Last week, I reflected on whether by appreciating STRENGTHS we failed to appreciate the individual or the community in all of their diversity. Here are some thoughts that have been developing during the week.
I wish that I had learned many years ago about the power of appreciating strengths. I think that it is fair to say that it has transformed my life. I want to be clear about how I understand the idea. It is not that I move away from analysing weaknesses. It is not that I seek to balance the analysis of strengths and weaknesses. Within the context of SALT, I ignore weaknesses. I turn my back on them.
I think that I have 2 reasons for what may seem to be an extreme approach.
First of all, we appreciate strengths in an individual or a community in order to stimulate a response. To put it more bluntly, we appreciate strengths so that people take action. Here is a remarkable thing that I have understood over the last 5 years. We are usually very much aware of our weaknesses, but, very frequently, we are unaware of our strengths. Once we are made aware of our strengths, we can immediately take action based on those strengths to improve our situation. (When our weaknesses are presented to us, the first thing that we have to do is to improve on that weakness and that does NOT improve our situation.)
But there is another reason that has become clearer to me during this week. I think that within the context of SALT, we are failing to appreciate the community or the individual in all their glory. But when we consider SALT within the context of the Community Life Competence Process, there is a balance between strengths and weaknesses that I now appreciate. Within SALT, we appreciate strengths and we stimulate action based on those strengths. Within the Self Assessment, the community carries out its own analysis of its strengths AND weaknesses. It then defines an action plan based on its dream and its own assessment of its capacities. The full spectrum of talents is used with the Life Competence Process. I find this balance between strengths and weaknesses beautiful.