Lead With Your Strengths for Personal Success

Nathan Newbrough, President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic spoke at a luncheon I attended last week. He talked about how the Philharmonic has risen from the ashes over the past few years. They have been through some rough times.

In the past, they’d created a performance schedule based on what they thought audiences wanted. Under his leadership, however, they chose to feature arrangements they excelled at. They decided to lead with their strengths. Happily, audiences and ticket sales responded, leading to sell-out performances.

It was a gutsy move. Not everyone would have taken that leap of faith. Most do surveys, market research and focus groups to find out what people want, then fashion a brand, products or services around that.

It’s the courageous person who knows what they do best and will lead with it.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

How does this apply to the average person who isn’t always sure what direction to take?

First, we’ve got to make the effort to discover our strengths. I took the StrengthsFinder and learned I possess Maximizer, Empathy, Strategic, Relator and Developer strengths. I get no benefits from recommending you buy the book, StrengthsFinder 2.0. Use the code in the back to take the online assessment and discover what stuff you’re made of.

Next, seek out opportunities to leverage your gifts. Once you know you want a blue Toyota (for example), you’ll be likely to see blue Toyotas all over the place. Put yourself in roles that maximize your talents, whether at work, at home, in church or school. Ask people you respect how they recommend you leverage your strengths.

Think of these assets as a vehicle that drives you to new levels of excellence and personal satisfaction. It doesn’t mean you ignore other responsibilities, but when possible, you play the game with your strongest hand.

Most of us move through life with no formal plan. This approach can help you build some strategy into creating a clear purpose. And like the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, perhaps you too will soon be performing for sell-out crowds!

Please share in comments on the blog. What results have you gotten from leading with your strengths?