Today, I’d like to share an idea that I first heard, when I was working for a non-profit that was part of the National Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). I was taking a class on executive coaching from a woman who had successfully coached hundreds of CEOs to become more innovative and profitable.
She surprised me by teaching us that manufacturing was suffering in America because its leaders focused too much on eliminating weaknesses and not enough on expanding strengths. Focusing on weaknesses was leading manufacturers to become commodity creators and driving down costs. A business that focused on expanding its unique strengths stood a much better chance at being innovative and more successful. Think Apple and Steve Jobs! Ever since that time, I’ve wondered about coaches who focus so much on weaknesses.
This same idea applies to any of us who wants to improve.
It can help if you ask other people about your strengths. A while ago, I asked a friend to share his concept of my strengths.:
You also have the ability to see the bigger picture. Some would call it “vision”. Not all people have that gift. I have some of that but I’m very task oriented. I get the crap done, but you see what needs to be done – in a grand style. This is also your downfall. You see the forest in spite of the trees because you climb atop of the trees to see the forest. Every now and then you fall from the top of a tree.
How that assessment of my strengths (and weaknesses) to be fairly accurate.
So, how does this apply to you?
This next week or so, find some people to tell you what is great about you and the way you live your life. Then, for the rest of your life focus on getting better at those things.
The weaknesses you’ll always have, and you’ll find a way around them.
To paraphrase ancient Greek wisdom, “Know Thy Strengths!”