Why bother about weaknesses?

Right from the childhood, we are made to believe that we need to be strong, work on the areas of weakness. Parents, teachers, neighbours and everyone discuss why the child is not standing up, not talking, not growing the teeth, not having good handwriting, not focusing on studies and so on … They spoke a very little about the way a child is able to pick up his toys, feeling happy to the chirping of birds, asking questions, staying happy and so on … We seem to be obssessed with the habit of finding faults and trying to improve them, This transcends to the entire lifetime of each of us!

If we think of mythology, we always find experts in specific areas and call them the heroes. We rever the sportspersons who again specialise in certain aspects of a game and hence, our hearts to go to them. We similarly celebrate successes of historical characters because they were strong in some particular aspect, whether it is Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Shakespeare or Einstein. I wonder why we do not apply this behaviour when it comes to our daily lives of raising a kid, getting things done by the team and so on.

Our regular actions of managing our teams have become flawed. We identify areas of improvement for our team members, document them, offer those as feedback, write individual development plans. And HR departments invest energy to train managers how to identify weaknesses, package them, communicate them and conevrt them to development plans, track the progress etc. What an awful wastage of energy and resources!

How will it be to make our people better at what they are already good at? A football team becomes great only when the players complement one another well and are aligned. Why do we forget this principle while managing our own team?

Firstly, we need to identify units which will play together and identify what the unit need to have to be a winning team. Secondly, we need to find people who are distinctly good in just one or two of those attributes that the team needs to have. Last but not the least, individual development plan has to be on those specific one or two areas which the person is already good at.

This is easier said than done. The first step to achieve this will be to identify the key factors which will make ours a winning team. Organizations need to arrive at this after a careful study of the market right from the behaviours of the customers, the challenges being faced by them and the actions of the competition. This step is one of the most crucual steps that the leadership team has to do it themselves and cannot outsource. The next step is organization design which is again a very strategic piece of work that determines the future of the organization in a significant manner. This design has to define the composition of each team that carries out the tasks for which the customer pays. Once this is accomplished, smart recruiters can hunt for talent to build each of those teams in such a way that they complement one another well. Supervisors and various layers of managers need to ensure that each of the units they manage performs at its best and is developed continuously for its optimum level.

So, no point worrying about the weaknesses! It’s all about strengthening the strengths and making one invincible!

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