“Trombone Player Wanted” by Marcus Buckingham; An Interview with Dawn Mahoney

Dawn Mahoney

Dawn Mahoney

Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living:

I am so glad you asked! I have the most rewarding career. I spend part of time designing learning, with my priority being high levels of interaction that motivate the learners to want to learn more, sprinkled with plenty of opportunities for them to define their own personal “aha!” moments. And, part of the time I spend it working with teams of people, engaging them in conversations about how to be stronger together. What can be better than that?

What book would you like to discuss in this interview?

I had so many books in mind when I was asked to do this book review, it was tricky to narrow it down to the “one”. The final three: You Don’t Need a Title To Be A Leader, by Mark Sanborn; Soup, A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture, by Jon Gordon; and Trombone Player Wanted, by Marcus Buckingham. I recommend them all, but Trombone Player Wanted, which isn’t really a book at all, is what I’d love to introduce you to. It is actually a series of video DVDs with a companion guide and a message for us all.

What drew you to that book?  What did you hope to get from it?

I have been a fan of the work Marcus Buckingham and the Gallup organization had been doing on employee engagement and strengths, for quite some time.  For example, the groundbreaking Q3 assessment deployed in organizations across the globe, seeking to measure the level of employee engagement, instead of employee satisfaction. Later, the Strengthsfinder caught my interest. How interesting that we would engage people at work from a place of asking them to “play” from their strengths, thereby increasing their intrinsic motivation and interest in succeeding. Of course, the alternative is still far too prevalent. Meaning, expecting work output from people that they are not adept at, struggle to complete, and doesn’t make their heart sing. Sure, the work needs to be done, but maybe moving the members of the team around and assigning them differently, with an eye to their various and collective strengths will bring the team to being able to envision success—as a team and individually, too.

This is the message demonstrated creatively and carefully in, Trombone Player Wanted.

If you could give us a few take away messages that you were able to successfully put into practice what would they be?

Pay attention to your team– as a collective and as individuals. You want, no need, them to be unique and bring different talents to the work you do together. Each was hired, individually, because of those unique talents and skills. Never forget that. And ask them questions. From time-to-time, be sure to check in on whether they are playing to their strengths, as often as possible.   

How do you feel this book has helped you within your business?

I use this as my “guide on the side”, whenever I encounter a team situation that can’t be “solved” using traditional methods. It reminds me to ask different questions by turning the conversation from what isn’t working to what is going well and how we can manifest more of that.

Have you recommended this book to others?

Many times! In fact, quite recently I suggested this resource to a great friend who is an organizational development specialist on a team that doesn’t embrace doing the work to become cohesive and more productive. Together. We’ll see what evolves from the experience.

Have you read any other books by this same author?

Yes. I love “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” too!

If you could send one message to this author what would it be?

A great big, heartfelt, THANK YOU!