I write a lot about applying strengths. Our unique capabilities give us advantages over competitors. But nature has a way of balancing the scales. Often what makes us exceptional is also what makes us vulnerable.

As a simple example, when you position a business you develop a unique capability in getting customers from a certain market. But it comes with an accompanying cost of losing customers in other markets.

Strengths walk hand-in-hand with weaknesses.

The trick is to manage the context so that strengths are effective and weaknesses don’t matter.

With positioning, the customers you gain through a higher relevance (strength) should be more valuable than the ones you lose through your diminished ability to sell to anyone (weakness.)

As the business operator, you also have strengths and weaknesses that need to be managed because they impact the entire business.

To provide a personal example, like many entrepreneurs, I’m aggressive and achievement oriented. The strength is that I get a lot done. The weakness is that it’s easy for me to over invest. When I plan how I’ll invest our resources, I have to be cognizant of this weakness and reign my horses in.

The knowledge of these trade-offs is a precursor to developing an effective strategy, whether it’s for your business, yourself, or someone on your team.

Featured image is Thetis Dipping the Infant Achilles into the River Styx by Peter Paul Rubens (c. 1625). Used under public domain.