“Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” -Benjamin Franklin
On one occasion during my time as an account manager in the US, my client asked me for a DBA (database administrator). I didn’t have one, but I had a Java developer. So I tried to sell this person to my client, telling him how great he was, and how he could do DBA work as well. Finally, my client said jokingly: “Kishore, don’t try to fit Circles into Squares and Squares into Circles”.
I have never forgotten this phrase. The idea it conveys is very relevant to career selection and growth. If you try to fit even the most talented person into the wrong role, both the person and the work will suffer. If your career or your specific role within an organization does not match your core strengths, then it will just be a drag. But can you just imagine by how much? Think of how much of a visibly negative impact the wrong person has as the leader of a company or even a country. Then imagine the opposite- the right person in the right role. How many examples can you think of, of either type of situation? It is no different at a corporate. The right people will bring in exponentially greater returns for their work.
But how can you find your real talents and strengths? Most often you will know what they are based on gut instincts. In fact, life too has a way of showing you what you are good at. The main issue with this is that very often people confuse skills with talents. Skills come with practice. Talents are inherent. When you apply your talents to something, you get the highest returns with minimal efforts. A good sign that something is a talent is that you’ll find yourself wanting to use it more and more. Fortunately, now there are many scientifically-based assessments and tools available to find your core talents. You may have heard of tools like DISC, MBTI (Myers–Briggs Type Indicator) and Gallup’s StrengthsFinder. You could explore any tool you like. My personal favorite is the StrengthsFinder assessment as it has helped me identify my innate strengths with great detail and accuracy. Based on the insights generated by the use of these tools, even large organizations are transforming into “Strengths-Based Organizations”. Regardless of whether you are at the entry level or at a senior level in your organization, it will be of great benefit to you to know your core talents. This is really the key building block.
Strengths based individuals —> Strengths based organizations —> Strengths based nation