I was reminded today of a story used in an advanced management program I attended years ago, It has been a primary principle in how I have managed Teams and Marketing strategies ever since.
We tend to focus on our weaknesses pushing at times to make them strengths, especially when we can observe in others or our environment the very same weaknesses providing success to others.
Here is the Story, I will explain after.
The Chinese have won the Olympic gold medal in Ping Pong more than any other nation. At the 1984 Olympic Games, after winning another gold medal, the team’s coach was asked, “Tell me about your team’s daily training regimen.” He replied, “We practice eight hours a day perfecting our strengths. Here is our philosophy: If you develop your strengths to the maximum, the strength becomes so great it overwhelms the weakness. Our winning player, you see, plays only his forehand. Even though he cannot play backhand – and his competition knows he cannot play backhand – his forehand is so invincible that it cannot be beaten.” This coaching philosophy is expressed in leadership theory as the “strengths-based leadership theory.”Strengths-Based Leadership
Strengths-based leadership is a philosophy of corporate leadership that seeks to improve the company’s success by developing the organization’s strengths. The key to this proven philosophy is that people have a significantly higher ability to further improve on their strengths versus fixing their weaknesses. This makes sense, right?
The philosophy makes sense to most business leaders and entrepreneurs, yet most of them do the opposite: they focus on improving their weaknesses, the company’s weaknesses, and the weaknesses of their employees. Ultimately, this causes frustration and low performance. Instead, the focus should be upon constantly improving your strengths. With this approach (as the Chinese ping pong coach noted), your strengths become “so invincible that you cannot be beaten.”
When this hit home for me was when a mentor asked me which is more likely to yield a higher benefit to me and the company I was running, spending countless hours (which I was) trying to fix the weak members of the team, or spend a few hours fine-tuning my top performers?
At the time a 10% increase in production from my top performer far outdistanced a 50% or even 75% increase by my bottom performer.
This Is often the case in Marketing campaigns, by always carefully working to optimize the top performing Tactics, and investment and time minimizing the weaknesses on the lower performing tactics, I consistently produce winning results.
Where are you focusing your, and your teams, energy today?