Whether you’re working at a startup or not, one of the common questions you might ask yourself is, “How am I adding value on a daily basis?” The challenge behind each day is not how much work you can avoid, but how best you can spend your time driving value to your organization.
So how do you add value?
Through years of education, training, and work experience, we’ve discovered what we’re good at. Those with a college or advanced degree spent years honing in on specialties to prepare us for the real world.
During your work reviews, you’re challenged to take your skillset to the next level by producing more than you have in the past. As an entrepreneur, you’re consistently challenged to “do one thing and do it well”. Well, it’s only natural for us to focus on what we’re good at, and lean on that in order to do that one thing well.
Yet, what is becoming more and more clear to me as time goes on is that the value that you add by focusing on your strengths is sometimes less than the value you could add by subtracting your weaknesses.
Don’t get me wrong: continually refining your skills and stretching yourself to new limits is critical and provides its fair share of incredible value – but its easy. It’s not so easy to focus on what you’re not as good at, and work to improve that.
One of the thoughts holding us back from focusing on our weaknesses is this concept that ‘I’m not going to try unless I’m going to be the best person for the job’. Yet by focusing on improving the skillset that we lack instead of the skillset we excel at, we are providing a whole new vantage point from which we can approach product, strategy, and market development.
By focusing our development on areas that traditionally have had little attention paid we become measurably more valuable to the organizations we serve. BoP companies, for example, aren’t able to solve every problem, and many times its hard to “do one thing well” when you’re up against so many challenges and obstacles to even do one thing at all!
Challenge yourself next time to bite off more than you can chew and take some time to improve a skill you aren’t confident in. Ask questions about a topic you’ve typically avoided. Read up on a subject that has always seemed daunting. What’s the worst than can happen? You get just a tiny bit smarter?