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EMPATHIZE: Strengths and Weaknesses

Lesson 6 from: Design​ ​Thinking​ ​for​ ​Strengths-Based​ ​Leadership​

John K. Coyle

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Lesson Info

6. EMPATHIZE: Strengths and Weaknesses

Lesson Info

EMPATHIZE: Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths and weaknesses are usually facets of each other. So, weak aerobic athletes are, very often, strong anaerobic athletes. That was me. Strong aerobic athletes are usually weak aerobic athletes. And this is also true of our other strengths. So, which of yours are the same? Take a look at the list. I mentioned I can be creative, I am also disorganized. It almost always goes hand-in-hand. I have a daughter who's also creative and disorganized, and cleaning her room is just not something that I really push for, 'cause it's just not that fruitful of an engagement. I asked her to do it once a few years ago and really, really pushed, and I came back in and all the clothes had been moved, that were on the floor. They had been moved into piles of like colors. That was her idea of organizing. They weren't actually on hangers. So, what do we got here in terms of the panel? Anybody use the mic and care to share a strength/weakness pair that you might have? Pretty much the same, I said, so...

rt of a joke, but creative and disorganized, but also, on the flip side, I'm a perfectionist, too, and detail-oriented, which is really, That's very interesting, so you're probably actually a pivot-maker as well, we talked about that in one of the other modules. Yeah, well, I was a writer. I have to be, I mean, I have to get to actually perform it. But I hate the detailed part of it but -- Very, very interesting. Can you do both at once or do you have to switch modes? You know, you're talking about the flow, the zone, getting in the zone. That's the creative, that's the disorganized. You're pulling stuff from everything that's coming into you and you're working with intuition, pretty much. It's almost at the forefront, you know, of your skill set and then you put that down and you later look at it and say hmm, what can I use from this? Right, right. You know and that's the perfectionist side, where you have to go in and be detail-oriented. Yeah, a lot of pivot-thinkers need a space to transition. They're either in one mode or the other mode but generally not at the same time. Very, very interesting. Others, strengths and weaknesses? Activist, rebellious, demonstrative, excessive, cherry-picking all the ones in there. All the good ones. Strategic, careless. So, this really matters in enterprise. It matters in business. Because if we have strengths that are also weaknesses, then we need to utilize those in our teams. And almost every weakness is always also a strength, and vice versa. And if we try, here's the first rule, is if you try to fix a true weakness, not a skill gap, skill gaps are things that you learn and you overcome. Like a new operating system, new piece of software, a new app. You learn it, you overcome it, that's a skill gap, that's not a weakness. A weakness is something you can't fix. It is a fundamental component of who you are, and if you fix a true weakness, you probably destroy the corresponding strength. And that's a loss, actually. When they tried to fix my aerobic weakness, they destroyed my anaerobic strength. So, I went from 52 to 52 to on my aerobic capacity, so no change. I got not better at what I was bad at, and my peak power went from 1740 to 1500 to over two years. So, I got a lot worse at what I was good at and no better at what I was bad at. The same goes for these things. If you are a creative, disorganized person and you try to be organized, unless you're a pivot thinker, what's going to happen is you're just going to get less creative. You won't be all that organized, but you'll definitely be less creative because you'll sap all your energy sucking it up to try to figure out how to do this thing you're not wired for and if you're direct and honest and blunt and rude and you try to fix that, well in boardrooms across the world that's how bad ideas are born, because nobody is raising their hand, saying does anybody besides me think this is a bad idea? Somebody needs to tell the truth. And over and over again, meticulous and perfectionist, detail-oriented perfectionist. Do you want that person signing off on your detailed accounting documents? Yes, you do. Do you want a creative, disorganized person doing that? Not unless they're a pivot-thinker. So, having the right person in the right role for the right strength/weakness combo is the way to go.

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Daniel Viscovich

This class was fantastic. I appreciate John's insights and his discussion of design thinking, a process that now that I have learned it, makes so much sense! This has been an amazing course that will impact my decisions in life and work for the rest of my career. Thank you John!

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