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How Knowing yourself via your strengths can fuel change in 2023!

It’s been more than five decades since I stepped into the corporate world. Intermittently I look back to review the journey upto the current stage in life as an HR strategist and technology integrator. It has been a long journey and I have had my share of ups and downs. Persevering through the path has helped me. My corporate life has given me chances to connect with people and guide them. When I look back at those moments, I become more conscious of my limitations, one of them is difficulty in, if not inability to appreciate younger ones when they achieve their goals of performance. Anyone who knows me well, children in my family and in office would agree with this statement.

It is not that I am unhappy with their achievement or feel resentful for them. I have believed that if someone achieves what was expected of them to be achieved, it doesn’t require appreciation. This belief has led me to behave the same way in my professional as well as personal life.

Lately, I have been contemplating and trying to analyse this limitation or lateral thinking and came to the conclusion that I tend to set the expectation bar higher, and this invariably happens to the task I am proficient at performing. This unanticipated subjective evaluation based on purely my yardstick may make me not a very welcomed guest in many groups.

I consider myself an observer and learner, and the same is confirmed by Clifton’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 too. I always like to observe things and analyse what is seen to find reason for observed events. I observe my office colleagues, family, and even the tranquillity of nature. It’s been a while since I have been observing this young child, entering his teens and high school. He is currently at home on vacation from school. The working parents of the child are occupied in their respective jobs which keep them occupied from morning to late evening. This means the child is practically on his own, for five days a week. Fortunately for him, he is an Indian in a western world, having advantage of Indian values and western means.

It has been a couple of months since I have observed him. They have recently moved into their new home and are still getting acquainted with and setting up services. The family is in a continuous state of planning things and how to execute them. The younger one listens attentively. He interjects with suggestions and reminders but hardly audible.

His daily routine is highly predictable. He wakes up at leisure. But as soon as he wakes up, he seems to be very oriented towards a to-do list in his mind. He is one who takes the initiative to ask what we have to do today, in a very mild way! I wonder how can a child be a motivator instead of needing to be motivated to act?

In this span of the period, I have seen him dedicatedly completing all his tasks with utmost responsibility and concern. He has completely removed the English Ivy creepers from their backyard which is quite a vast area, programmed a sprinkler system, repaired closet doors, locks and blind wands, scraped and painted the garden swing, hung a large TV on the wall and every little task he is capable of or beyond his standards. He also ensures that while having a hectic schedule of his work he gets a dose of entertainment from regular TV shows or cricket broadcasts.

Additionally, he also attends his music classes, his extra credit subjects including personal health, does his daily exercise as taught in his study material, prepares for learning Spanish as Second language in school starting now and on his own created Internet of Things by connecting all smart appliances to his mother’s phone. The list of paired devices is long.

I still wonder what is required to be such a child who takes initiative to volunteer to be the extra hand in housework and takes time for his activities and studies. I seriously cannot recall all the tasks he did in a day and am amazed by his skills and talents. And I recalled a profiling tool that helps in identifying top talent themes children are born with. I suggested he takes Clifton’s StrengthsExplorer, a tool developed by Gallup’s psychologists for profiling young children, and he did take it.

The CliftonStrengths Assessment is to discover & develop one’s greatest talents by giving an assessment test of around 170 questions that analyses you on and uses its tool to rectify your strengths. While giving the assessment, I went to their website and found that more than two hundred eight million people have taken this assessment to explore their strengths, and this has helped them in identifying their strengths.

This test result truly represents him and defines him. It described him as Competing, Caring and Achieving. I still cannot find evidence of the first one, but I am sure it will develop in the future. I can vouch for the other two being his strengths used profusely.

Today, there are almost five generations in the workforce. I am challenged everyday by people who are younger, more digitally savvy, curious, and carefree. But I look to learn from them, to add to the skills in my repertoire rather than feel threatened. Today, there’s enough said about learning, upskilling, flexibility, and agility. Take time out for yourself to learn a new skill every couple of years, no matter what. It keeps you mentally active, refreshed, and energised.

I feel every younger one deserves the chance to apply their strengths to become more engaged students and thrive at school and in all areas of their lives. Because a strengths-based approach is essential to empowering them to learn, grow, and succeed in and out of school. I wish I could also have known my talents at an early age and worked on them to grow in my professional and personal life.

Remember, A person’s greatest path to success is when they know their talents and can develop them into strengths. Feedback is a gift, see what you can take from it objectively and work towards becoming ‘A Better You.’ To know more about CliftonStrengths Assessment, you may write back to us at Inquiry@namanhr.com.

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