Are You Playing to Your Strengths Every Day?

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Yesterday I was the closing keynoter for a conference of credit union leaders. One of the speakers who was on before me mentioned what was, to me, a startling statistic. He said that the average credit union CEO spends roughly 60% of his or her day just dealing with regulatory red tape. For the record (in case you’re not a credit union professional), this is not the best or most productive use of the CEO’s time. Which begs the question:

Are you playing to your strengths every day?


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Although it’s becoming rarer, some companies still practice every employee’s favorite ritual, the Annual Performance Review. While it can be done well, the APR is all too often an odious exercise for reviewer and reviewee alike. And, all too often, it goes something like this:


Welcome to your annual performance review, Alan. Have a seat.




Alan, this past year you did these two things really well.


Thank you.


But to put that in perspective, here are the seven things you suck at.




So Alan, this year I’d like you to spend less time on the two things you do really well, and instead spend most of your time on the things you suck at.


Really? That seems weird.


I have spoken.

(mic drop)

The boss in this scenario thinks he’s doing Alan a favor by having him focus on his weaknesses, and by so doing, hopefully, improve them. Fair enough.

But let’s take this to the logical extreme. If this boss extends this strategy to the rest of his team, what’s he going to end up with?

An entire team that spends most of their time doing stuff they suck at.

Result: a demoralized team that produces mediocre work.

But what if, instead, this hypothetical boss were to ask each of his team members not to ignore their weaknesses, but to spend the majority of their time on the things they do very well—their strengths?

He’d have a team that is able to spend 60-80% of their day doing the things that they can do better than anyone else.

Do you think that might make a difference in the results they produce?

As a leader, are you doing what you can to ensure that each of your team members is able to spend most of their time focusing on what they do best? Are you spending most of your time focusing on what you do best?

Again, I’m not suggesting that you ignore your weaknesses or those of your team members. I’m simply suggesting that you don’t live there.

And if you’re a credit union CEO, hire somebody to deal with the regulatory red tape. It’s not your strength, and it’s not your greatest contribution.

Instead, play to your strengths.

As a leader, are you doing what you can to ensure your team spends their time focusing on what they do best? Click To Tweet




About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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