Every person has Unique Strengths & Talents

Since the beginning of recorded history people have shown a relatively small number of distinct but consistent patterns of behavior, underneath their diverse variety of individual characters.

Each distinct pattern is a self-reinforcing system within its own ecosystem, which means that one cannot mix and match attributes of one with ones of another. A bird's nature is well adapted to flying, all the attributes of a fish go well together with living under water and any hybrid bird-fish is a figment of our imagination but not to be found in this world.

Some of us are prone to seeking assurance by looking around how our peer group behaves, wanting to do what's appropriate or what worked for us in the past, fulfilling our duties and hoping to mostly stay out of trouble. Hence there is a natural need to draw boundaries, define responsibilities, and to stabilize behavior based on repetition. The way our societies are structured is one of the unavoidable effects of the fact that the vast majority of humans go for these innate desires and drives.

Some of us are prone to seeking stimulation by acting on what's in front of us in this very moment. There is a need to be unconstrained, a constant temptation to try new things just to see what may come out of it, and have fun in the process. If we end up in trouble, we usually find elegant and unforeseen ways out of it and rejoice. Unimaginable innovation through trial and error or seizing incredible opportunities is to be expected from us as is the innate ability to work within chaos.
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Some of us are prone to seeking inspiration, seeing possibilities which matter and feel really good, a rewarding future to the point of wanting to commit and undertake almost heroic efforts to move towards it. Who we authentically are or become matters to us, not mere social roles we are playing. We usually care about how and what people feel and are able to change the ways we see things, be it with grandiose visions of an iPhone by Steve Jobs or the non-violent liberation of India by Gandhi.

Some of us are prone to seeking knowledge, deeply understanding the intricate nature of complex systems. There is a need to be autonomous, to look at what's real and to become competent in whatever complex problem we decide needs to be deeply understood and solved. Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and their extraordinary, everlasting achievements are well known examples.

Operating from Weakness or from Strength?

Human societies are complex out of necessity. From early childhood, no matter what innate strengths and talents one possesses, there is a need to adapt, given parental expectations and rewards, or given the surrounding social and physical environment.

Not surprisingly people end up in jobs, relationships or situations where they are out of their "element", struggling to make things work for them despite the constant experience of swimming upstream. Observation points to the fact that many people are at least somewhat if not severely disengaged at work, which is not without imposing huge inefficiencies and financial burdens onto the companies which pay their salaries.

The effect is a "lose-lose" where both the employer and the employee miss out on what they want. As long as employees earn enough to find financial stability they may continue to compromise their own desires. The company as well will put up with mediocre performance by paying them the lowest possible salary, until one day it realizes a radically changed landscape and a thriving competitor.

Recognizing how people are out of their "element" and discerning their mediocre performance on the job is the first proactive step. This is in stark contrast to judging the employee and applying more pressure to a situation which is already out of alignment to begin with.

In some cases the employee is objectively ill-suited for specific job responsibilities and a lateral move may be advisable or highly promising for both the employee as well as the company (a final “win-win”).
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In other cases it is the larger social environment of expectations, constraints, people interactions and personality clashes which will bring a highly capable and gifted employee down to their worst performance. It becomes useful for both the employee and the company (or the direct manager by immediate delegation) to explore how relatively small changes based on clear understanding can recreate a smoothly working situation for all parties involved (a final “win-win”).

An uneducated assessment tends to blame an individual, when in fact the individual's behavior is a result of the interactions with the larger system or environment at hand. It is not infrequent to observe that even Human Resources (HR) employees are not aware of this level of intricate complexity.

The mistake of projecting one own’s motivations

While some managers focus almost entirely on meeting their deliverables through their staff, other managers care about the people relationship aspects just as much as about the deliverables they are responsible for. They constantly try to meet both and believe that better relationships are not only rewarding by themselves but also further more productive work.

Unless familiar with how people are intrinsically different, the manager caring about relationships at work can go to great lengths creating the relationships and working conditions wanted for self but actually impairing other people's productivity or team collaboration, constraining people's innate strengths and talents.

This can be the constraining to hierarchy and procedures of an employee needing to feel unconstrained and free to improvise or innovate. It can be the valuing of constant change and improvisation when the employee needs clear guidelines and well articulated responsibilities. Or it can be the imposition of a senior leadership decision on an employee seeing exactly where things will lead, identifying major strategic contradictions and resigning from any hope or ability to achieve the outcome most needed for the company's long-term success.

In addition to innate strengths and talents, careful and repeated observations confirm that every human being seems to have a clear preference for how they prefer to go about doing their work.

Some people want to have their tasks or problems clearly defined so that they can work out solutions on their own. Once their solution agreed upon, they work effectively towards their planned outcome, in ways that often can look to others as inflexible when new choices become interesting.

Some people, no matter what, end up preempting others, always seemingly driven by an inner certainty of what is to be done next. The result is movement or numerous initiatives, which avoids inaction or visible stuckness, yet it may also lead to their managers and other people feeling constantly challenged by them.
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Some people are eager to meet others on their terms as long as collaborative movement can occur. These people seem to need human interaction and don't work well alone for too long.

Some people seem to process their decisions or choices in the back of their heads quite frequently, looking for better ways based on constantly ongoing learning. It's difficult to move these individuals towards firm decisions in the absence of clear necessity, yet even deal with artificial deadlines. They come across as agreeable and accommodating and need the quality of respectful relationships before they can focus on specific outcomes and tasks.

An uneducated assessment tends to blame an individual for being to much of one thing and too little of something else, based on one's own preferences of going about doing things in addition to one's own innate strengths and talents.

Aligning Talents, Interests, Core-Values & Joy

Going one little step further, we come to people's core-values. These relate to how people think and feel about themselves, what they value the most in life and who they need and hence want to be, either intentionally, consciously or unconsciously. Core-values define people's self-image, what they themselves must be (self-respect), want to be more of (self-esteem) and brings out their self-confidence.

Managers and Leaders at all levels across organizations can learn to bring out the very best in their employees, peers or their own managers by learning what motivates individual people, how they think, what they feel matters most to them in their lives, and what they need to experience more in their work.

When innate strengths, talents, personal interests and core values are aligned, the result is deep internal satisfaction accompanied with joy. It leads to enjoying one's work beyond "just work" (as a means to a living) and towards "I wouldn't want to do anything else right now" (life purpose).
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1-on-1 & Group Coaching

Coaching is different from Mentoring, because we don't tell experienced people what to do. Instead we help them make new connections, see new ways, so they can come up with solutions even better than we could imagine. It's the best possible teamwork! People can’t imagine beforehand how they will grow.

Workshops & Retreats

Decision Makers, Leaders and Managers benefit greatly from understanding how People-Awareness, Self-Awareness, Leadership and Communication all play together towards long-term company success. We co-facilitate Retreats around company-specific challenges and goals in addition to our Workshops.

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