Thursday, January 04, 2007

Unique Ability

Yesterday I spent the afternoon identifying my Unique Ability as part of an exercise at work. We are doing a course to improve our management skills and this was session three. To begin, we had to contact friends and family and ask what they thought our strengths were. We also completed an on-line quiz. The best case scenario is that both sets of answers are relatively similar or else you see yourself very differently to how others see you. Thankfully, similar nice comments came in from my sister, sister in law, husband and friend.

So we had a big long session with our advisor lady yesterday to identify our Unique Ability. The idea would be that you try to ensure that the majority of the work you do each day utilises your Unique Ability which means that you enjoy what you do and get the most out of what you do. It's not unique for you unless it meets the 4 criteria below:

1. It is a superior ability that other people notice and value (which is why we had to ask people)
2. You are passionate about using it and want to use it as much as possible (time passes more quickly when you are doing certain things)
3. It's energising both for you and others around you
4. There is a sense of never ending improvement - you keep getting better and better and never run out of possibilities of growth

We had to go though a list of all the characteristics people had listed for us and pick the ones we thought fitted in most with the 4 points above.The idea is that you would be narrowed down to two or three and it's from them that you compile your Unique Ability. We found that some things - like reliability, are inate and so not really an ability as much as just the way things are. It's not something you would be passionate about but it is a defining characteristic.

My top three were ideation (coming up with ideas), creativity and practical so my Unique Ability Statement has worked out as ' My unique ability is the ability to generate and translate ideas into a creative but practical solution'.

Your UA must be relevant to everything in life, from cooking a meal, washing a car, or completing a project.....not just job related. I thought it was interesting because my train of thought would usually be 'that's a good idea, how could I do that in an interesting way, hmmm, maybe not very practical - what about this as a more practical way of doing it' so even buying the kettle for my MIL at Christmas was - I know where i can get a kettle, wow, a green kettle would be v. cool, but she doesn't like the whistle and it's not very big, ok so, a big silver kettle in the same shop would be a better idea.....

I didn't think it was particularly unique, but one of the points she made is that your Unique Ability is something so natural to you that you assume everyone can do it, because it comes so easy to you. Interesting!

The book we used to help identify our strengths is 'Now, Discover your Strengths' by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O Clifton. When you get the book you enter a code on the back into a website which gives you an on-line test to identify your strengths.

Interesting times....and good at the beginning of the new year!

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