By September 29, 2008 5 Comments Read More →

It’s Not Your People, It’s Their Strengths

ItsNotYourPeopleItsTheirStrengths
Photo by Ingorrr

When an organization says people are its greatest asset, what they really means is their people’s strengths are their greatest asset.  When you focus on strengths you get the best results, whether its an individual, a team or an organization. If you focus on weaknesses, you bring yourself down, the team down and the organization down. If you’re not spending your time in your strengths, you’re not doing justice to yourself, your team or your organization. Your strengths are the organization’s most important assets. Your strengths are where your best creativity, innovation, and judgment lie. Your team or your organization’s capability is the sum of the strengths.  In Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance, Marcus Buckingham writes that it’s not your people, but their strengths that make the organization or team powerful.

Our People’s Strengths are Our Greatest Asset
When an organization says its people are its greatest strengths, what it really means are the talent and the passions of its people. Buckingham writes:

And organizations pay homage to these studies when they say “Our people are our greatest asset.” Though, in truth, they don’t actually mean this. What they mean is “Our people’s strengths are our greatest asset.” After all, organization’s place a premium on their employees because in today’s knowledge and service economy, the value of the employee lies in their creativity, innovation, and good judgment.

Strengths are Where the Best Creativity, Innovation, and Judgment Lie
You are your most creative and innovative when you’re working in activities that make you strong.  You show your best judgment when you’re playing to your strengths. Buckingham writes:

None of us though, is creative, or innovative in every single aspect of our work.  On the contrary, each of us has some aspects of our work where we aren’t very creative at all, where our first idea is not only our best idea, it’s our only idea.  We keep talking but there’s nothing there; the well is dry. By contrast, each of us is at our most creative, our most innovative, and shows our best judgment precisely in our areas of greatest strengths. You don’t focus on people’s strengths to make them happier. What these studies reveal is that no matter that the team, no matter what the organization, when you do, they are. That’s why the best organizations are now so public in their commitment to become strengths based.

Key Take Aways
Here’s my key take aways:

  • It’s not your people, it’s their strengths.
  • Strengths are where the best creativity, innovation and judgement happen
  • Spend time in your strengths.
  • Limit time in your weaknesses.

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Posted in: Book Nuggets, Strengths

5 Comments on "It’s Not Your People, It’s Their Strengths"

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  1. Alex Thio says:

    J.D: Thank you for your investment in time on this article. I most appreciate that you provided “Key Take-Aways” for the article! Spending time in my strengths and limiting time in my weaknesses – certainly something I can work with! Will be running around your blog and reading some more of your inspiring works! All the best to you!

  2. Too many companies don’t take the time to recognize their employees strengths. Too many employees perform the wrong tasks and the wrong jobs.

  3. J.D. Meier says:

    @Alex – Thank you. All the best to you too!

    @Vered – One of my favorite managers does a “passion” gap. He figures out the business needs and then figures out the gap between the business and the available passions on the team. It sound so simple, but it’s so powerful.

  4. Evelyn Lim says:

    How true! It’s the strengths that actually make up an organization’s best assets. Having a diverse range of abilities help bring out a winning team.

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