Did you know that today, November 25, is National Parfait Day? When I learned about National Parfait Day, I thought, “Business owners and leaders can stack their strengths with other people’s strengths to make a beautiful business parfait.”
Entrepreneurs often feel like they need to do everything and be everything. Leaders often have risen through the ranks of their companies and feel like they should know everything. In truth, no-one needs to have every possible strength or talent. You have chosen your career path – as an entrepreneur or as a leader in another organization – because of something important to you. You have been put in that position because someone else saw your skills and sensed your innate strengths and felt you would do well in your role.
Remember: a strength is talent or gift into which you have invested time, energy, or practice to improving. Consider your most effective teams. Was everyone the same? Not likely. If everyone on a team does the same thing, the team does not meet its full potential. Just like the ingredients in a parfait have different flavors, different textures, and provide different sensations, the varying strengths in your team add texture, diversity, and can create sensational results. Organizations that embrace diversity of strengths in addition to diversity of backgrounds … innovate.
One example from own experience: I was the leader of an Army Reserve Family Readiness Group several years ago. A Family Readiness Group seeks to help service member families understand the service member’s military life, what community and military resources are available to the families, and build friendships between families that will strengthen them and connect them to each other. Family Readiness Groups regularly hold activities to bring families together for fun and for learning. I am good at providing training. I am good at meeting people. I successfully encourage people’s participation in activities and learning. I am NOT good, however, at event planning. When I took over the leadership of the Family Readiness Group, many expected that I would do everything connected to the events. Although I had a few people on the committee with me that had some event planning experience, I needed someone to volunteer who truly knew how to put together successful and engaging events and do it on a tight budget. I found her at the first event I hosted. She could see that I did not have the skills, background, or STRENGTHS needed for expert event planning. She readily offered to add her expertise to our team. Suddenly, I had confidence in future events! I could get people there. She could make sure that they would want to come again due to her planning expertise. Along with the other individuals on the Family Readiness Group, we had diversity, innovation, and opportunity.
Continuing with the parfait analogy, we had all the different flavors we needed to sweeten the experience. We also contributed different amounts of time and energy at different times. Each parfait was different from the others, yet all were sweet experiences and allowed us to change the ingredients and ratios each time.
Enjoy your strengths. Enjoy others’ strengths. When you create a team or encourage an existing team, focus on people knowing their strengths, owning their strengths, and building on their strengths. People’s strengths become an organizations’ strengths when they are recognized and used well. Both individuals and organizations thrive with effective strengths training and usage.