BEST OF HBR
We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: If you've got ambition and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession, regardless of where you started out. But with opportunity comes responsibility. Companies today aren't managing their employees'careers; knowledge workers must, effectively, be their own chief executive officers. It's up to you to carve out your place, to know when to change course, and to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years.To do those things well, you'll need to cultivate a deep understanding of yourself- notonly what your strengths and weaknesses are but also how you learn, how you work with others, what your values are, and where you can make the greatest contribution. Because only when you operate from strengths can you achieve true excellence.
by Peter R Drucker
P; istory's great achievers - a Napoleon, a da Vinci, a Mozart - have always managed themselves. That, in large measure, is what makes them great achievers. But they are rare exceptions, so unusual both in their talents and their accomplishments as to be considered outside the boundaries of ordinary human existence. Now, most of us, even those of us with modest endowments, will have to learn to manage ourselves. We will have to learn to develop ourselves. We will have to place ourselves where we can make the greatest contribution. And we will have to stay mentally alert and engaged during a 50-year working life, which means knowing how and when to change the work we do.
What Are My Strengths?
Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong. More often, people know what they are not good at - and even then more people are wrong than right. And yet, a person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weaknesses, let alone on something one cannot do at all. Throughout history, people had little need to know their strengths. A person was born into a position and a line of work: The peasant's son wouid also be a peasant; the artisan's daughter, an artisan's wife; and so on. But now people have choices. We need to know our strengths in order to know where we belong. HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselvestheir strengths, their values, and how they best perform.
MANAGING YOURSELF Second, work on improving your strengths. Analysis will rapidly show where you need to improve skills or acquire new ones. It will also show the gaps in your knowledge -and those can usually befilled.Mathematicians are bom, but everyone can learn trigonometry. Third, discover where your intellectual arrogance is causing disabling ignorance and overcome it. Far too many people - especially people with great manners. Manners are the lubricating oil of an organization. It is a law of nature that two moving bodies in contact with each other create friction. This is as tme for human beings as it is for inanimate objects. Manners- simple things like saying "please" and "thank you" and knowing a person's name or asking after her family-enable two people to work together whether they like each other or not. Bright people, especially
The only way to discover your strengths is through feedback analysis. Whenever you make a key decision or take a key action, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the actual results with your expectations. I have been practicing this method for 15 to 20 years now, and every time I do it, 1 am surprised. The feedback analysis showed me, for instance-and to my great surprise-that I have an intuitive understanding of technical people, whether they are engineers or accountants or market researchers. It also showed me that I don't really resonate with generalists. Feedback analysis is by no means new. It was invented sometime in the fourteenth century by an otherwise...