Even in small projects, one single person cannot be an expert at everything.  This is why small businesses hire accountants, lawyers, and other specialists to do supporting work.  Leaving these tasks to others helps the business owner and employees focus on what they’re good at.

However, there will come a time when your weakness may affect a project.  Perhaps you’re a brilliant programmer, but aren’t so great at written communication.  You could be a business manager, but know nothing about graphic design, yet you’re in charge of hiring one for the company.  When faced with situations where your weakness could affect the project, here are some things you can do to negate your natural handicaps:

  • Consult an expert. You could always try to run decisions based on your weakness by an expert.  This could be a for-hire contract or, if you have a good network, you can ask a friend for advice over coffee.
  • Educate yourself. Don’t try to make to many assumptions, especially in an area where you don’t know all the facts.  Get online and research.  Odds are, someone’s had the same problem as you before and has some post mortem ideas on how to get past the issue.
  • Talk to your team. If you’re working in a collaborative team environment, you could ask the team to help you make a decision, or at least evaluate it.  Your teammates may not be experts in the field, either, but other eyeballs can at least spot problems you may overlook.
  • Do a trial run before committing. You may be able to do a practice run of the problem before committing to a decision 100%.   For example, you can hire a person on a contract basis before full-time hire.

In all of these areas, communication is key.  You will probably make a mistake or two when dealing with your natural weakness, so prepare yourself for it.  And who knows?  You may find your better at your “weak” areas than you initially thought.

-Deborah Fike

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