You’re only as strong as the weakest link

There’s a TV game show called The Weakest Link, in which the contestants have to answer questions in teams. Each successive correct answer adds to the prize money. An incorrect answer wipes out all the prize money that hasn’t been ‘banked’, and the person answering incorrectly becomes ‘the Weakest Link’.

The concept that you are only as strong as the weakest link is highly applicable to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Look at these examples –

  • A business that’s brilliant at marketing, but no good at selling, will be held back by that weakness
  • A business that’s brilliant at selling, but no good at marketing, will have fewer opportunities to sell
  • A business that’s deficient when it comes to execution or operations might be excellent at selling – but will be held back by its deficiency

The temptation is to focus on the things you’re good at. Doing that generates a sense of satisfaction, a comforting glow, because a job was well done or a process completed efficiently.

The problem with this approach is that you’re not addressing the weakness. Indeed, you may even make it more obvious. Just imagine – you are poor at delivery and your sales team generate another raft of orders. You’ve just created another opportunity to disappoint your customers and prospects.

Your focus should, of course, be on the weakness. But that’s more difficult to do.  You may be aware that the weak area isn’t working well, but you may not know how to fix it. Sometimes you might not even know where to start fixing it.

If that’s the case, it may be time to get external assistance. You could get help from business friends or perhaps from a peer group.  You might even consider getting advice from an external advisor, but they’d need a clear brief.

Take time to recognise the weakness in your business. Invest time and energy to bring this area up to the same standard as other areas of your business, already performing to high standards. You’ll be amazed at the difference that will make.

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