Know Thyself: Playing to My Strengths
Updated: Jul 5, 2020
My team has freed me up considerably over the past quarter, even with the chaos that COVID-19 has created. Specifically, my partner and our COO have taken a ton of responsibilities off of my plate and while I thought they would feel burdened from the increase in their scope of responsibility, it’s been quite the opposite. We are each operating more in our natural zones of excellence which means we’re simultaneously getting lots done and enjoying the journey. This newfound lack of day-to-day responsibility has allowed me to reflect on the past few years, my personal strengths and weaknesses, and where I see myself over the next few years.
My reflections have led to some interesting insights. For the first time in my professional life, I’ve quit trying to be “good at everything”, which was always a losing battle.
“What if,” I began to wonder, “I have a unique skillset and I should lean into my strengths and find ways to work around my weaknesses? What if it’s okay to delegate the things I’m not suited for? What would it look like if I showed up daily and did the things I was uniquely capable of doing?”
Combining reflection with feedback from my team, the below list summarizes my key personal takeaways from the past quarter.
Management is not my forte / I greatly enjoy leadership
Structure and routine can be stifling / I enjoy solving novel problems
I get bored easily / I find change invigorating
Patience is not my strong suit / I thrive in fast-paced environments
Others enjoy the work I do not and vice versa.
Understand Yourself in Relation to Others
Possibly the most interesting lesson that I’ve finally learned is that others truly enjoy the things I dread. You could say that I’m obsessed with understanding myself, others, and the world at large. This obsession led me to going for a neuropsychological evaluation to better understand myself. While receiving the results of the tests were interesting (unfortunately, I found out I’m far from a genius), the psychologist, no fault of his own, did not provide me with the answers I was looking for. I was hoping that the battery of tests would give lasting insights into how I relate with others, especially in the professional capacity. Over the past few months I've gained a much better understanding of how to play to my natural strengths and help others play to theirs.
At Green Hill
The leadership versus management paradigm has been at the forefront of my mind and has been a consistent topic of conversation. During the start-up phase, it was all hands on deck for pretty much every decision, project, and initiative; however, things have started to stabilize which means systems replace mania and routines replace chaos. I'm really, really bad at managing systems, processes, and at holding myself accountable to daily routines. On the flip side, I love being intimately involved in strategic planning, complex decision making, and the nebulous idea of building a conscious culture. My appetite for change and my risk tolerance make me a great leader but my impatience and my desire to reconceptualize operations make me a subpar manager of day-to-day operations. Q2 was a turning point for my work at Green Hill -- I started focusing on leadership (strategic planning, communicating the vision, and providing mentorship), building and managing a conscious culture, and I largely took my hands off the daily operations. As I lean more into the leadership role, I'm working with the leadership team and my partner to align us with our natural strengths.
On the Horizon
Having removed myself from the proverbial weeds, I’m looking for my next challenge -- Green Hill and beyond. We’ve recruited a number of team members, and we’re poised to grow into a larger office and add additional housing, not to mention the plethora of opportunities in the virtual space. I’m going to be dedicating a significant amount of time to building a culture based on the concepts of “conscious leadership” and “conscious capitalism”, which is quite fulfilling. The rest of 2020 is going to be quite an adventure for Green Hill.
Apart from Green Hill, I’m getting involved in a couple other projects. It’s been interesting to see my decision making improve as I start to diversify the contents of my thoughts in the professional realm. As I begin working on a few additional projects, it’s clear to me that I was too emotionally involved in the day-to-day ups and downs of Green Hill, which only distracted me from operating in my “zone.” I’m looking forward to sharing more about the new opportunities as they materialize.
Pandemic aside, I’ve never been happier or more excited to see what the future holds.