Seesaws and doing the opposite

Great strengths can also be great weaknesses because most traits work like seesaws. The strength is at one end of the seesaw while the weakness is at the other end. For example –

You listen very well —- You don’t speak up enough

You are very energetic —- You are too impatient

You are great with the details —- You need to get more strategic

Our goal through this journey is to be aware of the balancing required so we won’t tip over. The goal isn’t a perfect 50% balance – it is more likely a 70-30 toward your strength. That’s because it is strengths that give us extraordinary returns in our careers. Weaknesses need to be managed enough so they don’t get in the way of our strengths.

This is why “do the the opposite for a while” is generally great advice. If you are finding yourself at the end of too much feedback about a strength (E.g. you listen very well but we never hear you), spend a week doing the opposite. If needed, give everyone you work with heads up if you must so they aren’t surprised. But, spend a week fighting every instinct to listen.

Once you have experienced what it is like on the other end of the seesaw, it’ll soon become obvious that there are times when doing the opposite is effective.

And, that understanding of the right balance to strike based on the context is how we step change our effectiveness.