The Art of Strengths Coaching

D is for Doing What You Do Best And The Decision Making And Doing Skills For Delivering Success  

There are many ways to do fine work. One approach is to do what you do best. It is then to keep developing the decision making skills and the doing skills required to deliver success.

Some people have got great natural talent but fall short on decision making ability. This may especially be the case in pressure situations. They can be helped to improve their decision making skills, however, though this can take a lot of practice.

Some people make good decisions but fall short when doing the actual work. They can improve some of these skills through practice, but there are other approaches. One way they can produce the goods is by working with other people who have complementary skills.

Doing What You Do Best

Different people take different routes toward focusing on doing what they do best. Some people explore many different fields before settling on a specific activity where:

They build on to their strengths; 

They do satisfying work; 

They consistently deliver success.

A person may find a particular field where they do good work and then go further. They may explore many different activities within this field before finding the specific niche where they perform best.

They may be good at playing football but take time to find their best position on the field. They may be good at science but take years to find the best way to use this ability to make a specific contribution. They may be good at encouraging people but take decades to find their best niche in education, coaching or mentoring.

Imagine you want to focus on what you do best and then develop your decision making and doing skills. The first step is to define the specific activity where you perform well.

Different people describe different activities when considering this theme. Here are some answers they give. 

Doing What I Do Best

The specific activities where I build on my strengths
and do satisfying work that delivers success are when: 

I am counselling people who are experiencing PTSD … I am singing soulful songs that I believe in … I am designing care homes for older people … I am working as a pastry chef … I am solving specific kinds of technical problems for customers … I am playing as a central defender in football … I am mentoring pioneers.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the specific kinds of activities, projects or other kinds of work where you perform at your best.

Imagine that you have clarified a specific activity where you perform at your best. Looking to the future, how you would like to translate this into doing a specific piece of work?

You may want to write an inspiring blog, run a workshop, direct a play, find solutions to conflicts or do another activity. You may want to perform superb work as a counsellor, educator, doctor, designer, trouble shooter, leader or in another role.

There are many ways to set specific goals. One approach is to ask the following questions.

What is the specific piece of work I want to do? What are the real results I want to achieve? What is the picture of success? What will be happening that will show I have achieved the picture of success?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the specific work you would like to do and the desired picture of success.

Decision Making Skills

Imagine that you have clarified the work you want to do and the results you want to achieve. You will then need to make strategic and other decisions when:

Planning the work; 

Doing the work; 

Tackling challenges during the work.

Decision making is a key skill in life. People make decisions every minute and the choices they make have consequences – both for themselves and other people.

The professional decisions you take will depend on your role. You may focus on particular themes when working as a counsellor, paramedic, bomb disposal expert, business leader, architect, soccer coach or in another role.

Strategic decision making is a theme that can be applied to any role. This involves managing any immediate pressures. It then involves being able to buy time, gather information and see the big picture.

Good decisions makers clarify what is happening and then look to the future. They clarify the real results to achieve and translate these into a clear picture of success. They then clarify the key strategies they can follow to give themselves the greatest chance of success.

Such decision makers commit to their chosen route and translate this into a clear action plan. They then do their best to implement the strategy and achieve the picture of success.

Different people use different models for making decisions. One approach is to use the Three C Model. This involves focusing on Clarity, Creativity and Concrete Results.

Imagine you are tackling a specific challenge. Here are some themes you may wish to explore when deciding on your chosen route towards achieving the picture of success.

Clarity

What are the real results I want to achieve? What is the picture of success? What are the specific things that will be happening that will show I have achieved the picture of success? What are the things I can control in the situation? How can I build on what I can control and manage the things I can’t control?  

Creativity

What are the possible choices for tackling the challenge? What are the consequences – the pluses and minuses – of each option? How attractive are each of these options on a scale 0-10? Are there any other potential creative solutions? What are the key strategies I can follow to give myself the greatest chance of success?

Concrete Results

What is the option – or combination of options – I want to follow? How can I translate this into a clear action plan? Are there any contracts I need to make with other people to make this happen? How can I get some early successes and encourage myself on the journey? How can I do everything possible to achieve the picture of success? 

Let’s return to the piece of work you want to do. What are the decision making skills you may need? How can you clarify the results to achieve? How can you settle on your chosen strategy? How can you make good decisions when faced by potential challenges?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the decision making skills you may need to deliver the work successfully.

Doing Skills

Imagine you have settled on doing a piece of work. You may aim to write an article, run a mentoring session, renovate a house, lead a mountaineering team, make a film or do another activity.

What are the doing skills you need to perform the actual work? You will need specific specialist skills if you aim to be a surgeon, fire fighter, bomb disposal expert, soccer player or perform another technical activity.

The doing skills may be more wide-ranging, however, if you lead a team. Older style organisations often promoted the best expert to become the leader. Modern organisations have a different way of choosing leaders. They aim to find people who can be:

Good leaders of experts rather than experts who may or may not become good leaders.

Leaders have to gain credibility, of course, but they can do this in their own ways. Good soccer managers who have not been star players, for example, quickly show that:

They know the game;

They know how to get the best from the players;  

They know how to lead the players and team to success.

Imagine that you aim to lead a team. You will need to be good at decision making and also doing the following things. It will be important:

To communicate the team’s purpose, principles and picture of success; 

To build a positive culture in which motivated people make their best contributions towards achieving the picture of success; 

To do whatever is required to ensure the team achieves the picture of success 

There will be certain things you need to do to translate each of these themes into action. You may need, for example:

To build a good leadership team … To act as a positive model … To keep communicating the team’s purpose, principles and picture of success … To hire people who are positive, professional and want to contribute to achieving the goals … To make clear contracts with people about their best contributions.  

To use your strengths to make your best contribution … To be good at communicating one-to- one, one-to-few and one-to-many … To encourage and enable people to perform at their best … To manage upwards and keep your key stakeholders happy … To make tough decisions … To take care of your own wellbeing.

Great workers recognise that the work needs to get done, but they do not have to do everything themselves. A leader may be good at providing direction, for example, but then need to hire a co-ordinator who makes things work. Sometimes it is vital to surround yourself with complementary skills to get things done.

Let’s return to the piece of work you want to do. What are the doing skills you will need? Which of these skills do you already have and which do you need to get from elsewhere?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the doing skills you may need to have – or may need to add in other ways – to do the work successfully.

Delivering Success

Imagine you have embarked on doing your chosen piece of work. The final step will be to do your best to deliver the picture of success.

Finishing is a key skill in life. How to take this step? How can you, for example, complete a book, perform well to the final whistle or finish a project successfully?

One approach is to find and follow your successful pattern for finishing. You can do this by exploring the following questions.

Looking back on my life and work, when I have finished something successfully? What did I do right then? What were the principles I followed? How did I translate these principles in action? How can I follow these principles – plus maybe add other skills – to finish something successfully in the future?

Different people follow different principles to finish things. One person explained their approach in the following way.

Five years ago I finally completed work on the Granny Annexe at our house. This was something I had delayed for years but then it became a pressing issue. I followed certain steps to make this happen.

First, I decided whether or not I wanted to do it. Certainly I could have hired a local builder – which would have freed up time – but I chose to finish it myself.

Second, I set aside time to do the job, booking long weekends over a period of 3 months. I ring-fenced this time rather than allowing it to become cluttered by other events.

Third, I established a working ritual, starting on Friday morning, working all day and most of Saturday, then allocating the rest of the weekend to the family. 

Fourth, I made it as pleasurable as possible, playing my favourite music, listening to the radio and having frequent coffee breaks. 

Fifth, I followed the discipline and kept working until it was finished.

Great workers choose to be selective to be effective. They focus on the things they really want to finish. They then follow their successful pattern for finishing things successfully.

Such workers start lots of things but don’t always finish them. This is okay because it’s impossible to complete everything in life. Sometimes, providing a person accepts the consequences, it can be okay for them to say: “I don’t want to finish it.”

There are many ways to do fine work. One approach is to develop the decision making and doing skills required to deliver the goods. It is then to keep improving these skills on the way to achieving your goals.

Let’s return to the piece of work you want to complete. If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the specific things you can do to do your best to achieve the picture of success. 

Finishing is just another name for beginning. Soon it will be time to find another challenge to tackle, another dream to pursue. You can then again follow your successful pattern for finishing.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>