Good QuestionLast month I delivered a 45 minute webinar on Essential Elements of Leadership, Coaching, and Culture Development (click the link to review the archived session). This was followed by 15 minutes of audience Q & A. Here a few more good questions I wasn’t able to get to in our brief time together:

Q: Is it possible to focus on fixing the fatal flaw and also focusing on strengths?

The good news is that poor leaders can change their spots. One research study showed that 75% of leaders showed significant improvement after fixing a major weakness that was fatal to his or her effectiveness. In our Extraordinary Leader workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions we find that a successful and motivating approach for leaders is to use 360 assessment feedback on their key strengths to leverage those into addressing their fatal flaws. Steve Jobs was a great example of how towering strengths can overshadow weaknesses.

Q: What is the biggest challenge with working on organizational culture?

Getting senior executives to understand that changing “them” starts with changing “me/us.” The culture of any organization ripples out from the top team leading it. When our kids were growing up I’d sometimes see them doing something that was inappropriate or inconsistent with what we’d been teaching them. If I was really honest and looked deep into the parenting mirror I could recognize where that behavior was coming from. It clearly came from — their mother! Well, maybe I played a part too… It’s tough to see our own values and priorities being reflected back to us in the behaviors of those we lead. We’ve yet to see a successful culture change effort that didn’t start at the top with a major focus on executive team building and culture development.

Q: When you are using the strengths-based approach, do you ever discuss weaknesses during a performance review and how that person can improve upon those? What kind of approach can you use to discuss weaknesses but still using the strengths-based approach?

It’s vital to distinguish weakness from fatal flaws. If something is causing a big problem for the person who’s performance you’re reviewing than you need to focus on that. The best way to do that is through leveraging his or her strengths. This builds confidence and motivation along with a higher likelihood he or she can and will change. “Why Personal Development Plans Fail – and How to Fix It” shows the exponential power of finding the intersection of strengths, passion, and organization need. Feedforward is an emerging new approach to performance management that’s proving to be much more effective.

You can learn more about the latest research on new methods for coaching and leadership development in my upcoming webinar on Groundbreaking New Approaches to Leadership and Coaching Development.