Now, about those weaknesses

The past few days, I’ve been writing on leading, being yourself in leadership, knowing your strengths, weaknesses, gifts & talents. Now, specifically, I want to address our weaknesses, or, more specifically, MY weaknesses and how you can address yours.  Achilles had but one weakness, and unfortunately, he did not acknowledge it, work on it, compensate for it, or pay someone to guard it. We all have weaknesses. In the business & startup world, here are (at least some of) mine, which I’ve also documented for God and country here:

  • Procrastination. Why should I do today what can easily wait until tomorrow? My wife hates this one, and it’s most often associated not with just anything, but with unpleasant things. So I make a list and check things off, good or bad.
  • I can’t write code. I could plop down $10k and attend a boot camp, but that’s not in the calendar or budget right now, so I’ll stick with WordPress and plugins and Blogger, and when I need software created, I’ll hire or partner with the right people to do it.
  • I can’t sell. I’ll never be a closer, but things like Pitch Practice help me as much as anyone who attends the meetup each week.
  • I’m terrible at networking. So I do things like Pitch Practice, volunteer at ATLSV and ATDC, so I’m inserting myself directly into traffic.
  • I tend to get distracted by the little things. Squirrel! Yes, that’s me. Back to that list I mentioned above. If it’s not written down, it’s not going to get done, and it never happened.

There, I said it. Again. Now, what do we do about these weaknesses? Here are a few suggestions.

  • Acknowledge your weaknesses. Write them down. Say them out loud. Tell your co-founders what you don’t do well, and give them permission to stop you when you try to do those things anyway.
  • Work on your weaknesses. Now that you’ve acknowledged these struggles, work on them! Not willy nilly, but with a plan to achieve a certain level of competence.
  • Compensate for your weaknesses. God gave us ecommerce so we don’t have to sell direct. Guy Kawasaki said it much better, but it fits. There are dozens of ways to get around any problem. Find a way to compensate for your weaknesses.
  • Hire to your weaknesses. If you’re the founder, knowing what you don’t do well makes the co-founder(s) and first hires much clearer.

The first step towards fixing a problem is acknowledging that there is actually a problem. Start there as you do your SWOT analysis on yourself.

What do you think?