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How To Help Your Team Recognize Their Strengths
Sean: I’m going to expand on that a little bit and say there are some business owners who are now wondering, okay, this is a revelation for me. There are things I now recognize maybe more than three, maybe more than four that I would have to delegate, and pay someone to do it.
Now here’s the problem. And that person screws me over, cause I don’t know a lot about the job because I don’t want the job. It drains me. I pass it on to someone who is not that trustworthy. Maybe doesn’t have that much integrity. I hired the wrong person. What’s going to be the solution for me then? How do I do it right?
Jason: Yeah. So that’s a million dollar question.
That’s a timeless question. Whenever I help leaders to build teams and all that, that’s the same thing. How do I hire people that I know after five interviews? For example, do you really know the person you, you actually don’t. So it’s a lot of times, even when you think about the business partners or the staff that you have, right. Some of them leave and all that. And I think the main thing is really the whole idea of trial and error. You can’t run away from that. You can’t run away because people are so complex. You try to understand them in that one interview is impossible. Right? So the idea of this is really the idea of getting the newer person.
Same thing when you’re dating you don’t say that. Okay. After the one hour interview, I think I know you. I think I know you well, let’s get married. Impossible right? There must be a way we can go through that. And unfortunately for the work context, that’s actually a contract where you come on board and then you work with me and sometimes that dating ends off your understanding.
“Hey, you know what? I think you’re not right for me.” So that’s something that we cannot run away from as business owners.
Sean: Correct me if I’m wrong, it would serve you at least at the get go when you don’t have a lot of people, don’t have a lot of proficiency in hiring. If you see – if you learn and work first, even on those weaknesses, even if it drains you, you have to have a certain level of proficiency for you to be able to tell this person’s cheating me.
This person’s telling me it takes two weeks for this task to finish, but it only takes like two hours. Is that right?.
Jason: That’s correct, especially when you’re in a small team. So if you’re doing a startup in a small team of four people, and then you’re doing something that kind of like you have your hands dirty on all, you’re able to do that.
But if you go into the higher up, where you’re hiring so many different people, doing different things, very different tasks. It’s impossible for you to understand everything. So one thing is that yes, one of the things that we share is that the weaknesses you have, we don’t ignore it. Ignoring it’s almost like, like what you said, giving everything to that person and trusting them fully.
But actually when you know about it, no, man, it takes one week while you’re saying it takes three weeks. Right? So there’s one way where we need to build the F’s we have, into at least a pass into a C, you know, you just pass, you know kind of like the 50% of what’s happening there, but for you to bring it to an A, it takes so much more effort.
Or unless If you’re a leader, a business owner, there’s certain A’s that you have that you put in that time, investment, can put in that development for you that A’s become 100 A and you get close to this whole idea of world-class. So you’ve got A’s to a hundred A’s and you got F to a C.
So, this is basically almost like understanding the basics, the one-on-ones, but here you’re in the masterclass. And you want to be able to spend most of your time and most of your effort creating value based on your A’s, because your A’s are what the world needs. So there’s this quote I like by Howard Thurman. And he says, don’t ask the world what the world needs. Ask yourself. What makes you come alive? Because the world needs people who have come alive. So that’s the thing, the A’s that you have, those are the things that make you come alive.
And when you think about this whole idea of entrepreneurship or business, it’s really value. You’re trying to create value for somebody. And the greatest value you can create is knowing that, hey, you are built for certain things. You are at your dominance. You’re in your zone. You’re an Eagle – you’re flying. Your’re ostrich – you’re running. Your’re penguin – you’re swimming.
There’s something innate, natural that pushes you even further. And when the effort comes in and when there are times in business where you feel that all it’s really down, I feel like giving up.
These are the things that you feel that, hey, actually that’s a greater purpose. I’m built for this. I somehow can revive and fend that flame, that motivation, that intrinsic motivation. That I know what I’m built for this somehow rather I can create better value.
Sean: We’re going back a little bit to the Eagle, the penguin and the ostrich. Let’s apply this to leadership as a leader.
I love it. When my people who are Eagles get to fly. I love it when my people who are ostriches can run, right. When they can do what they’re made to do, what they love to do, what they get energized with.
Now as a leader, here’s the thing. How do I identify that they are meant to do this and that? Because people want to do what they want to do. They want to grow and flourish where they want to be in, but they’re not always going to tell you that.
And they don’t always recognize that they’re Eagles. They don’t always recognize that they’re penguins or ostriches. So how do you identify that? And then how do you lead them to be more of that?
Jason: So, this is a great question.
And when I coached many directors in MNCs and business owners, this one question as well, how do I understand the strengths so that I can deploy them better? Most of the time, I’ll say 99% of the time people, managers would deploy based on this. They ask certain questions; “are you good at it? You’re good at it?. Okay, great that’s one box. Do you have experience? Your have experience. Oh, five years? Okay, great. That’s another box.”
So your competency becomes the only; competency and experience so l put that together as very much competency – the only benchmark. So if you’re good at something, I give you the task to do it. The funny thing about this, if you think about it, Sean. There are some things you do that you do quite well, that you hate doing. It drains the heck out of you, right?
And that is the trap that most leaders fall into. The assumption that the leader will make is that Sean, if you’re good at this, I would dare say that you like it, but it’s not true. So we have a framework called primal greatness, where we actually break up the entire work that you have into four quadrants.
And the Y axis is competency, high competency or low competency. And the X axis is what we talked. We talked about this whole idea of: Are you energized or are you drained? So if you break down all the tasks that you do. The first task you think about you break it down to, do I feel energized or drained and do I feel competent or not competent?
You’ve got a very beautiful four quadrants where there is a task in everything. And what a leader needs to know is that leader needs to know, “Hey, you know what? There are things that energize you and things that drain you. I want to try to focus on the things that energize you on the right hand side.” So if I understand that, then most likely there are things that energize you that you’re not competent.
Which is the lower quadrant now, but they’re things that energize you, you are competent. What I want to do as a leader is to understand that, hey, you know what, you’re competent in it and you feel alive doing it. I will give you more opportunities. So those are the strengths that you have. Those are the things that I will say that I can depend on you and you feel that, “yeah, I want to work on this.”
So one of my team members said; “yesterday I was doing it up to 10 PM. I enjoy it.” So that is the kind of thing that you want, the intrinsic motivation. The Eagle is flying. And then what do you do with the things that they feel energized with, but they’re not competent, then you grow them. You grow them in development, knowledge based, or knowledge skill, and time, basically.
And what about the other side where it’s, everything is draining, right? You find ways and means that they can actually lower that. So if they’re very good at something already but it drains them, they have all the knowledge base inside their mind that your organization needs. So ask them to teach it. Hopefully they can teach it to other people that feel more energized doing it.
The assumption is that you have. Right. And then the last one is actually, if you feel it drains you and it feels that, wow I’ve tried it and I’m still not competent for me. For me excel takes two hours for four bill. It takes 25 minutes. Then there’s somewhere where you want to try to see whether you can minimize that.
So the idea is always that quadrant on the top right hand corner that you want to expand it a little bit. It won’t be a hundred percent. Cause there’s definitely things at work that we still need to do that drains us, but we want to expand it out and we want to be able to give them more and more options.
So the Eagles sometimes must run because you know, it’s a short distance. Maybe there’s a ceiling on top. They still must do these kinds of things. Right. They must carry a package. I didn’t, it was run, but most of the time, the Eagle fly.
Sean: Amazing answer, amazing insights so far. There is something in my mind that some leaders who are listening in, they might have the same little insidious idea popping in.
And that is “well, that’s all great Jason and Sean. That’s all great. Do I have to pamper my people that way, where I would minimize tasks they don’t like, what are they snowflakes? You know? And just give them what they want. Why is it my job? Why is it my job as a leader to do that? Where’s the ROI in that? Do I get to benefit from that?”
What do you tell those kinds of people?
Jason: The two greatest fears for managers? One greatest fear is your high-performance leave. And the other greatest fear is your low performance stay, right? The issue that you have is you have people; they already trust you. They already come into your organization.
What do you want to do as leaders is that, hey, some of the low performers actually are high performers, but you don’t know that; you haven’t given them the opportunity to. So the ROI, when they actually do that, it’s going to be great for you because now you already have them and you are able to give them their opportunity.
So when it comes to high performance, you want them to be ultra high performance. You want them to know that there’s something that Eagle has certain weights that’s pushing it down. And if you can take away those weights, it will fly even further for you. So it’s not so much of that we want to do this because of them.
But more of that, if you talk about the business sense, if you think about it as a sports coach, you don’t want to put a striker as a goalkeeper, even though they can, and you never want to put a goalkeeper as a striker, what you want is performance in the end. And the performance, if you are in a parcel, you let’s say you are doing a parcel delivery logistics, you have only three people and Eagle and Ostrich and the Penguin.
You want to be able to know that yes, the eagle can do a smaller distances here and there, but the five mountains there, that’s him. Penguin has to go really long and all that. So it’s really about the idea that you have a limited resource of money. You have a limited resource of talent. You want to maximize that. If they feel that they are, you can unleash or you can discover what their strengths are, they’re going to stay longer.
And this whole idea of your high-performance leaving because you know what I’m doing, what I am not built for. So I’ve got so many case studies and when I coach clients, and so one of them is the ministry of education, Singapore. One of them, they were saying that the leaders, one of the leaders said that “Jason help me out. I have no clue what happened. One of my guys are so good at what they do and they just quit. I have no idea.”
And the same thing. So when I dig further and further that task that he’s supposed to do 0 to 10, energize and drain, 2 over 10. The more he did that, the more everybody clapped their hands to say that well done, good job, everybody liked it.
The more he was drained and drained. So he left and he was very confused and he was like, how can a high-performer like him leave because everybody thought he was good. Everybody thinks he’s good at it. He also knows he’s good at it, but his inside is empty. So having that strengths-based approach to your organization and your leadership is going to be a win-win.
I mean, you have people who are either low performance or mid performance, you can bring up to high performance, high performance to ultra high performance, and you get to keep them. Because why? They’re living out their best. They’re living up to what the few most alive are doing.
Sean: Jayson, do you suggest that we do that X and Y axis for our organizations to figure out as early as now, who among our people are on the same boat as the guy you mentioned earlier, who’s very competent at what he’s doing, but it’s very drained inside?
Jason: You actually naturally get the feedback. And the feedback is either two ways. One is that they somehow tap out in their mind. They tap out in their mind or they tap out physically. So you already have that feedback, right? If we take away pay, right, we take away that you let’s assume that you actually do industry practice, right?
If that is off the table, then what do you need? You need two main things, you need to understand the environment and understand what they do. What they do is really the idea of that here, that strengths-based approach. And if it’s something that is really draining him and he’s really a great team player, the onus is on you, the whole responsibility for you as a leader, is to understand that, “Hey, you know, this guy has great attitude, but somehow rather I want him to be at his best.”
And you try to figure out that. So it’s a whole idea of not trying to be fixated on this is your job role. You come in, you are only have to do A and B do not do C do not do deep as almost like, Hey, actually I want to understand from you. Yeah, you’re great at that. But what really excites you, what really energizes you?
Because once you have that, you are tapping into this intrinsic motivation, It’s almost like a spring from inside. You know, it’s always there. It’s always there and they really enjoy it. And you see it that even after work, they think about it. You will never get there for things that drain you.
They will start work at 9 and work at 6 PM, something switches off.
Sean: Yeah man you said it, we have way too much of that already.