There is a lot of debate in the business world right now about whether you should focus on shoring up your weaknesses to “plug the holes” or if you should double down on your strengths and really accentuate where you are awesome.
At Wildhorn Capital, we are growing by focusing on our strengths, and putting extra emphasis in those areas we are individually strong. We’ve written in the past about how real estate is a team sport—and part of being on a team is understanding your role. As our business has grown and we close on larger and larger deals, (we’re currently under contract on a 253-unit $20+mm transaction) it has become crystal clear to us that each person on our team needs to focus on their area(s) of strength. In fact, we have recently solidified the roles on our team to align to each person’s strengths. This is going to allow us to continue to scale our business, and keep everyone engaged and focused on what they are great at.
In this article, I’m going to outline why we think focusing on personal strengths is so critical, and provide some examples of how that looks in the Wildhorn business.
Draw on previous experience
Experience is the best teacher.Familiarity to certain situations gives you a unique perspective and approach.Use your background to your advantage. When times get tough people revert to their experiences for guidance and execution.
In our business, my background is in branding, advertising and strategy.My partner’s background is in structural engineering and construction management.We approach the same issue or challenge with very different viewpoints. That creates healthy discussion.It also lets us quickly decide who is the authority on a particular topic. We’ve been able to define our roles pretty easily because of our past experiences. As we look to rebrand a property or create an Investment Summary to send out, I naturally do those things because of my background in that space. Conversely, when we get into renovating a property, selecting General Contractors, etc. he’s the natural fit because he’s the one who has overseen large-scale construction projects, knows the clauses he wants to see in contracts and how to crack the whip on construction crews.
Stay in your comfort zone
Many entrepreneurs start a company because they have a great idea, or a strong belief they can do something better than how its currently being done elsewhere.A nd they are often right.But it takes so much more than an idea to grow and build a company.You have to step out of your comfort zone as well as your area of expertise to really build a sustainable business.The guy with the awesome product idea may know nothing about finance and how to capitalize his business.The software developer with the app idea probably doesn’t know how to build a team and manage the HR responsibilities that come with that business.
A former boss used to ask me—“what is your super power”? Focus on what you are really good at, and then surround yourself others that have different super powers.Your comfort zone is your happy place—you gravitate towards roles, tasks and jobs that resonate with you.Rather than try to do something you aren’t really interested in, keep your energy going on things you are passionate about.
Back to our business: I am not super detail-oriented.I think big picture.And that way of thinking causes me to chases ideas and builds relationships.It doesn’t make much sense for me to spend energy trying to be detail oriented.I’m never going to be excited to sit and proof read a legal document, or take notes on a status call.I need to focus on my strengths.On the flip side, my business partner is checklist oriented and loves details—remember he’s an engineer.The detail oriented parts of the business make sense for him to focus on.At the end of the day, we’re both happier for being able to stay in our comfort zone—and we’re more productive in growing our business because of it.
Stop chasing shiny objects
In today’s world we are constantly bombarded with new exciting things to look at.New philosophies to read.New social media channels to monitor.In my case, new podcasts or audiobooks to subscribe to.I’m a lifelong learner, and I’m certainly not here to say you shouldn’t be focused on growing.But I think too many people are constantly trying out the latest new thing and chasing some shiny new object—rather than simply doubling down on what they know and what they are good at.
This article and blog are a great example.I enjoy writing.I enjoy the process of blocking off time to create an article.Many people I know are busy creating podcasts, YouTube channels and other multi-media platforms.I’ve certainly thought about it, and spent a lot of time investigating how to do it and whether or not I should be doing it.At the end of the day, I’ve decided to stick to writing articles.It’s good for my business and I generally get good feedback from the articles.But it’s also a great example of me pulling back from shiny objects to just focus on what I know and doubling down my efforts there.Just because something is new doesn’t mean its necessarily better when its pulling you away from your strengths.
If you are focused on doing what you love, what you are good at, what you are familiar with, you are naturally going to be able to get more done.It’s pretty simple.When I look at my to do list each day and week, the items that align to my interests are getting done first.I love meeting with investors.I love touring properties. I love looking at the big picture for our business.So I crush those activities each week.
On the flip side, the “mundane” and detail oriented tasks sap my energy. I push them off to the last minute, or try to get my partner to get them done.When I do finally get them done, I end up feeling guilty that I didn’t do them earlier and I’m not always confident they have been done correctly.Why put yourself through that?Focus on the things you like doing, the things that energize you and the things you are naturally drawn to.It creates more personal bandwidth to allow you to get more accomplished, and you’ll be happier in the process.
At Wildhorn, the stress of raising equity eats at my partner. He’s very well connected and is frankly really good at talking with investors.But the overall job is not something he enjoys and stresses him out.I like the process of talking with investors and the responsibility of matching investors with the right opportunity based on their goals.So rather than stress about it and have him less productive across the board, I focus on the equity raising side of our business so he can prioritize the pieces he’s good at. By doing so, we’re each focusing on our strengths and creating incremental bandwidth in the process.
It has been liberating for us to each be able to focus on our strengths, and offload some of the tasks that we find to be intimidating and laborious. By focusing on our unique strengths and doubling down in those areas we’ve seen great returns to our business and our overall qualify of life. I encourage you to focus on your strengths and leave the other parts to other folks.
What’s your superpower?