Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

How to Work Smarter
February 5, 2008, 6:37 am
Filed under: Article Reviews

My new friend Scott Williamson over at Career Waymark wrote a neat post today titled “Work Smarter: Emphasize Strengths, Don’t Fix Weaknesses“. Very interesting take on how to be most productive in your job function. He says “so many people think they can do or get better at their job by trying to fix weaknesses and this is where they usually end up failing. Mostly because they’re trying to get better at something they don’t have an aptitude for or really enjoy.” This can be both a good and a bad thing. Some people would argue that you’ll never improve at your weak areas if you just ignore them; that you must persevere through some activities that you don’t like in order to be well rounded. Others (like me) would say that if you have an area of weakness in which one of your coworkers excels, then focus on what you each do best and you’ll have great team productivity.

Some would say that not working on your weaknesses is like favoring one arm or leg over the other when working out. But this is making the assumption that you, yourself, are the entire body. If you put this in more of a team perspective, each person could be considered a different part of the body, and by allowing each person to capitalize on their individual strengths you improve the overall strength of the body and thus create a balance of ‘muscle power’.

Personally, I think it’s good to at least have an understanding of different areas in your industry or job function so that you can respect the skill it takes to be good in this area or that. That doesn’t mean you have to become an expert at everything – just have enough knowledge of what it takes to be great so that you can appreciate those who have a deep interest in and work towards excellence in that area. That makes it easier to understand your team and work best together when you can capitalize on the different strengths.

Enjoy the article!


2 Comments so far
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I tend to disagree in the sense that not all weaknesses are the same. Some weaknesses may ultimately hinder someone from growing professionally. Take a CFO for instance. If he or she is uncomfortable getting out of the office and getting their hand around the business by talking to the front line business executives, they are doomed. The days of the CFO being viewed as scorekeeper are over. That’s what staff accountants do. In addition, roadshows are commonplace for CFO’s to gain credibility with The Street. If you suffer from being shy or not being able to think on your feet when asked the tough questions, you will be on the street.

Keep in mind that leveraging strengths and minimizing weaknesses is the cornerstone of any solid business plan. But at some point in one’s career, not addressing weaknesses that will ultimately be exposed can be detrimental. Unless of course professional growth isn’t something the person is interested in.

Comment by William

I think the point here actually is that we are all different. It’s the story of survival in a small group.

Suppose you are great in hunting down deer but have no clue about how to prepare them, while I couldn’t catch one piece of “meat” if it’s a feet away from me, but know how to prepare and use everything you bring home.

It would be an absolute waist for you to go to a cooking course and I started training in hunting.

Same here, I’ve been trying to work on my weakness to bring in business for years and the results were mediocre.

Now I focus on Search, I love it, I believe it and the funny thing is that I’m not trying to be someone I not (or not good at) and purely on strength focus on my strengh business starts to flow in without any seaming effort.

Just my 2 cents, focusing on my weak points made me into a struggling consultant, focussing on strenght a happy working searcher that brings in work, without any hassle (well I do have to get up in the morning :-))

The story is called evolution and how mankind evolved….

Comment by Hootless

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