A while back, I came across a Venn diagram on Saku Tuominen’s Facebook timeline illustrating rather compellingly how a person might go about finding their professional calling.
It showed three partly overlapping circles representing (1) what you’d love to do most, (2) what you are the very best at doing, and (3) where there is most demand for your output. The sweet spot, the thing you should be looking for, obviously, is where all three overlap.
Now, I can’t seem to find that Facebook post anymore, but I found this version by Bud Caddell, which may well be the original:
Not only is this sound advice to anyone looking for personal focus, but the same applies to businesses as well.
In order to discover and formulate a focus and a strategy, businesses should identify (1) what their people (would) most love doing, (2) what they are – or could become – better at than anyone else, and (3) where market demand for their output is – and will be – the greatest.
During my time at Nokia, we had an ‘Insight and Foresight’ team scanning the global mobile communications market and technology trends, thus contributing to the yearly iterations of the company’s strategy.
That’s right, Nokia would iterate its business strategy every year, even when the guiding principle of ‘Connecting People’ remained unshaken.
The strategy team certainly looked at where money was to be had. What the organisation hardly took into account, at least as far as I could see, was what its remarkably multi-skilled workforce would be the very best at doing, or would most love to do, if given the chance.
I believe this was a missed opportunity.
Self-help gurus say that if you really love doing something, you have a decent chance of becoming exceptionally good at it.
Next time you iterate on the direction, positioning and focus of your business or brand, I suggest you take a good look at what your people love and could excel at.
I have a few ideas on how to make this happen. You may be surprised what ‘unfair’ competitive advantage you may discover for yourself.