Saturday, March 3, 2012

Strength and Weakness

Each time I have had a discussion on strengths and weaknesses, the question I have been asked or faced with is should I work on my weak areas or areas of strength. Conventional wisdom states the former, but over the last few years the view has veered towards the latter. Certain weaknesses are "fatal flaws", but other than that I believe that working on your strengths are far more rewarding in the long run.

I cant think of a better example than sports. And in particular, this story comes to mind. The story of the one armed boy who learnt judo.

But think about it. Think of how Virender Sehwag would have felt when he was drafted into the Indian cricket team to partner with a certain Sachin Tendulkar. It is a different matter altogether that not too many people have as de-cluttered a mind as Sehwag (read this interview of his), but any other person in his place would have worried about how they can ever keep pace with Tendulkar.

So, if you were Sehwag and you were in the team where a certain Tendulkar was already there, what would you do? Remember your goal is to maintain your place in the team and perhaps carve a name for yourself.

There are two options - one, try to fit in the great mans shoes and second - do your own thing.

Most people when they move into a job or position where the outgoing position was held by someone successful make the mistake of doing the former. They try to fit in their predecessors shoes. And that is always a losing proposition - the comparisons are inevitable and it is a slippery slope into oblivion.

And when faced with that situation, remember Sehwag and Tendulkar. You can never out-Tendulkar a Tendulkar. You can only out-Sehwag a Tendulkar. Take any situation (industry, movies, sports, wherever) where a reigning champion has been dethroned - it happens only because the incumbent has used a different approach and that approach has to be based on the incumbents strengths.

Therefore, it is always smarter to focus on ones strengths rather than papering over so called weaknesses giving you an "all-rounder" who is good at a few things, but not great at anything.

So, hone your strengths like crazy!


  1. Neel , the entire Gallup Strengths Finder is based on this premise of honing your strengths..makes a very good read and recommend that you take the evaluation as well...

  2. Yes, thats a good book to go by :)


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