Strengths and Weakness

I had a fantastic conversation today with a friend in the HR field regarding personal strengths and weaknesses. I found this topic fascinating because of my own career path and the confidence in my abilities, which have on occasion made for abrupt changes in relationships or career paths.

I wonder today how many people are self-aware enough to truly pin point their strengths and weaknesses in their organization? Then I wonder what percentage of the population of managers choose to manage a persons strength’s and which choose to manage a persons weaknesses?

Donald Clifton and Paula Nelson once wrote a book called Soar With you Strengths , I find this to be one of my favorite management and personal growth books. I love that thought that we are all hard-wired by our creator to great at something. Managing people the last 7 years I have found that most people have lost touch with the gifts they have and have started to become what the world tells them they are.

As managers we feed that behavior many times because we have forgotten what we did to get to our seats. We struggle to understand how employees just don’t do what we always did, don’t they want to be successful? Don’t they find it easy to do?

 If we could pause for a minute and start to study our sales teams or staff we might be surprised at the strengths we find around us. Then once we identify them, do we have the resolve to move people into position for their greatest level of success. In the book Soar with your Strengths one chapter sub head says the following: ” The Study of Strengths leads to productive conclusions; the study of weaknesses leads to ineffective conclusions.”

Is that not what all our goals are n management?  Productive conclusions! We want to win, we want success on every corner, we want to move forward and upward. So lets stop and make it easy on ourselves.

identifying Strengths in self and staff:

  1. Listen for the desires of the heart.  A persons desires or verbal messages about things they would like to do or would like to be are great indicators of strengths they may possess. (Caution: people do verbally communicate misleading desires in life, just because I want o play professional football doesn’t mean I understand the work it will take to transform my skills to that end)
  2. Watch for Satisfactions – “Those experiences where the emotional and psychic rewards are greatest” Soar with your strengths by Donald Clifton. Think about it in your own life which tasks do you do that bring about the most satisfaction and joy? Your staff has them also, have you ever asked them? (Caution: just because you enjoy making a lot of money and your like the prize, does not mean you gained joy from the work)
  3. Watch for Rapid Learning – Sure sign of a natural gift. I remember taking Accounting in college and just thinking every thing made sense. The work was boring but easy. I have natural abilities in math. I also remember the pain stacking task of playing the piano, needless to say I have no musical talent in my body. If you find yourself or an employee learning very quickly that is a sure sign of a personality strength and talent.
  4. Glimpses of Excellence: The hardest trait to figure out, because excellence is often masked by environment. Example, my son shows glimpses of excellence in several sports when in our local district, he could be the next great____, however take him to the inner city to compete and often we find discouragement because greatness or excellence is not as prevalent.  As a manger of people your really need to study excellence to master the task of glimpsing it.  Practice and set standards which can be measured.
  5. Continued performance of excellence. Did you or an employee show that same type of excellence over a period of time or occasions?

Enjoy your day and I hope that you can find your strengths today and find the success that comes with it.

From the buffet to the diet table.

I have worked in marketing and advertising for the past 16 years and I am constantly amazed at how fast the markets change and how often educated business people just leap before thinking.

Take the prescribed death of traditional media.

  • Newspapers are dead! (Can’t tell you how often I heard that over the past 16 years.)
  • Cable TV will eliminate local channels… Heard that one also.
  • XM Radio will make Radio advertising useless. (well maybe)
  • SEO is far more effective than billboard or big box advertising online.. (that was not a very long road)
  • Now Social media will eliminate all of them.

Hold on just a minute and think.

Fact: Newspapers today are still read by twice as many people than any other media in the marketplace. They are still the huge elephant in the room.How can that be? Well think about how they are measured.

  1. Newspapers are measured by market and typically only have one or two print competitors, so they get 100% of all print readers.
  2. TV they get a share of all TV viewers in an average 15 minutes, not the share of everyone who owns a TV.
  3. Same with Radio.
  4. And the Internet they count eyeballs on a particular channel. (How many channels are there on the web?)

Now I tend to look at things as a marketer of my own product, so humor me here with my thoughts.

If I had a pair of shoes to sell and this pair of shoes would only interest a very select group of people (Thin Market Concept) and I knew exactly where that consumer shopped online everyday, I know that I can sell that pair of shoes. So I definitely understand the power of the web. The most trackable results oriented media that has ever existed.

However If I was a shoe store and want to be in business for the next 50 years can I trust the web to always supply? Maybe the better question is are you prepared to spend entire days planning your marketing online so that you stay ahead of the trends and fads online?This is not a bash the internet message. It is a be careful advertiser message.

I have seen over a dozen businesses this last year drop traditional media 100% in response to the fads of the internet. They get great results up front because their marketplace is fresh and they happen to find the right trend for the month. However each of them is about to close their business because they could not keep in front of this huge wave. They abandoned the concept of developing your brand and developing the need for your product by mass branding. They abandoned traditional medias because they could not measure growth of brand awareness and the economy was killing them.

When Marketing your business you must be clear of your short and long-term goals. Your business does need to create sales now, and I know that this cost money. However your business is also trying to break the averages and has plans of being around for another 5, 10 or 20 years, so make sure you are using both strategies.

Over the next week I will bring you a few ideas on how to use multiple media to create results for your business.

Empower and Enlighten

Today I am wondering if the business people in my community are paying any attention to their circumstances? Do they have the pulse of their organizations?

I meet with several businesses each day and I have noticed that the staff’s I see have a lot in common. They see to be sucked of life. They look beat up and defeated. And I wonder how is the manager responsible for what the staff feels like?

I remember a book by William Byham called “Zapp!” I am sure there are hundreds of books just like this one but I was given this book in the early 90’s and it has been a great resource over the years as I consider management of a staff.

The premise of the book was how one person saw the gloom hanging over his operation and how it effected productivity, and instead of just going with the flow changed how work was done and empowered and Elightened his staff. This new-found empowerment brought satisfaction and challenge that brought the company back to a productive asset status.

There are several items from this book which are easy to grasp but here are a couple of items for you to consider today.

To fulling Zapp! and employee and help them become a productive happy employee a couple of items need to occur.

  1. Direction – give them a goals, a key result area for your company that they can affect, a measurement which is obtainable and show them how them working on achieving their small portion helps the company move in the right direction. 
  2. Knowledge- Train them up. How many times have I seen management bring in a new person and give them the one day crash course then leave them to either figure it out or hand them over to an employee which is probably over worked to finish the task.  Teach thoroughly, constantly and share the goals of the training and how it will help them achieve and the company if the training is successful.
  3. Resources Make sure the tools and materials are in order and will be able to help them succeed. Have you ever been late in getting a project sent only to have the copy machine or fax machine fail? Never fails that organizations save expense on items that are meant to save time and increase production, then when they start failing just use a band-aid to cure the problem. I have seen sales staffs lose complete trust in their company over tools that don’t work efficiently.
  4. Support – (approval, coaching, feedback, encouragement, listening.) These are not traits which are sometimes items for an employer. These are the full-time things. Employees want your approval, they want to be listened too and coached with feedback which will help them be successful.

No brainer right? Tale a look at your organization today. What percentage of your staff would you say would give you an A in every category?

Maybe the way out of this national crisis is by starting in our own office culture.

What are the boundaries?

If you are like me in the business world you find circumstances which frustrate you, because you don’t understand why or how you got boxed into a set of boundaries, solutions that you at this time don’t desire. This Blog will be my sounding board of ideas and thoughts on how business leaders, employees and consumers can change their boundaries with creative ideas and solutions.

How do we control the boundaries around us at all times?

It starts with awareness of your values. If you have been part of this world for any length of time, your patterns have been altered by the pressures or thoughts of others placed down upon you. If we are truly to be the controllers of our own boundaries then we must first step back and assess our values.

What do you stand for in life? What do you prepare your mind for each morning when you awake? What lines in the sand have you drawn that you are willing and able to stand and fight over?

If you are a small business owner, what values of your business are you proud of and willing to take to the bank?

I recently have gone through several hard choices in life and I sit here today asking these very question of myself.

My Values:

  1. My family will come before my mission.
  2. My work will nourish my passions
  3. My passions will be developed
  4. My friends will always be able to count on me.
  5. I will never stop learning
  6. I will stay focused and positive in all engagements.  (A SMOVER)
  7. I will be honest but carefull that my words don’t damage.
  8. I will coach up those around me.
  9. I will find joy in service to others and peace in the happiness experienced by those I serve.
  10. I will stay true to me.

Today build your set of Values. I believe your values may indeed change with time, however they are important to protect and keep close to you when you are faced with challenges.