Effectiveness is maximized when you invest in your strengths. The definition for Strengths according to Donald O. Clifton (Now discover your strengths), is: “consistent, near perfect, performance in an activity”.
For example: Margaret is a well-known dermatologist. Her strength is treatment of face acne. She consistently treats people with acne successfully and that fulfils her. As a result, she is well known for her expertise and she has satisfied patients that recommend her.
Reinforcing your strengths starts in the family, continues at school and university through education and maximizes at work in the professional environment.
Let’s examine how that happens at a family level: Anthony is 10 years old and adores reptiles. He wants to become a herpetologist. He has collected information from the internet and grabs the opportunity to learn more from whatever source of information he finds available. He has knowledge of their names, habits, way of living and eating. His passion led him to include in the family a reptile, as a pet. He has found the way to communicate with it. At night, he explores nature, admires its creatures and finds a way to interact. Every day he discovers something more, in his field of interest.
His parents, respect and reinforce his strength, his zeal and love in a positive manner. They organize field trips to zoos, buy Lego blocks, through which he creates dinosaurs and buy books related to reptiles. They collect in an album his awesome drawings of dinosaurs and have accepted a reptile as a pet.
Anthony is a happy person who daily develops his strengths, which will make him excel in a related to his abilities professional environment.
How can organizations get advantage of the strength of their human resources strengths?
Donald Clifton, phycologist, has been honored from the American Psychological Association as the father of Strengths-Based Psychology for the work done in this field. According to a survey pursued 30 years ago, 20% of the employees, worldwide, use their strengths in their everyday professional life. The 80% try to develop their weaknesses.
This research – which was conducted on 1.7 million employees in 101 companies from 63 countries- reached interesting results that explain the above. Among them is the fact that most of the companies operate under two wrong assumptions:
- Every person can learn to be competent in almost everything
- Every person has great potential to develop, when improving weaknesses
In order to find out whether the company you are in operates under these wrong assumptions, observe the following:
- Your company invests more in training employees after they are hired, or invests in talent selection?
- Your company focuses on performance based on strict rules and procedures?
- Each employee development plan is based on opportunities through strengths or on improving weaknesses?
On the contrary, the best leaders worldwide base their successful leadership on the following:
- Each person has talents which are unique and last throughout the years
- Each person develops in the area of his best abilities
Concluding, in order to increase your company’s effectiveness, recruit talents and assign in positions that gives them the opportunity to utilize their strengths. This will make them happy and gives them incentive to work more and achieve more. It induces their passion to achieve results. The organization’s training programs attains faster results and goals are achieved in a shorter time span. Employees that use their strengths, have ideas and innovate. The big secret is to choose the suitable talents, train them to develop even more their strengths, and create the environment to thrive.
From Eleni Kouremeti