Anyone who has a vehicle knows the importance of servicing it in order to keep it performing well. We all strive to keep our technology up to date and our homes in a good state of repair. This makes sense right?
But when I ask people ‘when did you last invest in you’, often I get a quizzical look. People will sometimes say I attended a course on how to manage projects, or use some software, or manage other people. Rarely do I get people saying 'Well I took 30 minutes yesterday to really consider what I do well and how I can make the most of my talents'.
Does this seem self-indulgent?
I can remember one boss I had saying he ‘didn’t have time to sit around navel gazing’. Which was a pity, as if ever a navel needed gazing at it was his (metaphorically speaking).
Is it necessary to invest time looking at ourselves? We know ourselves right?
Well the answer is more likely to be ‘not as well as we think’. So many things come into play, are we over confident or under confident in estimating our abilities? We don’t know what we don’t know and it can even be seen as self-indulgent (even time wasting) to focus on ourselves. But focus we should!
A recent study found that great leaders had many and varied traits but the one thing they had in common was great self-awareness.
But how do you know what to really capitalise on even if you spend time reflecting on ‘you’?
Traditional workplace competency based development would suggest you find what you are less good at and then focus at getting better at it. People are often measured by what they cannot do, John can’t focus on detail, Mary can’t do public speaking. In a competency based approach we would send Mary on a public speaking course and give John the opportunity to dive into detail; and perhaps throw in an Excel course for good measure.
What is often overlooked is that organisations are a diverse melting pot of skills, strengths, talents and personalities. Do we really benefit from forcing people to become acceptable in areas that others already excel at? Or perhaps should we be trying to maximise on the things these people are really, exceptionally good at?
If we take a strengths based approach we would get Mary to do her impressive data analysis and mind-blowingly inspiring data insight and put John in front of our investors and sponsors to woo, engage, enthrall and inspire them.
Together, playing on their strengths John and Mary are an exceptionally awesome pair. Together focusing on their areas of non-strength they will just about be ok (if we are lucky).
In 2008 Rath and Conchie found that optimising on people’s strengths can increase engagement by up to 73%. Add to this the fact that engaged employees increase customer loyalty by up to 44% and that only a 5% increase in customer loyalty increases profits by up to 85%! You soon have to acknowledge that the case for focusing on strengths is well… strong!!
So how can you know, really know, where your strengths lie?
Well you probably have an inkling of some of them and if you spent a bit of time thinking about it then you could come up with a fairly reasonable list. But as we said at the start, often we don’t know what we don’t know.
At MindSightUK we get around this conundrum by using proven psychometric analysis to help people identify their key strengths so they can then capitalise on them for maximum success. We help them identify their 7 top strengths and then obtain feedback from others on how they have witnessed these strengths in action. Using this rich tapestry of information we then provide further insight on how to maximise on these strengths to move them from good to really great performance!
If you would like to know more about measuring strengths in your own organisation don’t be shy, just contact us.