I can say with confidence that I am not a baseball fan. My husband and son are quite knowledgeable, even if they root for opposing teams. In New England it is sacrilege to be a Yankee fan, but growing up in New York gives this branch of the family a pass on divided loyalties. What I do know about baseball is quite limited, except for the Joe Pepitone home run ball caught by my husband on one of the most exciting days of his youth at Yankee Stadium. It has a special place and a special case, prominently displayed in our den.
So, even if I don’t care about baseball currently, there must be some childhood memory of growing up around it and the importance of it in our culture. At that time Sandy Koufax was a legendary World Series MVP, an All Star and Cy Young Award winning…pitcher and NOT a hitter. With this talent, no one expected him to hit home runs, just make some contact and not get hurt in the process. In fact, a tongue-in-cheek assessment of his skills came from rival Whitey Ford who said, “I know Koufax’s weakness, he can’t hit!” As an all-time great, no one would ever think of him as a weak batter. His strengths as a pitcher, made his weaknesses as a hitter insignificant. Legendary business analyst Peter Drucker said it best:
“The effective executive…knows that one cannot build on weakness…To make strength productive is the unique purpose of organization. It cannot, of course, overcome the weaknesses with which each of us is abundantly endowed. But it can make them irrelevant.”
Weakness is not a “dirty” word and we all have weaknesses. Even if you are good at something you hate to do, it can still sap your energy. Don’t dwell on what you’re not good at or obsess over how to “fix” it. You’ll probably never get to a high level of performance around these areas regardless. Workplace research data taken over decades bears this out. People who play to their strengths daily are much more engaged, less likely to quit and much more likely to contribute to high performing teams. Should you ignore your weaknesses and only focus on your strengths? Think of the tri-athlete whose strength is not swimming but who bikes like the wind. She will focus on learning the most efficient way to manage the swim component because it is an integral part of her overall time. Since biking is her strength and she probably enjoys it the most, she can also train harder on improving her technique or even purchasing new equipment for the event. It’s also possible that with positive attention to managing/improving her perceived weakness, it could even become a strength!
• List 10 things you are good at
• List 1 area you would like to improve