WORK WEDNESDAY: Know your strength


Mike Shearwood, CEO of Aurora Fashions & Karen Millen. Photo via UKFT Rise Facebook fan page

You can learn to be a scientist, but you cannot learn to be an artist – Mike Shearwood, CEO, Aurora Fashions

The prolific  words were uttered by Mike Shearwood, CEO of  Womenswear retail group Aurora Fashions at the recent UKFT Rise event that I attended. Shearwood spoke of his experience and background, he concluded that ultimately working on your strength – regardless of your previous professional background, was more beneficial to a team (company or yourself) than investing valuable time on improving your weaknesses. Can your weaknesses be turned into strengths by utilising someone else as a resource? Can you hire someone to do a particular job for you? Can you delegate a task? Those  valuable questions  go me thinking about my own professional inequity. 

My weakness is micro-managing every aspect of my life. It is not about obsessing on the little tasks, but rather lacking the ability to trust others to do a job that I know I can do better myself. The problem with that, is the workload one ends up accumulating – and that becomes an entire task  itself!

Are you a time teller or a watch maker?

These two job roles require different skill-sets, in fact, even  a time teller’s vision for his business would differ to that of the watch-maker’s – each role serves a different purpose. But it is important to point out that each role’s survival is dependent on the other. In the marketplace, one is a service and the other a product. In the workforce, it could be different departments working independently but in cohesion. Which brings us to teams; they are the single most important part of your business. Shearwood placed emphasis on having team members who lead, as ultimately “good leaders create good teams”.

Nowadays, employers look at your social media footprint

So what is your strength and why is it important in business or your career to know your strength? I am a firm believer in the ‘branding of self’ (or self-branding). It encompasses the manner in which one conducts themselves even on social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter for instance. What does your profile picture say about you? Nowadays, employers look at your social media footprint to find out a little bit more about you – will you fit within their company culture? In fact, do you even have a culture?

It is a good starting point. It means exploring your skills and traits, finding out what you are good at and sticking to it.  Identifying the tasks you enjoy doing  from those you do not. Doing and being the best of yourself in a competitive marketplace.

There are 3 steps to this:

  1. Define yourself: Before a customer or employer can get to know you and what you are good at, you need to know it yourself. Ok, a no brainer! What is your company’s mission? What are you hoping to gain from that particular role? What are you bringing to the table? In today’s competitive market, it isn’t enough to just say “I am a hard worker” or that “I own a bakery”. You need to demonstrate your skills or know the exact types of cakes you sell and to which market. Do not try to be Jack of all trades.
  2. Building strengths vs Fixing weaknesses: According to Forbes, too much focus is placed upon our failures, building strength is the new trend. Working on the things that you are not good at can be frustrating and time consuming, especially if you have limited resources. Be a master of your craft. Working at your optimal capacity will contribute to the long-term sustainable growth of your business or propel your career to the next level.
  3. Assume your success: Do not be modest about your accomplishments. Being modest will do you harm in the marketplace. Have an action plan for your ideas and suggestions when you approach your manager for instance too. Believe in yourself with humility and not arrogance, there is a very thin line between the two.

Would it / does it work for you? Please let me know by commenting bellow.

[ I found a fantastic workshop video on strengths-based management and leadership in the workforce by Marcus Buckingham. Watch is here. ]



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