Grammar Friday

man_question_markToday’s two grammar tips:

  • You don’t “pour” over information, you “pore” over it. The verb “pore,” with the meaning “examine closely,” may derive from two Old English words, a verb, spyrian, meaning “to investigate, examine,” and a noun, spor, meaning “a trace, vestige.” I think of it as getting down into the very pores of a subject.
  • Some words in the English language are so overused that we don’t notice that they are incorrect or don’t even exist. A perfect example is “irregardless.” There is no such word as “irregardless” because “regardless” already means “without regard.” The -ir prefix is redundant. How about “irrespective”? It means “without respect for.” “Regardless” has the idea of ignoring something to which you should have paid attention, while “irrespective” is dismissing something to which you had no need to pay attention. (Subtle, huh? Chime in if you have a better way to explain “irrespective.”)

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Humor Thursday

Noise to Signal Cartoon

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Improve your weaknesses, or build on your strengths?

strengthsfinderWhen you evaluate yourself, or the performance of an employee, you probably spend at least some time reviewing “Areas for Improvement,” as it used to be called on evaluation forms used by companies I’ve worked for. There’s a whole school of thought, however, that says everyone – including your company – would be better off by emphasizing strengths and finding ways to help yourself or your employee build on them.

“It takes far more energy and work to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence,” said management guru Peter Drucker. “Energy, resources and time should go instead to making a competent person into a star performer.”

In the late 1990s, this notion blossomed into the Strengths Movement, which is dedicated to encouraging both businesses and educational institutions to help people find and develop their strengths. This makes a lot of sense to me intuitively, and there’s an increasing body of research showing the effectiveness of such an approach.

I became intrigued enough by the idea to spend some time reading Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. The book spends a little time discussing the Strengths Movement, but most of it is devoted to reviewing 34 strength areas and providing ideas about how to develop those strengths.

So, how do you know what strengths you have? If you buy the hard copy of the book (not the Kindle version!), you’ll receive a code that can be used one time to take a strengths evaluation assessment online. I did it, and if you’re at all curious, I’d urge you to do so as well.

Want to know what my strengths are? Take the test, drop me an email, and I’ll share mine with you if you’ll share yours with me. It could be a good way to get to know each other!

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