Weaknesses, we all have them, much as we might try to pretend otherwise, but how do we handle them? It’s a naïve thought that we can go through life succeeding at everything we turn our hand to, and in business, this is even more apparent.
Our go-to reaction is often to bury our heads in the sand and focus on what we’re best at. Concentrating on your strengths isn’t necessarily wrong, but it can leave you open to unexpected issues.
Growth begins when we begin to accept our own weaknesses. Jean Vanier
To accept our weaknesses we first have to identify them. This can be done through 360 appraisals, client feedback, or just honest self-assessment. You then need to dig deeper to fully understand the issue and what steps could be taken to resolve it. For instance, for as long as you remember have you had a hatred of numbers? Is that all numbers and figures, or particular calculations? Once you being to unpick your weakness, you can start to build it into a strength. Below are a few ways to do this.
A straightforward way to begin your honest self-assessment is with the oldie, but the classic that is a strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat analysis. You can use this on your business, or on yourself to identify areas you excel at, areas you struggle with, areas you haven’t developed yet and where you leave yourself open to failure. It might then be worth sharing this with a mentor, trusted colleague, friend or family member to get an outsiders perspective as undoubtedly, they will see strengths, and weaknesses, in you that you overlook.
Exploit your strengths
It might be that you uncover new strengths which can be used to take your business to the next level. It’s always worth looking at whether you can upskill even further enabling you to enhance your strengths. This could be through training or taking on a different type of project. Pushing your strengths and your boundaries often brings new opportunities.
Does it matter?
As we’re being open and honest, it’s worth asking whether your weaknesses really matter. If you run a graphic design business and you struggle with writing creative product captions does it really matter? I like to call this stage acceptance. This is where we realise we aren’t the top of the class at everything, but more importantly than that, it’s ok!
Now in this process, we will find some weaknesses that do matter, and that’s where you should be spending your time.
Can your weakness be trained into strengths? Sometimes poor knowledge or experience in that area is what causes our shortcomings. If that’s the case, then the answer is easy! Find ways that you can overcome your knowledge gap. Attending a training course, research online, and 1-1 mentorships are all ways that you can build that chink in your armour into a strength.
I know what you’re all saying right now. I don’t have the time to do that. In that case, the answer is even more straightforward. Outsource!
Outsource your weaknesses
Is there someone else who has that knowledge, experience or training who can do the job instead? It could be that it’s just you, or a handful of employees in your business, none of whom are suitable. You have two options then: 1. train one of them up, or 2. hire a freelancer. Undoubtedly for whatever weakness or knowledge gap you have, you can find a freelancer who specialises in that area.
You don’t have to give them a long contract. In fact, you can start with a small job and build up from there as you see the benefits. Outsourcing enables you to play to your strengths, focus on what you love doing – and what you’d good at doing, but ensuring everything is completed to the highest standard.
So stop being an ostrich, be honest with yourself and find a solution. Just remember that the answer might not always be you, or what you’d expect!