I think fixing mistakes is boring. It’s finite and limited. Its purpose is clear: it’s about restoring something to its original state; making it work again, saving it from destruction.
For years and years, organizational development and performance management have focused almost exclusively on the deficit-based approach, the gap analysis, on fixing weaknesses and solving problems. Problem-solvers are rewarded, finding mistakes is a top ‘quality’ – and has become a corporate ‘sport’, where the prize goes to those who spot the most errors and in that process, point the most fingers.
Of course, solving problems and fixing mistakes is critical in business, but it’s not everything. Solving problems is very different to finding solutions and in order to survive and excel in today’s global, ever-changing and increasingly competitive marketplace, organizations need to continuously innovate. In order to find solutions, one has to occasionally create problems; to innovate you sometimes have to disrupt; to create, you sometimes have to destroy, break barriers and conventions, shift mindsets, in order to make room for something new.
Strengths-based organizational development is innovative. Managing performance through a focus on individual and team’s strengths (rather than weaknesses) enables organizations to tap into the unique, unlimited resources and potential that every employee has. Empowering people to discover and develop their unique strengths can unlock performance and stimulate employee engagement. There’s no end to a person’s strength and no one really knows how potential will turn out.
Of course some things cannot be fixed, which is even more depressing. Strengths however, can always be stretched and any (and every) strength has the potential to be even stronger.
I think developing strengths is exciting. It’s infinite and unlimited. There’s potential in it. Its purpose is clear: it’s about helping people to flourish, to maximize their full potential, to make them stronger and work better, saving them from the ‘Monday blues’ and helping them to actually enjoy what they do!
Read more at strengths based assessment here.
Ana Loback, Consultant, Strengths Partnership