When working at my national professional association, I was tasked with several different responsibilities. Responding to members and stakeholders’ requests, facilitating committees and task forces, hosting conferences, and developing position papers were primary. I loved my work because it allowed me to impact my profession from a far-reaching perspective. My position afforded me the opportunity to meet and connect with leaders, researchers, educators, and direct service providers from around the country. Because our national office was in the DC area, I was also able to meet with other allied professional groups, policy makers, regulators, and funders. Traveling was integral to my understanding and staying current about our members’ needs and expectations. My travels took me to 45 out of our 50 states. This work experience was beneficial in so many ways. I built long-lasting friendships, expanded my understanding of systems, recognized the value of outcomes, and discovered my strengths.
The discovery of my strengths began when my supervisor and I received letters from committee chairs and members after several committee meetings. While I found myself enthusiastic about working with my committees, energized by our time together, and pleased when we accomplished our goals, I had not recognized “how” I had personally contributed to the productive meetings. Over time, specific feedback from participants in my committees helped me to identify facilitation of diverse groups as a gift and strength. Here are some examples of the feedback I received.
“Pat kept a rather disparate crew on topic and goal-oriented, encouraging appropriate discussion but limiting unproductive and divergent agendas.”
“I thought it was a very productive meeting. I appreciate your outcomes-process approach and will certainly implement what I have learned from you. Your timing throughout the meeting was exquisite!”
“You gave us time to process, think out loud, and focus. Well done!”
“Pat’s ability to guide and direct such an energetic and diverse group is most impressive.”
Once I identified my strength, I began to focus on facilitation and enhancing my skills: establishing rules of engagement, clarifying meeting outcomes, listening to understand, managing the group process, staying alert to participants’ non-verbal communication, asking probing questions. Focusing on my strengths elevated my performance and results.
Since founding my company, the Outcomes Management Group, I have continued to focus on improving my strengths by incorporating new technologies, new strategies, new tools, and new knowledge. Today, when a client needs facilitation, I step confidently inside the organization, playing to my strengths, knowing that I can achieve their desired outcomes. I love bringing out the b.e.s.t. in people and organizations!
Finding my strengths, I learned:
- Sharing specific feedback when you observe people doing something productive can assist them in identifying their strengths.
- Playing to your strengths elevates performance and results.
- Strengths need continuous attention so that you remain at peak performance.