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In recent years, we have been urged to focus more on building upon our strengths, and less on improving weaknesses. But in Executive Excellence magazine, consultant Randall P. White disagrees.

He contends that proponents of the so-called "strengths movement" seem to be passing out permission slips to stop stretching yourself in different directions. But relying on your strengths is a surefire path to executive derailment because it promotes stagnation while inhibiting growth and development.

"When expressed with single-minded focus, the strengths-based movement is an exercise in self-indulgence. It focuses on what comes easy, what leaders enjoy doing, and what fulfills the individual. What is ignored is what the organization needs from the position that the leader's job is designed to provide," he notes.

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Effective leaders are continuously learning. Long-term success requires a well-rounded portfolio of skills and a lack of glaring weaknesses. For proof, he points to Marcus Buckingham, a leading advocate of the strengths movement, who stuttered as a child. Today, that weakness has been turned into a strength, helping him captivate audiences with his speeches.

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