Last year, I read Tom Rath's book StrengthsFinder 2.0. I highly recommend it. Small book, big impact! It essentially provides readers with a means to discover and focus on their assets rather than their liabilities. Rath correctly asserts that we're a society obsessed with identifying and improving weaknesses when we should be building on our strengths.
It's true isn't it? All these tools that help us identify weaknesses, all so we can develop plans which (if we're lucky) will result in only marginal improvement. As a lifelong Celtics fan, I try to imagine what it was like for KC Jones to coach Larry Bird. Can't you just see KC telling Larry to focus on improving his dunking ability rather than his three-point shooting or passing game - just a few of the strengths that made Bird among the best to ever play the game. Of course not. In fact it sounds kind of silly when you think about it that way, but Rath would argue that that's our mindset.
It's not only more fun to work on improving areas that come easily to you, but the rewards will be greater as well. I recall working with a colleague years ago on a project where we implemented communication strategies to help improve retail sales at low performing stores. While we achieved some success with these troubled locations, we also learned that most of these stores were in bad shape for a reason. We discovered quickly that by focusing our efforts on moderate performers and highlighting their strengths, that the return on investment for the company was far greater.
As public relations professionals who aspire to offer the best possible service to their clients or companies, it's far more important to focus on getting better at what you already do well, than trying to improve in areas where, compared to your competitors, you may only hope to be average.
Does that mean we should just ignore our weaknesses? Probably not. But if the three-point shot is your strength, then you may be best served by staying late after practice to shoot a few hundred more!
*Image from britannica.com