Here is a quick thought before you head out for the Memorial Day weekend. When you come back to work next week, what will you focus on?
- Maintaining the status quo
- Obsessing over correcting your weaknesses
- Focusing on your strengths
When elite organizations like NASA, professional sports teams, and the military need to accomplish great things, they recruit specialists. You want experts who are the very, very best at what they do. However, everyone cannot be great at everything. Of course, there are roles that require a certain amount of proficiency in multiple things, but it is impossible to be truly great in all aspects of a profession, sport, or activity.
Research has shown that focusing on your strengths is a better path to a balance of business, body, and soul that leads to happiness and ongoing success. Some of us, including me at times, are obsessed with correcting our weaknesses. We think that focusing on strengths is the easy way out. We think that suffering through the things that makes us miserable is noble. We think that one day, we will turn a corner and become the master of all things as long as we keep pushing the plow.
Find that one thing that makes you indispensable and become the best you can be at it. There is one catch to this approach:
YOU MUST RELY ON TEAMS TO COVER FOR YOU.
A great team is a small collection of people with different areas of expertise, mutual accountability, and a common purpose. Results are the goal. By allowing others to do what they do best, you can become your best.
For example, if I was building a Client Acquisition Team, I want experts in multiple areas (closing, research, discovery, writing, speaking, etc.). Build it like George Clooney did in Ocean’s Eleven. Every person has a role (safecracker, getaway driver, schmoozer). They do not have to be able to do each other’s jobs equally. But, they must be exceptionally competent in their role and trust that the other team members are as well. The only way to not be constantly worrying about what could go wrong is to surround yourself with people that can complement your deficiencies.
If you want to be a martyr and proclaim to the world that you can do it alone, be my guest. I would like to focus on my strengths and enjoy my life a bit more.
G.K. Chesterton may have put it best when he said, “Why try to be something to everybody when you can be everything to somebody?” I’d ask this: If you excel at something, why not be great at it? Find your target and move toward it until you get there.