Back in business school at Ivey, we learned a lot of things – accounting, finance, ops, working in a variety of different teams and groups. It took me a long time to realise that understanding myself was the most important topic.
Back in highschool people had whispered to me – know thyself. And I thought I did. In business school, we looked at understanding ourselves, understanding others, and understanding groups. In all this, it is only through understanding ourselves that we know our strengths and weaknesses and figure out how to leverage our strengths and handle our weaknesses in business and in life. It is the core of how we relate to the world.
Back in the day, we did the Myers Briggs analysis with its 4 scales: introvert/extrovert, intuitive/sensing, thinking/feeling and judgemental/perceptive. I have heard that the tool has received some malignment since. However, I have found it to be useful. My scores have drifted over time as I have changed. But it has given me a framework for understanding where I fit in the range of human responses, and where others fit. We are all not the same. Something we know and hear everyday, but do we truly know?
Knowing one’s strengths gives us confidence — critical in the business world. Reflecting on, being aware of, and understanding what is behind the core of our weaknesses has been the only way for me to change them. For example, I have heard over the years that I am quiet and that is not a good thing. However, being the eye of the hurricane is a good thing in leadership. Sometimes it is a matter of understanding the ‘weakness’ and then miraculously, it is really a strength.
However, we cannot be good at everything. So, if sales is not your strength, then it is important to hire that talent. Knowing ourselves and being comfortable with our weaknesses, allows us to hire the talent needed to balance out the array of skills needed to build a stronger business.
Photo credit: EraPhernalia Vintage