What Strength Are You Building?
Executives are talking about the need to ‘build strength’ – strength as it pertains to their business, their teams and themselves as leaders.
What does ‘strength’ really mean?
To many people, strength means mental toughness, team cohesiveness, business resilience. Strength can also mean sensitivity, vulnerability and willingness to admit mistakes.
In strategic planning sessions, people tend to have cursory conversations about strengths. They make a quick list and move on to other issues. But strengths form the foundation for your business. They deserve more of your time and attention.
Many people and businesses take their strengths for granted. They don’t really acknowledge them.
Open discussion with your team about key strengths that you can leverage better as a team.
Ask questions like:
- What do we do exceptionally well?
- What do others notice or acknowledge that we do well?
- What seems to come naturally to us?
Of course, you can also ask these questions in a personal context?
- What do I do exceptionally well?
- What do others notice about me that I do well?
- What seems to come naturally to me?
Determine what might be possible if you were operating from a place of your real strengths.
When locating a weak area in physical therapy, much importance is placed on strengthening the muscles around the injured area. In the same way, it’s tempting to put a focus on the problem area (or problem person) on a team. But you’ll see better results if you challenge the entire team to improve performance. It’s an opportunity for everyone to get stronger.
As top performers achieve even better results, they will raise the bar for others on the team. One weak player can threaten the results for the whole team, so everyone needs to step up. It’s not fair to let another team member (or yourself) compensate for the weakness of someone else.
Another lesson to learn in physical therapy is when you use other muscles too much to compensate for weakness in others. It’s painful!
As you begin your new strengthening routine, you’ll need these essential elements to help you build almost any kind of strength: mental, emotional, physical, team, organisation.
Understand why you want to build strength. What’s the purpose? What will you or your business gain?
What will the picture look like when you or your team is stronger? Describe that vision.
You’ll likely have to practice some exercises over and over. You can’t build strength overnight. Repetition will reinforce new habits.
Give yourself or your team a break when you need it. You’ll actually gain more energy in the long run.
Learn more about or revisit your strengths. There are great tools in the marketplace to help you learn more about your personal, team and organisational strengths.
Don’t forget your vitamins. They come in the form of supportive people, creative ideas and useful resources to help you grow. Seek them out.
Building strength isn’t always easy. It can be painful. But we often develop our greatest strength in the midst of the most painful experiences.
As Napoleon Hill said, “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle”.
You have more strength than you realise. Find or develop your greatest sources of strength to help you thrive in business and life.
Gayle Lantz, President of WorkMatters, has helped hundreds of companies and organisations just like yours improve performance and drive real results. She is also author of ‘Take the Bull by the Horns: The Busy Leader’s Action Guide to Growing Your Business…and Yourself’. Information about the book can be found at: http://workmatters.com/books.
“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”