Focus on Strength, Not Weakness

I was listening to NPR Marketplace on my way in this morning as they ran through a recap of the events, speeches and overall takeaways from the Democratic National Convention that took place at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado last night.

One of the morning host’s raised a good point worth giving some thought to – how in this current presidential campaign election, not only are opponents weaknesses being attacked (common in any election), but their strengths as well – what they cited to be a new political tactic. They went on to discuss how Senator Obama’s speech raised the question of Senator McCain’s touted expertise at foreign policy – an area that many feel is one of his biggest strengths and a backbone to his campaign.

On a more “everyday applicable level,” it got me thinking about how our general tendency can be to do just that: focus on the weaknesses of something we are up against versus capitalizing on what something or someone does well. Many of us work daily in settings where we face competition from other companies, products, sales and marketing incentives – and are put in scenarios where we are one of several companies vying for a business “win.” Our instinct can be to hone in on what an opponent doesn’t offer and what we do. Instead, why not focus on what they do well……..and then make ours that much better? Not only are you taking the high road, you are raising the bar for the next guy – and in many senses increasing the breadth and sophistication – of the overall landscape.

Recently my father – a sailing fanatic – was teaching me some shipmen knots that had come in handy for him over the years. “Kristen, a line is only as good as its weakest point,” he said. Okay, very true. Maybe we….whether that we is an individual, a team, a company or a nation, may only be as strong as our weakest link. But adversely, we are a combination of a multitude of great strengths, ideas and passions that both challenge us and enable us to question everything. On the road to any type of success, whether on the high visibility campaign trail or simply just following our own vision – this is something we all need to capitalize on.

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