Monthly Archives: February 2010

Now Discover Your Strengths

Atlas Collins Street Melbourne Australia

I am a great believer in the identifying and applying of key individual strengths to achieve individual and organisational goals.

If you ask a person to do something that they have no talent for then the result is a poor quality result, consistently poor quality performance and a de-motivated person.

I believe that matching a person’s talents to specific organisational tasks will not only produce a higher quality output in a more efficient manner but also generate a positive feeling in the team members and a more supportive culture.

The 3 challenges then are to:

  • Identify the strengths of every person within the organisation
  • Identify and allocate the tasks best suited to individual strengths
  • Addressing any tasks that remain to be allocated

This approach is clearly idealised but as with approaches like Lean and Six Sigma, the aim is for continual migration towards that idealised state.

Identifying Your Strengths

Strengths are generally accepted as the point at which you have a mix of

  • Knowledge
  • Skill
  • Ability / Talent

This may be a natural strength, or a strength that you have developed because of practice and a passionate interest in that skill.

Gallup, the research and consultancy organisation has undertaken research into strengths, what they are and hwo to apply them.

This has led to a number of books and an online assessment that help individuals identify their strengths.

Tom Rath’s Strengths Finder series is highly recommended.

Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton’s  Now Discover Your Strengths () is also a great primer for investigating individual strengths.

Each has a code at the end of the book that allows the reader to take a quick online assessment of their strengths.

It is worth understanding your strengths so that you can recognise opportunities that will allow you to thrive and produce high performance output.

Dare to Aspire

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Filed under Improvement, Performance, Teams

7 Reasons Businesses Struggle to be Innovative

It a truism in business that if you are not developing and improving, then you are falling behind your competition.

Innovation is critical to the sustained growth and competitive edge of any business. So why do businesses struggle to be innovative?

1. Lack of time – As Michael Gerber says, ‘we are too busy working in the business rather than working on the business.’ When people get busy, they focus on delivering the product or service they are contacted to deliver. No time is available to look to the future of the business.

2. Lack of resources – Innovation takes time and money and relies upon the capacity of an organisation to allocate resources to innovative thinking. During tough economic times, cost saving and redundancies reduce these resources to a minimum, often too few for innovation to thrive.

3. Fear of failure – In Richard Branson’s book, ‘Screw it, let’s do it!’ he has a ‘can do’, risk embracing attitude. Branson recognises that even if the innovation isn’t a thriving success, the team and the business have still benefitted and improved. Risk averse organisations can miss the opportunities because failure is perceived by that organisational culture as a bad thing and a ‘career stopper’. Thomas Edison is often quoted as saying ‘A man that never failed, never achieved anything.’ Risk aversion kills innovation.

4. Unclear Leadership – Without guidance and authority from key leadership figures in the organisation, innovation will not be recognised as a priority. A figurehead or focal point for innovation helps people to understand that innovation is a company priority and gives people someone to give their ideas to.

5. Insufficient incentives – What is measured is achieved and what is rewarded is repeated. People often need an incentive to offer their ideas forward, so reward those that do. The message will soon spread and the ideas will begin to flow.

6. Insufficient talent – Talent acquisition and talent management is a key reason that the recruitment industry thrives. Talented people provide additional perspectives and alternative views. If supported, recruited talent can drive innovation and the future of the organisation.

7. Lack of Autonomy – Too much control stifles creativity and hinders innovation. Being free to think and try new things provides the innovative person with the opportunity to explore new options. Being asked to report on the potential of those opportunities too early in the exploration can make the innovator feel as though they are just time wasting or chasing a whim.

Innovation is important for the future of any organisation.

Whether that innovation iss a ‘short walk’ away from the current products or services or it creates new and diverse product lines, innovation generates future revenue streams and grows the knowledge base of the team.

Dare to Aspire

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Filed under Business, Change, Improvement, Leadership, Performance