Friday, June 11, 2010

Weaknesses and Strengths

You might be familiar with Marcus Buckingham, author of several interesting business books including First Break All the Rules, and Now Discover Your Strengths. I am one of those fine creatures who has a tendency to bludgeon myself with my weaknesses in an attempt to improve, and yet here is a new concept for me: identify and focus on your strengths. So here is an example: I have an excellent ear. It is nigh unto painful for me to hear off-note or off-pitch music, and unfortunately, that makes me very selective. At the same time, I am a terrible singer. At least I know this, however, and don't torment others with the fantasy that I can sing, right? Not saying that anyone else in the world does this (wink, wink).

At any rate, here are some ideas of how to determine what your strengths are: You enjoy doing it, you feel confident and strong when you do it, you feel happy when you use this strength, you find success when you use this strength, you are drawn to this, it feels instinctual, natural and easy, or it fulfills some need in your life. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out that the opposite is true for weaknesses. The idea is to find those things we are good at and try to do those things most, if not all of the time, and avoid your weaknesses. I confess, I SORT of subscribe to this thinking. You see, I think that there is great strength in seeking to improve a weakness. If I only ever play the song on the piano I know best, and never play those really tough ones, well, how would I grow and improve? Still, it is an interesting concept, and a great improvement over my bludgeoning. It is also the foundation for why my manager has allowed me to explore around the organization for what I want to do most.

Today I was put in charge of a massively challenging new conference, working with the marketing department. It is heavy, but challenging and engaging, something that hasn't been there lately at work. When I say I was put in charge of this, you have to understand that my management style is not to dictate what happens, rather to bring people together to find community solutions as a group. It would be impossible for me to achieve this alone. Strengths in play? Organizing people together, networking, selectively choosing battles to fight, collaborating, strategic marketing, I feel rather at home with this type of venture. Finally, I think it should move fast enough for me, considering that the conference is in February...

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