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Working to Your Strengths

Over the past 15-20 years, I believe there has been a shift in management philosophy. It used to be that the definition of management was planning, organizing and controlling. Most likely, those tasks have not gone away. But here’s a new task, one that arches over all the others: building an organization of people in the right jobs and giving them the ability to succeed. In his landmark book. “Good to Great…”, Jim Collins reports on his research into highly successful companies.

O key element of their success is, that before they do anything else, they make sure that “the bus” (the company) has the right seats (jobs) and that the right people are in the seats. In his landmark work after Collins, Marcus Buckingham documents the value, even the necessity of people discovering what their strengths are and then working at things that take advantage of their strengths. At Inner Circle, we call this discovering your highest and best use. Buckingham found that people were happier, more productive and more successful doing work that took advantage of what they did well and what made them happy to do it. In “Now Discover Your Strengths,” he urges everyone to stop focusing on their weaknesses and utilize their strengths. Here’s an Inner Circle exercise: What is your highest and best use? What percentage of your time in working do you spend on it? What would the impact on your company and on you if you increased the percentage by 10%, 20%, 30%? What would have to be in place in order for you to generate that increase? Think of all the money that has been spent on “training” to turn people into something they are not. To correct their weaknesses. How could that money have been better spent helping people identify their strengths and then finding them the work that took advantage of them. If you are curious about your strengths, buy the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. You have to buy a new copy because the on-line assessment access code in the back of the book can only be used once. Take the assessment, read the reports and see what you think.