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The Perils of Accentuating the Positive

"It's a mistake to try to fix weaknesses; instead, play to your strengths" goes the thinking behind a popular fad in management development. But there are certain half-truths and hidden dangers in this seductively appealing philosophy. This edited volume features a collection of chapters from pioneers who helped create the modern field of management development. Leading thinkers like Morgan McCall Jr., Bob Eichinger, Bob Hogan, Steven Berglas, Bob Kaplan, Randy White, and the Center for Creative Leadership explain these concerns and provide sound advice for capitalizing on strengths without resorting to hyped-up, dumbed-down, or naively simplistic prescriptions.

You will learn that...

  • Most managers don t have the leadership strengths their companies need to be competitive 
  • Mastering the art of leadership requires learning to do what may not come naturally 
  • A focus on strengths can promote stagnation and inhibit learning and development 
  • Strengths can, ironically, become weaknesses through overuse and overreliance 
  • Ignoring weaknesses is a fatal strategy for managing careers and managing talent 
  • You can reap the benefits of talented-but-troubling managers while containing their dark sides

Written for HR and T&D professionals, executive coaches, and managers themselves, this book promises no quick fixes, no silver bullets, and no easy roads to success. Instead, it offers balanced judgment along with research-based strategies and road-tested techniques that can help managers truly become stronger leaders.

Editorial Reviews
The Perils of Accentuating the Positive skewers the simplistic play to your strengths argument and explains what success is really about. Too bad there is no FDA for human development to ban fads like the strengths movement. Until then, this book will have to do. Michael M. Lombardo, Ed.D. Co-founder (retired) Lominger Limited, Inc.

Focusing only on strengths will leave you flying blind. GE's culture of development helped our pilots understand their strengths but also their weaknesses, which could literally be deadly. The balanced advice in The Perils of Accentuating the Positive is exactly how we ensure our corporate pilots are always at their best for safety, comfort, and reliability from takeoff to touchdown. John A. Joyce, Former Chief Pilot General Electric Company

It is rare to find a work that approaches a complex topic in a nuanced and insightful way, yet manages to come across as so clear, logical, and useful. This book truly advances the current state of thinking and practice in leadership development. David B. Peterson, Ph.D. Senior Vice President Personnel Decisions International

It is rare to find a work that approaches a complex topic in a nuanced and insightful way, yet manages to come across as so clear, logical, and useful. This book truly advances the current state of thinking and practice in leadership development. --David B. Peterson, Ph.D. Senior Vice President Personnel Decisions International

About the Author
Rob Kaiser began his career at the Center for Creative Leadership. He joined Kaplan DeVries in 1997 to expand the firm's research and development capabilities. He was named partner in the summer of 2005. Rob is a thought leader in the field of leadership. He has over 100 publications and presentations, ranging from scholarly journals to professional conferences and workshops to award-winning articles in the business press. His interests cover leadership, assessment, and executive selection and development.

Rob is the co-author, along with Bob Kaplan, of the Leadership Versatility Index, a 360-degree feedback tool that received three U.S. Patents for its radical new approach to assessment. His 2005 book, Filling the Leadership Pipeline, was a practical work on building leadership bench strength throughout an organization. In 2006, he and Bob Kaplan published The Versatile Leader: Make the Most of Your Strengths Without Overdoing It. Rob's latest book, The Perils of Accentuating the Positive, includes chapters from several authorities on leadership and offers the rest of what you need to know about strengths-based development. Not just an armchair theorist, Rob has an active consulting practice. He provides assessment and development services for leaders and their teams. He has coached middle managers and executives in the Fortune 100 as well as the private sector. He specializes in helping high potentials transition to the executive suite. Rob's approach is to start where the individual is and help the person reach a more complete understanding of the job and a more well-rounded style of leading to match Rob also provides a unique service of contract research to help organizations frame, study, and solve vexing leadership issues from creating corporate leadership models to revamping assessment systems to linking succession and development investments to strategic business goals. For example, he is a co-developer of the customized leadership models and performance measures used to assess top executives in major global corporations like Motorola, Unilever, Tyco Electronics, and ConAgra Foods. It is impossible to overlook Rob's passion and zeal. He is a self-admitted nut about this stuff who loves to talk leadership, organizations, and human nature. One of his guiding principles is what he calls practical science a marriage of disciplined thinking and common sense in solving real problems. Ever an extravert, Rob can often be found organizing conference events, collected volumes, or finding other excuses to bring leading thinkers together to share their big ideas. Rob received a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and an M.S. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Illinois State University (ISU). In 2007 he received the alumnus of the year award from the ISU College of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Molly, and their children, Claire and Ben.

Curtea Veche printing house for Romanian version

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