What if you capitalized on your strengths this year, instead of working on your weaknesses? We all know our weaknesses and are especially aware of other’s weaknesses when we’re trying to achieve something together. The fact is though, that our weaknesses will always be our weaknesses. They’ll never be transformed into strengths. It’s not our nature.
Have you ever heard of someone working on their weaknesses so hard that they turn it into a strength? They may work hard at getting better at it, but I doubt they’ll ever turn it into a major strength. For example, if one of your weaknesses is creativity—it’s impossible to ‘learn’ creativity. It just isn’t your strength. So make it easy on yourself. When you need creativity, find someone who has that strength and partner with them!
Do you know the strengths of your current team members and have you capitalized on them? Here’s a team exercise I’ve used as a coach which has re-energized a team and given them renewed focus.
Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath is an inexpensive book and assessment based on 40 years of research by Gallup. They found that people are most successful when they are fully engaged in their job and when they are fully utilizing their strengths. I took a group of 12 through the assessment and we mapped out all of their strengths. This not only showed the group the strengths of each team member, but it also showed where their gaps were as a team. In addition, each team member was assigned a goal related to capitalizing and enhancing a strength. The book gives you lots of ideas in that area as well.
So for example, if you are in sales and you have the strength of “Woo”, which stands for winning others over, you’ve got a great strength to build on. However, if Woo is not your strength and perhaps your strength is Analytical, where you need to see the data in order to believe that it’s true, you may have a challenge communicating with and understanding your ‘Woo’ leader, and vice versa.
The book can take you a long way in understanding how to interact with others of different strengths, and in identifying ideas for action in the capitalization of your own strengths. As a professional coach in Indianapolis, I work with teams specifically in this area and help them to see how to look at motivation in a different way.
So at the very least, you can look at your own motivations in a different way and check out your strengths. Then challenge yourself to find ways of utilizing your strengths even more than you do today. Perhaps you’ll discover that the rut you were in is because you weren’t operating in your strengths at all. Let me know what you find out!