Monday, June 9, 2008

Story Telling

I am trying to find out my real strengths following the framework of Marcus Buckingham's work. I started to think that my strength is writing because I like to write especially to make sense of things. A strength is defined as something one does well repeatedly with enjoyment. So I think writing fits into that category. But essentially it was done outside my working life although I have had some opportunities to apply at work. Basically to write a company news letter, memos, reports and functional specification. Not really an exciting or significant achievement. I enjoy writing more as a journal writer and, recently, as a blogger.

But is it really a strength or just a skill? I guess writing allows me to sort out my thoughts, make sense of changes by providing a narrative which I easily adapt to as part of one's so-called accessibility to story telling. So it's a tool of one's mind as a way of organizing information. So adaptability may be a strength with blogging and mind-mapping as skills that help make this strength viable. This may help me also to get things done which is something I love doing and reflects my project management work. So other skills like public speaking and communication also are supplementary skills into to my supposed 'talent' of getting things done.

Strangely I also realized that I am not structured in the organized way that my work requires me to. I have difficulty following strict rules in project management using standard software and tools and processes required from my profession. Instead I prefer to proceed instinctively, assessing the situation on the ground and responding based on the circumstances at hand. Project management at the set of the pants so to speak. So I am not well organized from this perspective although I seem to get things done despite these shortcomings. I just do not rate well with the management team who require this formal 'appearance' of structure, discipline and organization. Getting things done in my manner is more messy and reflect an older age where project management tools where not known yet.

So where does that lead me? I seem to enjoy working with people, discussing issues with them and solving problem. I also like the process of orchestrating the different tasks with different teams to get thing done. All in the 'set of the pants', intuitive method. So working on formal, project management processes like getting PMP - certified is not really for me because it's a weakness that I should not focus on. Following Marcus Buckingham diagnosis, I should only focus on working on my strengths and things I enjoy. Hence, am I wasting my time continuing with my PMP certification and attending Toastmasters?

I guess these are just skills and knowledge that I must have just to stay in the game. Not really a talent that I possess but part of the areas I need to be aware of to survive in my work. So if my talent is on 'getting things done', what then are my strengths following the strength finder methodology? Perhaps it is in Relating (Communication, Harmony and Relator), Striving (Achiever, Adaptability) and Thinking (Analytical, Futuristic and Ideation). As I have not really taken the tests, I guess my next step is to find out how to apply these so-called 'themes' into my work life. Buckingham's work has shifted my understanding of myself and opened a new direction for me to increase my self awareness. A good way to grow and look for a new career or direction towards strengths.

So I guess the question now: is writing a strength of mine? I have never done any formal writing except in personal journals and I agree it's just a skill. A talent in being an author requires a wider set of skills which I realized when listeing to Ayn Rand's 'The Art of Fiction' last week. I never actually focused on them and instead just wrote my journals to experience the joy of writing and organize my thoughts which are really exercises to adapt to my situation. So I guess I need to learn more about these other writing skills if I am serious in these pursuit.

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