Everyone has a unique quality or skill that helps them find success in various avenues of life. Whether it is organizing, problem solving, or efficiency, you are probably already applying critical business skills to many of your professional endeavors. As the Founder of a consulting company, Carol Ann Korpi has helped start-ups identify their strengths to build strong businesses from the ground up. While many businesses approach growth by pinpointing their weaknesses, Carol Ann Korpi explains that identifying their strengths is often a more productive place to start. Carol Ann Korpi is the CEO of CA Consults and is here to help you identify your natural skills and talents to help your business thrive.
Most critical feedback accentuates the negative — the mistakes, weaknesses, and failings. Carol Ann Korpi explains that corrective feedback has its place; however, it is unlikely to build confidence in your employees, colleagues, and even in yourself. As Einstein once said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Everyone is great at something, and if you only focus on your weaknesses, you take time and energy away from building on your strengths.
Obtain Critical Feedback
The first step in identifying your strengths is to ask others for their feedback. It can be challenging to objectively identify your own strengths, so Carol Ann Korpi suggests asking trusted colleagues, friends, and families to help you. Ask people to write down three things they think you do well, including specific examples of when they have seen that behavior being exhibited. The more people you are able to ask, the better. However, Carol Ann Korpi suggests choosing people whose opinions you value and trust.
Once you have received this feedback, you can now start identifying patterns. In certain cases, you may find that you had completely forgotten about examples provided by the respondents. In others, you may not have instinctively identified certain examples as strengths. Carol Ann Korpi explains that being able to visually see your positive qualities on paper can help guide you towards a solid understanding of who you are, what you are capable of, and what direction you need to move in. She explains that a strong sense of self is crucial for anyone wanting to build, grow, and sustain their business.
Develop a Comprehensive Plan
The next step is in distilling this information into a written ‘self-portrait’. Being able to convert all of the feedback you have received into a written portrait will help guide future actions and provide you with a more concise vision of where your strengths lie. Carol Ann Korpi explains that this process will help you draw connections between themes in your life that you may have previously assumed were disjointed or unrelated. You may want to hone in on keywords provided by the respondents. Carol Ann Korpi encourages you to send this concrete ‘self-portrait’ to the original respondents to make sure you have hit the nail on the head.
Re-Evaluate Your Business Model
Once you have gone through this process, you can now re-evaluate your business plan, and how each strength can be used to achieve better results. For example, if you have identified communication and public speaking as a strength, you may want to shift your focus to in-person meetings, seminars, and connecting with your clients one-on-one. If you have identified collaboration as a strength, you may want to shift your focus to team brainstorms, collaborative work sessions, and new partnerships. No matter how well you think you might know yourself, Carol Ann Korpi explains that this exercise can benefit even the most seasoned entrepreneurs.