Wouldn’t it be grand if we could predict the behavior of people the same way we can predict system behavior? How often does what you are trying to accomplish appears straight forward but the people get in the way? I don’t know about you but for me, it’s a daily occurrence and I wouldn’t have it any other way. People with their unique talents, unique approaches are what makes everything we do have value. The real challenge is to accept that uniqueness and make it work for you and for each individual around you. In the book,First Break All The Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, unveil a different approach to thinking about people. That we, as managers, often use the word competency that encompasses skills, knowledge and talent. In fact these are very different things and should be viewed separately. That the approach of having people “work on” competencies where they are weakest is flawed.
I can’t play basketball, never could. I could be given the best coach, play 12 hours a day and I may improve to become a poor player at best. That’s because I have absolutely no talent for it. We work with talented people everyday. But often, we force them into trying to improve areas where they simply do not have any talent. We may be able to improve their performance marginally, just like me and basketball. So, what do we do instead?
Why not discover what people are really good at and have them do more of it in the context of their roles in the organization? Why not think of partnerships where individual strengths can complement each other? What are you really great at? How can you take that strength and apply in a way that helps you do your job more effectively, help you set the path to being not just good but great?
People aren’t perfect – but I wouldn’t want them to be.