Tony Stark is just a guy. A “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” guy but flesh and blood, nonetheless. When compared to his fellow Avengers, Ironman is deficient. He lacks much, like the royal blood of Thor, the physical power of Captain America, the rage of the Hulk and the red hair of the Black Widow.
Then how can he be a superhero? With all that is missing, would it be sensible to say Ironman is weak?
Not in front of Ironman.
What Tony Stark is, is clever. Deceptively so. His fast-talking, fast-thinking, core of honor means he can plan, deduce, build, and execute while the Hulk is still busting out of his seams over a spilled latte. Also, Ironman has a cool metallic suit.
His strengths assure us that he’ll always win in the end, while tossing out witty jabs in the process. In his case, his weaknesses are irrelevant. So why should it be any different for you?
The $11 billion self-improvement market is seeing nothing but blue skies of growth. From the office to the church pew, there is an unchallenged assumption that, if you’re weak in an area then you need to make it stronger. Read the book. Take the class. Learn to be well rounded. You can do anything if you’re only willing to learn.
In Now, Discover Your Strengths, authors Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, wrestle that concept to the floor by starting, what they call, a “strengths revolution”. They argue that organizations should stop wasting money and time on training employees to overcome their incompetence and instead “build its entire enterprise around the strengths of each person.”
In other words, it’s time to build your own superhero team.
As much as Tony Stark loves to tinker in his basement workshop, every individual’s strength is also their passion. By giving yourself and your employees the freedom to explore, grow, expound, and implement strengths, you unleash motivation and zeal for the work ahead.
Since every superhero has a plan, here is how you can start your own strengths revolution:
1. Let go of your weaknesses.
We’ll spend life in one of two ways: focusing on our inefficiencies or operating in our strengths. One is drudgery. One is passion. Give yourself, as well as your employees, permission to have weaknesses. Then move beyond them.
2. Find the strengths of others.
Volunteers are existential. Their willingness to work and to donate time often keeps our churches and our nonprofit organizations breathing. However, putting anyone to work – even volunteers – in an area that does not capitalize on their strengths can limit the growth of the organization. Make sure wherever they volunteer is a good fit.
3. Ask for personal input.
What do other people see as your strengths? What can they see that you might miss? Make sure you ask trusted people in your life. Their answers should not be taken as absolute truth but used as direction in seeking out your core strengths.
In the end, you may find that you are surrounded with superheroes just waiting to toss aside their secret identities for a life in spandex. In fact, you might be one of them.