As much as we would all love to be good at everything in life, success often depends on realising that we are not!

When boat sailing my small cruising catamaran, I often take to the water with those who possess additional skills or knowledge that I am sorely deficient in. It’s not the main reason I take them with me, but it helps!  My younger son, a marine engineer, has an ability to analyse a practical challenge, identify the problem and then fix it.  And we’re both happy to laugh at my ability to defer the difficult jobs until he arrives.  Mike, my crew for a weekend back in June, is retired and has a love of all things mechanical.  Tom, an equally-experienced sailor, is a semi-retired engineer and possible part-time contortionist who can turn his hand to most things; most recently, removing a hidden 90-degree bend in the water-tank fill pipe in order to extract the hose nozzle that had fallen down it.  (I won’t say which of us dropped it down there.)

The hidden bend

Some of these friends can fix things I wouldn’t dream of touching; others just do it so much faster than I do. In either case, if there is someone better suited to the job than myself, experience has taught me to yield to their superior abilities.

I try to stick to this principle in business as well as sailing.

Some expertise can be passed on relatively easily and I love the opportunity to learn from those who have experience in areas I do not (if they willing and able to teach me). Other tasks unquestionably require delegation. At various times I have (and still do in some cases) employed or worked with an accountant, website designers, copy writers, marketing experts, administration assistants and fellow trainers to augment my business by filling in the gaps in my skill set. In previous jobs, I worked with sales teams, bid writers, finance teams, resource managers, facility managers, and technical specialists.

How well do you know yourself? What are the areas that you know you don’t excel (or hate working) in? Is there someone else in your team you could trade your skills with? We offer some great tools – Insights Discovery® and Clifton Strengths® – to help individuals and teams grow in self-awareness and effectiveness.

However you go about your business, don’t try to do everything yourself. There is nothing wrong with being a specialist. You know what they say about a jack of all trades….