Strengths focused businesses work

New Year, a time for a fresh look at your strengths.

Building strengths mean a better you, a better business and a better community

Do you focus too much on trying to fix personality flaws, problems and frustrations? Find your strengths and focus your attention on making the most of  the best qualities of yourself, your business and your community instead. Forget about working on your weaknesses, they will take you nowhere, focus on your strengths. You are far better off capitalising on what you do best, instead of trying to fix your weakness.  Making a weakness less of a weakness is not as important as being the best you possibly can, at whatever you are doing.

  • Focus on the best parts of you, your business and your community.
  • Don’t worry about your flaws and weaknesses.
  • Use your best qualities more often.
  • Continue to learn about how to do even better.
  • Know why your best attributes are valued by others.
  • Learning new subjects is a great idea but, striving to overcome weaknesses can work against you.

What are strengths?

Many people don’t readily recognise their strengths. Often they come naturally, with relative ease and it’s easy to overlook them or take them for granted. You should never overlook their value, they are the easiest way to improve your future and your work/life balance. Strengths are the best parts of your personality to help you to take action and get things done.

A good way to understand what this means is to think about your friends, other businesses and communities. Why do you like them? They will help you to identify useful strengths you might have, or wish to develop.  Look to your family, friends and co-workers to help you identify and develop your strengths and take your mind and focus off your weaknesses.

According to Peter Drucker, a strength is something you are good at, and there is clear evidence from feedback that it is the case. Strengths are not potential or possible areas, they are things you consistently do well. There must be clear evidence to indicate that you are good at them. According to Drucker knowing “where your strengths lie” is the important thing.

The reason strengths are so important is that everybody is at their best and happiest when they are using the best parts of themselves. You might know what your strengths are, but don’t know what you may become as you develop them. Define the actual activities you enjoy doing and feel you can do consistently well. These activities will be the basis of your strengths. Keep in mind that the irritating imperfections of others may actually be strengths.

Here are some examples. What other strengths can you identify?

Personal 

  • Values.
  • Entrepreneurship.
  • Creative.
  • Enthusiastic.
  • Passionate.
  • Likeable personality.
  • Fun to be with.
  • Community engagement.

Business 

  • Good planning practices.
  • Good marketers.
  • Financially savvy.
  • Fun place to work.
  • Customer service.
  • Creative and innovative.
  • Good leadership.
  • Entrepreneurship.
  • Supportive.

Community 

  • Great place to live and work.
  • Job opportunities.
  • Entrepreneurial environment.
  • Healthy environment.
  • Expanding community services.
  • Proactive local government.

Working from a strengths perspective

The following are seven important principles of a strengths perspective (Chapin, 1995; Early & GlenMaye, 2000; Kisthardt, 1992; Miley, O’Melia & DuBois, 2001; Poertner & Ronnau, 1992; Rapp, 1992; Saleebey, 1992c; Sullivan & Rapp, 1994; Weick et al., 1989): Not-for-profit organisations will find this invaluable in their dealing with volunteers and communities.

  • People have many strengths and have the capacity to continue to learn, grow and change.
  • The focus of intervention is on the strengths and aspirations of the people we work with.
  • Businesses, communities and social environments are seen as being full of resources.
  • Service providers collaborate with the people they work with.
  • Interventions are based on self-determination.
  • There is a commitment to empowerment.
  • Problems are seen as the result of interactions between individuals, organisations or structures. Rather than deficits within individuals, organisations or structures.

Don’t let your weaknesses take up your time and resources

Conventional wisdom says you should work on improving your weaknesses. This is a terrible waste of time and resources.  There are so many opportunities to choose from today, that will be wasted if you don’t focus on your strengths. A strength-based outlook assumes that you love doing what you’re good at. Most of you tend to like the things you succeed in and tend to dislike things you struggle with. Know what your strengths-fueled future looks like for you and your business.

By way of example, if you don’t like doing paperwork, you will never do it well. You will be frustrated and continually see it as a negative problem. Therefore delegate or outsource this work and focus on what you are best at and like doing. If you like doing customer service, what do you think will give you the greatest financial return, paperwork, or happy customers.

Focusing will develop patterns of positive thoughts. You will feel differently and act differently, causing you to direct your strengths to do worthwhile things.

This will more than  compensate for the costs of new employees or outsourcing

  • By definition you are bad at the things you are bad at, so why to waste your time on such things.
  • You all operate in a competitive global environment, so why would you want to handicap yourself?
  • Working on things you are not good at is frustrating and saps your energy and other limited resources.
  • With only limited resources, you need to maximise your potential by applying each strength to the best opportunities.
  • Problems are not to be ignored and working with your strengths is the best way to tackle your problems and frustrations.
  • Working with what you are best at and like doing also provides excitement and fun in your work.
  • When you work with your strengths it also limits your preoccupation with all that is not working for you.
  • Working to your strengths will help to overcome any procrastination.

Understanding that every person has many strengths and they do have the capacity to continue to learn, grow and change is important. This understanding can help you to mould and grow your people’s various strengths to best develop your business. It also helps you to recognise people that do not, and will not have the strengths your organisation needs.

Discover your strengths

What evidence can you provide of your ability to perform to your strength?  What do others say about your strengths and what ones do you feel you would you like to develop?  These are likely to be the areas of your natural core strengths.  These will also be the areas of greatest potential for you. How do you discover a natural core strength?

Identify what you do differently to others 

Your approach will be unique and you will stand out. You want to identify those moments and articulate how you are different. Start by giving a name to each strength.

Entrepreneurship is an important strength

Entrepreneurship is a must for success in business, not-for-profit organisations, communities and projects. If you are not an entrepreneur then study the attributes of an entrepreneur and you will improve on your strengths, http://goo.gl/LS67qJ

Identify your areas of creativity

When you can identify your creative moments , you are identifying a potential strength, come up with a unique term that captures each specific strength. You will then tend to make more use of them.

Watch the things that excite you and make you feel strong

When you engage in an activity you are truly good at, your excitement is visible to everyone. It is easy to identify someone who feels alive and motivated when they’re using a core strength, watch for it.

Break away from the norm 

To uncover your gifts, you need to explore new roles. Think of your business as a laboratory, a place where you can explore and act on your instincts.

Imagine if you could spend most of your time developing and playing at something that makes you happy, where time flies and where it’s easy for you.  How would you feel? Working to develop your natural core strengths is very motivating. It allows you to continually realise higher and higher levels of achievement .

Strengths can propel you into the future you want

If you figure out what your most dominant strengths are and try and find ways to use them more. This is what will propel you into the future you want.  When it comes to the best way to leverage your ability, it’s best to make full use of your strengths. This can also improve your:

  • Motivation.
  • Capabilities.
  • Energy.
  • Ability to tackle challenges.
  • Agility and adaptability.
  • Confidence.
  • Resilience.
  • Time management.
  • Family and other relationships.

It’s often easy to take the opposite approach and try and work on fixing your weaknesses. There’s nothing wrong with this, but when you spend too much time working on your weaknesses, it can be uninspiring and even depressing. You end up only focusing on the things you aren’t so great at and you wonder why you are not achieving your aspirations.

strengths

If you are not working to your strengths you won’t go very far.

 

Invest your time and energy in being great at something, really great. Make a commitment to work as much as possible on your strengths.  You have them, just like everyone else. Do things you do well and do naturally. Invest your time, energy and resources that bring satisfaction and fulfilment to your lifestyle.

Work motivation comes from playing to your strengths

The work you do and the activities you become involved in each day is how you make a difference in the world. Your strengths are ultimately the keys to your success, they are the ‘spark plugs’ or the catalysts that will make all the difference to your outcomes. If you feel you are being held back with weaknesses, it’s time to become buoyed by working to your strengths.

There is one quick way to improve your and your team’s performance and that is by taking a strength-based approach to work. Find ways to allow you to work to your strengths and get others to do the same.

Consider the following aspects of work

  • Everyone knows and appreciates their own strengths.
  • Colleagues appreciate their workmate’s strengths.
  • Everyone is excited about the work they are involved in.
  • There is plenty of energy to tackle the work to be done.
  • Everyone has the flexibility and time to creatively utilise their strengths.
  • Feedback helps to improve each other’s strengths.
  • Everyone is able to create a better work / life balance

All of these aspects impact on your ability and capacity to work to your strengths. If you think it might be the type of work you’re doing that’s affecting you, perhaps you’re not doing enough work on builds to your strengths. Doing more of what you are good at can have an immediate impact on your motivation. Think about your strengths and how you might be able to focus more on the things you’re good at.

Strengths-Based business process can lead to innovation

Increasing demand for products and  services from a rapidly growing customer base eats into resources very quickly. This puts extra pressure on team members as they became involved in trying to be creative and innovate, in addition to their normal work. How is innovation to be achieved with a team that is rapidly becoming stressed and showing signs of disengagement?

Sustained high stress can expose issues with the way work is done and products perform. But, people in this situation are only using their strengths automatically to meet the demand. They don’t usually come up with any innovative solutions. You finish up with tired overworked people. How do you restore a sense of well-being to the team and at the same time equip the team to do more with less and innovate?

Focusing on innovative solutions is a key leadership trigger. You approach the situation with a different mindset from the ‘problem solving’ mindset most people are used to applying in their work. So, rather than focusing on fixing problems and returning to the status quo. Switch your thinking to looking at the situation as an opportunity to do something new by taking each of your team’s strengths into account. Actually applying them to the situation.

Quotable quotes

 “When we do things we’re already good at, our business acumen is quicker”.  Todd Kashdan

“I know my strengths, my qualities and I know what I am worth”. William Galias

 

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