Leverage Your Strengths and Manage Your Weaknesses

My Kolbe results
My Kolbe results

It seems to me that most education systems around the world encourage us to focus on our weaknesses and try to improve them and not play to our strengths.

If you have your own business you are the one making the rules and so can use a different approach. You can set up your business to favour your strengths and assign the tasks you are weakest at to other people.

But first you have to find your strengths and weaknesses. For most of us the latter is all too easy, but perhaps listing our strengthsĀ  is more of a challenge. You could set aside time for some introspection or perhaps ask the opinions of your closest friends and colleagues. For a more objective assessment there is a self-administered online test.

The Kolbe test measures your areas of natural strengths in four action modes, each scored out of 10: your tendencies for fact-finding, following through, starting things quickly and how you deal with solutions.

As you can see from the image above my result is 8723. So my particular strengths are in research and follow-through. Having recently finished a product that I first conceived in 2010 and which required a lot of digging around to find methods that worked I can attest to the accuracy of this assessment.

My low score of 2 as a quick starter suggests I’m often intimidated by risk and uncertainty and tend to stick with what already works, being less inclined to go take a risk and experiment.

So how can I use this self-knowledge to my advantage? Well, I can easily spend too long on research, especially as I am well suited to it and find it mostly enjoyable. So setting a time limit on this activity ensures my project moves ahead once the main data has been found.

My fear of risk and uncertainty suggests I will be more likely to take action if I can reduce the unknowns. However the future is uncharted territory and reducing the unknowns is not always possible. So often I have to provoke myself to start taking action. I do this by forcing myself to make decisions in a short period of time. Once I reach the deadline I must make a decision and I have to act on that decision.

It’s all about adapting how you work to suit your abilities and tendencies. You will be most effective when you adapt the way you work to your type. It’s a bit like knowing you’re right-handed and therefore using that hand to draw instead of your left hand. You could use the weaker hand, but it will be harder than necessary and it won’t produce your best results.

Interestingly I happen to know the Kolbe scores of two very successful internet marketers. Alex Jeffreys has a Kolbe result of 6373, and Rich Schefren’s is 6374. Alex says the most successful internet marketers are quick starters and have a mindset of activity.

So should I give up on internet marketing with my quick start score of 2? Are you kidding, I’ve started now and look at my follow-through score!

Seriously, working against my natural tendencies will only slow my progress. Instead I need to continue building ways to emphasise my strengths and manage my weaknesses.

You can take the Kolbe test for just under $50 here and get your own evaluation. If you prefer not to I do recommend you spend some time trying to find how you work best and adapting your business practices accordingly.

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