I was eating lunch with my grandpa last week and he told me something that I haven’t stopped thinking about. My grandpa is one of those noble businessmen—the kind that started a business in his basement, paid his employees even when he couldn’t pay himself, and grew a small venture into a sustainable, still-growing business that currently employs hundreds of people around the country.
What he said to me though, was that he never was a fantastic business person—his real talent was a keen, intuitive eye for recognizing the strengths and talent of other people, nurturing those strengths, and then constantly challenging them to keep them sharp and the owners of those strengths very near. And indeed, his strategic hiring (and firing) in the early 80’s led to a balanced team that has stuck with him ever since—they currently run the company.
While following your strengths is not a new concept (Google it and see how many books you can find), it was just a reminder that our truest strengths might be something we never considered to be important or marketable. When you ask a child 6-18 what they are good at, they will probably give you an answer that relates to a subject, like “I’m good at math but bad at English.” What they probably won’t say is “I can persuade even the shy kids to come play” or “I am a profound listener which I’ve found is great at building trust.” As adults, we might be more specific in our answer than “I’m good at math” but a lot of us followed those initial strengths in a subject to our current careers and still hold them dearly as a way to explain our value.
So all I am proposing (and I think Grandpa would approve) is that you examine yourself and your interactions a little deeper. Are you good at calmly guiding an argument to a resolution? Are you the friend people call when they are sad because you are great at comforting? Those are very real strengths. Just don’t forget to acknowledge that you have them—use them skillfully and that’s money in the bank!
Connect with Envoy
@EnvoyInc on Twitter
New post: When Is an Internship Not Your Average Internship? http://t.co/MtGdThUp8NThu, 05/09/2013 - 11:15
RT @PRSANebraska:Thank you #MayLuncheon speakers: @EnvoyInc's @katbron and @BCBSNebraska 's Andy Williams & @lovgrenmarketing Linda Lovgren!Tue, 05/07/2013 - 13:35
RT @envoyinc: thanks to Envoyer @mikeybau for sharing this great article on #UX and why it needs to be a community effort....Wed, 05/01/2013 - 17:46
thanks to Envoyer @mikeybau for sharing this great article on UX and why it needs to be a community effort. http://t.co/1IpBbRVxNiWed, 05/01/2013 - 17:40
so proud of our AMA Awards! Congratulations to our clients @BoysTownMission @HilandDairy @HilandIceCream @FirstNEBankFri, 04/26/2013 - 10:07
Latest Blog Posts
- When Is an Internship Not Your Average Internship?
- Art Theft on the High Plains
- Want to Work at a Really Cool Place?
- Program Testing: An Ongoing Saga
- You're Awesome! But Do You Know Why?
- Nine Things You Didn't Know You Wanted to Learn About Nebraska
- Your Guide to Planning Web Projects
- You know you’re at South by Southwest when…
- A Leap Day to Remember ...
- Three Strikes…It’s a Turkey!