Key Take Aways From The Power of People Skills by Trevor Throness

If you don’t have time to read The Power of People Skills written by Trevor Throness, or want to grab some quick key ideas, following is a basic summary of the book that you can quickly scan to prepare for your next meeting or to spark some ideas that will help you.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  1. Basic facts about the book
  2. The Big Idea of The Power of People Skills
  3. Key Ideas in The Power of People Skills
  4. How to Apply The Power of People Skills
  5. Great Quotes from The Power of People Skills

Basic facts about The Power of People Skills

The Power of People Skills was released by Career Press in 2017 and is endorsed by (among many others) Top executive coach in the world, Marshall Goldsmith.  He said:

“The Power of People Skills is the eye-opening, invaluable, definitive guide to achieving success in your organization.  Excellent!”

The book teaches practical ways to:

  • Make the people decisions that can double your results, relieve your stress, and cause team morale to soar
  • Attract and retain the very best talent
  • Deal with difficult people problems in an objective and kind way
  • Overcome the reluctance we all share to confront under performers
  • Permanently solve the problems causing most of your stress

The book ends each chapter with a quick chapter summary, and some ‘people action steps’ to implement immediately based on the ideas presented in the chapter.

The Big Idea of The Power of People Skills

The big idea of the book is that there is one difference between a great and a weak culture:  A great culture doesn’t tolerate under performance, while a weak culture does.

Key Ideas in The Power of People Skills

Key idea #1: Assess your current team to determine who is a star and who isn’t

First you must be clear in your own mind who is and who isn’t a star player.  A star player is simply a person who has a good attitude and who is productive in the role you’re currently asking them to fill.

The book uses a simple template called the “Star Chart.”  This is a four quadrant grid, and it measures right attitudes on the vertical axis and effectiveness on the horizontal axis.

You decide where each person fits on the chart, and follow the simple HR recipe provided for each box.

Readers are challenged to assess each person using four simple questions.  You can find the four questions here:

Key idea #2: Create your company’s ‘right attitudes’

In order to make it clear to everyone what is expected in terms of attitude, readers are challenged to think of the 3-5 ‘core values’ to assess team members by.

Since there can’t be rules for everything, organizations need a handful or rules that everyone agrees to, from the CEO to the most entry level hire.

Read more about how to find your company’s right attitudes here:

Key idea #4: Coach and connect with each person, explaining where they fall on the Star Chart and what they need to do next

Once you’ve decided where each person fits on the Star Chart, readers are challenged to sit with each person and show them where they are plotted.

This is done in a coaching format called “Coach and Connect.”  It isn’t a formal performance review, but a coaching session that helps each person be their very best.

How to Apply The Power of People Skills 

  • Plot all of your teammates on the Star Chart
  • Discover your organization’s ‘right attitudes’
  • Have a ‘coach and connect’ session with each team member
  • Apply the HR recipes found in the book to each person, depending on which box they are plotted in

Great Quotes from The Power of People Skills

  • “Businesses that have A-players in every key seat outperform businesses that don’t by between three and ten times.”
  • “Once you’ve employed more than 5 people, you’re no longer in the food service/manufacturing/retail business, you’re in the people business!”
  • “If a business person goes home frustrated, if they talk with their significant other about it, if they lay awake at night stewing about it, inevitably the problem is some person at work; a colleague, subordinate, or boss.”

In summary:

Great cultures are shaped by values and feedback.  If you want to have a great culture, define your values clearly and coach your team members to live them out.

Encourage and promote those who do, and challenge, train, warn, coach and in the last resort, fire, those who don’t.

If you have a team that shares values and is committed to personal productivity, you will win in any industry, anytime, anywhere.

Additional resources

Thanks for reading this article.  Below are additional resources from Professional Leadership Institute, the global provider of online human resources and leadership tools:

Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here:


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