One of my children’s favourite programmes on TV was MythBusters, where the myth busting team would apply science to well known sayings or daredevil stunts to see if the evidence proves them right or not. One of my favourites was ‘its as easy as taking candy from a baby’ – 25% more force was needed than picking up candy from the floor! That one was Busted!
One of the biggest myths in learning and development is that we develop most in our area of weakness. The reality is it’s a weakness for a reason – it’s an area that usually drains us of energy rather than fuels our vitality, e.g. some people are detail oriented and some are not.
Why do we think we will be strong in managing detail if we have to work extra hard to do it when others love the focus? Remember Usain Bolt – at 6ft 5 he is one of the tallest sprinters and as a result often started slow – he was never going to be fastest out of the blocks – but he didn’t need to be because his strength was the distance he could travel with his longer pace – and that was what he did!
The myth is busted! We develop most in our areas of strengths! We win if we develop and focus on our strengths, but who pays much attention to them? Most likely they haven’t been pointed out to you or if they have you haven’t learnt how to use your strengths to overcome the areas you are weaker in.
The biggest mistake organisations make is to evaluate individuals’ performances as individuals. Unlike Usain Bolt we are not usually alone in our performances – we are part of teams. Outside of our teams – no-one is perfect and trying to be so causes many people to burnout or feel like a failure. However, a team can be all things to all people – so combining the strengths of the team rather than ‘wasting time developing weaknesses’ of individuals is a far better use of development time.
So – what are your strengths? How can you recognise them and really get them working for you and your team?