Playing to Your Strengths

Playing to your strengths

In the last newsletter, I discussed setting my objectives for the year ahead, particularly those for the 100 days up to Christmas. Yes, Christmas is that close!

One thing I do is base those objectives around my strengths. From experience, aligning my work with my strengths will make achieving the desired results easier and much more enjoyable.

I discovered Strengthsfinder 2.0 during a significant transformation project some years ago. We were doing a major corporate turnaround to save our own company. I was the finance leader of the programme. John Sillitoe was the director responsible, and when we did the programme review, John issued every team member a copy of Strengthsfinder 2.0. I was cynical at the time, but I took the assessment. The results were transformational, and I’ve applied what I learned ever since.

When I started The Next 100 Days Podcast with Graham Arrowsmith, I discovered he was also a fan of Strengthsfinder, and we recorded our second-ever episode about our strengths and what they mean to us. You can listen to that episode here.

Years later, in GrowCFO, I met Jim Brophy. Jim is part of the GrowCFO mentoring team and a certified strengthsfinder coach. Jim took both me and Dan Wells deeper into our strengths. We looked beyond the top 5, and Jim helped us work out how our respective strengths could be combined most effectively to work together. I found that the extra investment to go beyond the free reports the initial assessment gives you is very worthwhile.

I recorded an episode of the GrowCFO Show with Jim to help the finance community understand Strengthsfinder 2.0 better. You can listen to that episode here.

Understanding your strengths is vital to being a great finance leader. First, it helps you decide what sort of leader you want to be, and second, it helps you develop the right people around you that will complement your strengths and create a really strong finance team.

I talk about Strengthsfinder 2.0 every time I run module 3 of the GrowCFO Future CFO Programme.

So, let’s use the remainder of the newsletter to find out more.

Using Strengthsfinder 2.0

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a powerful tool designed to help individuals identify and leverage their unique strengths to maximise their personal and professional success. Developed by renowned psychologist Dr. Donald O. Clifton, StrengthsFinder 2.0 has gained popularity to foster self-awareness and facilitate personal growth.

Discovering Your Strengths

The first step in the StrengthsFinder 2.0 journey is taking the StrengthsFinder Assessment. This online assessment consists of a series of questions that evaluate your natural talents and strengths. The assessment aims to identify your top five strengths from a list of 34 potential themes. By understanding your strengths, you gain insight into the areas where you have the most significant potential for excellence.

Identifying Your Top 5 Strengths

Once you have completed the assessment, you will receive a detailed report outlining your top five strengths. This report comprehensively analyses your dominant strengths, shedding light on your unique talents and abilities. Understanding these strengths allows you to focus on areas where you naturally excel rather than trying to improve weaknesses.

My top 5:

  • Learner
  • Relator
  • Arranger
  • Achiever
  • Analytical

Understanding Your Strengths Report

The strengths report delves into your identified strengths, offering in-depth descriptions and examples of how these strengths manifest in different aspects of your life. By understanding your strengths better, you can recognise how they contribute to your achievements and overall satisfaction. This knowledge serves as a foundation for leveraging your strengths effectively.

Leveraging Your Strengths

My report tells me what each of my strengths is in a reasonable amount of detail and gives excellent advice about how I should leverage them. It’s no coincidence that this Learner is involved in a learning and development business for finance leaders and enjoys relating with GrowCFO members who participate in the quests and programs I run regularly.

Once you are aware of your strengths, it’s essential to acknowledge and celebrate them. Recognising your strengths allows you to appreciate your unique qualities and boosts confidence. Celebrating your strengths reinforces positive behaviours and cultivates a sense of accomplishment.

Develop your strengths, not your weaknesses. You can achieve mastery in something you are strong at. But at best, you can achieve mediocrity where you are weakest.

Aligning Your Strengths with Goals and Tasks

To optimise your performance, aligning your strengths with your goals and tasks is crucial. Identify areas where your strengths can be utilised and find opportunities that allow you to leverage them effectively. You can experience greater satisfaction and success in your endeavours by aligning your strengths with your responsibilities.

Recognising that you can only excel in some areas is crucial to leveraging your strengths. You can delegate tasks to others who have complementary strengths. By focusing on what you do best, you free up energy and time to maximise your potential in areas where you thrive.

Seeking Opportunities to Apply Your Strengths

Actively seek opportunities to apply your strengths in various aspects of your life. Whether at work, in personal projects, or during leisure activities, intentionally use your strengths to tackle challenges and achieve exceptional results. The more you apply your strengths, the more proficient you become in utilising them effectively.

Reflect on how your strengths have influenced your achievements and overall success. Consider how leveraging your strengths has led to positive outcomes and personal fulfilment. Reflecting on your strengths allows you to appreciate their impact better and motivates you to continue utilising them effectively.

In conclusion,

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a valuable tool for self-discovery and personal growth. By identifying your strengths and leveraging them effectively, you can unlock your full potential and achieve exceptional results in various aspects of your life. Through continuous development, collaboration, and reflection, you can create a strengths-based approach that benefits you and contributes to the success of teams and organisations. Embrace your strengths, celebrate them, and let them guide you toward fulfilment and excellence.

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