One of the joys of my job is that I work with CEOs at all points on their journey.
I’m currently working a CEO who has built a successful business and is about to exit to work on the next thing. A start-up helping to tackle climate change.
This CEO has young children and a big reason for the exit is to stop working long hours. To work three days per week and spend time with their kids.
When it comes to raising investment this has been seen as a huge weakness. Some comments: “We’re not funding you to be part time.” “If you were serious about this new venture you’d be working 60 hours a week.”
It’s time to reframe.
- Any business is only as strong as it’s people
- We will create a distinct people advantage. We will attract talented people. People at the top of their professional game. Science tells us this is from age 35 upwards (interesting the same time as many have children) Reference
- We’ve unlocked a formula to create 20% more jobs and have 20% more people, with more ideas, experience and viewpoints. That’s 20% more innovation. We’ll increase the collective experience of the company by 20% In the first year this will be an extra 12 years of company wide experience, in year two; 36. Out ability to grow experience will be exponential. Facebook, Google and others can never match this.
- We will reduce staff recruitment costs and increase retention. Reference
- We will unlock productivity amongst our best people by breaking the productivity ≠ hours myth. Reference
- Working fewer hours is better for the planet. We will reduce commuting, we will share wealth. Reference
- The new venture will only hire at 3 days per week
Will it work? Maybe. Could you pick my points apart? Of course. But it’s better than someone else thinking they are clever by uncovering your weakness and calling you out.
Don’t hide that weakness, hoping it won’t be noticed. Embrace it. Reframe it.
What’s your “big weakness”? (Of course I don’t believe these are weaknesses at all)
- Not enough experience = I bring a unique perspective not shared by everyone else.
- No formal qualification = I’ve learnt my trade through real experience, not limited by the formal structure of education
- Short tenures in previous jobs = I’m great at laying the rails, not running the trains. I set up the strategy and leave to other to execute at scale
- I can only work 20 hours a week because my partner has a chronic illness = I bring extreme focus, my value is worth x100 my time. I bring experience and insight, not time in front of computer (BTW this is my “weakness”)
- Too young / too old / “too different” = A fresher, more modern, less staid perspective. I reflect the world as it is going to be become, not how it is now. That’s invaluable.
That last point, your weakness being invaluable? It’s true. There are folks who maybe short sighted and will not see it. It’s up to you to help them see it.
If you need help reframing, comment below with your “weakness” and I’ll do just that.