LinkedIn founder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman has a somewhat contrarian career tip for those looking to move up the ladder post-pandemic: Focus on doubling down on your strengths.
“The typical thing that people encounter is, ‘Oh, I’m weak at at managing my schedule so I should work on that,'” Hoffman said on a new episode of Yahoo Finance Presents (video above). “The problem is: What you should really do is: What are the amazing things that you bring to your team, whether your team is an organization or your team is your network? Because life is a team sport — not an individual sport. Even entrepreneurs — it’s a team sport.”
With a team focus, the “The Startup of You” author added, you can ask yourself: “‘What are my strengths that make this team a whole lot better?’ And then, as opposed to working on your weaknesses or making something you’re moderately good at a little bit better, which doesn’t really add that much to the team, you should focus on: ‘No weaknesses that are debilitating for the team, no weaknesses that are debilitating for you.’ But your strengths are what really add to the team. That’s why you should always improve them, to say: ‘Oh, I’m one of the best people for doing this kind of technology investing in the world.'”
Hoffman’s words of wisdom are similar to something that Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett recently said during the company’s annual shareholders meeting: “The best thing you can do is to be exceptionally good at something. If you’re the best doctor in town, if you’re the best lawyer in town, if you’re the best whatever it may be… [people] are going to give you some of what they produce in exchange for what you deliver.”
The advice comes amid one of the tightest labor markets in decades as businesses rush to rebuild workforces after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees are using the hot job market to their advantage and are hopping to new places of employment for higher wages.
Others may need their strengths in a completely new job: An estimated 107 million workers may need to switch occupations by 2030, about 12 million more than a pre-pandemic estimate from McKinsey.
Those dynamics will push workers to level up their skills and find new careers — or as Hoffman and Buffett suggest, invest in strengths to become a true master in a current field.
As for Hoffman — who sits on the boards of Microsoft and Joby — he has spent the pandemic working on improving his own strengths.
“I’m good at board calls — ‘We need X’ [and] ‘I help Y,’ do the governance thing,” Hoffman said. “I need to work in some more proactive work back in. And obviously, decades ago when I was younger, I would do that more because I had that narrower portfolio.”
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