In my last blog, I discussed Malcolm Gladwell’s comments on effort. In this blog, I will focus on on his discussion on overcoming difficulty.

Malcolm Gladwell discussed two leadership strategies:

  • Capitalization Strategy – building on strengths
  • Compensation Strategy – compensating for weakness – extracting lessons from that weakness to get stronger

It is much more difficult for those who have to employ the Compensation Strategy because they have to overcome weaknesses.  However, this strategy is a very effective way to learn.  Being hungry and working harder are both strong predictors of success.

Those aspects are prevalent in people who have to employ the Compensation Strategy. He equated this to NFL quarterbacks who are not drafted in early rounds – they usually work much harder to make-up for that perceived weakness. This example can be extrapolated to others as well.

Looking Back

Which strategy have you had to employ over the course of your career? Have you had opportunities given to you and did you take those opportunities and soar (Capitalization Strategy)?  Or were you someone who had to overcome a weakness (Compensation Strategy)? For example, did you receive poor grades in college, but made up for it by completing multiple internships to prove to others that you could do the work?

Looking Forward

What is the strategy for your current career? Are you being groomed for a promotion at your company?  How are you going to use your current situation to gain the right skills to ensure your success in the next position? Are you at a disadvantage in applying for your next position (i.e. missing a specific ‘traditional position’ on your resume that most individuals have when applying for that position)? How are you going to overcome that weakness to demonstrate you are the better candidate?  Figure out if you are operating from a position of strength or trying to overcome a weakness. Knowing this will help you as you plan your next career move.


, Malcolm Gladwell Seminar on Success – Part 2

Amy Wolfgang

Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.

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, Malcolm Gladwell Seminar on Success – Part 2

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