Why You Should Hire Your Weakness As Soon As You Can
Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most exciting professional journeys that we can undertake. I can speak from experience as both an entrepreneur and advisor. And, I believe one of the best entrepreneur tips can be summed up in one three-word sentence: hire your weakness.
I’ve seen the sheer thrill on many entrepreneurs’ faces when they are releasing a new product or service. The nerves, yet excitement, are there when these founders hire their first employees or participate in their first media interview. Nevertheless, I’ve also seen young startups face a significant number of challenges—like managing their cash flow and finding product-market fit.
Especially as a solo founder, it’s difficult to manage all of these challenges. Not only may you be unfamiliar with things like hiring or accounting tasks, but you may not like working on these tasks.
I believe that one of the best entrepreneur tips can be summed up in one three-word sentence: hire your weakness.
To hire your weakness means to double down on your strengths while leveraging the benefit of others’ expertise. Through my experience working as a mentor and consultant to many startups, I have seen it take many companies to the next level.
Why You Should Hire Your Weakness
In the long list of entrepreneur tips, you’ll inevitably come across advice on delegation. Mark Zuckerberg may be the product visionary at Facebook, but he delegates operations to Sheryl Sandberg his longtime confidant. A similar development occurred at Google. Larry Page co-created the business and is the mastermind behind strategy and products. However, Eric Schmidt brought operational stability, shareholder management, and became a mentor to Page. Then there is Richard Branson, the entrepreneur’s entrepreneur, who frequently touts the power of delegation.
Even with guidance like this from these legendary entrepreneurs, I’ve seen that founders try to do too much. They have a vision of how their business should operate and tend to be perfectionists. They won’t stop until the task is in front of them is completed in the way that they envision.
Because of this, I’ve seen these founders struggle to delegate critical responsibilities. Even if they are stretched for time, they naturally take the lead on projects requiring their weaker skills because things need to be done “their way.”
Ultimately, I’d argue that it takes some hubris to start a company. Founders are implicitly arguing that they see a gap in the world and that they have the vision and skills to fill that gap. I admire this type of confidence and a can-do attitude. Without it, we wouldn’t have things like Apple computers, tweets, autonomous cars, cloud computing, or a delicious burger from Shake Shack.
Inside the Partnership Between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
I often see founders try to solve all of their company’s problems. Unfortunately, these founders are shooting themselves in the foot. They are stretching themselves thin by trying to solve problems that aren’t their expertise. In my experience, the end result often isn’t as satisfactory compared to delegating it to someone’s forte. Not only is the work better through delegation, but the founder can spend more time focusing on his or her strengths.
So while they believe they can do everything, I believe that founders must get help to solve the underlying problems that are out of their wheelhouses.
This means that founders must find skilled people they trust. At first, this may not be easy. In an extremely competitive hiring environment, founders need to be persuasive. But I’ve discovered that if they can find great talent, it can make a world of difference.
One great example of this effect comes from the legendary pairing of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. In the summer of 1970, Wozniak was building a computer, and Jobs saw the potential to sell it. Wozniak and Jobs recognized they needed each other, as they shored up each others’ weaknesses. The simple truth? Even though Jobs takes up the lion’s share of attention, he wouldn’t have gotten Apple off the ground without Wozniak. Jobs was an outstanding salesman, and Woz was the technical genius.
They “hired” each other for their weaknesses. As I recently wrote, they both understood their Why. The rest is history.
One of the Most Critical Entrepreneur Tips
The Jobs and Wozniak story is just one example of why I strongly encourage you to hire for your weaknesses. For as much as we lionize the founder, business is a team sport. No founder can do it alone. He or she needs to inspire, motivate, and bring on colleagues who can take the business to the next level.
Ultimately, I believe that hiring for your weakness can lead to better results for your company. It can free up your time so that you can focus on your strengths. You can also focus on the overall vision for the company, which is almost always more valuable than spending your time on many discrete tasks.
So even if you want to take on the world yourself, I urge you to take a step back. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and don’t hesitate to pull the trigger when a potential hire can make up for your weakness.
You’ll be happy that you did.
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