The Art of Strengths Coaching

D is for Drive, Detail and Delivery

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There are many ways to find your strengths. One approach is to focus on the specific activity where you score highly in the following areas.

Drive: You have a strong drive to do the activity.

Detail: You have great attention to detail in the activity.

Delivery: You have a track record of delivering the goods in the activity.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific time when you did a project or other activity where you scored highly on drive, detail and delivery.

Describe the specific things you did to maintain your drive, pay attention to detail and deliver good work.

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Looking ahead, imagine that you want to pursue a specific project in the future. You may want to write a book, create an educational programme, design a garden, renovate a house or whatever.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Later we will explore how you can focus on drive, detail and delivery when doing the project. Before then, however, you may wish to do the following things.

Describe the specific project you want to do in the future.

Describe the specific goals you want to achieve by delivering the project successfully.

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Drive

Looking at the project, how high is your drive to do it? Make sure it is at least 8+/10.

Why? Sometimes we are good at particular activities, but our desire to do them diminishes. One Operations Director said, for example:

“Over the years I have developed the ability to run complex operations in organisations.

“People say I am good at the role and I could certainly get another job as a Chief Operations Officer in a large company.

“My drive to take such a role is low, however, perhaps around 3/10. Yes, I could do it, but I would not feel happy going to work each day.

“Now I want to take on a Managing Director’s role. I want to have a bigger say in setting the strategy, not just implementing it.

“Certainly I must develop the knowledge required to lead a company. But I am prepared to do everything possible to deliver success.”

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the rating – on a scale 0-10 – you would give yourself regarding your drive to do the project.

Describe the specific things you can to do maintain or improve the rating when doing the project.  

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Detail

Great workers have great attention to detail in the activities where they excel. One marketing director I worked with said:

“I not interested in detail.”

When preparing for a TV interview, however, he kept rehearsing until he had an answer to every possible question. When asked about this, he said:

“But that is different. I love doing television interviews and want to make sure I have every angle covered.”

What he meant by his original statement was:

“I pay great attention to detail in the area that interest me. I get bored with the detail in the areas that don’t interest me.”

Looking ahead to your chosen project, there may be some areas of it where you can deliver the detail. At the same time, you may need help from people who have stronger attention to detail in other areas of the project.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the rating – on a scale 0-10 – you would give yourself regarding your attention to detail when doing the project.

Describe the specific things you can to do maintain or improve the rating when doing the project.  

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Delivery

Great workers are good finishers in the areas where they excel. They do whatever is necessary to deliver the goods.

Looking back on your life, can you think of a project that you have finished successfully? What did you do right then? How can follow similar principles – and perhaps add other skills – to finish the future project successfully?

Individuals sometimes feel concerned about their ability to finish things. The reality is, however, that creative people often start lots of things and only finish a few.

People are also more likely to deliver superb quality work when doing projects that give them positive energy. One environmental journalist said:

“Exploring this aspect changed the direction of my career.

“Looking back at the articles I had written, there were differences in their quality. All the articles got published, but some were more satisfying to write and also made more impact.

“Looking at the best articles, these often highlighted practical initiatives people had taken to improve the environment. These gave my readers hope, rather than spread doom and gloom.

“Now I concentrate on writing articles that show possible ways forward for people and the planet.

“These are more satisfying to write. People say they enjoy reading the articles and I get positive feedback.”

Great workers build on their strengths. They do this by putting themselves into the situations where they score highly on drive, detail and delivery.

If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on this theme. Bearing in mind the specific project you want to tackle in the future, this invites you to do the following things.

Describe the rating – on a scale 0-10 – you would give yourself regarding your ability to deliver the project successfully.

Describe the specific things you can to do maintain or improve the rating.  

Describe the specific benefits – both for yourself and other people – of delivering the project successfully.

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    F is for Everything is Food

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    Everything is food. The things we encounter each day have the ability to affect our system. What we do about these experiences is, of course, up to us.

    Looking at your own life, who are the people you meet? Are they positive, negative or a mixture of both?

    Where are the places you spend you time? Are these stimulating, sapping or a mixture of both?

    What is the kind of work you do? Is it satisfying, something to endure or a mixture of both?

    People can also affect themselves by the attitudes and actions they choose to take. They know what they can do, for example, to increase their chances of feeling happy or unhappy.

    Every day a person faces certain decisions. They can ask themselves:

    “What are the kinds of experiences – the kinds of food – that I want to put into my system? How can I take in more positive food? How can avoid the poisonous food?”

    Let’s explore these themes.

    Positive Food

    “My Eureka moment came one morning on the Motorway,” said one person.

    “Sitting in the traffic jam listening to politicians arguing on the radio, I found myself getting more depressed.

    “So I switched off the radio, put on my favourite music and let my mind wander. It didn’t shift the traffic, but something changed within me.

    “Now I start the day by listening to music, rather than arguments. Instead of ‘garbage in, garbage out’, I go for ‘good things in, good things out’.”

    What is the positive food that you put into your system? You may choose, for example, to do some of the following things.

    Be with encouraging people … Do stimulating work … Listen to your favourite music … Eat healthy food … Spend time in the countryside … Surround yourself with beauty … Pursue creative activities – such as writing, gardening, painting or whatever … Set aside time to reflect.

    If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the positive food you have in your life and work.

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    Poisonous Food

    Is there any poisonous food that you experience in your life or work? One person took this literally. They said:

    “For years I ate unhealthy food. My job involves long train journeys, often accompanied by bags of crisps, chocolate and fattening drinks.

    “The wake-up call came from my doctor. He told me that I was overweight, but added the rider that he didn’t think I would do anything about it.

    “Maybe that was the kick I needed. I aimed to prove him wrong and lost 8 kilos.

    “Now I look after my diet, walk more often and feel much better within myself.”

    What are the negative things that affect your system? You may choose, for example, to do some of the following things.

    Listen to negative people … Eat tasteless food in hotels … Spend too many nights away from home … Work with dispiriting clients … Have back-to-back meetings during the day … Meet in windowless rooms … Feel out of control at work … Neglect your health.

    If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the potentially poisonous food you may sometimes experience in your life and work.

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    Positive Food In The Future

    There are many kinds of food that affect our systems. The old rule applies: “What we focus on, we become.”

    People can choose to study many of the positive things happening around the world, for example, rather than listen to a constant diet of bad news put out by the traditional media.

    They can study the work done by social enterprises to tackle some of humanity’s most pressing problems. These include organisations such as Ashoka, Acumen Fund, Skoll Foundation, Echoing Green and Schwab Foundation.

    They can study the many educational projects that are helping young people to develop 21st Century Skills. These skills include Clear Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication. Studying these is more uplifting than complaining about schools still geared to the Industrial Age.

    People can also, if they wish, take small steps in their own lives. Tom Rath has written a fine book on this theme. Here are some extracts from a Question and Answer Session about Eat, Move, Sleep. You can discover more via the following link.

    http://www.tomrath.org/amazonqa/

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    Q: What prompted you to write a book about health?
     
    After writing business books for more than a decade, I realized that improving health is the biggest business challenge of our generation. 

    Nothing breaks household finances, corporate balance sheets, or national economies faster than poor health.

    But the much larger reason why I decided to focus all of my time and energy on this topic is because I was tired of seeing people that I care about suffer unnecessarily and die early.

    We are literally killing ourselves, sapping our energy, and destroying our wellbeing as a result of lousy decisions we make about our health each day.

    Q: Why have you spent so much time studying this topic?

    I first started doing this research to save my own life, literally.

    While I have been reluctant to discuss this before, I have been battling cancer for more than twenty years now.

    Ever since my diagnosis, I’ve spent time every day learning about specific things I can do to extend my odds of living a bit longer.

    Over the last decade, I have focused more attention on helping friends, family, and colleagues to learn from these discoveries and lead healthier lives.

    Q: What are some of the most important things you have learned from this research?

    What I learned, not only about how to prevent cancer, but also how to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity – is remarkably encouraging.

    The vast majority of human disease and illness is preventable.

    There are hundreds of specific, proven actions we can take to increase our odds of living longer and stronger.

    What matters most are the small decisions we make each day, ones that give us more energy in the moment and also prevent illness in the future.

    The second major finding is that these three elements – eating, moving, and sleeping – build on one another.

    Eating right makes it easier to be active. Being active makes it easier to sleep. Sleeping well helps you to avoid bad foods, and so on.

    As a result, working on all three at once is even easier than focusing on one area in isolation.

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    Q: Don’t we already know that we should be eating, moving, and sleeping better?

    In Eat Move Sleep, I cover a lot of the essentials that people know they should be doing, but have trouble applying on a daily basis.

    I like books that help me figure out how to apply things I already know but don’t do.

    There are several things in the book I have known for a long time, yet did not practice myself until I learned new ways to connect short-term incentives with what is best for my long-term health.

    Frankly, my biggest challenge in writing this book was narrowing down to the most practical findings for a broad audience, given the wealth of good science on these topics today.

    You will, of course, have your own approach to taking care of your body and soul. One approach is to, as far as possible, plan your week ahead of time. You may then aim to, for example:

    Get enough sleep … Organise your diary so you feel more in control … Spend time with stimulating customers … Do work where you can play to your strengths … Build in time for breaks between meetings.

    Have small snacks of healthy food every couple of hours … Exercise several times a week … Play your favourite music … Spend time with stimulating people … Stay in charge of the media messages you take in.

    If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

    Describe the specific things you can do to get more positive food – and avoid poisonous food – in the future.

    Describe the specific benefits of doing these things.

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