Tell Me About Yourself, Tell Me Your Weaknesses?

The Startup Business Systems SWOT

In my old “job” days, I use to hate that question head hunters would ask.

In fact I found it quite rude.

How dare them!

I never said it in an interview, but I would often think “don’t worry, you will discover all my weaknesses in good time after you hire me”!

Well of course, perhaps with that attitude, I was better suited to running my own businesses as I am today.

You see I am a glass half full, I am an optimist, and I like to see the best in people, the best possible outcomes.

But guess what, I still need to ask that question because even that sense of optimism can be my weakness, my Achilles Heel.

As the great Stephen Covey highlights in his seminal work and legacy: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you have to keep sharpening the saw and you can only do that if you know where to sharpen.

Nothing personal, it is what it is.

But of course we do not always see our short comings despite our efforts, after all we are always trying to put our best foot forward, we are promoting ourselves, positioning ourselves, having makeovers. We seem to be making a “habit” of not being honest, transparent and authentic.

An exercise I like is the Johari Window. This framework or technique, helps to elevate our sense of awareness through four metaphorical windows:

  • Known Self – Things we know about ourselves and others know about us
  • Hidden Self – Things we know about ourselves that others do not know
  • Blind Self – Things others know about us that we do not know
  • Unknown Self – Things neither we nor others know about us

There are many ways you can use the Johari Window, but basically the outcome is transformation as through information comes insight and then hopefully change. While the Johari Window is generally used for personal transformation, this same technique can also be used for business transformation.

You see, it is my view that unless we are constantly working on our “weaknesses”, we miss opportunities to fundamentally transform. A year goes by and nothing changes. Another year goes by and we have not learned anything. We are still where we were a year ago, may be ten years ago. However the reality is that around us is change.

Whether it is Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, The Johari Window, or even performing a SWOT Analysis, we need to systemise these practices and others, into our business (or personal lives) to ensure we continue to remain relevant, but importantly continue to provide a meaningful contribution.

So while you may be empowered with your Strategy, achieved Sales effectiveness, obtained efficiencies in your back end Solutions and engaged the right Support, this last imperative of implementing Systems will be key to adapting to change regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur in the early stages of your startup, or have a business up and running.

So when somebody asks you next time “Tell me about yourself, tell me your weaknesses?”, make a fist and say “Yes”!

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