We talked about Einstein’s brilliant quip: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.”
That line makes me think of another 20th century genius, Peter Drucker, and some parallel wisdom he shares in The Effective Executive.
Drucker tells us: “Whoever tries to place a man or staff an organization to avoid weakness will end up at best with mediocrity. The idea that there are ‘well rounded’ people, people who have only strengths and no weaknesses (whether the term used is the ‘whole man,’ the ‘mature personality,’ the ‘well- adjusted personality,’ or the ‘generalist’) is a prescription for mediocrity if not for incompetence. Strong people always have strong weaknesses too. Where there are peaks, there are valleys. And no one is strong in many areas. Measured against the universe of human knowledge, experience, and abilities, even the greatest genius would have to be rated a total failure. There is no such thing as a ‘good man.’ Good for what? is the question.”
Want a prescription for mediocrity?
Try to be perfect.
Ignore your strengths and try to be “well rounded.”
A much better approach for effectiveness?
As Drucker says, make strengths productive. Not just yours but the strengths of everyone around you. Know that E V E R Y O N E has both strengths and weaknesses and focus on the strengths.
See the strengths.
And cultivate them.
P.S. We talked about this basic idea in a prior +1 called Strengths + Weaknesses. Check that out for some fun stories about Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant along with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. 🤓