Soar With Your Strengths

It`s advice I wish I had been given at the start of my career: "Find out what you do well-and do more of it. Find out what you don`t do well-and stop doing it."

Aug 1st, 1996

Bob Levoy

It`s advice I wish I had been given at the start of my career: "Find out what you do well-and do more of it. Find out what you don`t do well-and stop doing it."

These recommendations are from the book, Soar With Your Strengths, by Donald O. Clifton PhD, and Paula Nelson (Dell Trade Paperback, 1996). Strengths refer to the things you do well; produce a high degree of satisfaction and pride; generate both psychic and/or financial reward; and are characterized by initial rapid learning that comes easily and continues throughout one`s lifetime.

Weaknesses or nonstrengths refer to the things you don`t do well and at which you don`t significantly improve, even after repeated tries; things that intrude on your productivity and self-esteem and cause stress. The hiring and day-to-day managing of employees and fee discussions with patients are among those mentioned by dentists with whom I`ve spoken.

The authors claim some weaknesses can be corrected with extraordinary efforts, but cannot be transformed into strengths. The goal, therefore, is to manage weaknesses and concentrate on strengths. Among the recommended strategies for doing so, is: sloughing, meaning to identify what you don`t like doing (and don`t do well); stop doing it; and instead, use that time for more constructive pursuits.

Another related strategy is subcontracting or enlightened delegation of tasks at which you are weak to those who have strengths in those areas. Management tasks, for example, can be delegated to a partner or office manager. An office-related task, such as collections or insurance, that is a weakness for one staff member can be assigned to another staff member for whom it is a strength.

Identifying weaknesses and emphasizing strengths in yourself and others is one of the most valuable and liberating discoveries you can make. It`s also the surest route to achieving a more satisfying and productive practice.

Bob Levoy is a marketing consultant, seminar speaker and writer based in Roslyn, NY. For further information, contact: Success Dynamics, Inc., 11 Vanad Dr., Roslyn, NY 11576; phone 516-482-5959.

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