Mike hit the proverbial nail right on top of its head with the post below. Both people and companies have obvious core strengths that can be easily identified but what is not so obvious is identifying one’s core weaknesses. Look no further then your core strengths. What ever you do well, it’s very difficult to do the complete opposite well too. Take me for example. I’m a “Big Picture” strategist. One of my strengths is looking ahead, placing “big rocks” down and moving forward strategically. Therefore, my biggest weakness is “fine detail” and I need to constantly remind myself not to forget about the trees in front of me as I move throughout the forest. My suggestion for you today is to work with someone who is your complete opposite.
To: The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning
Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, lecturer and essayist, wrote: “Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.” The following is the story of one 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.
The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move.
“Sensei,” the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.
Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals. This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. “No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.” Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: He dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.
On the way home, the boy and the sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind. “Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?” “You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm. The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.
The story has two messages. One that great leaders should always focus on their greatest strength to achieve their goals and objectives. The second important learning is that the leaders’ greatest strengths come not from their winning, but from their life’s experiences – the difficult and sometimes painful challenges that test their commitment to their goals and purpose. It is in these experiences that leaders uncover within themselves those beautiful gifts, talents and abilities that move them to a higher level in their understanding of their awesome potential. This week, seek out challenges that will create great growth opportunities in your development. As you do so, remember the words of former U.S. President Richard Nixon: “A man who has never lost himself in a cause bigger than himself has missed one of life’s mountaintop experiences. Only in losing himself does he find himself. Only then does he discover all the latent strengths he never knew he had and which otherwise would have remained dormant.”
Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!
Michael M. Reuter
Director, Center for Leadership Development
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University
Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528; (Mobile) 908.419.6060