Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Strengths and Weaknesses

Marcus Buckingham's session at the Global Leadership Summit raised the bar for me. Firstly in the pacing and delivery and timing of what was, essentially, a one hour lecture. He was brilliant. Secondly in reinforcing an idea I am already trying to work towards at all times, that people should be encouraged to spend 80% of their time working in their area of greatest strength and less than 20% of their time working on weaknesses, shadow sides or whatever you want to call them.

This teaching has already had a transformative effect on several organisations. Health-care providers now, for instance, routinely emphasise 'Well women/men clinics' and 'Healthy lifestyles' rather than simply treating the sick. This is a result of the work of Gallup, his organisation.

One exercise I am working on is the idea of seeing how much of your week is actually spent on areas of strength, which will usually, but not inevitably, be things you enjoy. To do this, take a piece of A4 and divide it in two. Head one side 'I loved it' and the other 'I loathed it.' No need to categorise everything (some things strike us neutrally) but if you love it or loathe it in the next seven days make a note of it.

After the week, pick three recurring themes from your 'I loved it' side. These will probably be your strengths or closely related to them. Now how can you spend more time on these things?


Kathryn said...

Thanks - like this idea and will try it. It might help, also, to diminish tendencies to beat self up over ineptitude in some areas..who knows?

Edward Huxley said...

I was at the Bristol summit too and agree - Marcus's was the outstanding session which gave me real food for thought, but also gave me practical thnigs I can do with it this week. So far so good -identifying some areas of key strength. Next step: making them happen more often!
I particularly liked his positive emphasis and the way he told us to describe our strengths: 'I feel strong when...' - that's helped me to make them honestly about me, and really focused on what I love doing and being.