Focus on your Strengths

When you get your Octogram results, you will see areas where you are strong and areas where you are weak. Your first inclination might be to zero in on those weaknesses and try to figure out how to fix them.

Don’t do that.

If you were a fantastic fighter pilot, but really lousy at double-entry bookkeeping, I would not tell you to learn how to be a better accountant. I would urge you to focus on what you are good at and hire an accountant.

You need to get into a position where you are using your strengths every day, because that is where you will be the most excellent version of yourself. I recently went to a conference where Marcus Buckingham was the keynote speaker. From his research days at Gallup, he shared this little nugget of information:

85% of the variance between a successful team and an unsuccessful team can be accounted for by this question, “Does this job allow me to do what I do best, every day?”

Are you playing to your strengths every day? Because that is the biggest difference between success and failure. The gap between an unsuccessful organization and a successful organization can be an order of magnitude in performance, profitability, and efficiency. So this question, this concept of being in a position that allows you to do what you do best, is a biggie.

Some practical advice:

  1. Read your Octogram report and identify the places where you scored a 6 or above. That is your list of strengths. Compare this list with what you do every single day, do the two match up? If not, you have some career planning to do.
  2. Do that again for your weaknesses, a weakness is any score of 4 or less. Does your job require you to toil away in any of those areas? Because that’s poisoning your work life.
  3. Focus on your strengths, work around your weaknesses. Can you hire someone who compliments your strengths, be strong where you are weak? Move to a different position? Change the makeup of your team?

You can do any job that you are intelligent enough and skilled enough to do. I’ll reiterate that the Octogram is not an ability test, but our research (and Gallup’s, apparently) all say the same thing.

“Success in your career, your team, your organization comes down to how well your work aligns with your strengths.”

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