Play to Your Strength

Management hires people to fill specific roles. If you need a sales person, you look for the best sales person you can find who will be compatible with the other personalities on the team and the overall company culture. You are usually not looking for a combination Marketing, Operations, Service, and Software Developing Sales person. Finding a sales person with these additional traits may be nice, but that does not make them the best Sales person. You are normally looking for depth of capability, not breadth of capability.

Each role will require a leader with a specific strength, be it Sales, Marketing, Finance, etc. Understand what your strength is and play to it. That does not mean to ignore the other disciplines. To the contrary, they are important and you should try to increase your capabilities in those areas. You should build your capabilities in your non-core disciplines by trying to surround yourself with people whose strengths lie in disciplines outside of your core strengths.

We all like to think that we have few if any weaknesses. This may be true. The point is that not everything we have is a strength. A little honest self analysis can help each of us pinpoint our strengths. We all tend to gravitate toward people who have similar personalities and interests. This can cause trouble for an organization. Once we are aware of our own capabilities, we should consciously try to look for people with different capabilities and strengths in an effort to “fill in the gaps” in the organization.

President Ronald Reagan was a leader who recognized as a great “communicator”.  He filled out his cabinet with people who were also recognized as some of the most talented individuals in their specific disciplines (Defense, Treasury, Economy, etc) around. President Reagan was a leader who played to his strength – communicating, but hired to his weakness – the mechanics and specifics of running the most diverse and complex country and economy on the planet. Looking back, it worked pretty well. We enjoyed some of the most prosperous times in recent memory. We would do well to learn from that example.

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