Posted on Jul 05, 2021
Who doesn’t enjoy a spirited motivational speech or demonstration? Who loves going out and doing something that you can do well? People are inspired by strength of character, morals, talent and skills, so why in a service-based, member organisation such as Rotary do we spend time searching for our weaknesses?

There are often enough people in your workplace or at home fixated and reminding you of your perceived weaknesses and what you need to do (in their opinion) to lessen them. Often, they want you to fit into a role description, without flamboyancy and opportunity to push the limits.

But in Rotary, to better motivate people, we must now be progressive and look at their strengths; this is particularly important to Millennials who thrive on recognition. Gallup research indicates people working in their strengths zone look forward to putting in the effort, have more positive interactions with their peers and treat others involved (such as beneficiaries and benefactors) better. People in this zone proudly tell their friends they are part of a great organisation, achieve more daily, and have more positive and innovative moments. All areas that provide for excellent quality of life and pride in one's work and contributions.

Strengths develop from our talents through experiences, skill building, coaching and feedback – your personal development of vision, communication, organisation, leadership and positive lifestyle are talents that develop over time to shape your strategic thinking, relationship building, influencing and executing. (Clifton StrengthsFinder - Don Clifton). Clifton said, “what will happen when we think about what is right with people, rather than fixating on what is wrong with them?” He also believed that weakness filing prevented failure where strengths building led to success.

People gain greater self-confidence and self-awareness, an improved understanding of others, greater collaboration, renewed joy in their work and a different perspective in how they can approach their work.

So how does this relate to your experience in Rotary?

Rotary (and many other service-based and non-profit organisations) lets you explore talents that your workplace may not allow for or facilitate. An accountant can engage in information technology or marketing; a sole trader can be President of a club; an office worker can be a Treasurer; most importantly we ALL as members of a Rotary club can be ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things’ through our service opportunities.

We don’t need to dwell on our club's or members' weaknesses – let us manage and explore the many and varied strengths of our members to provide the opportunity for the elements of human behaviour that may not be possible in their workplace to be better used. Maybe it is what some members need to maintain their membership, maybe it will ignite some passion amongst your club as new opportunities develop from their strengths.

There are 34 themes in the StrengthsFinder framework; imagine what success, growth, innovation and engagement you could achieve through knowing and applying your dominant strengths – starting, experimenting and learning in the safety and hopefully with the support of your club – allow Rotary and your members to Be The Inspiration, Open Opportunities and Serve To Change Lives. .
– Article By Carol Coffey