Strengths and weaknesses are a fact of life
We all have both. They can be real. They can be perceived. Concluding on strengths and weaknesses can be done objectively or subjectively.
In theory, when working in a team, we bring both our weaknesses and our strengths to the team effort.
In basic mathematics we are taught that when adding minus-one to plus-one, we end with zero. The negative cancels the positive and the net effect is nothing.
Companies assess our value as employees
Our value contribution should ideally be greater than our cost to company.
To add value, the impact of our strengths must outweigh the impact of our weaknesses. When both are present, we run the risk of negating our value.
Consider the following common scenarios:
- Strong at innovating but weak at implementing.
- A clear thinker but a poor communicator.
- A brilliant planner that does not set SMART goals.
- A great goal-setter with an inability to plan effectively.
- A great planner with weak time management skills.
- Someone who easily identifies problems but has the tendency to slip into blame.
- Where employing people is a strength while trusting them and delegating are weaknesses.
- The ability to attract new business with a blind spot when it comes to customer retention.
- Superb cost-cutting abilities with zero ability to drive the top line.
Self-assessment requires becoming aware of weaknesses and strengths AND knowing their net effect within the team.
Teamwork allows for strengths to be compensated for. One of the key responsibilities of leadership is to ensure ‘strength net effect’. This entails working with each team member to ensure the dominance of strength influence and to build team activity to align with team member strengths.
S.W.O.T. exercises have lost their shine due to no fault of S.W.O.T. but rather of the people applying S.W.O.T. I believe the exercise still has merit and should be considered as a valuable reflection. Inspiring everyone in a team to take time out to reflect on their individual net sum of strength and weakness manifestation is a great place to start.
At company level, the same equation should be considered as a strength can so easily be negated.
Develop IP Sell IP
Work hard Plan badly
Marketing Handling new enquiries
Customer care Supplier abuse
Pay well Talent management
Circumstances have a role to play
Under different life circumstances, my strengths and weaknesses present differently. This I believe is the same for most people. As circumstances change, the balance of strengths and weaknesses can change, and thus, the net value contribution can change. Everyone should become acutely aware, not only of their weaknesses and strengths, but we should also monitor how they are presenting.
Changing value-add equations changes company results
Changing equations will require altering behaviour. The more each person can manage this process for themselves, the more mature a team will become. Maturing people takes effort and I feel a good place to start this journey is to assess each person’s value-add objectively and then to encourage each member of the team to take ownership of the process of constantly changing behaviour to constantly be adding value.