Your Weakest Link

by Evelyn Simpson Reeve, 2reveal

Generally, I think it’s safe to say that no one truly enjoys focusing upon weaknesses. It’s a lot more exhilarating to celebrate our successes and continue to do the things we are doing well. Every step in the right direction helps you feel undeniably awesome, right?

But where does that leave our shortcomings? Our weakest links?

Imagine your business as a jar. Now think about filling that jar with as many big rocks as you can. These big rocks represent your most valued components — your company values, most profitable products, your top performing salespeople, or your revenue stream. Ask yourself: is the jar full?

Next, take some pebbles and pour them in. These pebbles can symbolize mid-level performers, projects with lower profit margins, or advertising.
Ask yourself again: is the jar full now?

Now fill your jar with sand. Sand may represent to you easy, obvious weaknesses needing adjustment: disorganization, worst-selling products, less-than-ideal projects, underperforming employees. Full now? Not quite.

Lastly, pour water into the jar. There’s room for the water. The water represents all of the things you hadn’t considered valuable, but they are just as important to filling your jar, to reaching maximum capacity, is it not?

If you haven’t yet heard the “big rocks” metaphor, it’s a perfectly simple way to illustrate the best way to maximize your company. What you put out to the world — whether it’s a rock, a pebble, a grain of sand, or a drop of water — represents the bigger picture of who and what you represent. Somewhere in that jar are your weakest links, but they may be disguising themselves as drops of water.

We play judge and jury to the inundation of stuff around us, all day long.

Critique is swift. Opinions are immediate and first impressions are hard to reverse. People build emotional ties to companies — take Apple, for example. Take it or leave it, people who love Apple products generally have strong feelings about the company as a whole. That is brand loyalty based on emotion, but it stems from Apple considering themselves with a “full jar” approach. Nothing is accidental. Everything is tested and tested again. Everything, big or small, is important.

Building a company identity thoughtfully is more important now than ever and it isn’t just about your marketing. That’s just a rock or pebble in your company’s jar. Every choice a business makes is one step closer to defining their identity. With fierce competition at every level and the potential reach of a global market, making a positive first impression is pivotal to raising awareness and securing a foothold in your market.

Choosing to value each of your business’s components equally and thoughtfully helps create a more thorough, accurate representation and, in turn, creates the opportunity to build trust with clients and customers.

In this day and age, can anyone afford not to take ownership of every part of ourselves, part and parcel?

There are a lot of SWOT analyses out there (SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, by the way.) You’re welcome to check out more about this type of analysis by clicking here.

“The longer I work, the more I notice that we need to be mindful of both strengths and fatal flaws. It is our strengths that set us apart and makes us distinctive as leaders. But, as Abraham Maslow used to say, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” A leader can mistakenly apply their given strengths to fixing every problem. But some problems require a different tool. Let us not forget the principle of balance, in both strengths and weaknesses. We should take assessment of our abilities regularly, as it will provide us with the roadmap we need to improve,” says Joseph Folkman in this 2014 Forbes article.

I like the old adage “no pressure, no diamonds”, but I think an even better way for us to reassess business weaknesses might be “no sand, no pearls.”

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