The Exponential Impact of Individual Strengths

I shouldn't have been surprised, but somehow I had forgotten that the top talent identified in my Strengths Finder 2.0 report was "adaptability."  Granted, I took the assessment in 2010, but when I reviewed the results a few weeks ago, my response was an audible and amused laugh.  I did, after all, start a blog with "chameleon" in its title.  Apparently my core hasn't changed much!  This has been on my mind a lot recently since I've been reminded how aligning with individual strengths leads to exponentially different outcomes.

I've been working on a project that doesn't play to my strengths.  The project involves much more planning than adapting and while I am capable of doing the project in that I know what the steps are and how to perform them, I feel sluggish when I'm working on it.  My mind feels mushy and my enthusiasm drops.  I unintentionally drag my feet.  In contrast, when I do work that not only uses but highlights my adaptability, I shine.  My mind feels clear, my enthusiasm surges, and my interest in the work becomes an additional propeller.

Knowing this about myself, I need to do a better job talking with my team members about what they see as their individual strengths and how those align (or don't align) with our current projects.  As much as possible, I want our team structure to also make each individual shine.

Note to self: Reach out to team members more and ask their preferences through questions such as:

  • What's something you've worked on that greatly energized you?
  • If you could elect to never again do a particular task, which one would it be?
  • What's a current responsibility you have that you feel doesn't highlight your strengths?
  • What's something you would like to take on that you feel would really make you shine?

Give team members a safe space to communicate their preferences.  And then as best as possible, heed those preferences.