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Practice Can’t Overcome Bad Eyesight – Why You Need a Strengths Based Business

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I read a fascinating book recently called ‘The Sports Gene: Inside The Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance’ by David Epstein. 

The author is a science reporter by trade, and dives into the nature-vs-nurture debate around world class athletes. 

Are top performers made, or are they born that way?    

What is the most effective way to yield Olympic champions? 

What about the so-called 10,000-hour rule?  

At the risk of spoiling the plot, the author comes down on the side of nature. Because of what he uncovers in his research. 

For instance, did you know what the top predictor of a successful major league baseball hitter is? 

Hand speed, you might guess.  Or hand-eye coordination.  Or even upper body strength. 

Visual acuity is the answer.  The top predictive trait for a major league hitter is their vision. They pick up the rotation of the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand.  That is what sets them apart.    

May of the top hitters in the game have vision at a 20/10 level, or even 20/9.  In rare cases, the vision is 20/8 on major league players, which is approaching the theoretical limits of the human eye. Fascinating.  

It also illustrates the futility of pursuing greatness as a batter without this strength.  Regardless of how many hours you practice, it is highly unlikely you will become great if you don’t have good visual acuity. 

Practice can’t overcome bad eyesight in baseball. 

Business Owners Need to Align People to Their Strengths 

I believe that ideal business teams are also focusing on their strengths. 

If you focus on your weaknesses, after a long time, you’ll have better weaknesses.  

-  Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach 

Identifying people’s strengths is relatively straightforward.  You could purchase an assessment like Clifton Strengths to get a general sense. You could ask the team to help each other identify strengths.  You could use an exercise like The Activity Optimizer to have people organize their tasks.  Or all three. 

Then, you can rearrange the work within the team to let everyone get closer to those strengths. 

How will you do that?  There are several approaches you can take. 

  • Stop Doing – sometimes, you find work that you can retire in this way. 
  • Systemize – find work that needs a process tune-up – a kink in the hose 
  • Delegate – find someone else on the team better suited to do this work.  Or find an outsourcer who would provide good value here. 
  • Automate – add technology to streamline this work, and perhaps even fully automate it. 
  • Procrastinate – sometimes, everyone wants a change, but we can’t implement just yet.  It’s ok to take note of future opportunities. 

The Benefits of Strengths-Based Teams in Your Business  

Businesses that aspire to have team members work within their strengths generally perform better.      

Benefits include: 

  • Team morale improves 
  • Your processes become more efficient  
  • Your error rates with drop 
  • Your attrition rates will drop 
  • You will make the business less reliant on you, the business owner. 

Part 3 of 7 in our Scalability blog series.