How often have we gone through a performance review with our boss or conducted performance reviews with our employees that spent a lot of time focusing on the areas of weakness that need improving? And thinking that the review was very professional and worthwhile if it ends with a professional development plan for helping address the weaknesses? OK, to be sure, having a development plan is certainly better than not having one. BUT the key question actually concerns the extent to which we should focus on trying to improve those areas where we are weak vs. further strengthening the areas where we are strong.
The fact is, research shows that there is much more to be gained by becoming better at, and making more use of, the areas in which we are already good. Going “from good to great” is a much more powerful change than going from poor to average. Let’s face it – none of us is adept at everything. We may be interested in all sorts of things, but a certain level of training and practice can help us determine whether we can actually be good (or have the potential to be good) at something or not. Knowing what our strengths are sounds easy, though as Peter Drucker pointed out: “Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong.”
What does it mean in practice to focus on building on your strengths rather than shoring up your weaknesses?
First, consider what you LIKE to do. What is your passion or what brings great satisfaction?
Second, consider the talents and skills you have. What do you feel proud about? Be honest with yourself. When do you feel successful?
Third, consider how you can apply what you’re good at in the area or field of your passion, if you’re not already doing this. If you think about your friends and colleagues, you may spot some who are truly happy in their jobs. Why is this? It may well be because they have found that combination of doing both what they like to do and are good at doing.
Fourth, consider the likely outcome if you don’t expand on your strengths. We shouldn’t just rest on our laurels. It is important to continue to learn and grow so that we don’t fall behind or become complacent or bored.
Fifth, consider what new things to learn and apply that will take you to the next level in your areas of interest and strength. Gaining new insights and skills is not the same as trying to improve in areas of weakness. Continuing to expand on our strengths helps us renew our energy and the joy, excitement and satisfaction we have in knowing that we are doing something we love and are really good at.
In our business and executive coaching practice at iDIMENSIONS we can help you gain insights about your strengths, your passions and how you can build further on these to reach, or continue to stay at, that wonderful place of successfully putting your energies into things that really matter for you, which leads to overall personal and professional satisfaction and the increased success of your business.
Want to find out more about more your strengths? Click here for more information about our assessment services and tools.