Home Get-it-out-the-Door Nominated as 25th Strength

Get-it-out-the-Door Nominated as 25th Strength

written by Margaret Greenberg July 14, 2009

Margaret Greenberg, MAPP '06, is co-author of Profit from the Positive. After a 15-year career in corporate HR, she founded The Greenberg Group, an organizational effectiveness consulting practice, in 1997. Margaret specializes in coaching executives and their teams using a strengths-based approach. Full bio.

Margaret's solo articles are here and her articles with Senia Maymin are here.



Open Door

Out the Door

I nominate Get-it-out-the-Door as the 25th Strength. People who possess this strength get stuff done. They can be thought of as the great implementers of ideas.

While it could be said that this strength is subsumed under Persistence, I believe it is deserving of its own place among the other twenty-four strengths. Wherever people have work to finish or a product to deliver, there is a tension between making it better and getting it done. People with this strength are able to strike a balance between producing high quality work and knowing when things are good enough. A Get-it-out-the-Door person knows when to say, “It’s ready. I could work on this for another five hours (or years), but I’m proud of the state it is in now and I’m ready to get it out the door.”

Let’s look at some of the ten criteria that Peterson and Seligman use in their book Character Strengths and Virtues to see if, in fact, Get-it-out-the-Door measures up.

Distinctive and Stable

Isaac Asimov Writing

Isaac Asimov Writing

Criterion 5 Traitlike – Does this strength show a degree of stability and generality? I believe it does. Just look at the number of paintings, books, concertos, or CDs that certain artists produced in their lifetime. Isaac Asimov has more than 250 books to his credit. Richard Rogers wrote and published more than 900 songs and 40 Broadway musicals. And Rembrandt produced over 600 paintings, 1,400 drawings, and 300 etchings! If we look to contemporary artists we find the “greatest rock and roll band,” The Rolling Stones, have produced 47 albums and they’re not dead yet!

Criterion 6 Distinctiveness – Does this character strength collapse into another character strength? Erik Erikson proposed that certain strengths are prerequisites or foundations for other strengths. I believe the strength, Get-it-out-the-Door, is very related to Persistence, sticking to things when they get difficult. However, people may persist too long. Many people finish what they start, but they often take a lifetime to do it and often their works are only recognized posthumously, such as French painter Gauguin. People who possess the strength Get-it-out-the-Door are able to translate their ideas into something tangible in a reasonable period of time. To me, that is a real strength.

Who Has This Strength and Who Doesn’t?

DaVinci Sketches

Da Vinci Sketches

Criterion 7 Paragons – Paragons of Get-It-Out-the-Door can be found in almost every profession. In the literary world I think of great writers such as Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, and Toni Morrison who possess this strength. When I think of great painters with this strength I think of the Dutch Masters from the Golden Age, the likes of Rembrandt, Hals, Steen, and Vermeer. In the span of just 100 years these Dutch painters, who are admired to this day, produced thousands of paintings! Let’s not forget Leonardo Da Vinci – who not only was a prolific artist, but an experimental scientist – or Michelangelo who produced paintings, sculptures, architecture and poetry. Lastly, I think of musicians who are also able to get their work out the door: from the Baroque period we have Johann Sebastian Bach; from the Classical period we have Ludwig Van Beethoven; and from the Blues period we have Johnny Lee Hooker.

Criterion 9 Selective Absence – Yes, I believe Get-it-out-the-Door is indeed missing from many people. For some, like Van Gogh, their work is only recognized after their death because they didn’t Get-it-out-the Door. In our everyday lives there are people who always talk a good game, but never seem to leave that boring job, start their own business, write that book, or patent that really cool idea. Phrases like “He squandered his talents” or “She has analysis-paralysis” are two other ways we often characterize its absence.

How Is This Strength Encouraged?

Out the Door to the Sky

Out the Door to the Sky

Criterion 10 Institutions and Rituals – There are many examples of how this strength is encouraged by society. For example, in the literary field, there are “how to” books such the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published. A Google search for writer support groups produced more than 34 million hits! The one I thought was most original was Phinished.org – a support group for students who cannot seem to finish their dissertation.

Get-it-out-the-Door may not be sexy or lofty, but it is practical and it does pay the bills for many of us. In fact this article is a testament to this strength. Why? Because I had to get this article out-the-door while juggling a business trip, book writing, and family commitments. I must confess there is nothing quite like hitting that “send” button.

I would love to hear who you believe possesses the Get-it-out-Door strength in the business world. 
 


 

References:

Erikson, E. (1963). Childhood and Society, 2nd edition. New York: Norton.

Peterson, C. & Seligman, M. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. Oxford: Oxford University Press. See page 202.

Images
Out the door – winter scene – courtesy of Hamed Saber
Isaac Asimov — from an article titled Science fiction novelists reveal their daily writing routines by Lauren Davis
Leonardo Da Vinci Helicopter and Lifting Wing sketches from Wikimedia Commons
Out the door to the sky – Puerto al Cielo – courtesy of L*u*z*a*

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