Sustain Strength

flower theme by Liane Sebastian

Working on weakness is seductive. It has the illusion that we can plaster up the cracks, oil the squeaks, or ratchet the pipes to stop leaks. This human-tendency to fix manifests into professionals who think we can (and should) do everything well. But when I read Marcus Buckingham’s book, it convinced me that to spend energy on such repair is foolish. He wrote:

“Each person’s greatest room for growth is in the areas of his or her greatest strength. For an activity to be a strength you must be able to do it consistently. You must also derive some intrinsic satisfaction form the activity. You do not have to have strength in every aspect of your role in order to excel. Excellent performers are rarely well rounded. On the contrary, they are sharp. You will excel only by maximizing your strengths. Find ways to manage around weaknesses, thereby freeing you up to hone your strengths to a sharper point.” —Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Now Discover Your Strengths

Every January, I evaluate my progress towards publishing perfection. So quickly, I focus on the difficulties, disappointments, and what I can (and should) do better. Yet Buckingham proves that this is a waste of time. Conversely, this doesn’t mean that weaknesses can be ignored.

To not spend time in repair means spending time profitably in strengths to pay others to do what we can’t do. Wisdom dictates that we need a working knowledge of such elusive areas to manage business. If I am lousy at bookkeeping, I am wise to team up with someone who is good at it.

Since Buckingham turned performance management upside down, how much have these ideas penetrated business culture? It was a surprise to discover that his most recent book focuses on businesswomen!

Other business authors, such as Marti Barletta, have picked up the banner. She shared her reflection when interviewed:

“Align work with your abilities. You aren’t necessarily good at what you love and you don’t necessarily love what you are good at. But to be successful, you match both together. Combine talents in new ways.” —Marti Barletta, contributor to my book Women who Win at Work and author of Marketing to Women..

Few accomplishments burst forth from chance. The best work comes from combining the deepest conviction with strategic action. By identifying, cultivating, and practicing your areas of strength, how do you carve a work style that best amplifies your contributions?

The blend I have achieved consists of being a member of several entrepreneurial communities. Also I have collected many experts to supplement my skills. Always requiring attention, the business versus project sides jostle around like rough stones in a lapidary—polishing each other as they bounce.

Liane Sebastian, illustrator, designer, writer, and publishing pioneer

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2 Responses to “Sustain Strength”

  1. Jan Long Says:

    This is very true. As independent entrepreneurs we try to do it all even when we’re incapable of doing so. Establishing partnerships with experts is key to success. It gives us more time to focus on our strengths by letting others handle our areas of weakness. Do you find that women have a more difficult time letting go because of our multi-tasking instincts? Could be.

  2. wisdomofwork Says:

    Since posting this, I have an article on entrepreneurial strengths in Women Entrepreneur. Please read it at http://www.womenentrepreneur.com/2010/04/serial-entrepreneurs-reveal-insights.html. Thanks, Liane

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