The gift that keeps on giving

3008436618_c76e56593bPhoto by Saquan Stimpson/monstersh aq2000’s

A few weeks ago I realized that a very good friend of mine’s birthday is coming up. I am really bad at buying presents, especially for women. So, I decided to enlist two other friends to help me with buying the gift. After I approached them, without me doing anything else, one came up with the idea, the other implemented it. Before I knew it, without really needing to do anything else, a great present was bought and given (including a card, which I signed a minute before we gave the present). My friend was really excited with the present and it was a big success.

Now, this sounds a little like laziness on my side. I had to do some work that I was not good at (buying a present) and instead of doing it, I just made other people do it. But, when you think about it, what I did was actually to put into practice two very important concepts for managers:

The first one, is Use your strengths and manage around your weakness. In my e-book I quoted a paragraph from, Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton book: “Now, Discover Your Strength“.

“…[Y]ou will excel only by maximizing your strengths, never by fixing your weaknesses. This is not the same as saying ‘ignore your weakness’. The people we described did not ignore their weakness. Instead, they did something much more effective. They found ways to manage around their weakness, thereby freeing them up to hone their strengths to a sharper point. Each of them did this a little differently. Pam liberated herself by hiring an outside consultant to write the strategic plan. Bill Gates did something similar. He selected a partner, Steve Ballmer, to run the company, allowing him to return to software development and rediscover his strengths’ path…”.

I had a weakness in buying presents. I do not know how to do it and it is highly unlikely that I will ever learn. I do know how to manage, find the right people and bring them together. Sometimes, doing the work is not actually about doing the work.

The second one is “Get the right people on the bus” – this is a term I borrowed from Jon Gordon. Check out this quote:

“This principle of identifying the right people was echoed by the Director of Learning at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He told me how the Ritz has saved millions of dollars by identifying the key characteristics, strengths and traits of each job/position at the hotel and then creating a benchmark that every potential employee is measured against. Utilizing a company called Talent Plus they interview each potential employee and then identify how they measure up to the benchmark of the position they are applying for. As a result they are better able to identify who the right people are for each job at the hotel”.

Sometimes, doing the work is not about doing the work, but about choosing the right people. Check out this inspiring example for how to implement this idea.

So, as a manger, how do you choose the people you work with? How does their strengths compare to yours?