I remember feeling beyond proud on Thursday 26 July 2007, to see my amazing Mum and co-director, Lyn Bicker interviewed on live TV for Sky News.
We'd run a leadership survey around Gordon Brown’s new premiership, and Lyn was to be interviewed by Sky News about the impact of the PM's first 28 days in office.
I can still feel the nervous energy and excitement there was in the business that day, and remember how none of us – including Lyn – were actually told that she would be live on TV until the last seconds before she went on air.
We all clapped and whooped at the end of the piece, excited to have our business represented on such a global stage, and so proud of Lyn; especially as she had actually requested that our PR guy get her a radio interview…
And then last week, as I finished drafting the copy for our First 100 Days coaching package – an approach honed by our Senior Coach Jackie Smith, over many years of working with senior leaders, new in post, and with new responsibilities – I remembered Lyn’s sage advice for Mr Brown.
Here’s the clip:
It’s funny how the clip feels dated already, just seven and a half years on. And yet what shines through as oh-so-relevant, still now, is this critical message:
"Play to your strengths. Cover off your weaknesses."
Permission to play, full out?
Playing to your strengths is something that senior leaders don’t always give themselves permission to do. Does that chime with you?
But Lyn was spot on, as ever: knowing your strengths, and majoring on them, is the key to success in any leadership role.
When you're launching yourself into the first 100 days of a significant new challenge, there’s a huge need to prioritise and achieve some early wins, because those first days in post will undoubtedly be the measure of your success. It’s when you’ll need to make strong alliances, build relationships, set boundaries, and establish ways of working. You’ll be setting direction.
Being an all rounder won’t help you here. But your strengths definitely will.
In the words of Marshall Goldsmith, chances are what got you here won’t get you there: "The habits you've gained so far in your career - often precisely those habits which have brought you success - are now delaying your progress. You're succeeding despite them, not because of them."
To be successful in any new phase of our careers, all of us have to be prepared to leave behind what we’ve always done, and establish new ways of working that capitalize on our strengths.
What are your strengths?
Could you use the support of a strategic thinking ally, like Jackie, to help you pinpoint the strengths you could be making more of?
Do you need tools, suggestions, strategies, and straight-talking objective feedback?
Would coaching support help you squeeze some serious impact from the next 100 days in your role? Or perhaps you have a team member who has just picked up a new challenge, and needs to make their mark?
Take a look at our First 100 Days coaching package; it’s a tried-and-tested formula that will support you to make your first 100 Days count – whether you’re heading up a new project, or the British Government.
Over to you
Have you already explored, uncovered, and started working with your strengths as part of your own leadership development? What has the impact been, on your performance and outcomes? Come on over to Twitter and let us know.
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