In the 1990s some very exciting research was taking place and being presented to the American audience. It was the Strengths Finder research by Marcus Buckingham, Donald Clifton, and the Gallup organization.
The core idea is that there are many different strengths. You cannot be good at all the strengths. You need to find out what your strengths are. You will make much more progress in developing your strengths than in trying to upgrade your weaknesses.
This was NOT the prevailing conventional wisdom of the time.
The conventional wisdom said to identify your weaknesses and go to work on them. You must focus on your weaknesses or they will hold you back.
But here is what happens when you focus on your weaknesses:
- First, it takes a LOT of time and energy to attend to a weakness.
- Second, even a lot of focus only yields partial results (that’s discouraging).
- And third, when you stop focusing on your now rather small improvements to a weakness, you quickly revert back to previous levels! And that is even more discouraging. Still we kept telling people to work on their weaknesses.
The Strengths Finder research launched a new and much-needed movement. “No,” they said, …