Why is the entire picture important? Why consider my weaknesses?
Simple! If you consider both your strengths and your weaknesses, it’ll increase your awareness of where you stand in the market. It will help you to assess and understand your key selling points but it’ll also reveal your key weaknesses that are costing you many potential customers to your competitors.
Obviously increasing and focusing on your strengths will help you to generate new business and additional revenues. Conversely, by focusing on eliminating your weaknesses can result in the same benefits of increased growth, often times even more significant than focusing on the strengths.
How can eliminating weaknesses provide a better return on investment?
By eliminating some of your weaknesses, you are systematically eliminating many of the key advantages that your competitors have over you. Furthermore by scratching a weakness off the list and re-writing it as a strength, you are gaining twice the benefit! The majority of times a customer’s final decision boils down to the minor differences between you and your competitors, often times it’s these strengths and weaknesses that impact this final decision. Think about it… if you earn 15% more sales in the next year, how much more positive momentum would that bring to your business? Enough said…
What if it’s infeasible to eliminate a weakness?
Unfortunately the reality is that occasionally it will be infeasible to eliminate a weakness at this time. What you should do is take note of these weaknesses and then identify the challenges that prevent you from overcoming them at this time (e.g. financial, educational, etc.). Guess what? You’ve now got a game plan to execute in order to systematically move towards eliminating it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Insert cliché here, whichever one you need to motivate yourself. The point is that you won’t eliminate all weaknesses in one fell swoop and if you aren’t willing to accept this reality then you’re accepting the status quo and helping your competitors to maintain an edge on you. Read that last statement again, it should be more offensive than a long string of %&$!!@ words.
How often should I do this?
Most companies do this once a year (if at all). I strongly recommend making this a quarterly exercise. I also urge you to do this exercise outside of your work setting. When at work, it’s easy to get distracted and interrupted. Take a day off with key staff and perform this exercise during a company retreat. Doubt this will impact the results of the exercise by much? If you’re that pig-headed, try doing this two months in a row, once in your office and once during a retreat. The difference in the quality and creativity of the results will be so significant that you’ll never doubt me again.
I’ve helped hundreds of companies with their strategic planning and I’ve created a lot of strong and meaningful relationships as a result. My customers know that their success is my highest priority and that when push comes to shove I’ll tell them the straight dope, even if they don’t want to hear it. It’s important to be faced with reality. Sometimes we’re too close to our own businesses and can’t see or won’t admit our weaknesses. Here’s a revelation, you aren’t helping yourself… you’re harming yourself. If any of this blog offends you, that’s okay, that means it was a much needed dose of medicine and you’re on your way to a new level of health that you’ve never experienced; one that’s awakened a sense that’s been dormant within you for years, awareness.
CEO, N-VisionIT Interactive