S is for Signature Work


Signature work is a true expression of a person’s strengths and style. It embodies patterns they repeat again and again.

Reflecting on such work, a person experiences a sense of recognition. It expresses their vocation and what they want to give to the world.

Defining Your
Signature Work

Sometimes a person’s work has their signature all over it. They may be an artist, designer, footballer, writer or whatever. The style of their work is immediately recognisable.

A chef may become known for their signature dish and style of cooking. An architect may develop a particular approach to creating buildings.

Different people will display different characteristics in their work. The things they do may evoke certain feelings, embody certain design principles or express other qualities. Looking at their work, however, it is possible to recognise certain patterns.

These characteristics run through their work, even though the types of work may be different. A great teacher, for example, may have a recognisable style when holding one-to-ones, teaching lessons or writing articles.

Can you think of things you have done that embody your signature work? These may have been particular projects or other activities. Such examples were deeply satisfying, embodied your signature themes and were, in your own view, successful.

Looking at my own work, for example, I have tried to do work that encourages and enables people to build on their strengths and achieve their picture of success. You will, however, have your own approach.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you have done – the projects and other activities – that embody what you try to do in your signature work.

Describe the specific things you try to do in these and other examples of your signature work. 

Slides S is for doing your signature work.002

Slides S is for doing your signature work.003

Slides S is for doing your signature work.004

Doing More Of
Your Signature Work

Virginia Satir was one of the pioneers of family therapy. Her signature work was to create a warm environment in which people could grow. She then provided with them with practical tools they could use to enable themselves and others to develop.

She also created many concepts that have been used to build healthy families, teams and organisations. This old video provides an insight into her approach to building on each person’s uniqueness.

Virginia believed in encouraging people to express their essence. Those who met her felt at ease, affirmed and stronger. She was a marvellous educator. Her approach has had influence far beyond family therapy.

She encouraged people to be their true selves, mobilise their internal strengths – which may have come from overcoming difficulties – and express their essence as people.

She enabled people to build enriching relationships in which individuals were encouraged to develop their uniqueness – their ‘differentness’ – and continue to grow.

She provided the inspiration for enabling people to build healthy systems – families, teams and organisations – that were based on similarity of spirit and diversity of strengths.

Virginia chose different ways to express her signature work. She began by being a social worker. She moved on to being a family therapist and educating others to help people develop. She also wrote books, made films and led conferences.

How can you continue to do your signature work in the future? You may have a particular project in mind. If so, do you want to follow a similar format to that you have done previously?

That is fine. After all, a chef may simply want to invent and serve more dishes that embody their signature style. They may, however, want to embark on opening more restaurants, making TV series or producing books. Choose a format in which you feel able to do satisfying work and express your strengths.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe how you can do more of your signature work in the future.

Slides S is for doing your signature work.005

Slides S is for doing your signature work.006

Developing Your
Signature Work

People may develop their signature work by continuing to follow their chosen form of expressing it. They may aim to become a better educator, writer, gardener, counsellor, designer or whatever they want to be. As mentioned above, they may also choose to express it in other forms.

Bearing these things in mind, how can you continue to develop your work? One approach is to follow the principles of constant improvement. Reflecting on a piece of work, it can be useful to ask the following questions.

What is good about the work? How can I build on these things in the future? What can I do even better in the future and how?

What can I learn from other people who have produced fine work? What are the principles they follow? How can I follow these principles in my own way to good work in the future?

What are the real results I want to achieve with the work? What are the specific things I would like people to be saying, thinking and feeling after experiencing the work? How can I do my best to achieve these results?

People often develop by doing things they find stimulating, stretching themselves and achieving success. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. You can then focus on how you want to continue developing your signature work.

Slides S is for doing your signature work.007

Slides S is for doing your signature work.008

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