Andy Stanley from Northpoint Church in Georgia shares his reflection on a critical mistake he made for the first eight years of his leadership in a video from Catalyst Leadership (no relation:) ) You may have to scroll down the page to find Andy’s video and it is a little slow to load. I love his words: “My fully exploited strengths are always going to be of far greater value to my organization than my marginally improved weaknesses”. He’s echoing the argument that’s been made very persuasively by Marcus Buckingham in multiple books, including a favourite of mine. Thinking of my own experience, the root of focusing on my weaknesses is similar to Andy’s, though on a far lesser level. I’ve tried somewhat desperately to prove myself against the standards of the best leaders I see. I’m both inspired and overwhelmed by them. The truth is I try to play catch up in areas where I’ll never be effective because I’m intimidated by others, and I rarely take note of their weaknesses along the way. There is no freedom or future in trying to be outstanding in every aspect. The message I try to share with the leaders I interact with, be they high school students or multinational organizational heads, is that we need to understand, emphasize, and develop our strengths with great diligence. Weaknesses we need to learn to minimize, manage, or delegate. I highly recommend the Strengths Finder tool as a great way to get started on this process. Just for fun; my top 5 strengths came back as: Woo, Communication, Strategic, Individuation, and Developer. What are yours?