Guest blog by Dennis Bridges, MBA
It seems to me that Oscar Sunday has become a huge event over the last number of years. Supposedly 40 million plus tuned in to watch the Oscars this year, however, over 110 million people watched the last Super Bowl. Regardless, the Oscars – like the Super Bowl – is a major production and much like a business it’s the people involved that make it a success or failure. How do you get the right people doing the right things in the right places in your business?
No matter how airtight the product or process, it’s the people involved that either make it work or allow it to fail. The trick is having the right person with the right strengths involved at the right stage or with the right product. The entire Oscar production goes off without a hitch, but if the host is boring, the show underperforms. Moreover, the best camera guy doesn’t make a good host, nor does the best actor.
Identifying employee strengths:
(The acceptance speech) Drive the employee to self-reflection – Unfortunately it’s not as simple as asking “what are you good at?” Often people are too calculated or have trouble thinking of an answer. You need to ask something like “What are you passionate about?” Or, “How have you earned some of your greatest achievements?” The goal is to get people thinking about what do they have to thank about themselves!
(The academy) Listen to what others have to say – Ask their peers and other employees about their strengths. Be mindful that you need to formulate your own opinions, but if more than one person recognizes a strength in someone – especially one you were already considering – it likely has merit. Always focus on strengths as opposed to weaknesses when talking to others in order to avoid spreading negativity and conflict.
(The host) Give them the stage – Allow them to lead/own a project or task and pay close attention to what aspects they focus on and excel at. Ownership over tasks and responsibilities is a great way to improve buy-in and overall engagement. When people have a stake in the task, they are likely to put in a great effort and you can observe where they shine.
Is everyone on your team in a position that leverages his or her strengths? People are far more productive and engaged when they are doing something that interests them and that they feel they’re good at. In turn, systems and processes that leverage people in this way are far more efficient and sustainable.