How to play to your strengths Janice B Gordon

How to playI remember when studying for my Cranfield MBA, they were particularly good at teaching the philosophy of ‘know thyself’ and encouraged us to play to our strengths in a team. Companies are still measuring their employees in performance appraisals against a wide set of skills, this is an extension of the school appraisal system and so we judge ourselves by this mindset and feel like failures.

I mentor entrepreneurs to identify and develop their strengths and to buy in, as soon as possible, skills were they are weakest. Life is too short to be miserable with self-imposed struggle and frustration; remember ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, what you might hate to do another person will love and because they love it, they will innovate and do it in half the time. The key to your success in business is to:

1.    Identify your strengths and develop them further so that they become part of your unique offer.

2.    Understand your weaknesses and only learn as much as you need to manage your business well.

Know Thyself: I talk to entrepreneurs about ‘YOU are the difference that makes the difference’ and coach them to develop their ‘Personal Business Personality’. This requires honest introspective probing to clarify what the entrepreneur is good at and what others say about them?

You know this about yourself; studies indicate that when leadership does not focus on an individual’s strengths, employee engagement is only approximately 9% but this increases to 73% when leadership does focus on an employee’s strengths.

You get the best out of others and yourself when you play to their and your strengths; so build your team with this in mind. Hire people who are strong where you are weak.  Ask the applicant to describe their strengths and weaknesses and what they enjoy doing the most; therefore, you will be able to assess if the applicant is a good fit with you and your business.

Tom Watson states “I have sought to recruit leaders to management teams who know more than I do and from whom I can learn. I believe leaders of organisations have to be fearless in recruiting and/or developing the strongest talent they can … even when that talent is better than they are.”

Richard Branson is a good example of a leader who is comfortable to talk about his weaknesses and who recruits people that are more skilled than him; and he did OK!

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Janice B Gordon: The Problem Solver Business Growth Consultant, Mentor, Speaker and Author. Business Evolution – Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing World will give you the guidance you need to evolve you and your business and exceed your customers wants and needs.

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