Taking the First Step
Last week I introduced the “Pasick Leadership Development Plan”, and offered my readers the opportunity to actively engage by completing this worksheet over the next five months. The plan is based on my coaching model, which I have developed over the last 20 years. It’s also the basis for my course at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. It utilizes my books: Self Aware: A Guide to Success in Work and Life, and the Journal for Self Aware.
I also will be offering a 4 session workshop from September through December for those wanting to dive deeper into their professional development. It will be offered in two versions:
- A face to face group seminar in Ann Arbor
- A teleconference version for those who are not able to attend the Ann Arbor workshop
Today in step one, we will focus on identifying your key strengths. Everyone has a unique set of strengths and abilities, and the more time you spend using these unique talents, the more successful and satisfied you’re likely to be. I often employ several methods to get my students and clients to come to a deeper understanding of their talents.
One of the easiest methods – and one I’ve turned to many times – was developed by Dan Sullivan, founder of StrategicCoach.com. Dan advocates you send e-mails to the people who know you best. Explain that you’re going through a leadership development process and ask them to describe your unique strengths, talents and contributions.
I’ve found that the responses people get are fairly consistent. It shouldn’t be too surprising because, for most of us, certain threads weave through our lives. Back in grade school, if you were always organizing neighborhood games or teams, chances are you’re still doing it in some fashion at 20, 30, 40 or 50 years of age.
A similar exercise was developed by my colleagues at the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. As with Sullivan’s approach, you request positive feedback from people who know you. Then you use this information to create a portrait of your “best self.” You can find out more and purchase the Reflected Best Self exercise online.
Another great tool is the Internet-based StrengthsFinder Profile, created by Donald O. Clifton, Tom Rath and a team of scientists from the Gallup Organization. It was later renamed the Clifton StrengthsFinder, and a new Web site and book, Now Discover Your Strengths, were published in 2007. When you buy the book or purchase the assessment on the website, you get an access code so you can take the assessment online. The program analyzes your answers and comes up with the five most powerful signature themes you display. Based on that, you receive action plans and other activities designed to help you understand how best to use your strengths. Here’s where to find out more: StrengthsFinder 2.0
Once you have completed these two exercises, analyze them to see how they compare to your self assessment. Were there any surprises? Once you have identified your top five strengths fill in the worksheet. Let me know if you would like a copy of the worksheet in Word or Excel for ease of completion.
Next week we will be assessing your interests and passions.