Photo credit: Neal Cooper (CNP Safaris)
Think of yourself as a sailboat. Our weaknesses or development areas are the cracks and holes in the boat. Yes we should pay attention to repair them to ensure that we stay afloat. But only ensuring that we cover the cracks and holes doesn’t get us anywhere. Imagine the sails are our strengths. Paying attention to them is what gets us sailing and moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our sails, our talents and strengths, much less the ability to build our lives around them. Instead, guided by our parents, by our teachers and by our managers we keep working at plugging the holes.
“We become experts in our weaknesses and spend our lives trying to develop these “flaws”, while our talents and strengths lie dormant and neglected” - Peter Drucker
Companies generally make 2 incorrect assumptions:
1. That a person can become competent at anything if they are trained properly; thus they spend a lot of time training their workforce.
2. That the greatest areas of “opportunity” or growth are in an employee’s area of greatest weakness. Thus the individual development plan for an employee will often focus on these areas of weakness or work to minimize them.
Instead, we need to start to think about strengths and talents, that:
1. Each person’s talents are enduring and unique (i.e. they were born with them and will always have them)
2. Each person’s greatest room for growth is not in their “weaknesses” but rather in their area of greatest strength.