“I like to bang my head against the wall because it feels so good when I stop!”
A friend’s mom used to say that (along with a lot of other colorful adages) and I used to think that it was just a warning against doing things that frustrate you, but now I think the way the saying ends is just as important: It feels good when you stop.
In other words, when you eliminate a frustration it not only takes a “negative” out of your experience, it delivers a “positive.” Let me tell you how I think this applies to many small business owners and the way they manage themselves and their workforce.
We spend countless hours and a lot of money to improve the areas where we are weak. That’s logical, right? Much of the work our elementary and high schools do is to strengthen students in their weak areas.
That may be a reason so many of our young students hate school and drop-out rates are so high. It’s probably also the reason why college students often detest “general education” courses, but have no problem with courses within their majors.
I’m not against a well-rounded education and I think that our youth need to study areas that may not be of interest to them at the moment, but will make them better citizens and help them as adults. What I want to point out is that it’s human nature to rebel when you’re forced to do things that don’t interest you or in which you have little natural ability.
And while schools probably need to force students into some of these areas, if you’re a small business owner, you need to think twice about it – for yourself and for your employees.
If either you or anyone on your team are responsible for areas where you have no interest and/or no talent, you’re wasting your time. Further, if you think you can solve the problem by some extra training, you’re probably kidding yourself.
Let’s say you or an employee is on the 50th percentile in terms of ability to sell. If you raise that 10 percent through training, it bumps up to the 55th percentile. Big whoop. However, say you or an employee is on the 85th percentile in ability to create marketing materials. If you raise that 10 percent through training, it goes up to nearly the 94th percentile.
In my example one training investment delivers a 5 percent increase, while the other delivers an 8.5 percent increase. This illustrates how investing to build on strengths gives you a greater ROI than trying to boost your naturally weak areas. There can be exceptions, of course, but the principle of matching jobs to natural strengths and working to improve those areas is a critical one to understand and put into practice in your business.
You see, “it feels so good” when people stop fighting their weaknesses and start to run with their strengths!