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  • Writer's pictureYoram Solomon, PhD

Areas for Improvement...

I was once working for a very large public technology company. And as such once a year you have to fill your own self assessment. And that's part of the human resources process. And as I went through that, the first question was to list your strengths. So to me, I wrote my strengths where: strategy, innovation, and industry relations (I represented the company in several industry organizations). The next question was, as you can imagine, least your, no, not weaknesses, but "areas for improvement". We don't call it weaknesses. Weaknesses is too strong of a word. We don't want to say the word "weaknesses". So, "areas for improvement". And so under areas for improvement, I wrote: innovation, strategy, and industry relations. So, I get called to the Human Resources office, and they told me that I filled that form incorrectly. How did I do that incorrectly? Well, because you wrote exactly the same things in "strengths" and in "areas for improvement".

I said, well, here's the thing. If you wanted to know what my weaknesses were, just ask me. I'll tell you what my weaknesses are. I have weaknesses. Everybody has weaknesses. But you didn't ask about weaknesses. You asked about areas for improvement. And here's the thing. To me, those three areas were my areas of strengths, but I wanted to turn strengths into greatness. Your areas of improvements are your strengths.

I don't want to work on my weaknesses and turn them into mediocrity, because I'm never going to be able to turn them into anything more than mediocrity. Think about that. Do you want to spend time working on your weaknesses, assuming that you don't have any weakness that prevents you from doing your job or doing something good for society or the company, but you want to work on your weaknesses and turn them into mediocrity? Because you're not going to turn them to anything more than mediocrity, because you're not interested in them, or do you want to work on your strengths and turn them into greatness?

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