He was a highly respected and highly regarded businessman, who owned several businesses in a major U.S. city. His companies were in the top 10 businesses of the region, ranking alongside some of the biggest industries in the country, with assets in the hundreds of millions.
But it didn’t start out that way.
He grew up in one of most impoverished areas of the country. Life was not easy for his family, but it did teach him the value of hard work. When he came of age, he moved to the city and began to do the work that came naturally to him: building. He knew his strengths zone. But that wasn’t enough. Every day, as he worked in his strengths zone, he also extended his comfort zone, learning more and more about the industry. In time, he became the leader of the crew and then the leader of his own company.
He continued to work in his strengths zone while also continuing to push his comfort zone. One company became two…and then many. To the outside observer, these were separate industries, but the fact is, each was rooted in his greatest strength: building.
The compound applications of his strengths resulted in a staggering profit through his decades in business.
In a recent conversation, a colleague of mine asked him if he would advise everyone to take the path he took to profitability – to do the kind of work he did. His answer was a very firm, “No.”
“Do what you know,” he said.
Essentially, he was saying, “Work in your strengths zone.”
And then extend those strengths beyond your comfort zone.
Leading in your strengths sounds almost too easy, but think about it. If you start with what you know and are good at, then you have the competitive advantage.
Are you, as a business leader, staying true to your strengths? Are you applying the core of who you are to what you do every single day? Are you assigning employees to areas of their strengths?
Give yourself and your team a competitive advantage. Lead and work in your strengths zone.