Successful businesses constantly take inventory. They look to see what is selling and what’s just sitting on the shelf. They find out where they get a good return on their investment in time, effort and shelf space. They look at the stuff that's just collecting dust. If they can’t move it, it gets marked down to whatever price it takes to get rid of it.
This frees up time, capital and space to be invested in goods that are working for them.
Anyone in business will tell how selective you have to be about inventory in order to be successful as there is only so much time, so much effort and so much room on the shelf. Get it wrong, and you’re bust.
As it is in life.
We too only have so much time, so much effort and so much room on the shelf. We too should take a regular inventory of our personal strengths and weaknesses to ensure we are getting the best return.
What skill have we got in our personal ‘store’ that is really doing well and giving us a great personal or professional return? What do we have in our ‘store’ that could be packaged differently or enhanced in some way? What things do we do that we just shouldn't?
Performance is maximised when Motivation, Opportunity and Ability work together.
For those of you using the MOA model to build your own personal plan for improved performance and success, can I take my hat off to you? You are my kind of person. You’re taking the time to stop for a minute, step back and ask “what can I do to get better?”
By now, you should have your Accountability Partner - that someone to give a gentle shove when you need it.
You can now mark this as your second task. It relates to ability – do your personal stocktake.
Honesty is what makes this exercise work. To take this step, you have to look critically at yourself and acknowledge your warts and as well us your wonders. Self-knowledge is the stuff of change.
This exercise need not be complicated.
Grab a pad, draw a line down the centre of the page.
Title one side TERRIFIC, the other side LOUSY.
Now go for it. Focus. Start writing. Be objective.
We all remember Shane Warne. He was forever talking about his flipper and his wrong-un, he had the slider and then there was his annual tradition of announcing his brand new 'mystery' ball. Yet nearly all his wickets were taken with his stock leg-break. Despite all the talk, he knew his strength and he stuck to it.
So narrow down your list of attributes, talents and skills to one or two things you are legitimately good at. What gets you the applause of others? These are the things that will make you the success you want to become.
Remember Matthew Hayden? He played only six tests in the 6 years after his debut, dropped twice for his technical limitations. He rebuilt his game to score a 1000 runs per calendar year, five years in a row - the only person ever to do it. He came to know his weaknesses and worked on them.
Now, narrow down the list of weaknesses to one or two things that are really holding you back. Things that if you could change, would really improve your outcomes.
You can’t put feathers on a dog and call it a chook.
There are always going to be different schools of thought about what to do first. Some say focus on your weaknesses as your strengths will always be there.
For mine, people don't change much. Efforts to fix weaknesses require lots of discipline and can be a slow and painful process. That doesn't mean you should ignore them, just recognise them for what they are and find a way to work through (or around) them when the time comes.
We have the greatest potential in the area of our strengths. They are after all, what we really enjoy doing and get a buzz out of. They are what comes naturally and provide us with the best chance of success. Find what fits your strengths, and success won’t be far away.
So, when it comes time to design your personal success plan, we’ll focus on strengths, but keep an eye on your weaknesses.
For those that want to look at this a little deeper, check this out (The Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness). A really interesting perspective and alternate view.
For those who want to go even further, I've a Personal Stocktaking tool that will allow you to analyse things in some detail. Press here to get a free copy.