Thursday, February 03, 2005

Weaknesses Can't Be Hidden (Forever)

Valerie, a strong 11 year old girl at our club who practices with the strongest men players because her strokes are so good, stopped playing tonight in an uncharacteristically abrupt way. We wondered if she was injured. "No," she said, "Patty just came on the court and I didn't want her to see that I was having trouble with short balls tonight."

I find the underlying lessons between business coaching and tennis coaching highly transferrable, so I offer the following three points as conversation starters with your trusted advisor/coach:
  • It's powerful to be forthright about what makes you uncomfortable. Being direct is an important communication skill for all business leaders and entrepreneurs. What's an example of how you were concise and direct today?

  • When you're feeling low on reserves, you're less likely to take risks, whether perceived or actual. The solution to feeling low on reserves -- whether they're of confidence, endurance, or cash flow -- is to build them up. Identify a resource (either personal or in your business) that is vital and create a super reserve of it. That's right, not just a day or a week's supply, but 3-6 months. What a difference that will make!

  • Eventually, weaknesses have to be addressed. They won't go away on their own, and your competition will find a way to exploit them sooner or later. You might as well address them on your own terms and at your own pace while you have that luxury. Valerie needed to work on her short game, and she was going to do it when she felt less vulnerable and more in a learning mindset. She would have a few weeks to schedule time to do so before her next tournament. What is a weakness that you're aware of in your business that deserves your attention and resources now, before it becomes even more of a liability down the road?
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