Play to YOUR Strengths
How often have you invested in a personal growth or self development training to try to improve something you felt you were not good at? Maybe it was marketing, sales, or public speaking.
For most of us, trying to improve our weak areas in operating or managing our business comes with the territory. Whatever the area might be, we feel like we’re battling with what we don’t do well.
As it turns out, the majority of people around the world feel this way. In the book Now, Discover Your Strengths, (excellent book BTW) authors Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton say that across all ages and cultures, people are more concerned about their weaknesses than their strengths.
We believe that our weaknesses matter more in holding us back than our strengths matter in moving us forward. Buckingham and Clifton say that’s nonsense. Their theory suggests that the better strategy is to play to our strengths, building our core talents, and working around our weaknesses.
You can work to add skills and knowledge to improve your performance in any area. But unless you’re building upon one of your natural talents, your efforts won’t produce exceptional results—some results, but not a dramatic improvement.
“Unless you have the necessary talent, your improvements will be modest,” write Buckingham and Clifton. “You will be diverting most of your energy toward damage control and very little toward real development.”
The expression “damage control” is their term for trying to minimize your weaknesses—the areas where your lack of talent actually gets in the way of your performance.
Instead of trying to overcome your weaknesses by brute force, and at the expense of putting the same energy into growing your strengths, they offer strategies for what they call “managing around” a weakness:
Get a Little Better at It
In some cases, your weakness is only moderately impeding your peak performance in other areas. If so, then maybe damage control is the right solution.
Create a Support System
This is the familiar string tied around the finger to remind you of something. For example, a scheduled walk in the park for people who neglect self-care. You can often decrease the effects of your weakness through discipline.
Be Open to Partnerships
Bringing on an virtual assistant (VA), a bookkeeper, or a social media manager could be all the partnering you need. But go into partnership discussions with a clear understanding of the strengths you bring, and the strengths you need from your partner. Be open-minded about what a partnership looks like.
Just (Don’t) Do It
Just don’t do the things you’re weak at. Keep it a goal to contribute to your business exclusively from the place of your highest strengths.