17 April 2017

Part 3: Do you know what your strength is?

So if we start with who, we’ll start with you. Let me ask you a simple question:

“What is your core strength?”

Easy, isn’t it? Well… is it? Let me give you an example of the wrong answer to this simple question. I’ve studied engineering at the University of Delft, the Netherlands, so people might think that I am really good at Mathematics. And although I would need to keep up appearances for the sake of all engineers, I want to be frank with you: Mathematics is not one of my core strengths.

Let me explain. If you read a bit of the work by Mark Buckingham, you’ll get to know the difference between what you’re good at, and what is your strength. Getting from ‘good at’ to ‘strength’ only needs one thing: ‘passion’. I’m passionate about the interaction between people. And whilst I am good at Mathematic systems, I’m also good at interpersonal systems. And as I am passionate about the latter, I read about it every day, making something better that I’m good at every day. That’s the difference between ‘good at’ and ‘core strength’. You might be good at lifting weights, but you only get to be the body builder if you like working out for a few hours every day.

Of course it starts with understanding what you’re good at. And already we seem to have trouble with that. Our famous Dutch fieldhockey coach Marc Lammers believes that for improving your hockey skills, you don’t need to train your backhand if it’s bad. You’ll need to get to a position where you can use and improve your forehand. Which might already be brilliant if you’ve made it to the Dutch national league.

Is this useful for everyday office live? We believe it is. If you start by really understanding what you’re good at, you get from scarcity to abundance, see my first post. Because your strength is of course, abundant. And the things that you’re not good at, are by definition your scarcities. Getting to your core strengths might need some time to develop. But it will help you focus. So we believe we should stop having benchmarks, in order to see what the competition is good at (and you’re not). We believe we should should stop copying their way of working in a way that we’re not good at. Benchmarks are in our opinion the corporate version of ‘envy’, which is essentially a view of scarcity of the world.

We believe you should start with what you really like doing as a person and as a company. Because you’re good at it. And on top of that, you are that passionate about it, that you like to put effort in it every day to improve. Let’s start to have the guts to understand what you’re not good at, and lose that with pride. Letting customers pass that are not your focus customers, addressing those core strengths. And with that, giving the attention to that what needs attention: your core strengths. With that focus, you can start having the pride and pleasure of improving your strengths every day.

You decide what gets attention and what not. Choose wisely.

Our next Post will be about: What gets attention grows!

See you soon……

Max Vermeer is international Business Coach at www.OpenBook.Works