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20
Mar
2007
Play to your strengths

I had an interesting experience recently whilst on a presentation skills course.

The last participant to arrive was Ann, whom I had met before on a number of occasions.  I was surprised initially to see her there.  My train of thought was something along the lines of ‘what is she doing here?  Her presentation skills are terrific already'.   Over the 3 days of the course I think I learned more from Ann than I did from anyone else, trainers included.

Ann is great at presenting, she just loves to do it and it is clear for all to see.  It is one of her real strengths and her reason for coming on the course was to get even better.

It struck me how refreshing it is to see a role model like Ann investing in developing her strengths still further.  All too often (like me in this instance!) we focus on development needs rather than investing in our strengths.  Our bosses and the organisations we work for send us on remedial training to fill perceived gaps in our skills.

If we enjoy what we do it feels more like play than work.  Our excellence stands out and be successful at what we do.  So why do so many organisations want us to be the same rather than encouraging us play to our strengths?

What are your strengths?  Who do you know who is a really good role model in those areas?  We can learn so much from observing people who excel at what they do and even better, asking them how they do what they do.   And make sure your boss knows what your strengths are, so that next time s/he needs an expert you are the person s/he thinks of.

And what is your organisation's approach to development?  Is it remedial or generative?  Spend a few moments thinking about how different your organisation might be if people played to their strengths the majority of the time.  Then call up your HR director and get her thinking about how your organisation could achieve this and outshine your competitors.

This article appeared in the February 2007 issue of Connection magazine published by the Cambridge Network www.CambridgeNetwork.co.uk

 

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