Strengths = Talent, skills and knowledge, nothing more, nothing less
Everyone is born with talents of some description. Those who are lucky are able to use those talents in their vocation or at leisure. Take a natural talent and add skills and knowledge and you have a strength. Marcus Buckingham, in his book Now, Discover Your Strengths, defines a strength as:
“…consistent, near perfect performance in an activity.” (Buckingham, Pg 20)
Put a person in a role where they can use their strengths and you have a potentially – high performance employee. Given an opportunity, a high performance employee not only generates high quality, high value outputs, but they are inevitably highly engaged in their role. So they are happy, motivated and highly productive.
Give an employee, who doesn’t have a set of natural talents that are relevant to a position, the skills and knowledge required for that position, and you will inevitably get an average, or if your lucky, a good performer.
Recruit for High Performance
When you recruit people for a position, or consider internal promotions, how much effort do you put into determining what strengths are required in an individual to make them successful in that position? Do you focus solely on their skills and knowledge, or do you take time to drill deeper and determine what natural talents they have?
If you’re employing a sales person for example, do you go by the fact they have a list of training certificates as long as your arm and a knowledge of the relevant product and market? Or do you look beyond all these important acquisitions, back to the raw material to uncover the natural talents that will make them a high performer in the role. Are they naturally, positive, optimistic, persistent and resilient? Are they strong communicators, do they have empathy for others?
Train for High Performance
When you train your employees, do you focus on developing their strengths and do you channel your resources into developing skills and knowledge of those with a natural talent or aptitude for their position, or do you settle for spreading skills and knowledge in equal measure across all employees, determined to fit them all into a mould? Do you actively seek to position employees where their natural talents lay?
Place for High Performance
It takes courage to place an employee with natural talent ahead of an employee with skills and knowledge, but only one can ever really have a strength and so only one will ever be a high performer. What do you aspire to, a high performance, highly engaged workforce or a good work force that’s satisfied.
Would be great to hear your thoughts.
Buckingham, M 2005, Now, Discover Your Strengths, 2005, Simon & Schuster, UK