Insource your Strengths and Outsource your Weaknesses

With the rugby world cup under way there is much business can learn from how elite sporting teams are managed.

As a manager in a broad range of organisations both small and large too often you hear discussions around an organisation and its people’s weaknesses and not about their strengths.

So much focus goes into addressing the issues that a culture is often framed around an awareness of what they don’t do well, losing sight of the core skills that customers want to engage with.

The reality is people and businesses are far more effective when they focus on what they are good at and demonstrate their self-belief to the market. Once you team focus on its strengths it forms an identity around them, this is what clients and supporters want to engage and identify with. This will be what truly sets an organisation apart from its competitors.

Focusing on strengths becomes empowering for both the business and staff. When you focus and encourage your team to work to their strengths they become more engaged in their work, tend to be happier and far more effective. Sick leave rates decline, upward pressure on remuneration diminishes and quality people actively seek to be part of a team that has a positive and focused reputation in the market. If a person is really good at a particular task that is aligned to your businesses needs then get them to do more of it.

Let’s be realistic a business or team that does not understand its own weaknesses is very vulnerable, many an organisation has failed because of a lack of management of weaknesses. This is where the art of effective management comes into play. Like the coach of an elite sporting team It is the responsibility of managers to put in place structures, processes and people to cover off capability gaps while encouraging and motivating the core team to focus on what they do well.

Businesses are often compelled by clients, sales enthusiasm or market demand to take on scope that is outside their core competency. This creates a real risk of losing focus, identity and people as staff are pressed to do things that are not to the individuals or organisations strengths. In rugby terms don’t ask your best Winger to play at Prop and expect him to like it, or do well. Clients and supporters see the cracks very quickly and will rapidly lose sight of the strengths that attracted them in the first place.

Managers & coaches that act quickly before the cracks start to show by bringing into play the appropriate complementary expertise are the ones that create a clear path to success. Preserving core strengths and recognising the additional resources needed to deliver effective outcomes is a critical function of effective management and in delivering a satisfied client.

Often the support that’s needed to make a difference is only required for a brief time or a specific project but the time and pain that can be avoided make the outsourcing investment very rewarding for the proactive business.

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Jason Lacey is the founder & Managing Director EQ|House Pty. Ltd.

EQ House is an E-House expert helping its electrical engineering clients with the structural design and construction of specialist equipment shelters, switchrooms and communications buildings for the utilities, mining and O&G sectors. For more information on how we can help you, please email or visit