One question people dread in interviews is, “What is your weakness?” That question generates thousands of answers on the internet. The main theme I always hear though is, “You don’t have to tell your real weakness.” It always amazes me that we expect companies to be open and honest, however at our very first interaction with our new company we expect to be allowed to hide the truth of ourselves. I say horse manure, we should always embrace our weaknesses and work to turn them into strengths.
I did some research on the topic of turning weakness into strength and one article gave the easy answer. It just used different words to describe the weakness we believed we had, for instance easily distracted becomes strong at multi-tasking and inpatient becomes driven to succeed. While it would be great if it was indeed this easy, we are only fooling ourselves if we think having a positive outlook magically makes our weakness go away. To truly turn weakness into strength we need a plan and follow through.
The best planning and follow through method I know comes from Afterburner and is called Flawless Execution. The key phases are plan, brief, execute, debrief and win. The most difficult part is brief and debrief. This past week I made a video as part of a plan to beef up a weakness I have on my website. I completely skipped most of the process. I went from plan to execute to failure. I was fortunate enough to have someone say to me, “Greg that video is awful, you need to take it down.” Thank goodness I have courageous friends. It is not easy to tell someone something they are doing is awful. I went back to the drawing board and here is what I did to get back on track with a proven process.
The plan portion is based on the SWOT analysis I do quarterly. Read more on that here. After picking a weakness in this case the video needed for my website, I build out a plan to create a video. I used the feedback I was given by my friend as an initial brief and I created a new plan. I then used that plan and performed a real briefing with a networking group I belong to. They gave me more feedback and I am using that to execute the final copy. After I am done I will have a debrief with another group and use that feedback for the plan to build the next video. The circle keeps going round and round.
This process really works, the video example above is a work in progress. I have used the process in the 4 months since we started our company to address weaknesses in writing, sales, marketing and social media. It is amazing as an “IT Geek” when I find myself talking to people about those topics and not about IT strategy. You will know you have converted your weakness into a strength, when the items you think are weaknesses for you are things that people are asking to copy from you.
About the author:
Greg Stellflue is a remarkable Information Technology leader with rich experience in multiple IT disciplines.
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