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Harnessing Your Business Superpower

August 28, 2018
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Discovering Your Superpower

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on my career path that has gotten me to this point in my life. More specifically, I’ve been focusing on what has changed in the past few years of my career and what has stayed the same since the very beginning of my career. The one thing I’ve realized has been the key to my success and has guided me as my true north is understanding my personal business superpower and making sure I am fully maximizing it.

I’ve realized that the times where I’m on a serious winning streak and performing at my very highest level is when I’m fully taking advantage of that superpower. In contrast, the times where I was not performing up to the standard I like to be, or maybe hit a lull, has been due to the fact that I’ve strayed away from that superpower and am not using it to the maximum of what I should be.

At this point, you’re probably wondering, what is your superpower?

My business superpower is… tenacity.

Definition Source is Dictionary.com

In my career, tenacity has meant that when I have a clear vision for where I am trying to go, I will outwork anyone and not stop for anything until I hit that goal.

Channeling that tenacity on the right thing and having a very clear idea of what the next step is that I need to take to get to where I want to be is when I win big. When I don’t have great clarity and don’t know the next step to pursue, I’m not as effective, and I lose some of that drive.

Guiding Your Team Towards Their Superpowers

Over the past six months or so I have been reflecting on some changes within our team at Power Digital, specifically with a few team members who were not performing at what I have seen to be their highest level. As I processed what might be going on and what could be the root cause of this, I realized that a lot of people don’t know what their superpower is. It’s funny because to me it’s very obvious when working with them what their superpower is, yet they don’t recognize it themselves. This is what I found the be an issue that I could help bring to their attention and get them back on a super successful path.

To draw this out in someone, it’s a matter of introspectively analyzing your greatest strengths and assets and I’ve found that just by guiding and helping them realize what that business superpower is gives a deeper level of clarity to them, where they recognize the one thing that truly makes them successful and is a skill set they already thrive at. When they have this superpower top of mind, that is when the opportunity to win big happens.

I want to share with you two very specific examples of this idea of harnessing your superpower with two of my favorite team members at Power Digital, with whom I ran through the discovery and harnessing process with and saw huge changes. These two team members have also historically been the most successful but each one fell into a little bit of a rut. Fortunately, they each have great self-awareness, and both of these team members along with myself realized they weren’t performing at a standard they or I wanted them to be at.

They had hit this plateau out of nowhere, after being on a huge trajectory, and we needed to bring them back up to the path they were on before.

We spent time talking through this, and because of their great self-awareness, it was easier to coach them and work with them on getting through this. After a few one-on-one meetings, one day it just hit me and I realized that both of them had moved into roles where they had completely strayed away from using their superpower. In response to this, we realized that we needed to reposition their roles to focus more on their superpower. Funny enough, now they are right back on track and continuing up the trajectory they were once on.

The reason I am sharing these stories is because this is something that you should be able to identify within your team, and even more so, help them recognize it about themselves.

Let’s take a look at the first team member…

Team Member #1: Their Superpower is Their Hustle

For this person, their superpower has always been that they will outwork everybody else. I can relate to this a lot, because early in my career I lacked a number of different skill sets that other people had because I was young and fresh out of college, but I didn’t let it set me back because I would outwork everyone else. When it comes down to it, it’s your hustle and work ethic that matter. One of my mantras when hiring people for Power Digital, is that you can train someone on a skill, but you can’t teach work ethic, you either have it or you don’t.

The challenge with this superpower, is that when a young professional at a millennial marketing agency like Power Digital gets older and progresses further in their career, they don’t always want to work harder than everyone else.

As we progress in our careers we want more responsibility, we want to be more strategic and high-level thinkers, but we don’t necessarily want to be the producer or workhorse that helped us get to where we are today. It’s a matter of having stamina and not getting burnt out.

However, the thing to keep in mind is that if you’re not getting the results you want, you always have that hustle as your superpower that you can lean back on when you need to. Reigniting it, rather than refusing to go back to that level of effort (or even forgetting that you have that power to work harder than anyone else), will be in your back pocket and will get you to where you want to go.

It took guidance as well as some self-reflection on the part of this team member to get them to lean in on their superpower over the past few months. After coasting and not getting great results, channeling this inner hustle has given back their confidence, excitement, and even leadership skills. The result has been proven with dominating their workflow and being a major standout team player as we’re heading into Q4 of 2018.

Now, let’s take a look at a very different superpower, which I found in the other team member.

Team Member #2: Their Superpower is Excitement, Energy, and Passion

This team member is one where the excitement they bring to their work is absolutely contagious for the rest of the company. They bring a fire where anything they are involved with is exciting to them, the team, and even the clients themselves. This superpower is valuable to them when it comes to their work and clients, but also has a very big impact on the organization as a whole in a very positive way.

With this person, as their role shifted and evolved, they moved into a new role where they didn’t have that same level of excitement and passion, so that superpower faded and as a result their performance and overall impact on the organization also faded.

Again, we met on this and reflected to try and find a way to bring back that fire. Ultimately, we re-transitioned this person’s role back into a position that they had that fire and passion for, working on projects they loved and were excited about and where they truly thrived.

Within weeks of this transition, we could tell that this was 100 percent the right call. We reflected on the excitement that this brought the team member and since then this person has truly flourished, their team has flourished, and they are back on a powerful track within the company as a whole.

Moral of The Story…

The moral of the story for me when I look at both myself and the progress with these two team members, is that it’s easy to be put in a role where your superpower is negated or where you stray away from it.

My suggestion is both individually to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “what is my superpower and how do I best use it?” and if you have a team member who is struggling, help them realize their superpower and figure out how he or she can harness it more effectively to be able to perform at their top capability.

It’s also important to understand that you can grow additional superpowers.

Just like in baseball where there are the “five-tool players,” there’s a lot of players that start off with only three of those tools. The same principle applies in business. Some team members have a few superpowers to start, but through growth and coaching, they can learn to develop others. It’s this coaching, training, and international effort that helps grow additional superpowers.

Here’s a list of some other superpowers and types of people that I recognize within our team at Power Digital. When it comes to growing a business and building a team, the key is to recruit and develop people who have these different superpowers because this makes an even more powerful unit. Some of these are pretty self-explanatory, but make a big impact on client work, company culture, and overall work-life happiness.

  • Technical Guru: this person can solve any technical problem. I personally don’t have this superpower, but we have team members who have this and it’s super important to our business as they are tapped daily when things come up that require a technical eye.
  • Relationship Master: this person fosters great relationships with clients, with team members, and with vendors.
  • Problem Solver: we actually just created an “award” for this at Power Digital when we kicked off the second half of the year. We call it the FITFO award, which stands for “Figure It The F Out” and is was awarded to the team members who figure things out with little direction and get to the bottom of it. These types of problem solvers and critical thinkers help keep our clients happy.
  • Recruiter and Ambassador: this person is always on the lookout to bring in A players and top talent. It’s super important to have key players like this because we always want to be searching for the next rockstar to join the team and bring a new and different perspective.
  • The Creative: this person is an outside-the-box thinker and comes up with clever and cutting-edge ideas. We find this a lot on our design and web development teams, but it also comes into play in so many of the other channels, which is why it’s critical to have at least one of these super creative people on every team.
  • Glue – this person holds things together and is willing to do whatever it takes for the team. This person also doesn’t need a ton of recognition because they don’t have a big ego, they simply hold things together.
  • The Confidant – this is the person who everyone opens up to. Whether its a newer team member needing guidance or direction, or an internal conflict needing an outside perspective, this person is a go-to for advice.
  • Reliability – in business, this is something I wish every single person had, but some definitely excel at this more than others. When you are working on a project with this person you know it will get done and they will hold themself personally accountable without having to follow up.
  • The Hustler – as we discussed above, this is the workhorse who manages a ton of workflow and is willing to put in the time and effort to get it done.
  • The Finesser – this is a unique superpower that not everyone has. It’s someone who has great patience and knows how to communicate calmly and appropriately, even when dealing with tough situations.
  • The Coach – this person can get the best out of other team members and help them learn and become the best at what they do. The goal of the coach is to train up your mentees to be even better than you are; that’s when you know you’ve succeeded.
  • The Organizer – this person can keep everyone aligned and accountable and is super organized. Our top account managers possess this superpower.
  • The Speed Demon – the person who can do things in a fraction of the time anyone else can but still at a very high quality.
  • The Utility Player – you can put this person in almost any situation or position and they can play that role at any given time.

These are just some examples when I reflect on our team and what I think makes us so great. In business books and podcasts, you read and hear a lot about the Visionary, who has the grandiose ideas, and then you hear about the Implementer who has the clear plan to get there. Those are another two superpowers that I recognize as working well together to balance out the other.

Superpowers are Useless if You Don’t Know Yours

Like I said before, I would encourage all of you to look in the mirror today and ask yourself what is your superpower and what are two or three qualities in yourself that you can foster and work on so you can become the three-tool or five-tool player. You should even write those down and put them on your monitor in your office or at your desk so you have them in front of you at all times. That will help you intentionally strive towards bettering them.

If you are a manager and mentor, look into your team and ask yourself if you have your team members in roles that cater towards their superpowers.

If you do, they are probably the team members who are rocking and super successful, and if they are not in that role, they are probably not delivering at the level you want them to be at. It could be a very easy switch if you can guide them back to using that superpower.

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