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Optimus Sourcing

Optimus Sourcing

Marketing Executive

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Building your Strengths

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Following on from our article about ‘Outsourcing your Weaknesses’, I’d like to get your attention and focus on the importance of building on your strengths.

Throughout all ages, there has always been a need to develop those areas that you are good at.   In today’s challenging economic climate, this approach has never been more important.

It goes without saying that if you are good at something and that something is useful – then do it. If it isn’t useful, then perhaps look for a way to make it useful. This is something that we all know and yet not nearly enough of us actually live by it in our daily lives.

Too many of us go against the age old proverb – ‘a jack of all trades is a master of none’. Why invest so much time in making ourselves average in certain areas we were previously weak in, if that time could be better invested in making ourselves the best in our field in something we are already strong at?

So how best to build on your strengths?

  • Identify your strengths – you might be aware of them or need input.   Get feedback from peers, family or managers.   Take personality tests such as Belbin, Myers Briggs and so on. At this point, weaknesses will emerge as well, giving you a balanced picture.
  • Relate back to what you are currently doing – do your strengths help or hinder your current performance? How can you use your strengths in the role or situation you are currently in?
  • What do you want to achieve – set goals for yourself and then plan backwards to establish how you can achieve them.
  • Spend time learning – a minimum of 15 minutes a day will add up over a life-time - see our blog for advice on how to spend those 15 minutes. Create a focused learning plan which you can update and compare against.
  • Measure and review – make sure you can see progress.  In some cases such as weightlifting you can easily measure by how much you can lift. For other cases it might be harder, but a simple out of ten benchmark could be good e.g. you give yourself a 7/10 for presentation skills, then 6 months later you feel you are 9/10.   Better still get other people to rate you.

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Acceptable weaknesses.

Remember that on some occasions there are weaknesses that can be ignored and don’t have an impact on the success of what you are doing.  Make sure you know what these are at all times.   This applies to both the individual and the manager.  I’ve made mistakes in my time when I’ve looked at team members and tried to get them to build on weaknesses even when there was no negative impact on the role they are doing.  I’ve got strengths and weaknesses that I’ve identified and am happy with.   One of my weaknesses is that I’m not a completer finisher.  However, strengths I do have are my innovative and creative ideas at the start of a project.   My solution – get a team of people around me who are completer finishers!

Managing the strengths of teams.

If Richard Branson created a football team and brought in the 11 best footballers as well as his office staff, he would pick the best people for that job.  The best footballers would play football and the best office staff would work in the office.   Although this seems obvious, too many times it’s ignored by companies.   Round pegs for round holes is the best approach.  However, we are aware that in practice sometimes it is harder to implement due to the restrictions within organisations.

Businesses do this at a much grander scale.  However these strengths are then called core competencies. These are the activities or assets that the company are strong at and, most importantly, give them competitive advantage. For Apple, this is their innovation processes, which allow them to constantly think what others are unable to. Providing something that others cannot is the key in business and it is something that we as people strive to do – differentiating ourselves.

By building on our strengths and investing time in them rather than spending all our time in trying to improve our flaws, we are able to create this competitive advantage and make ourselves more valued. Of course any gaping weaknesses should be identified and addressed if necessary (as explained in the previous blog ‘Outsource your weaknesses’), however by concentrating on your strengths these weaknesses can be negated.

To summarise, to be the best you can be, you need to concentrate on your strengths and what you are best at. Just as in business, your core competencies are what sets you apart from others and what ultimately make you an asset worth having. Therefore, by honing your skills and practising your strengths you will be making the best investment of your time.

Blake Henegan and Scott Drayton

Author Profile Picture
Optimus Sourcing

Marketing Executive

Read more from Optimus Sourcing
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