September 23, 2009
Leverage Your WeaknessLeverage Your Weakness is the title of the book I thought up today, which would get me on the sell-books-to-drive-corporate-training-to-sell-more-books virtuous cycle. All I need is to actually write the book, which I unfortunately don't have time to do.
The idea came to me during a class on the book Egonomics. That book talks about how people's strengths can become weaknesses if they do too much of them, which is not a new idea. For example, being dedicated is good, but if you overdo dedication, it turns into obsession. That sort of thing. In class they called this a "counterfeited strength", although that term isn't used in the book as far as I can tell.
What I would explain in Leverage Your Weakness is how you should flip this around and view EVERY weakness as the sign of a counterfeited strength, which means that the person actually possesses a strength that they are just overdoing. Take away the overdoing and presto, what's left is a strength. If you have somebody who gets obsessed over their work, don't view this as something that they should just stop; you view obsession as an indication that they have a natural tendency to be dedicated (a good thing) which they are doing too much of. So rather than tell them to stop obsessing, you work to dial it back a bit, so it turns into a positive (I could throw in some fancy math about how if you multiply two negative numbers you get a positive number, that'll impress those MBA types).
The book could list a bunch of weaknesses, show the corresponding latent strength, and then give advice on how to take advantage of that. For example, somebody who likes to show off all the facts that they know. Instead of telling them to shut up, you recognize showing off for what it really is: counterfeited knowledge. This person has the ability to retain lots of information, which is something you can leverage if you just stop them from annoying everybody else while doing it. One example of the guidance there would be to dispatch them to learn new things and then present them to the team in a formal setting where people expect to hear facts spouting out of their mouth. See, just like that the weakness becomes a strength.
I really think I could turn almost any weakness into a counterfeited strength. Somebody can't make decisions? That means they have a counterfeited strength in considering multiple options. Inability to listen to others without interrupting with your own ideas? Must be counterfeited creativity. Yells at other people? Counterfeited passion for the job. And so it goes. Just remember, every time it works I get a quarter.
September 04, 2009
There's a Party In My Computer, and Everyone's InvitedQuestion of the day: What are these people doing?
Reading a wine review site? Watching Masterpiece Theatre videos on YouTube? Reviewing county-by-county results from the 1956 presidential election?
No, it turns out they are enjoying the star attraction of a Windows 7 Launch Party. These events are an opportunity for Microsoft employees to spread the word about Windows 7. I gather the idea is that you invite your friends over and give them a demo--like a party for Tupperware or Stampin' Up, except it's an operating system.
At first I thought this was ridiculous, and I've seen it generate some eye rolls at work, but I actually like it. I mean, why not? I've been using Windows 7 at work and it really *is* pretty slick. Getting to be an early adopter of cool technology is a perk of being an employee. In fact somebody in my group signed up to host (there's a selection process to determine who is actually allowed to host) and it would be interesting to attend. I don't know if I will get quite as excited as the woman in the middle of the picture above, who appears to be suffering heart palpitations at the sight of the new taskbar, but there is enough eye candy in the product to rival anything that Pampered Chef could produce.
Here's a fact: Windows XP came out in October 2001. Going with the generally-accepted consensus on the quality of Vista, and ignoring the (correct) claims that Windows XP SP2 really was a new release of the OS, that means that Microsoft hasn't release an [insert adjective here] operating system since my son was born--the one who just started second grade. No wonder he wrote an essay on our new Mac, which recently replaced a flaky PC, that began, "One time there was a kid who loved the computer, his name was Noah." Hopefully with Windows 7 we can start winning back those hard-to-please seven-year-olds.