I started my business in the winter of 2004. I really had no business getting into business, but it fell into my lap and I ran with it. I later realized that this a common thread amongst entrepreneurs. We are risk takers, visionaries and build the plane as we fly it. But because we spend so much time on top of the trees we rely heavily on our team to bring us back down to the fruit of the business. In other words, back down on the ground and out of the clouds. One of the reasons I spend so much time in the clouds is that I feel like I have to learn everything about a subject before I dive into it. I start with a vision or idea and then feel that if I am going to be taken seriously I must learn everything. Will I like it, is it for me, is it something that jives well with my company and brand? Well apparently this is considered a strength.
This concept started in 1998 when Tom Rath teamed up with a group of Gallup scientists, led by strengths psychologist Donald O. Clifton, to discover peoples strengths. They developed an assessment test that focuses on your top five strengths. Why is this important? Well our entire lives, from grade school up, we are told to fix our short comings. Society’s relentless focus on correcting our deficiencies rather then teaching us how to build on our strengths is flawed from the core. We are taught to become who we aren’t. Instead, lets focus on our strengths, invest in our god given talents and prevent them from going untapped…..as most do in America. Holy cow!
One of my favorite stories is about Henry Ford. During WWI he was quoted in the Chicago paper as being an ignorant pacifist. He immediately sued them. Later, while on the witness stand Ford was asked a great many questions like “Who is Benedict Arnold?” and many, many others. After numerous historical questions Ford became tired of the questioning and stated this:
” If I should really want to answer such foolish questions let me remind you that I have a row of push buttons on my desk that can summon to my aid people who can answer anything I desire to know about. Now can you kindly tell me WHY I should clutter up my mind with such general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer foolish questions, when I have people who can supply anything I require?”
This is a man who honed in on his strengths and surrounded himself with people to help him with his weaknesses. This is how you excel in business and get ahead, not getting stuck in the weeds cluttering up your mind focusing on your weaknesses and shortcomings.
If you haven’t taken the test I highly recommend it! Turns out my top three strengths are Ideation, Intellection and Futuristic. No wonder I am always in the clouds! Now I can tell my team I was just born that way.