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Daily Leadership Thought #132 – Identify And Cultivate What Makes You Special

May 5, 2011

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We all have something unique that makes us special. The Gallup Organization claims that everyone has special talents they can do better than 10,000 other people. The key is to find out what this talent/ability/characteristic is and then tap into it. I’ve heard other thought leaders refer to this as your uniqueability. Organizations are no different than people. There is always something special about a high-performing business or nonprofit that makes them who they are and good at what they do. Once you know why you are unique then further invest in and cultivate this attribute; elevate it to its deserved status.

If you are struggling with identifying your uniqueability, then ask your colleagues, employees, clients, employees, vendors, and partners. Themes will emerge and the story will begin to tell itself. Then filter these themes by asking questions like the following: So, what? What real difference does it make? Are we really that different from our competition? Why does it matter? Can we quantify the impact? Eventually, a handful of items will pass the test and more comparative filtering will be required to get to the one powerful item. Once you’ve identified the most significant attribute then ask what more could be done to grow and leverage this asset.

Like people, too many organizations (and people) try to be what they are not or what they think they should be rather than embracing who they are. Gallup calls this “trying to put in what God left out.” It’s a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to mediocrity, frustration, and disappointment. You must have the natural potential to be great or exceptional at something. For example, I will never be a top-notch marathon runner even if I wanted to because it is not physically possible for me. Embrace who you are, invest in it, and positive things will organically happen! The good news is that we are all special in some way.