“You grossly overestimate your weaknesses and underestimate your strengths. You have no idea how powerful you really are.” – Tom Rath –
We live in a “weakness fixing” society. It is drummed into us from an early age to be “well rounded”, put as much effort as possible on improving our weak spots.
The same mindset is prevalent in most teams whether they are running a business, church or non-profit. Across the spectrum you find teams meeting, hiring, firing, assessing and strategizing with the (odd) belief that being at least average at everything is going to somehow lead to success. All this really does is prevent failure – it certainly doesn’t give much hope to achieving anything remarkable!
Imagine we instead spent all this “weakness fixing” energy and time on understanding and growing our strengths as individuals, teams and organizations? How would that make you feel? What type of results might follow? Even just reading these words, you probably have a sense of the utter relief that it would bring to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. You may suspect that it would lead to new levels of energy, satisfaction and excellence…. and you would be right.
We each have a God-given blend of unique talents that tees us to in fact be brilliant at something. That’s right, not “okay” or “average” but BRILLIANT. Obviously, not everyone is given the same opportunities in life, the same education or environment in which to nurture these talents. Regardless of what life has thrown at you, you are blessed with themes of innate talent, just waiting to be acknowledged, grown and let loose on the world. You can train in skills, gain knowledge but when it comes to talent – the cards have been dealt.
It’s quite logical really if you think about it in terms of ROI (Return on Investment). If you have money to invest, you will invest it in the thing that promises the highest return. You would never invest more in a “low-return” area, in order to compensate or cover its weak potential! So why not start investing in your strengths instead of your weaknesses?
This can be done on a corporate, as well as an individual level. But what do strengths based meetings, management, training and leadership practically look like?
It begins with awareness and the Clifton Strengthsfinder from Gallup is probably the best science out there when it comes to identifying and defining innate talent themes. By all means, I would be the first to encourage you to get online and use this tool! You will find the results very interesting indeed. But all too often, these type of tools stay only as that… Interesting.
At Brackenhurst, we are convinced of the Strengths Based approach, but the power is not found in it being only “interesting”. This first step of awareness is important but the real power is in the application. Understanding the dynamics of the talents mixed into one individual, then thrown into the pot of one team. That is where it becomes transformative. “Beyond awareness” means coming to grips with the brilliance found within each team member and knowing how to feed the needs associated with those talents in order for that team-member to contribute in ways you never dreamed possible.
You should of course also know your weaknesses and how to manage them. Most often this means letting others with strengths take on those tasks instead. Occasionally you will also have to learn the skills to get the job done outside of your “sweet spot”. The key is not invest too much time and energy there – you are far more effective where your natural talents can fly.
I urge you to give some thought to how a “Strengths” mindset might impact your next meeting, conference or training. At Brackenhurst, we can provide accredited Strengths coaching on site – speak to us about how we can help to unlock the true potential of your team.
“Your WEAKNESSES will never develop. Your STRENGTHS will develop INFINITELY” Don Clifton