Playing to your strengths is much more than a neat idea. It impacts you and the organization you work with. Research by the Gallup organization of two million people has revealed that there are 34 primary talent themes. You can read about them in Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath or Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham. Based on their research, Gallup has determined that most organizations are built on two flawed assumptions:
- Flawed Assumption #1: Each Person Can Learn to be Competent in Almost Anything
- Flawed Assumption #2: Each Person’s Greatest Room for Growth is in his or her Areas of Greatest Weakness
This is much more than a personal issue. How you ask? Globally, only 20% of employees working in large organizations surveyed by the Gallup organization feel that their strengths are in play every day. Furthermore, most organizations operate at only 20% capacity. In other words, when you fail to play to your strengths, the organization you serve with takes a hit. Not only are you unfulfilled, but the company you work with only reaches a fraction of its potential.
Imagine what would happen if your entire team was fully engaged in their work by playing to their strengths the majority of the time. Employee morale would sharply increase, customer satisfaction would no doubt go up, and the mission of the organization would aggressively move forward. For this to happen, managers need to embrace what Gallup has identified as the two assumptions that guide the world’s best managers:
- True Assumption #1: Each Person’s Talents are Enduring and Unique.
- True Assumption #2: Each Person’s Room for Growth is in the Areas of His or Her Greatest Strength.
While it would be easy to lead based on the early assumptions, the truth is that playing to your strengths will deliver the greatest results. The question is, do you understand your strengths? And the follow-up question is, what are you doing to grow your strengths to their fullest potential?