Managing Your Strengths -20 years later
I am looking at “Managing Your Strengths” on my bookshelf and find it hard to believe that it has been 20 years since Allan Katcher and I wrote it. The book describes the Life Orientations™ (LIFO) Method that Allan had originated and developed with Stuart Atkins in the late 1960’s and 1970’s.
As organizational psychologists they were frustrated by the inability of managers to conduct value-added performance appraisals that provide constructive feedback to employees. They created LIFO™ to provide a methodology for giving non-threatening feedback and a vocabulary to aid conversations about improving interpersonal skills.
It was, and perhaps still is, a methodology that has flown below the radar of other more well-known tools. Having said that, when we wrote the book, it had already reached over 8 million people in 26 countries. By now more than 20,000 organizations have used LIFO™.
I was drawn to the LIFO™ Method because it:
-Starts from the values and goals of each individual and how they intend to achieve personal satisfaction
-Does not stereotype or label people
-Focuses on behaviors, not personalities
-Explains why a strength, if overused or used in an inappropriate situation, can become a weakness
-Describes 4 operating styles or orientations that while simply presented, offer deep insights into how to:
-Make use of one’s strengths
-Use the strengths of others to achieve common goals
-Minimize potentially inappropriate or ineffective behavior
-Get on well with people who have different behavioral styles
-Covers the connections between our intention to act in a certain way, the actual behavior we employ, and the impact of our actions
-Describes how our behaviors change when we are under stress
-Can be used in work situations and in one’s personal life. (I recall meeting a priest who was using it in his marriage counselling activities.)
Allan Katcher passed away in 2017. He was a soft-spoken man, but when he talked it was with wisdom born from experience and a keen mind. I learned a lot from him and was blessed to know and work with him. Twenty years has flown by very quickly.