In Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky talks about master storyteller Jay O’Callahan and the workshops he would conduct. Following each participant’s presentation, the other participants would, in turn, talk about the things they appreciated most about the presentation they had just heard. “Appreciations” provides feedback which focuses on the strengths of the presentation rather than the weaknesses.
Belsky said of his own experience in O’Callahan’s workshop, “And I noticed that a natural recalibration happens when you commend someone’s strengths: their weaknesses are lessened as their strengths are emphasized. As my storytelling compatriots recounted their stories a second and third time, the points of weakness withered away naturally as the most beautiful parts became stronger.” (page 197)In a post called “Play From Your Strengths,” I talk about authors such as John Maxwell and Peter Drucker whose philosophies are much the same as what Belsky articulated. In a society that tends to focus on shoring up weaknesses, here is a philosophy which asks us to focus on taking what is strong and make it stronger.
What would happen if we spent more time focusing on our strengths? Would we be better off? Or, are we escaping reality? What do you think?