Gaining strength

   Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Mahatma Gandhi

We all have times when we wonder if we have the strength to drive forward.

The way to figure out the answer is to remind ourselves of our individual strengths, those skills and behaviours that we know we do best. The trouble we have is that we don’t always recognise them within ourselves.

There is something of a human trait in that we have a tendency to work with labels. When working on our fears we talk of naming them so they become more palpable and easier to challenge. The same is true of strengths.

A professional who has had a career in sales and business development knows that’s their A-game. They can list their wins and their losses, the moments they were just pipped at the post, or the glorious triumph against all odds.  They may not believe they have confidence in accounting and yet they deal in profitability all day every day.

On the other hand the accounting professional who spends their days at a desk analysing business in minute detail may believe they simply couldn’t go out and sell the products they are analysing. But they could convince company directors whether an investment is wise or not.

And the person in the office may seem shy but in the evening they own the stage in their local theatre company.

We accept our roles based on job descriptions and hone our CVs to fit. We talk about strengths and weaknesses as polar opposite singular facts yet the reality is much more fluid. It’s time businesses and organisations challenged that and unlocked the rich diversity of talents that lay beneath the surface of systematic process that stifles the creativity within us all.

The mix of individual strengths is also a major factor in the strengths of your organisation. Releasing the latent potential within your team is a powerful step towards the change you wish to create. Once you have identified the values you operate by, figuring out the strengths you have available to work towards them solidifies the foundations upon which you will build.

With the right mechanisms in place you can enable transitions laterally within your organisations as well as vertically. You can use what you learn to determine the shape of future teams and projects and define roles that build on the potential that you identify, rather than simply following standard templates that may become limiting factors in how your organisation grows.

Identifying these strengths within the existing team is empowering for them which releases their creativity, but beyond that it contributes to how you define your future recruitment processes. What will you look for in new team members? Specific skills should be a given since qualifications listed on a CV will determine those but beyond that you will enhance your growth potential if you know what types of attitudes, behaviour, values and passions you seek. That is not to say that you will look for that in every individual, but that you will develop a holistic picture of who you would like to see in the roles, the teams and ultimately the organisation that you are shaping.


Sandra Norval, our Managing Director, created the Towards a One Planet Railway strategy and Competence Matrix for the largest Train Operator in the UK. Over the course of five years the structure enabled four individuals to develop from customer facing roles to fully skilled sustainability professionals, the team she left to maintain the strategy they helped to build. The structure also continues to enable broader career development for dozens of other environmental champions who progressed to management roles, degree studies and a range of positive career transitions.

Download our brochure from our website or call on 07985 610626 to discuss how we can help you.



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