Scotland born Robert Louis Stevenson, is perhaps best known as the author of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I recently came across something Stevenson wrote, and it translates well into good advice for leaders. It’s strong medicine. He said:
“You cannot run away from a weakness; you must sometimes fight it out or perish. And if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?”
Food for Thought ~
One of the classic components of a comprehensive strategic planning process involves taking stock of your organization’s weaknesses. This requires courage, self-confidence and integrity. I don’t know a business that does not have weaknesses; even so, it takes courage to conduct an honest appraisal of what isn’t going well. Serious problems, unaddressed, can become strategic weaknesses that may prove disastrous. It also takes self-confidence, in oneself as a leader and in the others on your team, to trust that you can do what needs to be done to remedy the problem or correct the weakness. And all of this takes integrity – to look at the issue squarely and take responsibility for the solution, a far cry from finger pointing and blaming. A significant problem is not going to go away by itself. A serious weakness only gets larger and more complicated with time. Hence the wisdom in his advice ~ deal with it, here and now.
Question for the day ~
Have you made a recent analysis of your organization’s weaknesses? Have you used that assessment to find solutions and opportunities for improvement?
A Footnote ~
If you missed my Quarterly Newsletter last week, you can read it here.
Those of us who live in Northern California may also know that Stevenson spent a summer on Mount Saint Helena, near Calistoga, and wrote a fine, short memoir about his experiences called The Silverado Squatters.