith needed two hours to open the doctor’s office door. Lanyon removed the drawer as he had been instructed and returned home.
Lanyon examined the powders at home and concluded that Jekyll had made them himself. The phial contained perhaps phosphorous and ether. A little book was full of dates covering many years, and the last date was from a year before. Generally only one word, and sometimes two, was written against the dates.
Lanyon could not make sense of it and concluded Jekyll might be suffering from a mental illness. He sent his servants to bed and loaded an old revolver, for self-defense. At midnight a small man, not known to him, appeared at his door saying he had been sent by Jekyll. Lanyon told him to come in, keeping his hand on his gun.
Lanyon’s impression was that the man was physically ill – he had a lot of nervous energy and was behaving strangely. He was wearing good clothing that was too large for him.
The man immediately demanded to see the drawer. Lanyon was shocked by his facial expression and told him to compose himself. The man mixed the red tincture with one of the powders – as it changed colors the man asked Lanyon if he dared try it himself. Lanyon refused and the man drank the liquid. His face went black and his facial features underwent a change.
Lanyon then reported that he screamed for God – for the man in front of him changed into Henry Jekyll. Horrified, Lanyon listened to Jekyll’s story that he was really Hyde, and wanted for the murder of Sir Danvers Carew.
Henry’s Jekyll’s statement, left for Utterson, begins with an assessment of his life; that he was born into wealth, was healthy, respected by his colleagues and friends, and was looking toward the future with confidence. His only regret was a character that enjoyed pleasure and fun – he wished he was a more serious man. He felt there was a divide in his personality and he partly hid his pursuit of pleasure. He directed his scientific studies toward “the mystic and the transcendental” which was not always well regarded by his fellow men of science. Jekyll felt a constant tug between the moral and the intellectual. He was convinced that man is naturally of a dual character and he wished he could live both of his dualities openly. Jekyll also felt that the truth of humanity can be stymied by nature – by our animal bodies.
Jekyll was thus tempted with experimenting with drugs despite the possibilities of injury or death. The sensations he experienced excited him and made him want more of the same. He also knew he was going through some physical changes. One day when he looked in a mirror he saw a man who he gave a new identity to – Edward Hyde. He regarded Hyde as the evil side of his character, and a smaller, younger version of Dr. Jekyll. He regarded Hyde with affection and welcomed him, despite realizing he was pure evil.
He was able to return to being Jekyll by drinking more of the drug which returned him to his usual self. As time went by, he was more attracted to the character of Hyde. He rented the house in SoHo where the police traced Hyde. He drew up the will so that Hyde would “inherit” Jekyll’s fortune.
Jekyll was soon almost shocked at the depravities his alter-ego could sink to but in his mind it he was not responsible for it. His injury to the child he saw as merely an inconvenience that had been rectified by opening a checking account in Hyde’s name and paying off the family.
In time he realized that Jekyll was indeed being absorbed into the persona of Edward Hyde. One morning he awoke as Hyde, although he had gone to bed as Jekyll although he had not taken the drug. When he went downstairs his servants were shocked – they had not seen Hyde in the house before so early in the morning. Ten minutes later Jekyll was back in his old guise.
Jekyll by then was concerned that Hyde was going to take him over completely and that he would have to choose which would predominate, the man of self-indulgence or the man of respectable character? For two months he chose his old self – Jekyll. Then “Hyde” began the pressure to express himself. He went back to the drug and Hyde reappeared, with a vengeance, leading a life of self-indulgence and crime, which included the murder of Carew.
When Jekyll realized the murder of Carew had been witnessed he again battled with his two personalities to keep Hyde under control. Again, for a few months Jekyll prevailed, and again, Hyde clamoured for the upper hand. By January, Hyde was on control but as Jekyll had destroyed the keys to the office, his drugs were unavailable and if he showed his face as Hyde, he would be arrested. He devised the plan to have Lanyon retrieve the drugs, all the while referring to Hyde as “he” rather than “I”.
In possession of the drugs, and back in his office, Hyde now fed his addiction. In the end, to stop Hyde from taking over Jekyll entirely, he committed suicide, with the full intent of his friends finding his body and knowing what his experimentation with drugs had done.
When Gene gets back to campus he wants to see Finny because Finny’s mind is always on sports, rather than war. Ironically, Finny is involved in a snowball fight with some other boys when Gene returns. Gene is distracted by the way Finny walks; he used to almost float and now he seems so crippled, aside from the fact that his leg is in a cast.
Finny asks about Leper and Gene keeps the gory details to himself. Gene tells Finny that he should be more careful and perhaps not do things like get into snowball fights because he may break his leg again, but Finny tells him that he thinks that once a bone grows back together it is stronger than it was to begin with. Later Brinker comes into Finny and Gene’s room and asks about Leper. Gene tells the other two boys that Leper went AWOL, and Brinker assumes correctly that Leper went crazy. Finny finally begins to admit that the war must be real because fake wars do not make people crazy.
Devon becomes immersed in the war and everything to do with it while Brinker, one of the boys who most wanted to enlist, finds himself interested in anything that has nothing to do with the war. Brinker tells Gene that the reason he did not enlist is because of Finny and Gene does not confirm or deny this accusation. Brinker brings up the old “joke” that Gene pushed Funny off the tree, and Gene gets a little uneasy over the whole situation.
One night while the boys are studying Finny says that he saw Leper on campus, and Gene remembers that Leper thinks he pushed Finny out of the tree, so Gene gets very uncomfortable at the thought of him being back at Devon. Later that night Brinker invites Finny and Gene to come out with him and his friends as he has a set of keys to the whole campus from being involved in so many clubs. The boys sneak out and end up in the Assembly Room where Brinker immediately begins making fun of Finny’s limp.
Brinker begins asking Finny what happened on the day Finny fell, determined to get to the bottom of the whole situation, much to Gene’s horror. Finny’s story changes numerous times as it becomes clear that he does not entirely remember what happened that day, he even thinks the tree may have shaken itself on purpose. Brinker and his friends decide they need to bring in a witness and get Leper. Leper refuses to answer any questions about the incident as he does not want to implicate himself and says a few other crazy things.
Finny gets angry at the spectacle, tells all the boys he does not care what happened that day and storms from the room. After Finny leaves the room the boys hear him fall the very large, very hard, marble staircase.
Gene remembers every acting very responsible and exactly as they should in the wake of Finny’s accident. They held him still while someone went to fetch Dr. Stanpole and the wrestling coach, Phil Latham. Gene finds it strange to watch Finny being carried out because the only person Finny has ever needed help from was Gene, in any other case Finny was the one doing the helping. Dr. Stanpole says that Finny’s leg is, in fact, broken again, but this time it is not shattered it is a clean break and should heal just fine after surgery.
All of the boys are told to go back to their rooms, but Gene finds himself crouching in the bushes in the dark outside of the infirmary rather than going to his room. He hears the conversation between Finny and the doctors and begins making jokes with himself while he waits. Eventually once Finny is alone Gene calls out his name and crawls through the window.
Finny begins yelling at Gene, asking him if there is another bone in his body he would like to break while Gene apologizes fruitlessly. Gene leaves the infirmary but rather than go back to his dorm he wanders around campus, finding himself outside of the gym which looks strange to him. Gene feels as though he no longer exists, or maybe he never did; perhaps he was nothing more than a ghost all his years at Devon. Gene falls asleep leaning against the wall of the stadium.
The next morning Gene returns to the dorm and finds a note for him from Dr. Stanpole asking him to bring some of Finny’s clothes down to the infirmary. Gene grabs some of Finny’s clothes and sets out for the infirmary, feeling as though he is experiencing déjà vu, which, in a way, he is as this happened just last summer. He gets to the room and finds Finny alone and tries to explain himself. Gene apologizes, just as he did in Boston, and Finny tells him that the whole situation would be different if there were no war because Finny feels helpless having a broken leg and not being able to fight.
Gene tells Finny that he would be no good in a war anyway because he is too friendly and would probably try to make friends with the enemy. Gene and Finny agree that the tree situation was an accident, and not intentional at all and Finny goes in for surgery. When Gene returns to see Finny after his surgery he is greeted by Dr. Stanpole who tells him that Finny died during his surgery. It seems that a piece of marrow broke off and floated up to his heart, killing him. Gene tells the reader that he never once cried about Finny, not even at his funeral, because it would be like crying at his own funeral as Finny was a part of him.
As school was coming to a close that spring, some jeeps filled with troops rolled into the far common. Brinker and Gene went out to the common to see the greeting ceremony that is happening, and Brinker brings up Leper, but Gene does not want to talk about him, or about Finny. Gene feels as though peace no longer exists for anyone, even at Devon, except maybe for the boys who were there during the summer session.
Brinker introduces Gene to his father who reminds Gene of one of the fat old men who made up the story of the war happening that Finny always used to talk about. Mr. Hadley likes to talk about war and the boys’ responsibility to fight, which Brinker apologizes to Gene for but Gene thinks he knows where Mr. Hadley is coming from. He thinks that Brinker and Finny were similar in the way that they tried to rebel to forget that the war was happening at all.
Gene does not believe that war is the fault of the fat old men, but of ignorance in the hearts of many men. While Gene is clearing out his gym locker he thinks about Finny as he often does though he refuses to talk about him with anyone because Finny is not dead to him. Finny’s way of living still resides in Gene, even as he is telling the story. Finny never had any hatred for anyone or any enemies as most people did.
Gene says that most people find something to hate and spend their whole life making that one thing their eternal enemy, though Finny never did that. Gene says that he went to war though he killed no one and never hated any of his opponents because he knew Finny would not have. Gene says that the only enemy he ever had he killed while he was at Devon.
The following morning, the boys find that the raft has drifted away, but aren’t bothered much by it as they don’t have a desire to return home. After having a bacon and fresh fish breakfast, they start to explore the island. After a morning of swimming and walking, they return to their base on the island. They all begin to feel homesick, but none will admit it. At this point, they hear loud noises and go to shore to see that a steam ferry and multiple skiffs are upon the river.
They figure out that they’re being searched for, and feel validated in their choices. They revel in the thought that everyone misses them, and eventually have dinner and lay down. The mood darkens again though as they begin to realize how everyone back home is feeling sad. Joe attempts to bring up the idea of going back, but is shot down. Tom stays up as the others go to sleep, then writes two notes. He places one in Joe’s hat, along with various other trinkets of his, and then keeps the other note for himself. He then sneaks off and runs to the shore.
Tom swims over to the Illinois side of the Mississippi as it’s much closer than the Missouri one, and sneaks aboard a skiff. The skiff travels over the river, and Tom sneaks out again. He creeps on over to his house, where his aunt, Joe Harper’s mom, Mary and Sid are all sitting in a room.
He manages to sneak into the house and under a bed near them, where he catches their conversation. He hears them speak about how much they miss them and hears them crying, and it takes much of his will to refrain from jumping out and announcing himself. He learns that people think they drowned because the missing raft they had taken was found underwater. If the bodies of the boys aren’t found by Sunday, the church will hold a service for them that day.
As everyone begins to go to sleep, Tom is about to leave the note he wrote earlier on Aunt Polly’s bed stand. He decides against it though, and returns to the island by taking a skiff to the other side, away from the island. He gets back to base in the morning just in time to hear Joe and Huck discussing whether Tom has abandoned them or not. Tom bursts in and then tells them of what he did on the shore.
The boys spend the day running around naked and playing games, swimming. Once evening arrives though, Joe finally decides he wants to head back home. Tom tries to convince them to get excited about the island by suggesting treasure is buried there, but can’t get them into it. After much quarreling, Huck decides he wants to leave as well and gets ready along with Joe. Tom is left with no choice but to reveal a plan he has been hatching. The boys get excited about the idea and decide to stay on the island.
Tom and Joe attempt to learn how to smoke from Huck, and though they enjoy the activity at first, they soon grow sick. Joe makes up an excuse about losing his knife, giving the boys a chance to split up. When Huck goes to look for them a while later, he finds them asleep. When Huck starts preparing their after dinner smokes, Tom and Joe make excuses about eating bad food.
A storm hits the area during the night, and the boys- unprepared for rain- have to find shelter under a tarp they had brought. After it passes, they start up another fire and discuss the storm, unable to sleep on any of the wet ground. Once morning hits, they sleep on the drier sand. After a late lunch, the boys start to get homesick again, so Tom distracts them with the idea of playing as Indians. After running around and returning for dinner, they hesitantly share a peace pipe, as the rules of living as an Indian demand them to.
While the boys are off playing on Jackson Island, the town is mourning their absence. Becky cries over missing Tom. The other schoolmates reminisce on what was the last thing they saw of Tom and Joe.
The next day, the church holds its service for the boys. The minister ascribes only positive traits to their memories and everyone is in tears over the eulogy, including the minister himself. In the midst of the service, the three boys come walking down the aisle. They had been watching the entire thing from an unused gallery. Everybody begins to celebrate their appearance, with Tom and Joe receiving affection from their respective guardians. Tom insists that Huck receive affection as well, though Huck prefers no one to pay attention to him.
The next morning, Tom is at the breakfast table with his family as Aunt Polly starts to make him feel guilty about not having left them a message that they were okay, noting that Sid would have done so. Tom then begins to describe how he had a dream and recounts what he saw the night he came to leave a note. Aunt Polly doesn’t see through the fraud, thinking that Tom was having a prophetic dream and admiring him for it.
At school, Tom is the center of attention along with Joe, and they both celebrate it. Becky attempts to get Tom’s attention, but he pretends to be as indifferent to her as she was to him the last time they met. Becky eventually changes tactics and begins to spend time with another boy in the class- Alfred Temple. Alfred is the same boy that Tom got into a fight with earlier in the book. Tom is sufficiently jealous of her actions and goes off during lunchtime in a fit of rage. Becky realizes her actions went too far, and leaves Alfred by himself in confusion. After some time, Alfred realizes that Becky had used him to make Tom jealous, and his hate for Tom grows. He wonders about an opportunity to get Tom in trouble, and notices Tom’s spelling book as he is walking in. He spills ink on the day’s homework. Becky sees him do it and decides to tell Tom as a way to reconcile their relationship. She changes her mind though and decides to let him get in trouble as revenge for making her feel terrible earlier.
Returning home for lunch, Aunt Polly begins scolding him as she finds out through Joe Harper’s mother that Tom’s “dream” was actually just him recounting what had happened the night he snuck over. Tom attempts to explain that he still came to comfort her, though she doesn’t initially believe it. After some coercing, she accepts it and tells him to run off to school. She finds the jacket that Tom took to the island and is torn between whether to confirm his story about the note on the piece of bark. After much debate, she checks and finds that his story was true as the piece of bark that said they were okay was still in one of the pockets.
The encounter with Aunt Polly lifts Tom’s spirits, and he even apologizes to Becky on his way back to class. Becky doesn’t take it though, making Tom angry again. Walking into class, Becky sees the opportunity to sneak a peek at a secret book that their teacher has kept locked up but often reads to himself. Becky takes the chance and finds that the book is one on human anatomy. Tom sneaks up behind her, surprising her and causing her to rip half of a page. Becky runs away, convinced that Tom will tattle on her, though Tom doesn’t have any inclination not to.
Once the class was seated, Tom’s ruined notebook comes out, and he is punished for it. Tom doesn’t think much of it though. When the teacher soon discovers his book has been ripped, he goes through asking each child. As he is asking Becky, her nervousness is easily evident. Tom steps and takes the blame before she cracks, causing him to be held after school for two hours. Becky waits for him, and they reconcile as she tells him that it was Alfred that spilled the ink on his work. Tom vows revenge.
As summer vacation comes near, the schoolmaster becomes stricter as he wants them all to perform well during the ‘Examination.’ The Examination is a sort of performance for the entire town where the schoolchildren show off their knowledge through recitations and competitions. The youngest children of the school are getting the worst of it, so they group together and try to figure out some way to get back at the teacher.
On the day of the Examination, the students begin go on about the business of displaying what they’ve learned. Tom attempts to recite the ‘Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death’ speech, but falls halfway through to stage fright. The awful poetry goes on until the teacher decides to draw a map of America on the chalkboard for the geography challenge. It’s at this point that the boys unleash their plan: a cat tied up and gagged is lowered from above the teacher and steals his wig. The entire crowd erupts in laughter, ending the Examination and starting off summer vacation.
Tom joins the Cadets of Temperance as he enjoys their outfits, but is finding it hard to abide by the group’s laws. As the Fourth of July parade is too far away for him to stick to the rules, he pins his hopes on the dying Judge Frazer. After wavering health, it seems the judge is going to recover, forcing Tom to resign from the group. Right after, Judge Frazer then dies, letting the Cadets take part in the procession and annoying Tom in that he wasn’t able to participate.
The dullness of summer vacation starts to hit Tom, though it’s broken up every now and then by travelling shows and performers. All the while, Tom continues to think of the murder.
The measles take Tom to bed for two weeks, during which a religious revival hits town. When Tom gets better, he finds that all his friends- including Huckleberry- are up to charity and scripture quoting, leaving him with no one to play with. He relapses and is in bed for three more weeks. Once he is well again, he finds that Joe and Huck have returned to their old ways, eating a stolen watermelon.
The trial over the murder begins in earnest, and Tom feels as if every remark about it made in his presence is made to get him to confess what he knows. He confers with Huck on the matter, making sure again that they’ll never tell. Both boys discuss how bad they feel about Muff Potter being wrongly treated as the man has been kind in the past to the boys. As they continue their habit of sneaking him things through his cell, one particular moment hits their guilt hard. He thanks them sincerely for their little gifts and warns them of the dangers of drinking. He seems ready to take punishment for a crime he didn’t commit.
On the last day of the trial, witnesses were called to confirm the circumstantial evidence that made Potter look guilty. Potter’s lawyer did no cross questioning, giving the impression that he wasn’t interested in defending the man. The lawyer then calls Tom Sawyer to the stand, to everyone’s surprise. After nervously eyeing Injun Joe, Tom begins to tell the tale of what actually happened during the night of the murder. At the climax of his telling, Injun Joe manages to rush out and escape.
Muff Potter is let go and embraced by the community. Though Tom is joyed at the recognition people give him, he is also scared as Injun Joe remains loose. Tom had told Muff’s lawyer his tale the night before he testified, and though Huck’s involvement was known, Injun Joe’s quick escape had kept his involvement secret. Though rewards are offered and a detective is brought, no sign of Injun Joe is found, leaving Tom anxious.
Tom gets the inclination to dig up some treasure and enlists Huck to join him. After a misinformed discussion about treasure burying tactics, the value of jewelry, and the Kings of Europe, they decide to start digging under the many trees of a hill some three miles away. They begin to discuss what they’ll do with the treasure, with Huck saying he’d spend it all before his father got a hold of it and Tom saying he’d use it to get married. After many fruitless digging efforts, the boys decide that they’ve gone about the whole thing wrong and need to come back at midnight.
After another failed attempt during the night, Huck is on the verge of giving up. He then suggests looking in the haunted house nearby. They argue a bit about it and decide to do it. Once overlooking the house though, they become instantly scared and decide to head home instead.
Returning the next day to get their tools, the boys are anxious to get to the house. Huck points out that it’s Friday though, and apparently it’s an unlucky day. They instead play Robin Hood, and head home. The following morning, the boys head into the house to explore. After exploring the upstairs for a bit, they hear noises downstairs and begin to hide. They spot two men come in and notice that one of the men is a deaf and dumb Spaniard who has been seen around town lately. The Spaniard speaks- to the boys’ surprise- and it turns out to be Injun Joe. He’s speaking with the other man about committing a crime, and how they couldn’t get work done the day before because of the two boys up on the hill.
The men sleep until sundown, and while the boys make one attempt to leave, the creaky floor prevents any further tries. When sunset hits, the men stir up. They reveal they have six hundred dollars worth of silver buried under a rock in the house, which makes the boys forget their fears as they grow excited. As the second man is grabbing a bit of money, he hits upon another box and paws a bit of gold. Injun Joe notes that he saw some digging tools earlier and brings them by. They dig up thousands of dollars worth of gold, exponentially increasing the boys’ excitement. Injun Joe suddenly realizes that the pick had fresh dirt on it and becomes immediately paranoid. He tries to go upstairs, but the rotting wood of the staircase collapses under his weight. The men decide to take the treasure to a different location.
Heading home, they realize that the ‘revenge job’ Injun Joe had mentioned in the house may have been meant as taking his revenge on Tom.
Tom spends the night dreaming so often about the money that he convinces himself that none of the events even happened. He talks to Huck the next morning, letting him bring up the subject so as to affirm the truth of the matter. He does, and the boys express considerable regret at the loss of the treasure. Tom becomes insistent on finding out where location ‘Number 2’ that Injun Joe had said he would take the money is. The boys deduce that it may be a room number in a tavern, and Tom goes by himself to check out the two taverns in town. One claims that a lawyer occupies the number 2 room, and the other claims that their number 2 room is locked up because it’s haunted. This piques Tom’s suspicions and works with Huck to figure out how they’re going to get in. They figure to pick up as many keys as they can and try to get into the room through a back entrance. Tom then tells Huck to keep an eye out for Injun Joe and to follow him if spotted.
The night is too clear for them to attempt to sneak in for a couple of days, but they finally get a dark night where they feel confident enough to sneak in. Huck stands watch while Tom goes down the alley to where the entrance is. After some time passes, Huck gets nervous as he has seen no sign of Tom. Tom then comes running out of the alley, telling Huck to run, as well.
Tom then describes that while the keys were making too much noise, he discovered that the door to the place wasn’t locked at all. Upon opening it, he finds Injun Joe blacked out from drinking. The room is filled with barrels of whiskey. The boys decide that that must be the place where the money is hidden, and decide to wait until they’re sure Injun Joe is out before they try to go in again.
Becky returns to town and her and Tom spend time together. She plans the picnic party she promised long ago, and a group of the children take a trip aboard a steamer. Becky’s mom suggests she stay over at someone’s house, and Becky decides on the Harper home. Tom convinces her instead to go get ice cream at Widow Dogulas’ home instead. The thought of possibly missing out on hearing Huck call him up if he spotted something is troublesome, but he puts the thought aside. After frolicking and eating, the group explores McDougal’s cave, a large systems of underground tunnels by the river.
Huck was standing watch while the party’s steamer came passed by. He had almost given up hope on the effort when he hears a door closing. He spies the two men carrying a box and decides to follow them, suspecting that they’re moving the treasure. He follows them quite a ways until he thinks he has lost them. Suddenly he realizes they’re extremely near, close to Widow Douglas’ house. He hears Injun Joe talk about how her dead husband was the one that had him whipped and mistreated. He decides to get revenge on the man by hurting her, cutting off parts of her face and head. While the partner thinks it a bit gruesome, Injun Joe is intent on doing it and threatens to kill his partner if he doesn’t come along. They can’t act now though as it seems the Widow has visitors.
Huck manages to quietly sneak away and ends up running to a nearby house owned by the Welshman. Making them promise not to tell anyone he told them this, he informs them of what he heard. The Welshman and his three sons rush off armed with Huck back to the spot. As Huck waits behind a boulder, he hears the guns fire off and a yell. He runs away.
The following morning just before Dawn, Huck goes back to the Welshman’s house. He is happily invited in and learns that while shots were fired, no one on either side was hurt, and the two criminals managed to get away. Huck is asked for a description of the two men, and the Welshman quickly recognizes that they’ve been spotted before on the Widow’s property. The Welshman’s boys are sent out to get the sheriff and find a posse, and Huck is asked for a more detailed description of how he came upon the men. Huck doesn’t want to let out that he knows it was Injun Joe, so he continues to describe him as the deaf and dumb Spaniard that’s been seen around town. His story fails though as he reveals he heard the Spaniard speak. Huck hesitantly reveals that the Spaniard is Injun Joe.
Huck also learns that the box they were carrying with them wasn’t the gold at all, but burglarizing tools. He hides as Widow Douglas, and other visitors come in to thank the Welshman. He tells them that thanks go to someone else, but won’t reveal Huck’s identity as promised.
Being Sunday morning, the mothers gather to talk and learn that Tom and Becky aren’t at each other’s houses. No one noticed them missing from the boat, and someone suggests that they may still be in the cave system. A large search party spends all day and night looking for them without success. The Welshman returns after the first day’s search to find that Huck has a fever. He gets the Widow Douglas to look after him as he returns to the search. Three days of searching continue without any success. At one point, Huck gets up and asks the Widow if anything was found in the tavern where Injun Joe was staying. He finds out there was, but it was only liquor. He asks if Tom had been the one to find it, and the Widow begins crying, though Huck doesn’t know why. He goes back to sleep, wondering if the treasure has been officially lost.
The book goes back to the day of the picnic and focuses on Tom and Becky. They explored the caves like everyone else had, going with no one but each other down the various tunnels. They happen upon a crevice that leads deeper downward into the system, and they follow it, leaving smoke markings upon the cave walls to remember their way. They run into a nest of bats that are stirred up by their arrival and are forced to run away. In the panic, they didn’t get a chance to keep track of which way they had gone, officially getting themselves lost. After some despair, they begin to try to find a way out, attempting to conserve the few candles they took with them.
Hours go by, and they can’t find a way out. Tom insists on finding a place for water, and they do so. There, Tom reveals that they’re on their last candle. Becky weeps and they watch the last bit burn away. Waiting they hear some shouting and Tom attempts to shout back with no reply. Time continues to pass, and their despair grows. Tom takes a piece of kite string, ties it to an outcropping, then attempts to do some further exploration by himself as Becky seems resigned to die by the water. At one point, he sees a light and a hand up ahead and shouts. The light reveals itself to be owned by Injun Joe though, running away from the sound of the voice. Tom is terrified and returns to Becky, explaining the shout was just for luck. Though still scared of running into Injun Joe, his fear of being stuck there is greater, so Tom head off once again with kite string in hand.
As Tuesday afternoon hits, the town is convinced that the kids have been lost. Most all the folks looking in the caves have given up save for Becky’s father and a few men. That same night though, a carriage comes into town announcing that the children have been found. The town rejoices. Tom explains that after searching various tunnels, he just happened to spot daylight in one of them. Going forward, he sees a way out onto Mississippi River shore. He returns to get Becky, and they hail down a raft with some men. They learn that they are five miles from the cave’s entrance, and the folks on the ship get them food and make them rest a bit before returning into town.
The children end up in bed for a few days as the adventure has worn them out quite a bit. Tom visits Huck once he’s better, but isn’t allowed to tell any exciting stories as Huck is still sick. The body of Injun Joe’s accomplice had been found drowned. On his way to visit his friend, Tom stops by Becky’s house were Judge Thatcher and a few friends converse with him. Here, Tom finds out that the Judge has had the entrance door to cave laden with iron and triple-locked so as to prevent further accidents like this one. Shocked, Tom reveals that Injun Joe was in the caves.
As it turns out, Injun Joe had made it back to the entrance to the cave but had already been locked out. His starved corpse is found next to that of some bats he had presumably eaten. His bowie knife was broken, and there were scratches along the door, implying he had tried to cut his way out, though the effort would have been futile as a large rock also barred his way. He is buried near the cave, and his grave becomes part of the place’s attraction.
Tom visits Huck the day after the funeral and they explain each to each other what had happened on their individual adventures. As their conversation continues, Tom exclaims that the treasure wasn’t in room Number 2 of the tavern, but remains in the cave. They outfit themselves and head back to where Tom managed to escape the tunnels. He leads them back to the spot where he saw Injun Joe and finds a cross there as they had thought. They dig around and find that a stone was covering up a chasm at the end of which holds the treasure, a keg, and some guns. The boys leave the guns and kegs for future robbing expeditions and pack up the money. Once home, they borrow a wagon and head towards the Widow Douglas’ house, where they plan to hide it.
Passing the Welshman’s house, the boys are stopped by the man and told to follow him up to Widow Dogulas’ house. He carries their wagon for them, convinced it’s just old, heavy metal that they’ve gathered up to sell. Once at the house, family and friends meet them. They’re told to clean up and put on the new suits that have been bought for them.
As the boys are left to dress, Huck suggests escaping, since he has no desire for large crowds. Tom reassures him though. It’s at this point that Sid comes in. He reveals to them that the Welshman is planning to reveal a secret, and most everybody knows that it’s going to be revealed that Huck was the one that informed the Welshman about the robbers. At the dinner table, this is exactly what happens, making Huck even more uncomfortable at the attention he is receiving. The Widow Douglas expresses her gratitude, proclaiming she plans to take Huck into her house to educate him and save up money to put him in business one day. Tom says this won’t be necessary, since Huck is already rich. The jokes are quickly silenced as Tom brings in the bags of gold from the wagon. After explaining how they acquired it, the money is counted up to $12,000.
The boys’ fortune made public, many townsfolk start tearing up haunted houses and caves in search for their own. The found money is invested for the boys, giving them a dollar a day. Judge Thatcher’s admiration for Tom after saving his daughter grows ever more once he hears how he took a whipping for her when she had ripped the schoolmaster’s book. Judge Thatcher aims to make sure Tom has admission to both the military academy and a good law school, should the boy choose to employ himself in either or both professions.
Huck is taken in by the Widow Douglas. His life becomes ordered, clean, and he sleeps on cleans sheets and a soft bed. Unsurprisingly, Huck despises this life and goes missing for two days. The river is searched for his body, the town is scoured, but no one can find him. Tom sneaks to an empty hog shed behind the old slaughterhouse, and finds Huck there. Huck hates living with the Widow and wants to give up his share of the money if being rich requires changing his life. Tom then describes how Huck can’t be part of the robber’s gang if he isn’t respectable, as though politeness may not be a characteristic of a pirate, it certainly is one of robbers. The threat of not being included in the gang frightens Huck enough to go live with the Widow until he’s proper enough to become a criminal.
Edna arrives at Adele’s home at the beginning of her labor. The latter is dramatically denouncing the doctor and questioning why everyone has abandoned her. Doctor Mandelet arrives to help Adele and takes the situation as lightly as the nurse, despite Adele’s panic. Edna stays throughout the entire thing and feels uncomfortable at having to remember her own childbirth.
The birth finished, Edna bids Adele farewell by kissing her forehead. While leaning in, Adele- without provocation or context- tells Edna to “think of the children.”
Dazed from the event, Edna turns down Mandelet’s offer of a ride, choosing instead to walk. Mandelet directs his car to her house to meet him there and accompanies her. She thinks out loud about what Adele said, how it’s better to be awake than asleep but perhaps not at the price of children. Understanding Edna’s jumbled words, Mandelet offers himself as someone that can be trusted, and tells Edna that they can talk of things she never thought she’d talk about.
After Mandelet leaves, Edna stops short of going inside and instead sits on the porch. She lets her negative emotions dissipate as she thinks of Robert and fantasizes about touching him. Though Adele’s words struck her intensely, Edna decides that tomorrow will be the appropriate time to consider the consequences of her action regarding her children.
Upon entering, she finds that Robert is gone, having left only a note that reads “I love you. Good-by- because I love you.” Edna’s heart is broken and lies down on the sofa. She spends the entire night awake.
On Grand Isle, Victor is doing some repairs while flirting with Mariequita and describing the dinner party he attended at Edna’s house. As they talk, Edna herself comes from around the corner, disheveled and dirty. Edna has come by boat to the island with no company and notes that the place seemed “dreary and deserted.” Victor quickly offers her his own room, as it’s the only place ready to house people. Edna asks when dinner will be ready, as she is hungry, and says she would like to take a swim. While both Victor and Mariequita think the idea is foolish as the water is cold, Edna insists and asks them to bring her towels.
Walking to the beach, Edna doesn’t think of anything, as her night spent on the couch was where she had done all the thinking she needed to do. She had thought about how neither Leonce nor Alcee mattered, and that the only person she wanted near her was Robert. She realized that it was inevitable that she would forget Robert and move on, but she also knew that her children were shackling her to a life that she didn’t want. The narrator notes, “she knew a way to elude them.”
Along the way to the shore, the giant sea stretches before her, and she sees a bird with a broken wing floating down towards the water. Instead of changing into her swimsuit, Edna chooses to go naked instead and feels like a new person. She starts swimming out and doesn’t stop nor look back. She thinks about how Robert didn’t understand her nor ever would. Possibly Mandelet would’ve, but it was already too late. She continues to swim- growing ever more tired- and as she recalls childhood memories of the Kentucky meadow of tall grass and the colonel she was infatuated with as a child, she lets the sea embrace her.
Straff Venture is angry that Zane sent a group of his allomancers to their deaths while Vin still lives. Zane promises that he has a plan to take care of her. Meanwhile, Straff meets with Penrod, the new king of Luthadel. Penrod is planning to give Luthadel to Straff, opening the gates to him and handing over the kingship. Straff, on the other hand, doesn’t want to enter the city while Vin still lives. Later, Zane tells Straff that he has been poisoned again. Zane leaves, and Straff is forced to ride hard back into the camp so his mistress can make him another antidote tea.
Vin awakes to see that Elend is with her. He tells her that he is not king, and he reports that OreSeur, who was badly hurt in the fight, is currently digesting a new set of bones. Vin feels that Elend is now scared of her somehow because of the way she fought those allomancers. Vin goes back to sleep, and awakes to find Zane there. He accuses her, saying that she could have killed those attackers easily had she not been so distracted with protecting Elend and other innocents. Later, OreSeur visits Vin, in another dog’s body. They talk more about the Contract that binds all kandra. Vin uses brass and duralumin to push strongly on OreSeur’s emotions. Even though he at first does not react at all, with enough force, Vin hurts him very badly, and she felt like she were controlling him for a moment. She apologizes for hurting OreSeur, and he leaves to get some rest. Vin promise to never tell anyone what she’s discovered about kandra.
Sazed and Tindwyl continue to talk about the things they are learning. Something doesn’t make sense about the rubbings, written by Kwaan. It seems that Kwaan did not trust Alendi, but he also knew Alendi was a good man. But if Kwaan knew Alendi was good, why did he have his nephew, Rashek, to mislead or even kill Alendi? Elend comes in and asks for advice. After a discussion, he decides that being king isn’t about a title, but about doing something to help others. He returns to his closet and retrieves the white suite, the one made for a king.
Elend is hard at work, helping the people. He’s sending men out to dismantle the wooden parts of keeps and houses to use as firewood. The many refugees are cold and hungry, and he wants to help them. Someone comes with news that one of the gates under the river has been broken. That is how someone has been getting into the city and poisoning the wells. Also, other reports say that an Inquisitor is lurking about the city. Elend decides to go out and talk to Jastes, with the koloss army, himself. He rides out and meets Jastes, unable to make any kind of deal. On the way out, Elend manages to fight and kill one smaller koloss, earning the sword and pouch as his own. He looks into the pouch and discovers how Jastes is controlling the koloss. He’s paying them.
Vin sees Elend, now returned from his meet with the koloss army, inured and resting. Zanes comes and says that Cett was the one that planed the attack at the voting ceremony. Vin gets angry and decides to attack Cett. Zane and Vin attack the keep that Cett has been staying at in Luthadel. Together, they kill guards and hazekillers. Fueled by rage, Vin kills quickly, working her way to Cett’s room. She realizes that Zane is using atium, while she has none, and yet she’s killing just as easily as he is. They finally get to Cett’s room, where he is with his son. Vin fights them at first, but when she discovers that neither of them is an allomancer and that Cett doesn’t have a single allomancer with him, she leaves them behind, injured and scared.
The crew sees that Cett’s army is now leaving, a result of Vin’s attack on his keep the night before. Elend does not know why Vin attacked Cett like that. Some in the crew think she’s crazy, but Elend just sees her as determined. They also discover that the “coins” Jastes has been using to control the koloss are fake, wooden coins painted gold. Elend goes to find Vin, who is hiding in the city. He finds her with OreSeur’s help. She says she must leave Luthadel and go north, to Terris. Elend says he trust her to do the right thing. They have one large bead of atium, and Vin gives it to OreSeur to hold for her.
Sazed and Tindwyl compare notes, studying the rubbing and other references they’ve managed to find. Tindwyl admits that she doesn’t believe in these prophecies, her interest in them being purely academic. Sazed, on the other hand, thinks Vin might actually be the next Hero of the Ages. While they talk, they discover that someone–or something–has torn a piece from one of the transcription pages. Vin comes in, while they try to figure out at what point were they both gone or occupied to not have seen an intruder going through their things. Vin asks Sazed how she can know if she’s in love. They talk about trust. After Vin leaves, Elend comes in and starts asking similar questions. Elend thinks he and Vin are too different to make a couple, but Sazed says that, to him, they are more alike than they think. After Elend leaves, Sazed realizes that Luthadel is going to fall soon; he needs to get both Elend and Vin out of the city before that happens.
Sazed calls a meeting with the members of the crew: Dockson, Breeze, Ham, and Clubs. He doesn’t invite Elend, Vin, or Spook. They talk about how the city is sure to fall. Straff apparently is in no hurry to take Luthadel. Instead, he’ll back off and let the koloss attack the city first. The koloss will win and enter the city, pillaging as they go. Then, with the koloss weakened and tired from the fight, Venture will ride in like a hero and save the city, defeating the koloss and taking Luthadel for himself. Sazed says that Elend and Vin need to get out of the city before these things happen. He wants Spook and Tindwyl to go with them. The rest of the group will have to stay and fight and die. Meanwhile, Vin feels she must follow the drumming she hears all the time. In Straff’s camp, Zane is attacked by his father’s men. He defeats them, but spares his father. He leaves, saying that tonight he will take Vin with him and leave Luthadel. He tells Straff that he should wait for the koloss to attack and then take the city.
Vin is in her room with OreSeur when Zane visits. He wants her to come with him, but she says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave Elend. When Zane sees that she won’t go, he attacks her. They fight. When Zane starts to burn atium, Vin asks OreSeur for the large bead, a bead Zan had given her before. OreSeur doesn’t respond to her command. Vin discovers that OreSeur is not OreSeur. He is TenSoon, Zane’s kandra. Of course! There was no other spy. The bones they found were TenSoon’s and he had killed OreSeur! Zane corners Vin, but Vin uses a massive soothing to take control of OreSeur/TenSoon and attack Zane from behind. She then cuts the bead of atium fro TenSoon. But this is another trick. The bead is lead, with only a thin layer of atium. Soon, Vin is left helpless against a Mistborn killer with atium. Vin decides that Zane can see what she’s about to do, or, rather, what she plans on doing. If she attacks without thinking, though, she can, see in Zane’s reaction what she is going to do, only to change it at the last possible second. The trick works, and Vin defeats Zane. After Zane dies, she thanks OreSeur/TenSoon for helping her win. His contract is void, and he must return to his people. Vin goes to find Elend.
Elend is in his study when Vin comes in, bloody from her fight with Zane. She tells him that she killed him. He calls for Sazed, who comes to help with the wounds. While she is there, on the ground, she asks Sazed if he knows any wedding ceremonies. Of course, he knows hundreds. Vin asks which one is the shortest, and Sazed recalls one that only requires a declaration of love between the bride and groom before an ordained witness. Vin and Elend both say that they love each other, and Sazed declares them married. The wounds are clean, and Sazed sends Vin to get some rest. He also gives them a fake map to find the Well of Ascension. If the couple follows the map, they’ll be gone from Luthadel for a long time.
Elend and Vin prepare to ride out of the city. Tindwyl decides to stay in Luthadel. Spooks gets ready to go, and Allrianne will ride out, at Breeze’s insistence. So the four of them ride out, Vin quickly having to fight pursuers from Straff’s army. Once they are free, Allrianne breaks off to find her father’s army. Meanwhile, some of the crew watch as the escape, now sure of their own coming doom. Straff Venture hears of the escapes, but he has problems of his own now. He’s getting sick, which he knows is the result of poisoning from his son, Zane. He sends for his mistress, Amaranta, to fix him an antidote, but he discovers that she isn’t preparing what she normally does. She is actually killing, as she has for a long time. There never was any poison. Zane never tried to kill his father. But Amaranta, in her constant fixing of teas for Straff, has been causing him to become addicted to a rare drug. Without that drug, Straff will die. Straff, in a rage, kills Amaranta and then swallows as much powder from her medicine cabnet as he can, hoping to accidentally swallow some of the drug he needs before he loses consciousness.
Allrianne has made her way to her father’s camp, with the help of some bandits she’s tamed with her rioting. Her father, Cett, is not happy to see her. She convinces him to go back and join the winning party in the battle that is to come, although Cett promises that will likely be Straff. Meanwhile, Elend wakes up on the third morning out of Luthadel. He and Vin share a tent now, and he finds himself surprisingly comfortable on the hard ground, with Vin next to him. They get up and prepare the fire. It’s just the three of them: Elend, Vin, and Spook. Meanwhile Straff wakes up in bed. His men have taken care of him, and they’ve isolated the plant he needs to stay alive. When he hears that Vin and Elend have left the city, the men ask if they should attack now. Straff says no; they should pull back and wait for the koloss. Sazed meets with the others to plan a strategy for when the koloss attack. They plan to have a group of men at each gate. Saze and Tindwyl get a little time together, but then the warning drums begin to beat.
Vin is thinking about how the mist is staying later and later every day, instead of just disappearing with dawn, when she feels the pulsing of the mist spirit coming from Elend’s tent. She runs in, just in time to see the outline of that spirit lift some kind of knife to attack Elend, who is sleeping on the ground. She attacks the spirit and it disappears. Elend wakes up and never knows what was happening. She leaves Elend to sleep a little more and goes out to speak with Spook. He thinks someone is following them. Meanwhile, Sazed and the crew get ready, since it looks like the Koloss are about to attack. Men are at each gate, with one crewmember there to help. Straff sees that the koloss are attacking, but he tells his men to wait. Vin and Elend attack the camp of people that have been following them. It turns out to be Jastes. He’s lost control of the koloss, so he just left them. Elend kills Jastes because of his crimes against Luthadel. Vin discovers that the drumming sounds are getting softer, meaning the well is to the south, in Luthadel, and not in the Terris mountains.
Breeze works at his assigned gate, soothing soldiers by the dozen, helping them to be brave and fight well. The koloss pound at the door, while men atop the wall rain arrows down on the attackers. The koloss throw rocks up in return, smashing archers. Meanwhile, Vin runs towards Luthadel, burning pewter. She knows she will run out of pewter long before reaching Luthadel, and she wonders if the effect will kill her. But still she keeps running. Breeze and Clubs talk while the koloss continue to beat the gate. They blame themselves for being stupid enough to be in this mess, and they blame Kelsier for getting them into such responsibilities. Just then, the gates burst open. Meanwhile, Sazed gets word that Breeze’s gate had fallen. He doesn’t think he can really help. He notices that there is a crowd of skaa standing behind the defense force. When Sazed confronts them, telling them that they should flee to safety inside the city, the skaa answer that they are there to witness the fall of the koloss at the hands of Vin, who they are sure will return and make her appearance at Sazed’s gate. Then the gate breaks. Sazed musters his stored strength, growing in size, and faces the lead koloss, shouting for the men to fight. Vin, half collapsing and out of pewter, reaching a small village. At first she thinks to ask for pewter, but then she remembers how she used to travel with Kelsier on a path of metal bars in the ground. She asks for horseshoes, using them to “walk” by leaping, placing horseshoes ahead of her and pulling the ones behind to place further. In this way, she uses the horseshoes like stilts to help her travel in the air.
Outside Luthadel, Straff Venture sees that the koloss have now broken into the city gates. His men are ready to attack the koloss from the rear, but Straff decides to wait longer. Sazed, fighting the koloss, realizes that they need to get the gate closed again in order to survive. Using strength and weight, he manages to fight off the koloss and get the gate closed again. While getting a little break, a messenger comes and says that Tindwyl’s gate fell over an hour ago. Meanwhile, Clubs and Breeze are attacked and forced to run. Clubs is killed, while Breeze hides in a building. Dockson contemplates the root of their failure. He attacks a koloss, only to be cut down. Straff decides not to swoop in a save the city while the koloss are weak. Instead, he’d rather wait for the koloss to kill everyone and burn the city. Then Straff will move in. Meanwhile, Sazed fights on, wondering what happened to Tindwyl. He feels he is going to die, but then Vin arrives and starts killing koloss. Breeze is found by Ham and some others. They want to try to escape.
Vin continues killing koloss, several at a time. Sazed, outside Lord Penrod’s keep, begs the newly appointed king to go with them as they try to escape. Penrod insists on staying inside his keep. Vin continues to fight the koloss, but now she is almost completely out of pewter, steel, and almost every other metal. In desperation, to save some skaa from certain death, she super-soothes them, like she’d done to TenSoon, controlling the koloss with her mind. Sazed is standing outside Penrod’s keep when Vin walks up with koloss in tow. She orders Penrod to gather his men and put out the fires in Luthadel. Vin will take care of the koloss throughout the city. Later, Sazed finds Tindwyl’s dead body among the slain soldiers. He feels that all the faith, all the religions, he has always treasured is now useless. His life, he believes, has been a sham.
Straff wakes up and takes a sample of the drug he needs to stay alive. He gathers his men, expecting to be able to take the city now. But the koloss come out with the remaining soldiers of Luthadel. Vin jumps from among the koloss, sailing through the sky with a giant sword, cleaving Straff and his horse in half on impact. Allrianne watches these events from her father’s camp. She charges after them to help Luthadel’s army, forcing her father and his men to ride after her. Straff’s army surrenders, and Janarle, Straff’s general, is named the new Lord of the Venture army. Janarle, Penrod, and Cett all swear loyalty to Elend as their Emperor. Vin, needing rest, leaves Sazed in charge of the Empire until Elend can return to Luthadel.
THE THIRTY-FOUR THEMES
As Strengths-Based Leadership constantly reminds us, the best leaders know both their own strengths and weaknesses, and rather than wasting time fixing weaknesses, they focus on building strengths while surrounding themselves with others whose talents complement their own.
The introduction to this section gives instructions for using the latest version of Gallup’s StrengthsFinder Test (StrengthsFinder 2.0), which has helped people around the world to maximize their potential. The online version of the test comes with an individually tailored guide that illustrates ways of using your strongest five themes in leadership situations. In the following section, all thirty-four themes are explained in the context of helping leaders to foster their team’s strengths.
THE THIRTY-FOUR THEMES
This section of Strengths-Based Leadership gives brief but detailed descriptions of each theme and how to apply them to the four main categories valued by the majority of followers: trust, compassion, stability, and hope. The last subsection gives suggestions for leading others who possess the same strength.
The following pages feature condensed versions of the thirty-four theme descriptions and suggestions. The themes are organized in alphabetical order rather than by broad domain category (see Part 2).
Description: Achievers are doers. They like to stay busy and accomplish things, and they are aided in this by their considerable stamina and work ethic.
Leading with Achiever in relation to:
Trust – Achievers can maintain their well-earned reputation for hard work and accomplishment by being true to their promises as well as working alongside their team.
Compassion – They can use their goal-oriented approach to foster relationships on both a daily and project basis. Time spent with loved ones can be combined with projects important to both (or all) parties.
Stability – Achievers’ extraordinary stamina and work style may set them apart from others. Supporting both their own and others’ work styles can help others connect with them while demonstrating the value of their strong work ethic.
Hope – Sharing in detail the process they use to maximize their achievements can help others interested in doing the same.
Fostering others with the same strength:
This section focuses on how best to deal with others who have the same strength. It gives a series of different tips on ways to make them feel recognized, pitfalls to avoid, and the best methods for harnessing specific themes.
Examples for the Achiever theme include:
The section ends with the excellent point that promoting someone based on a single strength may not always be the best move if the new position does not utilize the strength in question. Instead, it recommends examining the person’s other strengths and seeking out appropriate opportunities based on the entire picture.
Description: Part of the Influencing domain, the Activator theme is about turning ideas into objective realities.
Leading with Activator in relation to:
Trust – Like Achiever, Activator is strong on action. Ideals and results should match, and the leader should also demonstrate a genuine, active interest in others’ goals and values in order to gain their consistent allegiance and effort.
Compassion – Here again, helpful action on behalf of others is the key to building relationships.
Stability – Activators specialize in moving things forward. They consistently provide the energy, courage, and tools to overcome blockages and resistance.
Hope – Activators are positive visionaries who are unafraid to take the first step. Their ability to encourage others to do so can greatly help to speed progress.
Fostering other Activators may include:
Description: One of the Relationship Building skills, those with strong Adaptability prefer to experience things in the here and now—to flow with the tide.
Leading with Adaptability in relation to:
Trust – Because adaptable people have no agenda to force on anyone, their ability to listen and discover others’ strengths can help to give confidence and inspire trust.
Compassion – The ability of adaptable types to live in the moment makes it easy for them to focus on others, respond to momentary needs, and transmit a sense of relaxation to their more pressurized team members.
Stability – Life doesn’t always cooperate quite as we’d like it to, and at those times, the patience and flexibility that characterize this trait can be important reminders that things are sometimes accomplished more effectively when we allow them to take their course.
Hope – Adaptable types can help others come to terms with their issues by encouraging them to let go of the things they can’t control.
Fostering others with strong Adaptability may include:
Description: The Analytical strength seeks to explain cause and effect and can be useful in determining the impact that various factors have on a situation.
Leading with the Analytical theme in relation to:
Trust – Those with this strength are known for their capacity to get to the heart, or truth, of a matter. At the same time, although others will often trust an analytical person’s judgment unreservedly, showing others how to do this for themselves can prove even more useful as can reminding them that one person’s analysis may or may not suit another’s needs and goals.
Compassion – Analytical types can show compassion by connecting with others with the same strength and making analysis and truth-seeking fun and stimulating. They can also help others to sort through things when the information becomes too confusing or overwhelming.
Stability – Because people often take their cues from analytical types, these leaders need to be sure to be accurate in their assessments. Encouraging team members when they agree with their analyses can give their employees or colleagues added confidence.
Hope – Analytical types can create hope by encouraging wise decisions, teaching their process to those interested in learning, and teaming up with an active person so that both can learn from each other, thus maximizing their mutual strengths.
Fostering others with strong Analytical tendencies may include:
Description: Arrangers are organizers who like to maximize a situation or task through their intimate knowledge of the details and possibilities.
Leading with the Arranger theme in relation to:
Trust – Arrangers should foster open and honest communication about how they think and operate, letting people know that they value honest feedback as it helps them in their planning.
Compassion – Arrangers’ ability to see how the details fit into the larger picture can help them to 1. place people appropriately, thus creating maximum satisfaction, and 2. guide others in moments of confusion by giving them an overview and helping them to understand and simplify their role.
Stability – Again, the ability to sort through complex situations helps to minimize both confusion and potential problems, thus giving people a sense of confidence and security.
Hope – Arrangers can use their ability to cut through complexity by showing others how to streamline and gain control over their lives.
Fostering others with strong Arranger tendencies may include:
Description: An emphasis on Belief indicates a strong sense of life purpose based on deeply held values.
Leading with Belief in relation to:
Trust – Gaining trust through Belief involves 1. being clear about behavioral and ethical expectations and 2. helping others to see the value of service by both setting an example and involving the team in projects that shift their focus beyond themselves.
Compassion – Encourage conversation about the things that matter most to people. Understanding diversity helps to avoid judgment and foster listening and acceptance while at the same time maintaining a strong sense of individual convictions and values.
Stability – The stability of deeply held beliefs can provide a sense of security simply because others know what to expect. Maintaining a positive orientation—one that works towards a beneficial goal rather than against an issue—will increase confidence and support.
Hope – A believer’s own conviction will give others strength as can encouraging and supporting others to live the deeper meaning in their own lives and work. If they are confused, suggest they track their time, talent, and money to see what values are highlighted by their actual efforts.
Fostering others with strong Belief may include:
Description: Leaders having strong Command are described as having presence, decisiveness, and the ability to take control.
Leading with Command in relation to:
Trust – Those with Command are known for saying what they think, which in itself inspires trust because it eliminates having to second-guess their opinions and motives. They are encouraged, however, to regularly assess their actions in relation to their words to make sure they correlate.
Compassion – People with natural Command are encouraged to express their strong feelings and passionate nature, thereby possibly giving others the courage to express similar feelings. Natural commanders are also encouraged to show their more vulnerable side as a means of giving others courage and building trust.
Stability – Here again the qualities of openness and courage are stressed as important factors in building confidence and a feeling of security. Those with Command are encouraged to be aware of the courage and confidence they inspire and to voluntarily extend it to others when they feel it might be needed.
Hope – Command types can help to create hope by gently giving straightforward advice when asked and also by allowing the power of their words and feelings to inspire others with their vision.
Fostering others with strong Command may include:
Description: Communication in this case refers to those who are adept at verbal expression.
Leading with Communication in relation to:
Trust – Those with this skill need to ensure that their words have integrity, since their easy access to verbal expression can too easily lead them to use words as manipulative devices. Keep interpersonal communications open and honest and make sure that praise is genuine.
Compassion – Good communicators can use their verbal ability to help others put their feelings into words, which in turn can help them make worthwhile decisions. Communication types should also be aware of the values and impact conveyed by the terms and expressions they choose.
Stability – Use words to give praise and encouragement, preferably in writing. Focus on successful achievements to build confidence. Notice the words you use in relation to time, and adjust them to create confidence in the long term.
Hope – Offer to write and email meeting summaries. Summaries should be accurate and comprehensive while maintaining a positive tone and orientation that stresses successes and achievements, thus helping to shape a positive future. Take the same approach in personal interactions.
Fostering others with strong Communication ability may include:
Description: The Competition theme likes to compare and compete for top honors.
Leading with Competition in relation to:
Trust – Make integrity a priority, since winning without it is hollow. Acknowledge the validity of competition, but don’t let emotions interfere with relationships.
Compassion – Make the most of encounters with other competitors by using your common theme to motivate each other either individually or as a team. Find a weekly competitive pursuit and invite others—especially other competitors—to join you. Emphasize the fun aspect of Competition, and respect the reality of diverse attitudes towards competitive activities.
Stability – Create confidence by fostering individual strengths. When faced with a difficult situation, remind yourself and your team of the importance of long-term vision and commitment.
Hope – Foster potential in others by making them aware of latent talents and by encouraging and helping them to develop them. Make people clearly aware of organizational targets. Define your team’s specific strengths, and find the niche that gives you the greatest chance at top-notch success. Take advantage of your natural awareness of global industry standards, and motivate your team to go beyond them.
Fostering others with a strong Competition theme may include:
Description: Connectedness is the deep conviction that things and events are related to each other and therefore rarely coincidental.
Leading with Connectedness in relation to:
Trust – A keynote of this theme is selflessness. Foster trust through an active expression of this trait. Look for opportunities that stress a global awareness, using this influence to help widen the outlook of those with a narrower approach.
Compassion – Build relationships by seeking out and focusing on commonalities such as shared interests. Actively and persistently ask questions to uncover and explore these areas, using them as a foundation for getting to know others more fully. Help others connect by fostering an awareness of similarities.
Stability – Help others to see the meaning or value in times of difficulty or chaos by making them aware of the larger picture. Help them to see the underlying order and invisible connections. In cases of shared faith, strengthen their trust in times of fear and doubt.
Hope – Again, help others to see things from a broader, more unified perspective. Suggest new ways of using their strengths or that they interact with others to broaden their experience. Extend your talent beyond your own organization by helping to break down barriers and encourage useful interaction between all sorts and levels of groups. Inspire individual self-development and achievement in the context of a larger goal.
Fostering others who have a strong Connectedness theme may include:
Description: The theme of Consistency involves taking a clear and uniform approach to all.
Leading with Consistency in relation to:
Trust – Apply the same principles to yourself that you apply others. Those with strong Consistency themes also prefer not to take advantage of their position.
Compassion – Examine the role of Consistency as a basis and stabilizer in your best and most intimate relationships, and apply it as a means of gaining new friendships. Openly encourage just and principled behavior. Focus on building strong relationships with those whose values are similar.
Stability – Be clear about your expectations and the principles that govern them.
Hope – Being consistently there for others can be reassuring to them. Also, help those who struggle to find solutions more suited to their strengths. This also assures others that you don’t just favor the winning side.
Fostering those with a strong Consistency theme may include:
Description: Those with a strong need for Context like to examine the past to explain the present.
Leading with Context in relation to:
Trust – Share stories from your own past and encourage others to do so as well, if interested.
Compassion – Use your natural interest in people’s backgrounds to connect with them. Remembering the details can show caring and help to strengthen the relationship.
Stability – Context can be helpful in seeing the bigger picture and learning from past events.
Hope – Referring people to past successes can help them overcome present problems. Helping them to see patterns of cause and effect in their own histories can aid them in either improving upon them or changing them as needed. Use your sense of Context to trace the origin and history of ideas relevant to your organization and mission; then use this knowledge to help others understand and commit to it more readily. You can also use your knowledge of the history of your organization, including anecdotes that illustrate its core, to give others a sense of the wisdom and logic of its growth and existence. Gathering this information into an organized context can help inspire future generations.
Fostering others with a strong Context theme:
Description: Those with a strong Deliberative theme are serious decision makers with the ability to anticipate potential problems.
Leading with Deliberative in relation to:
Trust – Deliberative types use sensitivity when dealing with difficult issues and may therefore need additional time when deciding which path to take. Those around them generally know that this stems from careful consideration rather than procrastination or slowness.
Compassion – These types choose their relationships as carefully as they make their decisions. Because long-term relationships are precious and few, they need to make sure to give them an adequate amount of care. The same holds true for their praise, which should therefore be underscored with some concrete sign.
Stability – The carefully thought-out decisions of a Deliberative person can give others a sense of security and stability. Explaining them openly and carefully and listening with the same attentiveness to others’ input can add to this sense.
Hope – Leaders with Deliberative themes can encourage caution in decision making by establishing a period of time for added deliberation. Sharing their knowledge and understanding of subjects they thoroughly understand as well as encouraging others to try new things that are suitable for their talents can also be helpful.
Those strong in this theme tend to be reserved and careful, and they should therefore be placed in positions or given tasks that emphasize those strengths rather than being expected to easily adapt to roles and situations that run counter to their nature.
Fostering others with a strong Deliberative theme may therefore include:
Description: Developers can see the potential in others and enjoy helping them to unfold it.
Leading with Developer in relation to:
Trust – Leaders with strong Developer themes will derive satisfaction from offering to help others maximize their potential. They should be patient with those who are wary of their offers, allowing others to get to know and trust them over a longer period of time.
Compassion – The genuine enjoyment Developers feel in fostering others can be expressed without reservation. This level of caring will make a long-lasting impression on those who benefit from it. Developers should also be sure to nurture close relationships for the sake of love, since relationships of this type have the greatest effect.
Stability – Developers can provide the guidance and confidence so necessary to learn and achieve by helping people overcome obstacles, including the fear of failure, and by giving them a reasonable sense of the time and effort required. They can also encourage them to see beyond their present limitations and take the risks that enable them to expand themselves.
Hope – Leaders with this theme can help others to see beyond their own limited view of themselves by asking questions that inspire them to dream, imagine, and acknowledge their strengths and accomplishments. Developers can gain additional inspiration by remembering their own mentors’ best moments and contributions to their growth. Finally, to avoid overextending themselves, they should reflect on how they might give of their encouragement and wisdom in passing, since these momentary gifts can often be of great benefit to others.
Fostering others with a strong Developer theme may include:
Description: Those with strong Discipline thrive on order, structure, and routine.
Leading with Discipline in relation to:
Trust – Those with great Discipline create trust by consistently holding themselves to a high standard, ensuring that every detail is in place.
Compassion – The recommendation here is to adopt a caring stance that appreciates others’ good qualities just as they appreciate the disciplined approach that characterizes this type of leader. Kindness toward others when they overlook details can help to bring a sense of compassion.
Stability – Predictability and timeliness help to provide a sense of stability, as does the calm sense of order and planning that is one of the hallmarks of this type.
Hope – Disciplined leaders are highly productive and like to stay on track through goal-setting and timelines. Sharing this system with others may prove helpful to some colleagues. Forcing it on others, however, is not useful; instead, try to discover and encourage their strengths, accepting that the order you create is a benefit to them.
Fostering others with a strong Discipline theme may include:
Description: Empathy is the ability to feel others’ emotions and to imagine your own feelings in a similar situation.
Leading with Empathy in relation to:
Trust – Leaders with Empathy are able to help others verbalize their emotions in difficult situations. They respect and acknowledge them, while at the same time approaching them honestly. These people value trust and can therefore be counted on for sensitivity and discretion.
Compassion – Because of their sensitivity towards emotions, empathic types sometimes are aware of them before others. Gently helping others to become aware of their different levels can be of great value.
Stability – The ability to immediately sense the atmosphere of a place, to be supportive in difficult situations, and to listen patiently and attentively while others express their thoughts and feelings can help give a sense of security and stability.
Hope – People with strong empathic abilities can create hope by being welcoming and encouraging when approached as a mentor or confidante as well as by helping others to articulate their dreams. Their emotional awareness can also help them to anticipate events and guide their team’s emotions and actions accordingly.
Fostering others with a strong Empathy theme may include:
Description: Those with Focus habitually target their goals, act on them, and correct course along the way to maintain concentration.
Leading with Focus in relation to:
Trust – Those with strong Focus are centered on the most important issues, avoiding unimportant minutiae with reference to both themselves and those they work with. They are aware of the necessity of making choices, and they can build trust by respecting others’ life decisions.
Compassion – Focused individuals can use their talent for targeted concentration in relation to people as well as work and life goals. Including those they care about in their planning will bring balance to their own lives and let their partners and loved ones know that they are important. Similar attention and appreciation should be accorded to valuable professional relationships.
Stability – Using a gift for Focus to plan increasingly further ahead, sharing those plans with others, and letting them know that they are included can help to bring a sense of stability.
Hope – Highly focused people are among the most effective in accomplishing their objectives. They can help to create hope by transmitting some of their methods to others, such as 1. learning to differentiate between important and non-essential tasks; 2. mentoring their best team members by helping them define and map out a career plan; and 3. sharing objectives and goal-setting systems with others to potentially inspire them towards more focused, improved performance.
Fostering others with a strong Focus theme may include:
Description: Those with a strong Futuristic theme are visionaries who like to transmit their inspired sense of possibility to others.
Leading with the Futuristic theme in relation to:
Trust – Futuristic types can help to establish trust by maintaining a connection between their visions of the future and the present realities. Their ability to help circumvent potential problems by seeing ahead can also add to that trust.
Compassion – Listening to the dreams of others is a crucial part of building a viable vision for the future. Imagining beyond what they see gives added range to their personal visions. This includes spotting potential opportunities and talents that they might not yet be aware of.
Stability – Seeing beyond a difficult situation can help others gain perspective. Staying in touch with and respecting people’s emotions and goals helps to see that you’re not getting too carried away and gives them a sense of control over their own fates.
Hope – People with strong Futuristic talents often find themselves in the role of a guide, so it helps for them to consider what questions to ask in relation to others’ needs and goals when they come to them for advice. Painting clear pictures of your visions can also help, whether through clear and vivid words, drawings, or plans.
Fostering others with a strong Futuristic theme may include:
Description: Those with this strength prefer harmonious relationships to argument.
Leading with Harmony in relation to:
Trust – Harmonious types are good listeners and respectful of others’ opinions. They can help to build trust by allowing an equal say for all.
Compassion – Those who stress Harmony naturally seek out the common points among people. Constantly finding more of these can help build and enhance relationships. Understanding and emphasizing the organization’s mission as a common goal can help maintain peaceful, productive interactions.
Stability – Emphasizing respect and understanding in spite of differences helps to maintain group stability and a sense of individual trust and dignity.
Hope – Providing opportunities for contact and communication that enable all to feel that their opinions are valued increases hope, involvement, and performance. Those with this natural ability to resolve conflicts can add to their knowledge through further training (for example, by learning conflict resolution techniques).
Fostering others with a strong Harmony theme may include:
Description: Those with a strong Ideation theme are “idea” people who enjoy spotting patterns.
Leading with Ideation in relation to:
Trust – The abundance and newness of ideas that come naturally to Ideation types may overwhelm and confuse others. It pays for them, therefore, to simplify and clarify their perspective, explaining the logic and potential benefit.
Compassion – Inviting others to explore and share new ideas, whether from the same or other fields, can be a means for building rewarding relationships. Similarly, teaming up with those who have an executive bent and can bring the ideas to fruition can be equally satisfying and a key to success.
Stability – The insightful application of new ideas can help to secure a stable future, since change is, after all, inevitable. Being aware of trends and ideas enables a leader to take intelligent risks.
Hope – Leaders with strong Ideation will benefit both themselves and others by spending time with other imaginative thinkers and visionaries both within and without the specific field and organization.
Fostering others with a strong Ideation theme may include:
Description: Includers have high levels of tolerance and acceptance and like to make sure that everyone feels welcome.
Leading with Includer in relation to:
Trust – Includers naturally build trust through universal acceptance of others and a refusal to judge based on externals. Helping others to do the same can add to that trust.
Compassion – Includers never let anyone feel left out. They habitually invite others to join in and can therefore have an especially beneficial impact on new team members and those who feel left out.
Stability – Creating a welcoming environment for a diverse and potentially expanding group gives a feeling of security to all.
Hope – Fostering the same inclusive attitude in others enables them to see past limiting ideas. Helping others to expand their capacity to relate enhances their growth potential. Includers can add to this by acting as go-betweens, thus strengthening the relationships they connect.
Fostering others with a strong Includer theme:
Since those with strong Includer talents enjoy making others feel welcome, they will thrive in such situations as
Description: Those with a strong Individualization theme enjoy exploring individual differences and how to blend them productively in a work environment.
Leading with Individualization in relation to:
Trust – Leaders with a strong Individualization theme tend to deal with people according to their specific characteristics and performance. Others may misunderstand this as favoritism, so these leaders should be ready to explain their choices. Additional trust-building factors include keeping confidences and emphasizing positive qualities when asked for opinions about others.
Compassion – Those with this strength are often surprisingly insightful, even when they barely know someone. Others may ask to hear more of their thoughts, but they should be sure to listen and accept as well. This capacity for insight can sometimes translate into the ability to give the perfect gift. Use this to build and enhance relationships.
Stability – People with this talent are perpetually aware of others’ situations and strengths, and they habitually take these into account when making decisions. Placing people in roles that utilize their strengths and letting team members know that their individuality is taken into account can give people the sense that things are being handled appropriately.
Hope – Gently helping others to see their positive abilities and negative patterns can help them to more readily achieve their goals. Fostering individuality to the maximum extent allowed within the organization will give the team the motivation to contribute its best. Finally, the natural ability to adjust to a wide variety of styles makes Individualizers natural contributers to the diversity of the organization.
Fostering others with a strong Individualization theme:
The natural insight into individual character, strengths, and weaknesses that typifies people with this ability may make them suitable for
Description: Those with a strong Input theme like to gather all sorts of knowledge.
Leading with Input in relation to:
Trust – Leaders with strong Input themes gain trust through the thoroughness and accuracy of their research and preparation, ensuring that others are supported in their work.
Compassion – People with Input can extend their knowledge and resourcefulness to others as a supportive gesture. This strength can also function as a potential relationship builder with others with similar interests.
Stability – The same thoroughness that builds trust provides a sense of security. Because Input types like to collect and organize information, they are prepared to back up the validity of their decisions.
Hope – Strong Input types can use their extensive knowledge to benefit others. Similarly, discussing others’ ideas with them will enable all parties to learn from the experience.
Fostering others with a strong Input theme may include:
Description: Those with a strong Intellection theme are thinkers who enjoy intellectual interchange.
Leading with Intellection in relation to:
Trust – A carefully considered opinion transmitted honestly and respectfully can be helpful. Similarly, Intellection coupled with action can garner even more trust and respect.
Compassion – Intellectual ability can be used to help others as well as stimulate and entertain those with a similar bent.
Stability – Those with strong Intellection sometimes need to walk others through their thinking process so that they can comprehend it more readily. Explaining their need for extra solitude and that its aim is for the benefit of the whole can add to a sense of security.
Hope – Engage those who are ready and interested in stimulating conversation. Gently help those who are less comfortable with Intellection to broaden the use of their minds in suitable ways. Extend your impact by participating in the initial development phases of company projects.
Fostering others with a strong Intellection theme may include:
Description: Those with strong Learner themes enjoy learning and improving themselves.
Leading with Learner in relation to:
Trust – Leaders who are Learners can make the most of their passion by being comfortable admitting that they are still learning and by appreciating the sometimes superior knowledge of those on their team.
Compassion – Inviting others to learn with you and supporting the process and progress of their own learning journeys helps to build strong, enduring relationships.
Stability – Committing to others’ growth both actively and verbally gives a sense of long-term security, support, and worth.
Hope – Learning has been found to be linked to performance, so providing company-wide opportunities for learning as well as rewarding learning achievement can benefit both employees and the organization.
Fostering others with a strong Learner theme may include:
Description: Those with a strong Maximizer theme understand the value of building on strengths as opposed to fixing weaknesses.
Leading with Maximizer in relation to:
Trust – Maximizers can build trust by being open about their own strengths and weaknesses and by being consistent in their emphasis on strengths-building as a management strategy.
Compassion – Maximizers focus on developing unique brilliance in themselves and others rather than on well-roundedness. Making this clear can relieve people of the fear of being singled out for their weak points. Leaders can also use their gift for spotting strengths to broaden others’ idea of talent and discover their unique abilities.
Stability – Asking people to tackle tasks for which they have inadequate training or capability undermines their sense of confidence. Conversely, supporting them with systems and team members whose strengths complement theirs can lend a feeling of security.
Hope – Again, Maximizers should focus on cultivating excellence rather than doctoring weaknesses. Explaining these ideas to those unfamiliar with them can help team members to boost achievement, add satisfaction, and commit more readily. Teach them strategies for recognizing and improving upon their own strengths. Match positions and needs with individual strengths so that the organization can truly shine.
Fostering others with a strong Maximizer theme may include:
Description: Those with strong Positivity are adept at conveying excitement and enthusiasm.
Leading with Positivity in relation to:
Trust – Make sure that your positive comments are sincere and consistent. If others resist them, it may simply be that they are more used to negativity.
Compassion – Optimism, praise, generosity, and goodwill are among the hallmarks of those possessing this strength. Improve both individual moods and lives as well as the general atmosphere by giving specific encouragement and constantly maintaining a positive outlook.
Stability – Encouraging people’s strong points or right action, even in imperfect situations, can foster strength and encourage progress.
Hope – Get people to talk about their dreams and hopes. Talking about them can help convert them into action. Avoid sources of negativity. Give people special attention when appropriate, and bring added vitality to the group and overall organization through regular use of celebration, music, drama, and laughter.
Fostering others with a strong Positivity theme:
These people have great energy and infectious enthusiasm, so be sure to include them in
Description: Relators like to combine friendship with the hard work of accomplishing their objectives.
Leading with Relator as it applies to:
Trust – Relators like depth in their relationships, and they are comfortable giving trust. They will also need to understand the importance of maintaining trust through keeping confidences.
Compassion – Love and friendship are important themes to a Relator. Their considerable emotional capacity can help them to foster happiness in this area both for themselves and others. Extending themselves and communicating can aid this process.
Stability – Relators can create security by affirming their commitment to a lifelong friendship. In organizations with a more formal structure, Relators can create a more personal, informal atmosphere.
Hope – Relators naturally give, so they need to make sure that they spend sufficient time with those who nurture and support them. Their long-term friendships enable them to support others with perspective and caring.
Fostering others with a strong Relator theme may include:
Description: Those with a strong theme of Responsibility have a high degree of integrity and commitment.
Leading with Responsibility in relation to:
Trust – People with a high degree of Responsibility cannot ignore a situation they feel is unethical and are driven to actively rectify it. They are advised to first go to the source to assess the actual situation, then wait for the person or group to correct course, and finally, failing that, to take appropriate action. Affirming and praising actions that show moral courage is also recommended.
Compassion – People with this theme feel responsible in their relationships as well. They can fulfill this sense by regularly contacting those they care about and offering their warmth and assistance. Similarly, if they have wronged someone, they need to make amends both verbally and actively as quickly as possible.
Stability – Responsible types enjoy serving others and can be counted on to effectively accomplish whatever is necessary. They can further enhance the sense of stability derived from this by allowing others to share in the Responsibility.
Hope – Those with a strong Responsibility theme naturally take ownership and can enhance others’ progress by encouraging them to make their own project choices and then own their work.
Fostering others with a strong Responsibility theme may include:
Description: Those with strong Restorative abilities are good at uncovering and fixing problems.
Leading with Restorative in relation to:
Trust – These types are adept at dealing with difficult situations that need to be rectified. They can build trust by letting others know through their consistent words and actions that they can be counted on to restore order and functionality.
Compassion – Restorative types can help others by responding quickly to their needs and solving issues before they become recognizable as problems. Communicating this to others can help them to feel cared for.
Stability – Those with a Restorative talent lend a sense of security and stability to situations requiring revitalization or rectification. The same ability can be used to ensure the various systems and components of the work environment against potential problems.
Hope – A restorative talent can bring performance to new levels. Appreciating others’ contributions and encouraging their suggestions for improvement can help further this process.
Fostering others with a strong Restorative theme may include:
Description: Those with Self-Assurance have confidence in their ability to make important decisions and manage their lives.
Leading with Self-Assurance in relation to:
Trust – Leaders with Self-Assurance are advised to build trust by showing their more vulnerable, human side—their past failures, mistakes, and uncertainties and how these have helped ensure their more recent successes.
Compassion – Help others to see that they, too, have the ability to make good decisions and positive life choices. Be sure, however, to remember that, as competent and self-reliant as you are, you are also human and need others. Communicate this to those you love.
Stability – Show people through anecdotes that your confidence in your ability to succeed is grounded in experience. Explain to them that, no matter how daunting the situation, successful choices are made by working committedly within the context of currently available information. When planning new goals, take the time to carefully select the appropriate people and resources, but do not hesitate to yield the reins to someone with superior expertise when necessary. This will inspire confidence in your ability to lead for the general good.
Hope – Self-assured leaders habitually set goals commensurate with their level of boldness. For them, this is normal, but for others—including the organization—it may be beyond anything they have ever considered. Extend this ability to others, helping them to think, dream, and act in larger ways.
Fostering others with a strong Self-Assurance theme may include:
Description: Those with strong Significance want to play meaningful and outstanding roles in other people’s lives.
Leading with Significance in relation to:
Trust – People with the Significance theme need to stay true to themselves, no matter how large their vision or goal. Sharing their own and others’ motivations can also help to build trust.
Compassion – Make sure to express your appreciation and to reward those who are helping you to achieve your considerable goals, especially since these goals will take some time to accomplish. Remember also to express appreciation for the support and opinions of those who matter most to you.
Stability – Those with this theme want their influence to be long-lasting and far-reaching. The larger or more critical the goal, the greater their motivation. Expressing this level of commitment to challenging goals can bring a sense of confidence to the team.
Hope – Teaching others to think in terms of their own legacy can help them to achieve a grander vision that extends beyond the present and informs their current choices with greater ideals. Sharing the spotlight with others can help to propel things more quickly toward success.
Fostering others with a strong Significance theme may include:
Description: Those with a strong Strategic gift have the ability to rapidly put together alternative strategies for various situations.
Leading with Strategic in relation to:
Trust – Be open and thorough in discussing alternatives, and take care to avoid limiting possibilities based on personal preference.
Compassion – Use your Strategic talents to help family and friends achieve their goals and overcome or move around obstacles. The same ability can be put to use to figure out how to spend added time and energy on those you care about.
Stability – Increase your understanding and effectiveness by studying other successful leaders. Be open to including less well-known Strategic options as possibilities.
Hope – Those with strategic expertise can help new or stymied endeavors get off the ground by extending their awareness of viable alternatives and helping them to avoid problems.
Fostering others with a strong Strategic theme may include:
Description: Those with a strong ability to Woo others enjoy meeting and connecting with people.
Leading with Woo in relation to:
Trust – To build and maintain trust, make sure that your communications with others are characterized by honesty and discretion. Maintain a database of relevant information on those you connect with, but be sure to protect confidential information.
Compassion – Wooers easily connect with a wide variety of people, but they should take time to also consider how to deepen their important relationships and make sure that their interactions remain real and sincere.
Stability – Extend your influence and mutual support by getting involved beyond the organization and by sharing the extensiveness of your network of contacts. The stability of an organization rests on more than just its own internal activities.
Hope – Maintaining positive, productive communications and avoiding useless negativity can help secure and improve relationships and steer things in a helpful direction, as can bringing the right people into contact with each other.
Fostering others with a strong Woo theme may include:
THE BACKGROUND RESEARCH
As readers have certainly deduced by now, the online Clifton StrengthsFinder test was devised to help people find and build on their strengths rather than focus on fixing on their weaknesses. Although it was designed with leadership work settings in mind, it has been used to gauge the talents of students, families, executive teams, employees, and individuals.
The idea for the test was first conceived by psychologist Donald Clifton who, on noticing psychology’s generally negative bent, wondered what the result would be if instead it focused on strengths. The outcome, as detailed in the themes, was the realization that building on strengths fosters growth at an accelerated rate.
Development and Use
Clifton defined talents as those qualities appearing early in life which are characterized by desire, ease and rapidity of comprehension, gratification, and a sense of timelessness. When combined with further learning and development, they become strengths, recognizable by the consistent ability to produce exceptional results. Rath and Conchie mention that, though the test is named “StrengthsFinder,” it in fact refers to natural talents as defined above. Clifton then combined previous standard success models stressing analytical ability with his newer talent-based model to develop the thirty-four theme descriptions detailed in the previous chapter. To determine these themes, Clifton and his associates created interviews based on the job or role (e.g., student), the requirements of typical situations, and the long-term habitual patterns of outstanding practitioners in each field. Interview questions were based on firsthand observations made at the actual work or educational site. Gallup then conducted two million of these interviews and discovered, despite the considerable diversity of the talent pool, a recurring emphasis on such notions as values and motivation. These interviews were reevaluated in the 1990s by Clifton and his associates. In the years following, the themes and their related items have been reviewed and refined several times so that they currently stand at 34 themes and 177 items, down from the previous 35 themes and 180 items. In addition, Gallup has recently recognized over 5000 specific “strengths insights” as part of a more detailed, customized talent feedback approach. The StrengthsFinder tests and their themes have been found to be remarkably dependable in their ability to forecast success in a variety of situations in addition to being a useful tool for improved self-awareness and development.
Gallup’s extensive research on team engagement, regardless of size, yielded the following twelve points as primary factors guaranteeing team commitment and involvement:
In addition to these twelve points, which refer to immediate teams, Gallup’s researchers found three other factors that could have a company-wide impact from the highest levels downward. These were:
Gallup’s worldwide researches indicate a strong correlation between the above 15 points and top-notch company performance. They state that regularly measuring these items (preferably every 6-12 months) can significantly boost productivity and commitment to the company and its products (30 percentage points for the first 12 items and 9 for the last three). Though they counsel that this may take a few years, for those interested in taking their organization to the next level, it is worth the effort.
The third part of this chapter and the final segment of the book is a more detailed reiteration of a subject discussed earlier: an analysis of why people follow along with a detailed description of the survey approach used by Gallup. As mentioned before, the emphasis here shifted from focusing on the leaders themselves to noting its perceived contribution and effect on the daily lives of their followers. What Gallup found was a remarkably consistent set of answers despite the open-endedness of the survey questions. This was true even for those surveys conducted more recently. Gallup is now working on increasing the scope of the surveys to include such countries as Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, India, and Brazil, to name some, and will release the findings in subsequent editions of the book. For more information on this subject, see Part 3.