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Threedom Solutions - Inspiring people, improving performance


Author: Michelle Fitzsimons

For years we've worked with competencies in business, which by definition means adequate. Who wants to be seen or known as competent or adequate?

Thanks to the power of google you can find many definitions of the word competent, some more inspiring than others but they all imply adequate rather than exceptional.

For years we have worked with competencies in businesses that define the required competencies, developing complex systems for assessing competencies and striving to demonstrate they possess said competencies. Not highly competent – just competent. At Threedom we find that quite demotivating and far from a compliment. We don’t want to be competent we want to be exceptional and we want you to be exceptional too.

Many of us are competent at many things just to ensure the prevention of failure. To give an example Janie is notoriously disinterested in detail. On her strengthscope profile it is her lowest score. Traditionally, in the way we have assessed and developed people that kind of result would indicate a lack of competence, therefore a risk and something she should work on to improve which would prevent failure. It wouldn’t set her world on fire though. It wouldn’t motivate her to apply herself to work harder and achieve great results. At best it would motivate her by fear, which in case anyone still employs that tactic, isn’t sustainable.

So, what can we do with Janie and her lack of attention to detail?

A low score in a strengthscope profile doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t do something.  Janie’s low result for detail orientation doesn’t mean she is incapable, it means it drains her of energy. It takes much more effort for her to work in the detail than it does to solve problems creatively.

There are ways around it:

  1.  Own it – Janie will not hide, in fact she publicises, her lack of interest in detail. This makes it OK for people to ask for more when they need it.
  2. Choose her tasks carefully – when there is no escape you will find her working on the detail when she is at her best. We all have a time in the day when we operate at our most effective and times when we are easily distracted. Don’t try working with your energy drainers at a time when your motivation is already low.
  3. Collaborate – one of Janie’s strengths- she will ask for help, usually from someone who has high detail orientation as they are likely to enjoy it.
  4. Reframe it – we have already said it isn’t that she cannot process detail it is that it doesn’t energise her. Reframing a task to be more in line with her strengths makes the detail more interesting. It might be developing others – how will the detail help someone else? Or her empathy – how is her lack of detail impacting someone else?
  5. Listen if she challenges – people who have high scores in detail orientation in their strengths profile will often ask for or give detail when it isn’t always required. Getting a compromise can deliver great results efficiently.

If you’ve got the chance to work with someone who values what you value, and has a desire for the same goals and outcomes as you, but they don’t work quite as you do or as you’d expect, recognise the gift that, that is. Between you, you will sidetrack competent, you will challenge, create and explore far more from embracing your strengths together, an exceptional match with exceptional outcomes.


If you’d like to learn more about our strengths based development. You can read more about it here or better still get in touch

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