From my earliest days in Sunday school, I have remembered the words that a wise man builds his house upon the rock and the foolish man builds upon the sand. For 50 years, I thought this probably sound advice for someone about to build a house. It never dawned on me that it might have some other application until I heard the following quote from Peter Drucker. The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths in ways that make weaknesses irrelevant.
That statement unlocked doors in my mind and with it came the realization that success really does come from building on strengths. All too often we focus on problems (weaknesses = sand) and struggle to overcome them when in fact, we would be much better off focusing on what is working (strengths = rock) and building on them.
Over the course of my career, I have had a variety of bosses. Most tried to fix me. I did have one boss who stood up before the whole sales organization and told them he had complete faith in me. I didnt realize it at the time, but my boss motivated me in a way that I would have walked through fire for him.
In fact, I didnt really understand what he had done and how it affected me until I became soccer coach and tried a positive approach to leadership. By praising the desired actions of players, I was encouraging the other players to perform in a similar fashion. You get what you praise and reward (a lesson some organizations including our government should learn). In reality, I was building on strengths (the rock) just as my boss had done.
What about your organization? Are you still playing in the sand or are you building on rock?
Copyright Bob Cannon/The Cannon Advantage, 2007. All rights reserved.
Byline Bob Cannon helps visionary leaders enhance performance and profitability in their organizations. Check out other interesting articles available in the Taking Aim newsletter available at http://www.cannonadvantage.com . Bob can be reached at (216) 408-9495 or mailto: email@example.com
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