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The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance

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Do you have what it takes to succeed in any situation? According to a retired commander who ran training for Navy SEALs, true optimal performance goes beyond just skill. It's all about THE ATTRIBUTES. "Diviney's incredible book explains why some people thrive--even when things get hard."--Charles Duhigg, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit During his Do you have what it takes to succeed in any situation? According to a retired commander who ran training for Navy SEALs, true optimal performance goes beyond just skill. It's all about THE ATTRIBUTES. "Diviney's incredible book explains why some people thrive--even when things get hard."--Charles Duhigg, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit During his twenty years as a Navy officer and SEAL, Rich Diviney was intimately involved in a specialized SEAL selection process, which whittled a group of hundreds of extraordinary candidates down to a handful of the most elite performers. Diviney was often surprised by which candidates washed out and which succeeded. Some could have all the right skills and still fail, while others he might have initially dismissed would prove to be top performers. The seemingly objective criteria weren't telling him what he most needed to know: Who would succeed in one of the world's toughest military assignments? It is similarly hard to predict success in the real world. It happens often enough that underdog students accomplish exceptional achievements while highly skilled, motivated employees fail to meet expectations. Dark-horse companies pull away from the pack while dream teams flush with talent and capital go under. In working with and selecting top special operators for decades, Diviney saw that beneath obvious skills are hidden drivers of performance, surprising core attributes--including cunning, adaptability, courage, even narcissism--that determine how resilient or perseverant we are, how situationally aware and how conscientious. These attributes explain how we perform as individuals and as part of a team. The same methodology that Diviney used in the military can be applied by anyone in their personal and professional lives, and understanding these attributes can allow readers and their teams to perform optimally, at any time, in any situation. Diviney defines the core attributes in fresh and practical ways and shares stories from the military, business, sports, relationships, and even parenting to show how understanding your own attributes and those of the people around you can create optimal performance in all areas of your life.


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Do you have what it takes to succeed in any situation? According to a retired commander who ran training for Navy SEALs, true optimal performance goes beyond just skill. It's all about THE ATTRIBUTES. "Diviney's incredible book explains why some people thrive--even when things get hard."--Charles Duhigg, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit During his Do you have what it takes to succeed in any situation? According to a retired commander who ran training for Navy SEALs, true optimal performance goes beyond just skill. It's all about THE ATTRIBUTES. "Diviney's incredible book explains why some people thrive--even when things get hard."--Charles Duhigg, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit During his twenty years as a Navy officer and SEAL, Rich Diviney was intimately involved in a specialized SEAL selection process, which whittled a group of hundreds of extraordinary candidates down to a handful of the most elite performers. Diviney was often surprised by which candidates washed out and which succeeded. Some could have all the right skills and still fail, while others he might have initially dismissed would prove to be top performers. The seemingly objective criteria weren't telling him what he most needed to know: Who would succeed in one of the world's toughest military assignments? It is similarly hard to predict success in the real world. It happens often enough that underdog students accomplish exceptional achievements while highly skilled, motivated employees fail to meet expectations. Dark-horse companies pull away from the pack while dream teams flush with talent and capital go under. In working with and selecting top special operators for decades, Diviney saw that beneath obvious skills are hidden drivers of performance, surprising core attributes--including cunning, adaptability, courage, even narcissism--that determine how resilient or perseverant we are, how situationally aware and how conscientious. These attributes explain how we perform as individuals and as part of a team. The same methodology that Diviney used in the military can be applied by anyone in their personal and professional lives, and understanding these attributes can allow readers and their teams to perform optimally, at any time, in any situation. Diviney defines the core attributes in fresh and practical ways and shares stories from the military, business, sports, relationships, and even parenting to show how understanding your own attributes and those of the people around you can create optimal performance in all areas of your life.

30 review for The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Why this book: I had invited the author Rich Diviney to be a guest speaker on the Mental Performance Working Group that I host to discuss his work on The Attributes. Naturally, I thought it would be good for me to read his book first. Summary in 3 sentences. Rich Diviney developed the idea of attributes as a means of better selecting candidates for intensive SEAL training, after realizing that assessing for skills was not useful -skills could be taught; he realized that they were actually select Why this book: I had invited the author Rich Diviney to be a guest speaker on the Mental Performance Working Group that I host to discuss his work on The Attributes. Naturally, I thought it would be good for me to read his book first. Summary in 3 sentences. Rich Diviney developed the idea of attributes as a means of better selecting candidates for intensive SEAL training, after realizing that assessing for skills was not useful -skills could be taught; he realized that they were actually selecting for attributes which are more innate and determine how a person will react to uncertainty, challenge, and stress. He and his team were looking for attributes that indicate how a person will perform in uncertain, challenging, stressful environments, often with little warning or time to prepare, and perhaps with little previous experience. He discusses each of 25 attributes which he breaks down into five categories: Grit, Mental Acuity, Drive, Leadership and Teamability and offers advice on how a person might develop attributes, as well as how to use attributes to make oneself and one’s organization stronger. My impression: Really fascinating and well written book. Easy and enjoyable to read, and a fascinating new concept for selecting, assessing, personnel for hiring and for promotion. There is a lot of content – each of 25 attributes gets about7-10 pages which flow quickly and easily as he provides fascinating examples from his and other people’s experience to explain each one. I started losing track of attributes after getting thru the first 10 or so – and felt that each attribute could almost justify a whole discussion; but Rich’s intention was to introduce the concept and get the discussion going. He discusses the difference between Skills and Attributes: Skills In short, can be taught, like driving, shooting, accounting, language, climbing etc. Attributes are more inherent. People have different base-line strengths and weaknesses in their attributes, but with intention a person can develop their attributes. Attributes for Diviney are those qualities that inform a person’s behavior under conditions of Uncertainty, Challenge, and Stress. He discusses the difference between Peak and Optimal Performance. Peak performance is the apogee of one’s very best performance, and one can prepare for peak performance, by targeting one’s preparations to perform at one’s best during a specific time window under specific conditions; Optimal performance means doing the best one can, with whatever one has, whenever called upon, and under whatever conditions may present themselves. The SEAL Teams and other first responders need to select for those with attributes that support primarily “optimal” performance. Peak performance is more applicable to athletic competitions or other performances under predictable conditions. Attributes for selection? He described how he and his team working with the selection and assessment team at a SEAL Team, came up with the idea of focusing on attributes. He and his team realized that they were testing candidates under conditions of Uncertainty Challenge and Stress to identify whether a candidate had the baseline attributes adequate to make that person a good candidate for the work they are being selected for, to include capacity to learn the necessary skills. They realized that a candidate’s skills were not nearly as relevant as their attributes They sat down started listing those attributes that they needed. For The Attributes, he distilled several long lists of attributes down to 25 attributes, which serve as a taxonomy for his book. He broke 22 of those attributes into FIVE broad categories: Grit, Mental Acuity, Drive, Leadership, and Teamability. His book is divided into sections – one for each of these categories, and each section devotes a chapter to describe and explain each attributes within that broad category. Grit – which includes the attributes of Courage, Perseverance, Adaptability, Resilience – and he does reference Angela Duckworth’s work. Mental Acuity – which includes the attributes of Situational Awareness, Compartmentalization, Task Switching, Learnability Drive – which includes the attributes of Self-efficacy, Discipline, Open Mindedness, Cunning, Narcissism (as a positive, vice negative attribute). Leadership – which includes the attributes of Empathy, Selflessness, Authenticity, Decisiveness, Accountability Teamability – which includes the attributes of Integrity, Conscientiousness, Humility, and Humor. Three other 3 attributes which he describes and which he argues don’t fit into any of his 5 categories are: Patience/impatience, Fear/insouciance, Competitiveness/non-competitiveness. Though inherent in “who we are,” one’s attributes are malleable and can be developed, but not as easy as skills. Attribute development must be self-directed and deliberate and with conscious effort. It takes work. Attributes have to be seen in different contexts to be understood and assessed. A couple of additional interesting pieces that I found in this book: Empathy (part of Leadership)- like most attributes, it can’t be developed in a classroom. One can learn “about” it, but it requires deliberate work and effort and intentionality to develop it. Humor (part of Teamability) is a neurological hack into perseverance and courage. Humor and laughter (jokes) inundate our brains w dopamine and endorphins. All high performing teams he argues, have a “class clown.” Narcissism -(an attribute of Drive) Though normally a pejorative term, Rich insists that a healthy degree of narcissism is a powerful motivator – it motivates people to work hard, take on new challenges, become the person they are proud of being. Which are the “real” attributes, or the best list? Rich points out that his list is a distillation of what he and his SEAL team partners came up with for their needs. He insists that each organization look at which attributes are most important for the positions in their organizations. His list may be a good starting point. Empathy for example, will be much more important for a nurse, or child care specialist, than for a computer programer, or an auto mechanic. He encourages organizations to consider those most suited to their organization, and perhaps for different jobs in their organization and to hire more for attributes than skills, which can be taught. Organizations which hire for attributes are playing the “long game.” The Attributes is an interesting book with a valuable and insightful approach to assessing qualities of people for specific jobs. Though inspired by SEAL team selection and assessment, it is a tool that can be widely used in hiring, and in deciding promotion – by matching a person’s attributes to the requirements of their potential job. This is an abbreviation of my review. To read my entire review, go to: https://bobsbeenreading.wordpress.com...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Louis

    An incredible playbook for personal development & self-awareness. I had heard about "The Attributes" from Rich Daviney's appearance on The Rich Roll's podcast and coincidentally was gifted the book a week later. I particularly enjoyed how the findings are backed by science and the pragmatic examples from WWII. The book is centered around 5 attribute categories: Grit, Mental Acuity, Drive, Teamability & leadership. The whole premise is that attributes can be dialed up or down depending on where y An incredible playbook for personal development & self-awareness. I had heard about "The Attributes" from Rich Daviney's appearance on The Rich Roll's podcast and coincidentally was gifted the book a week later. I particularly enjoyed how the findings are backed by science and the pragmatic examples from WWII. The book is centered around 5 attribute categories: Grit, Mental Acuity, Drive, Teamability & leadership. The whole premise is that attributes can be dialed up or down depending on where you are and that self-awareness is the first step on the journey for improvement.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Cappoferri

    Very, very good book. I did the audiobook and it was very well done. Self-development is one of my favorite genres and I read a lot inside of it. This one was really solid. Where I think this book shines brightest and far outperforms its peer group is for building elite teams. Whether a marriage, a Fortune 500 Company, or an elite SEAL team (of which the author was a part of) this book stands alone. I really appreciated the nuances this book brought to the table that was honed through the develo Very, very good book. I did the audiobook and it was very well done. Self-development is one of my favorite genres and I read a lot inside of it. This one was really solid. Where I think this book shines brightest and far outperforms its peer group is for building elite teams. Whether a marriage, a Fortune 500 Company, or an elite SEAL team (of which the author was a part of) this book stands alone. I really appreciated the nuances this book brought to the table that was honed through the development and implementation of key identifiers...attributes if you will, and training the author used in cultivating our Nations toughest and sharper warriors. Overall a great read. Grateful for the authors service to our Nation and the extremely valuable insights gleaned there that he now offers in this excellent book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bloomswest

    Intelligent, insightful, and thought provoking from a business perspective. Enjoyed the personal stories of author & former Navy Seal, Rich Diviney the most. Personally, some of the examples are a miss but I have a unique perspective as a former Partner in the Professional Services & Business Process Consulting space. FYI, the customer isn’t always right & “Julie” probably did her team wrong by not engaging her talented players w her client in dialogue to explore whether their request for change Intelligent, insightful, and thought provoking from a business perspective. Enjoyed the personal stories of author & former Navy Seal, Rich Diviney the most. Personally, some of the examples are a miss but I have a unique perspective as a former Partner in the Professional Services & Business Process Consulting space. FYI, the customer isn’t always right & “Julie” probably did her team wrong by not engaging her talented players w her client in dialogue to explore whether their request for changes was in fact the best solution. I know from experience that many client requested changes are not the best solutions & sometimes you have to push back at the client. Furthermore, the examples around fight or flight were interesting but not fitting for me. I have Dysautonomia and chronically high norepinephrine (aka Hyperadrenageric POTS). The problem can’t be overcome by changing my thoughts. However, for most people, the examples are right on. I enjoyed reading the 25 drivers and the authors fresh perspective. I’d recommend Mr. Diviney write more about his life as a Navy Seal, I found those stories fascinating. Giving the book 4 stars because it’s really well written & I can envision it being a recommended read for leadership & their teams.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Unleash The Knowledge

    Happy to share this new book as today is Launch Day!! If you’ve consumed a bit of the content here, you have probably learned I am a huge advocate for high-performance practices on a daily basis. This book is a perfect match for that area of interest. Rich is a retired Navy SEAL commander and has completed more than a dozen overseas deployments. One of the coolest things he has done was lead his small team to create the first-ever “Mind Gym,” which helped special operators train their brains to pe Happy to share this new book as today is Launch Day!! If you’ve consumed a bit of the content here, you have probably learned I am a huge advocate for high-performance practices on a daily basis. This book is a perfect match for that area of interest. Rich is a retired Navy SEAL commander and has completed more than a dozen overseas deployments. One of the coolest things he has done was lead his small team to create the first-ever “Mind Gym,” which helped special operators train their brains to perform faster, longer, and better in all environments-especially high-stress ones. In his new book, The Attributes, he highlights 25 hidden drivers of optimal performance including Fall Seven Times and Get Up Eight, Mastering the Pivot, Honor the Class Clown, among many others.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erik W Kobayashi-Solomon

    Insightful, worthwhile, and thought-provoking I enjoyed the author's perspective on teamwork and his description of the personal attributes that form the basis for how humans react to stress and uncertainty. He includes good, scientific information about mental processing along with memorable narratives to illustrate concepts. Certainly well worth reading and operationalizing the insights. Insightful, worthwhile, and thought-provoking I enjoyed the author's perspective on teamwork and his description of the personal attributes that form the basis for how humans react to stress and uncertainty. He includes good, scientific information about mental processing along with memorable narratives to illustrate concepts. Certainly well worth reading and operationalizing the insights.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rick Yvanovich

    Attributes, skills, behaviour, its all explained in this book. What they are, why they matter, ow they are linked and what they mean. Its a bit of a game-changer if you've not been aware of these attributes before, a great new perspective on them even if you have! All in all a great and useful read, so what's stopping you from reading it ? Attributes, skills, behaviour, its all explained in this book. What they are, why they matter, ow they are linked and what they mean. Its a bit of a game-changer if you've not been aware of these attributes before, a great new perspective on them even if you have! All in all a great and useful read, so what's stopping you from reading it ?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Shackelford

    Good, but not great. This topic and concept can be valuable for all of us in some way, but this book seems limited. I think there’s more here that can and should apply to more of the population referred to into the book. I don’t fault Rich for drawing on his personal experiences growing up or serving, but this concept can be just as valuable for a much wider audience.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jan C

    Bought this thinking it would have suggestions which would help deal with stress of self-isolating and masking during this pandemic. There were some insights but I was distracted by the author's self descriptions of personal success. This would be a good book for business people but I'm 77 and not sure it was pertinent for my current life. Bought this thinking it would have suggestions which would help deal with stress of self-isolating and masking during this pandemic. There were some insights but I was distracted by the author's self descriptions of personal success. This would be a good book for business people but I'm 77 and not sure it was pertinent for my current life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jim Mcdonald

    Really enjoyed this book, I listened to it on my morning walks, and the narrative was really good by the author a rarity. I enjoyed his personal stories as a seal team member an applying it to day to day business.I related too many of the examples explained and realized some shortcomings. Really was reflective for me in many ways. Would be useful for up and comers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sanjeev

    Exceptional book. Really enjoyed reading it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joe O'Brien

    Boom.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Freddie Woodman

    Look for attributes ! Understand the attributes behind the way we behave as humans. Learn the difference between skills and attributes. Optimally perform better.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tommy Kowalski

    Great read. Breaking down the difference between skills and attributes opened my mind to a better way of evaluating myself and others.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Wallace

    This book is a great tool and story. It taught me so much of what I know about trust. I have always had trust issues and this book makes you understand why and how to over come issues. It also taught me why some people get going when the going gets tough. Made me tougher when dealing with tough issues in my life, personal and professional. If you care about bettering yourself pick up a copy of this great book today. It will change the way you look at difficult situations and how to deal with the This book is a great tool and story. It taught me so much of what I know about trust. I have always had trust issues and this book makes you understand why and how to over come issues. It also taught me why some people get going when the going gets tough. Made me tougher when dealing with tough issues in my life, personal and professional. If you care about bettering yourself pick up a copy of this great book today. It will change the way you look at difficult situations and how to deal with them. It will make you a much better person. Find the secret to being a better you.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barry Engelhardt

    Our personality is surface level. But our attributes fall well below the surface. Personality can be faked (see every first interview ever), whereas attributes lie deeper, materializing through stress & uncertainty. They are our default wiring & are the difference between hiring someone capable of doing the job & hiring someone who will do the job. This is why The Talent War Group (Divinity is a member) says hire for character, train for skill. Attributes are the building blocks of character. The Our personality is surface level. But our attributes fall well below the surface. Personality can be faked (see every first interview ever), whereas attributes lie deeper, materializing through stress & uncertainty. They are our default wiring & are the difference between hiring someone capable of doing the job & hiring someone who will do the job. This is why The Talent War Group (Divinity is a member) says hire for character, train for skill. Attributes are the building blocks of character. There are 25 attributes, broken into categories. Here's an example: Mental Acuity—sharpness of mind—composed of 4 attributes - situational awareness, compartmentalization, task switching & learnability. I, for example, test stupid high in task switching, high in learnability & moderate in situational awareness & task switching (to learn your attributes, take the assessments on the Attributes website/link in comments). This is a must read for anyone focused on self-awareness, human nature &/or cracking the hiring code.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy Nelson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael D Hartnett

  19. 5 out of 5

    Whit Rasmussen

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Hansen

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Vinke

  23. 5 out of 5

    Luke Steffes

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zack Rearick

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fabian E Hijar

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eric Harrison

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alexandre Viana

  30. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Rice

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