by Kathy Nicholas
How often have you invested in a personal growth training to try to improve something you felt you were not good at? Perhaps it was marketing, sales, personnel management or public speaking. For most of us, trying to improve our weak areas in operating our business or managing our department comes with the territory. Whatever the area, we feel as if we are required to do battle with what we don’t do well.
As it turns out, the majority of people around the world feel this way. In their groundbreaking book Now, Discover Your Strengths, authors Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton say that across all ages and cultures, people are more concerned about their weaknesses than their strengths. We believe that our weaknesses matter more in holding us back than our strengths matter in advancing us.
That’s nonsense, say the authors—widely held nonsense, but nonsense nonetheless. In their provocative theory, they suggest that the better strategy is to play to your strengths, building upon your core talents, and work around your weaknesses. You can work to add skills and knowledge to increase your performance in any area, but unless you are building upon one of your innate talents, your efforts won’t produce exceptional results—some results, yes, but not dramatic improvement.
“Managing Around” a Weakness
Instead of trying to overcome your weaknesses by brute force—and at the expense of putting the same energy into growing your strengths—they offer five strategies for what they call “managing around” a weakness:
Get a little better at it.
In some cases, your weakness is only moderately impeding your peak performance in other areas. If so, then maybe damage control is the right solution.
Develop a support system.
This is the proverbial string tied around the finger to remind you of something. Whether it is time management systems for those with a talent for adaptability but not discipline, or a scheduled walk in the park for disciplined folks who neglect self-care, you can often blunt the effects of your weaknesses through such structured inputs.
Study your prospects.
If your skills tend toward the analytical and away from such talents as wooing clients or dealing directly with confrontation, then you probably ought not be spending a lot of time in sales. But when you do have to sell something—such as one of your ideas—approach the problem analytically. Rather than agonize over your lack of salesmanship, study your prospects, dig into what makes them tick and what ideas they’ve accepted in the past, and let your enthusiasm for your ideas do the talking.
Find a partner.
This may be the best approach for small business people and “solo” practitioners. Go into partnership discussions with a clear-eyed understanding of the strengths you bring, and the strengths you need from your partner. Don’t be shy about your strengths—the whole point of this is to create a world in which you get to do what you are really good at.
Just (Don’t) Do It
The last option, say Buckingham and Clifton, is just don’t do the things you are weak at. In a corporate setting you might get away with this, particularly if you are a high-performer in the areas of your strengths. If you’re a small business owner and your organizational chart tends to have “me” written in most every box, not doing something may not seem like much of a choice. But keep it as a goal and continue to work toward the day when you can contribute to your business exclusively from the place of your highest strengths.
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It's a fact. Women are more likely to work with women they know, or with individuals that are connected through their extended network. As women, we approach networking far differently than men. Men tend to be task oriented. Men network by evaluating their needs and then by immediately focusing on how to achieve their objectives.
Women on the other hand, typically view things from many different angles. We do not tend to take as direct an approach as our male counterparts sometimes do. Women connect through conversations, meetings, and sharing. We work on building long lasting relationship as a foundation for future job/business growth. Relationship building allows women to support one another in their endeavors. Instead of approaching a situation by asking "What can this person do for me?", a woman will typically ask the question, "How can I assist this person and influence her toward obtaining what I need?
Making connections is what it is all about with women. We often do this by asking ourselves, "If this person cannot support what I need, maybe she knows someone who can?'. We are good listeners and use this skill to help others achieve what they really desire. Women excel in this area because we invest the time up front developing the relationships and friendships necessary to provide a good support system.
So how should you approach your networking strategy?
1. Determine your goals for networking. Be clear on what you want to achieve.
2. Have a strategy. When meeting individuals, determine their business needs and listen to see if they can assist you in meeting your goals. Be sincere in your description of yourself and your expertise.
3. Promote yourself. If you meet someone who seems interested in what you do, be sure to exchange business cards.
4. Be respectful. You are not always going to agree with everyone. When expressing your concerns be mindful of your audience and always treat others with respect.
5. Invite others. Ask new connections to join you at an important event so that you can both share greater exposure. They will appreciate this selfless act.
6. Get involved. A great place to get involved is within a women's network or organization.
7. Manage your time. Your involvement in any organization is a reflection upon you. Be sure that if you make a commitment to an organization that you are able to dedicate the time to follow through on what you intended to achieve.
Always keep in mind that networking is fun and is well worth the investment of your valuable time.
Beach Cities Web Design
By Fay Feeney
Keep reading only if you agree that you need to be involved in social media to build your business trust in this new environment.
You heard what our speakers had to say and now to take your first step. So you left the room with the question, where to begin? You heard how I'm using Twitter to address my challenge that my clients were not likely in the room. Let's assume you are lucky enough that your clients could be in the room or at least searchable by using the term: Manhattan Beach.
If your clients are in Manhattan Beach how are you going to find them. If you lead a business that wants to attract clients in Manhattan Beach I'm going to give you my ideas on how to focus on one platform, Facebook. My first thought is to join Facebook and use it for your business. Before you set up a fan page I'm going to suggest you visit these four pages and start educating the fans already signed up. You can also search for your competitors and see what they are doing on Facebook.
Step 1: Join Facebook for your business
Step 2: Join as a fan the four Manhattan Beach page links below - all have fans in Manhattan Beach
Step 3: If possible, comment on the posts and add posts that are relevant - you'll know what is interesting about your business that is fresh
Step 4: Search for your competitors and see what they are doing
Step 5: Think about setting up a fan page - invite people to join and make your page interesting
Step 6: Get help, call on our speakers to help you make this happen
Step 7: Have some fun - go outside and enjoy yourself.
Have a beautiful Chamber of Commerce day here at the beach
55 fans: Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce -- Women in Business Fan Page
159 fans: Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce Fan Page
380 fans: Fresh Brothers
7,411 fans: Manhattan Beach Fan Page
While you're on Facebook working here in Manhattan Beach, I'm over at Twitter making noise about www.riskforgood.com with corporate directors. If you want to hear that conversation, please follow me on Twitter@fayfeeney where I'm talking about how to get your business to produce rewards by taking intelligent risks.
Fay Feeney, CSP, ARM
CEO Risk For Good
By Fay Feeney
So you think all the social media stuff (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In) is silly, time consuming and doesn't relate to your business brand. You can hold on to that idea or sit down with an open mind on how it can be used to build your reputation and drive traffic to your website. Let me share how I use social media as I'm preparing to launch a new business, Risk for Good, (www.riskforgood.com).
Risk for Good is an advisory firm exclusively for independent corporate directors to strengthen their risk management oversight. These people are very difficult to find in person but on line they are on Linked In and Twitter. Advertising is expensive for a new business so joining groups on Linked in gives me a chance to ask and answer questions as a way to gain visibility as an expert in risk management for corporate boards.
Twitter is like Ebay to me. Instead of finding items to buy you can find experts and customers. Where else could I follow people who are experts and stay current on the leading practices that support my new venture. I can be followed on twitter @fayfeeney. It is a real thrill to see others share my message with their followers. This is called retweeting.
So what is the business reason I spend time on line using social media? I'm doing it because I believe my future clients are there and it is a way I can create value by helping them stay current in a role with ever changing expectations. I enjoy building the relationships online and offline. I've even had a chance to meet one of my twitter followers for dinner when I traveled to the Stanford Law School for a meeting on Board Diversity. He's a lawyer and PhD business professor who has become one of my biggest fans. Not everyday you get to connect with people who share your business vision. It is not important how you meet your clients but what you can do to be of service to them.
So next time you think I'm talking about what I had for breakfast you'll be surprised what I'm cooking up for dinner.
Fay Feeney, CSP, ARM
Envision Strategic Group
Ideas at Work
We women need each other and we can’t forget it. Debra Lauzon started the Women in Business Committee twelve years ago. I didn’t work for the Chamber at that time but I was a member and on the Board of Directors. Debra, and a few of us sat around her conference table and before we knew what was happening we had a plan. We started with monthly luncheons with speakers. I was the first speaker at a lunch held at Coco’s in Manhattan Village. There were probably twenty women who had a vision. The first conference was the following year at Manhattan Beach Marriott and we were thrilled to have over seventy attendees. “We have come a long way baby!” Today our Women in Business Committee serves the community with meetings throughout the year that feature presenters who give us tools to use in our business and our personal lives alike. Our conference last year had 500 attendees and we gave over $80,000 in scholarships and charitable contributions. I don’t even know how many women and men have been part of the committee. We have all made wonderful friends and grown our businesses through this group. The new website is a true pleasure to use and if you are interested in meeting with some of the people you have met at a MBWIB meeting, or if you have something you want to share, get a group together by letting Lynn Goldberg (MBWIB Chair) know and she will post it on the website. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with the Chamber. Just pick a place and invite some members to meet with you and share with them what you want to brainstorm about. Just as we started the MBWIB, you can build on that with the hearts and minds of the women in our community.