In the last of the blogs praising Lynne Wester‘s T-Rexes and Kangaroos, I wanted to mention a great chapter, written by Debbie Meyers. Meyers speaks of the acronym R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S and I wanted to focus in on the “S”.
Meyers says that S stands for Strengths. She speaks of a theory that says “rather than trying to improve your weaknesses, you’re better off enhancing your strengths.” She goes on to say that she leaves the Event Planning to the experts — she focusses on her strengths and lets the Event Planners shine in their profession.
This aligns perfectly with my adage of working smarter rather than harder. I’m sure I could probably figure out all of the intricacies of putting on an amazing event, but I (wholeheartedly) trust the Events Manager.
How to put the Strength into practice
In effect, Meyers is saying double down — take what you are good at and work to make it great. Every single person has something to offer your organization. Our duties as managers are to identify that skillset and let it flourish in your organization.
Far too often, we recruit for a certain skillset (either professional staff or even board members) and we don’t capitalize (pun intended) on their specific knowledge –even after a skills matrix was used!
How can we work together, while letting each of us shine in our own area of expertise? That’s the $25,000 question. In this age of specialized services, the more specialized you become, the more you are valuable to others. It is like the contra-Jeopardy effect — you don’t want to know a little about a lot of topics (a successful participant on Jeopardy), rather you want to know a lot about a few topics. It is the Generalist vs Specialist mindset.
This can be evidenced when comparing small fundraising shops to large ones. The smaller ones tend to hire generalists while the larger shops have many specialists. I specifically wrote about that here.
In conclusion, I often use a Hebrew saying often to congratulate somebody. It is translated as “May you go from strength to strength“.
That would be my wish for you.