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John P. Reiling, PMP:: Is it better to work more on your strengths or your weaknesses?

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The answer may surprise you!

And it can be a HUGE make or break personal decision (assuming you know what your strengths and weaknesses are)!

When considering training…or project work…or other developmental areas in which to place your efforts…

I think there really is a clear answer…

It stands to reason that you should focus on your strengths as much attention as possible.

And here’s why:

If you find yourself needing to concentrate on your weaknesses, you risk not being able to leverage your strengths (which puts you in a tenuous position indeed)!

Here’s an example:

My project management strengths include:

  • Putting together a strong plan
  • Developing and documenting a strong vision
  • Gaining buy-in among stakeholders
  • “Shaking things loose” and getting things moving on projects

And my biggest weakness is administration!

This can potentially be a problem for me in managing projects, and here are two key reasons why:

  1. Detailed documentation is a critical aspect of project management.
  2. Strong administration skills demonstrate good organization.

What’s the significance of this?

I ask myself, “Does this hurt or hinder me and my performance?”

The answer depends on how I approach situations…

Here’s my approach:

  1. Spend the most time on areas of strength – where I can make the greatest contribution.
  2. Spend ‘enough’ time on weak areas so they do not overshadow my strengths.
  3. Find alternative ways (i.e. delegation) to handle responsibilities in weak areas.
  4. Gravitate toward projects that leverage my strengths…and away from those that do not.

In summary, I make sure that I don’t allow administrative issues to hold me back from doing some extra planning, communicating with stakeholders, and working on the edge to “shake things loose” and move projects forward. And I make sure I do “enough” administrative work to fulfill requirements…and find another way to get them done if that’s not sufficient.

You can do the same for your own situation, no matter what your strength-weakness profile is.

John Reiling, PMP
Project Management Training Online


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