Practical Genius

Practical Genius by Gina Amaro Rudan, Kevin Carroll Read Free Book Online

Book: Practical Genius by Gina Amaro Rudan, Kevin Carroll Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gina Amaro Rudan, Kevin Carroll
to define their strengths, people often reply with skills or knowledge—the wrong answer. All great leadership begins with a deep understanding of one’s strengths and the strengths of those around them.”
    According to the Gallup Organization Consultant and author Tom Rath, “Talent, described as your natural way of thinking, feeling orbehaving multiplied by investment, the time spent practicing, developing your skills and building your knowledge base is what defines a person’s strengths, ultimately defined as the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance.”
    I tend to think of strengths as mostly adjectives, while skills tend to be nouns. This isn’t always true, but it’s a helpful way to think about them. Some of the strengths you might discover you have include:

Deliberative , which exemplifies those who identify, manage, and ultimately try to reduce risk.

Futuristic , a strength that is just what you’d think. You daydream about the future, imagine what could be, and are able to express a vision of the future that excites you and those around you.

Strategic , a skill that can’t be taught, a way of thinking that recognizes patterns where others see chaos. You are a chess player who can imagine the next six moves.

    To begin to think about your strengths, take a moment to reflect on your past performance evaluations or 360-degree reviews. These traditional assessments typically measure what you’re good at and identify areas where you’re lacking. Think of the skills, abilities, and performance traits that most often are identified as strengths in these meetings. Make a short list of tasks and project areas in which you excel and basically hit it out of the park every time. Try to identify not just the tool (the skill) that enables you to do well but also the aspects of your nature that contribute to your success.
    If you’re a free agent or work for an organization that doesn’t provide a constructive review process, just answer this simple question: What do you do best? Generate a list that encompasses your professional and personal experience, the projects you participate in at work or in your community, even talents that contribute to the success of your home life. For example, do colleagues seek you out for their projects because you’re a creative problem solver? Are youthe one who keeps your family on track, thinking ten steps ahead for each of you? Are you recognized as someone who can champion an idea, build consensus on a team, or take a project all the way to the finish line? The qualities that enable your skills and capacities are your defining strengths.
    Here’s a way to think about your strengths:
What activities do you actually love doing because you enjoy doing them well? Do you look forward to doing them whenever possible?

What do you do well and effortlessly? What is it about your nature or personality that enables your success in this area?

    Say you’re an Olympic swimmer. Besides excellent technique, physical strength, and lots and lots of training, what contributes to your success in this sport? Your competitive nature, your discipline, your precision, and your perseverance, for starters.
    When you look at what you do well and can identify the underlying reasons for your success, you’re looking at your strengths.
    Now that you’ve considered your skills and strengths, take a moment to consider your expertise, the most important of all hard assets. Your expertise is the body of knowledge over which you have the most mastery and authority. It’s the area of your professional life you have most invested in and was probably the focus of most of your education and training. Whatever your expertise—whether it be social media, specialty food, medical devices, or fitness training—it is probably the thing that has the greatest value within your portfolio of hard assets.
    When I work with individual clients and ask them what their expertise is, some will

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