For your business, do you believe it is more important to spend more time on your challenges or your opportunities? Similarly, do you believe that you should invest in your strengths or work on your weaknesses?
The answer, of course, depends. If the challenge in your business threatens your business all together, then it becomes obvious. In most normal situations, however, we all probably spend more time worrying about our challenges and weaknesses than we should.
Invest In Your Strength
Fabrizio Freda, CEO of Estee Lauder, looks for his executives to strengthen their strengths, rather than trying to improve weaknesses. Freda says: “Don’t make people improve 10% or 20% in areas they’re not good at. But that’s what companies do every day. It’s like a soccer coach telling the goal keeper to learn to play attack. . . Companies waste their time pushing managers to work on their weaknesses.”
Peter Drucker says that once you master common courtesy and overcome bad habits, “One should waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence.” Invest in your people’s strengths.
Similarly, I once received some advice that CEO’s should have the discipline to always work more on opportunities than challenges. Challenges can be delegated, but often the CEO is the one who can most effectively pursue opportunities. Daily challenges demand our attention constantly. However, being magnificent at solving these small challenges may not matter in a few years while magnificently pursuing opportunities could make a large difference to the entire organization.
Fortune wrote an article about CEO Freda in their Nov 18, 2013 issue (behind their paywall).