Sunday, 2 December 2012

Monty's Strengths

I have always been a Monty fan and it was wonderful to see him back to his best in the last test. Here is the story of his - strengths based - return to the top.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Planning to Think Positively

Here's a nice re-working of the principles of challenging limiting beliefs in Fast Company Magazine. I wonder what place understanding and leading with strengths plays in overcoming negative emotions? Research would suggest that pausing to reflect on your strengths and talents, reviewing the evidence for them and making a plan to lead with them, can change the mindset we adopt in the face of high challenge? Could we add this to the list of ways to 'release the anchors'?

Monday, 22 October 2012

Strengths and the Organisation

In 1997, David Maister told us in True Professionalism that in order for a team to provide value above and beyond the talents of the individuals within it, it needed to provide the right conditions for talent to flourish. He offers some possible ways in which we can do this:
  • provide professionals with the benefit of shared skills and experiences within the practice group
  • back up the professional with investments in shared tools, methodologies, templates, research, etc
  • facilitate access to the skills of others in different disciplines
  • establish procedures to produce well trained junior professionals
  • achieve a high level of referrals, cross-selling, and clients of other professionals 
  • provide superior support staff and systems, to facilitate conduct of the practice
  • instill a system of supportive, but challenging, coaching to bring out the best in each professional
  • create an emotionally supportive 'collegial' environment
  • provide for diversification of personal risk - in good times and bad
  • establish a powerful brand name that makes marketing easier
Upon re-reading some of his work over the weekend, I was struck both by the 'obvious' nature of this advice and the relative scarcity of practice. I wonder what we are working on as leaders, this week, that will enable the talent within our teams to do their best?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Strengths and Education

With education being very much back on the political agenda it is important to consider the impact of the environment that schools create for children along with the more tangible  elements of excellence, such as the syllabus and exam processes. In every way, these are the more obvious and traditional targets for change. So what are the characteristics of a positive learning environment for children? What cultural elements do we need to put in place in order for children to be inner-motivated to give their best? Child Psychologist Jenni Hooper offers some sound advice in this blog post.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Getting the Balance Right

Helping leaders to get the balance right for them between leading with their strengths, and managing or working on their weaknesses, can be challenging. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman provide some useful perspective on this issue in this recent HBR blog post. They argue that if leaders are to be successful they should first address 'fatal flaws' and then lead with a suite of strengths, not focusing on one thing alone. Take a look.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Olympic Strengths

What a wonderful Olympics. Take a look at Seb Coe's 50 highlights here. My highlight - sitting in the stadium (with a coffee) waiting for the first morning of athletics to start. It (really) doesn't get any better!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Embedding Strengths

Some useful thoughts here  from Gallup on how to ensure that a strengths approach to performance prevails in your organisation.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Living the Brand

I visited one of my regular clients, Scott Sports yesterday. It was the first time one of my visits had coincided with one of their famous lunchtime cycle rides and even as a 'supplier' I was encouraged to take part. GM Steve Carter tells me that these 3 times per week, 15 mile sessions serve to:
  • promote health and fitness in the team
  • build team connectivity
  • familiarise people with the products they are selling
  • give people the user experience and build empathy with customers
  • and, build credibility...we don't just talk about it we 'live' it!
The team face all the usual business pressures but most make time to take part - though some have to be dragged away from their desks! The post ride shower and mini-buffet for participants adds to the experience. Steve says, 'We don't make a fuss about it, it's just the way we do things here'.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Talent and Potential

So the important discussion relating to the role of practice in developing winners rages on. In this article from this week's Sunday Times, Adrian Furnham tells us that we are all getting carried away when we emphasise the role of structured, deliberate and consistent practice in developing talent in others. He argues that while practice is a critical requirement for excellent performance, when it is applied to someone with limited natural ability it does not necessarily deliver success.

Fellow journalist Matthew Syed suggests otherwise in his book Bounce of course. He posits that talent is under-rated and that it is practice and hard work that makes the difference. A strengths approach would surely argue that both are of equal importance - discover what you are good at and then grow that talent through learning and practice?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Power of Introverts

Former lawyer Susan Cain spent 7 years researching and writing her book, Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - you can find a clip of her talking about the process of writing and the key messages here. It's amazing that these simple concepts about how different people learn best and do their best work, are so readily overlooked by organisations and educational institutions.

While this is undoubtedly and important book, what struck me most having read it was the age old argument about whether labels of this type are helpful to us at all. What shines through the argument for being more accepting of introverts, is perhaps the need for all of us to see everyone as their own 'type'. Take the time to understand individuals strengths and weakness, how they love to learn and what excites them, and the need to label is surely removed and cannot get in the way learning and performance?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Delivering Success

Have a look at this HBR blog on the '9 Things Successful People Do Differently'. No rocket science here - a strong emphasis on using goals to harness motivation and build confidence is common practice in sport but less common in business?